I am not good enough


I have broached this topic before: why do I always feel inadequate, despite what I know I have achieved and am capable of?

A girlfriend and I mused over the subject. Academic research relays the ideas of the “impostor phenomenon”, which is more likely to affect females. At the root, a sense of not good enough.

This reminds me of a passage from the book, “Flow”:

To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances. This challenge is both easier and more difficult than it sounds: easier because the ability to do so is entirely within each person’s hands; difficult because it requires discipline and perseverance that are relatively rare in any era, and perhaps especially in the present. And before all else, achieving control over experience requires a drastic change in attitude about what is important and what is not.

We grow up believing that what counts most in our lives are those future events. Parents teach children that if they learn good habits now, they will be better off as adults. Teachers assure pupils that the boring classes will benefit them later, when the students are going to be looking for jobs. I internalized the idea of focusing on the future: what will I achieve tomorrow, what will I be in 6 months, when will I “make it”, when will I buy a house…

The profound challenge is to find my own voice, and to decide what are the important things in my life.

For so many years, I lapped up what my elders and seniors preached about priorities and essentials in life. When I woke up one day and discovered I could make up our own minds — and that just because they were older did not mean they know the best — I broke down, I doubted myself, I was ashamed that my lists were different from those who came before me.

So, as I have done, many do so as well: we go through loops of reflection, self-discovery, meditation, healthy eating, some Bearapy etc. to find ourselves, to establish our lists through any justification possible. A silent rebellion towards philosophies engrained in our brains.

When we think we have found the panacea to pain and the answer to life, we rejoice. Yet, still, we cannot shake of this feeling of “I am not good enough.” What if our answers are not good enough, is there something better out there? Are we maximizing our potential? Then we delve into positive psychology, be grateful for what we have, focus on the present, be mindful, do yoga, eat even better, sleep even earlier…. La dee da dee da… blah blah blah….

It is a self-perception fossilized into my subconscious, rooted in my unconscious whirl of fears. Maybe, the fact is, I really just am not good enough, otherwise, why would I be wasting time on this pitiful little blog that hardly anyone reads, instead of being flown somewhere fancy to be the keynote speaker at some international forum?

Will keep working on convincing myself I am good enough….

Oh actually, whatever, f**k it. Eat some pancakes for midnight snack….


i am good enough


4 Responses

  1. Tonya says:

    Dear Noch Noch,

    I have been reading your blog from the very beginning and I will continue to do so. You are not just good enough, you are great!

    • Noch Noch says:

      Hi Tonya, your comment made my day!!! 🙂
      And yes, I know you have been supporting me since very early days, and I really appreciate it!
      How are you doing in your world?
      NOch Noch

  2. Jim says:

    I loved this one Noch. Sometimes it is like you reach in my brain and pull out everything I think.
    You need to: 1. Clone yourself. 2. Send your clone to Houston to be a therapist.
    You would be very busy.

    • Noch Noch says:

      Hi Jim

      Haha – great encouragement and I’m starting to find myself quite busy in Beijing too so might hold off on the clone idea :p
      Actually you mentioned an idea in my head reccently too – therapist or not…. I am thinking of pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology and they applying it in the organizational work I do for companies… let’s see where the stars lead…


about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.