At some point growing up, I realized that I was neither as bright as Captain Kirk or sharp as Han Solo. It sounds mad that a 3rd grader would hold himself to such high standards but I’m sure most people end up doing that as well. The worlds we see in movies and on TV are so tightly scripted that their character’s real-life foibles are eliminated if they aren’t relevant to the plot. And so, I’m afraid that even fantasy worlds can make us feel bad about ourselves.
Alain de Botton’s wonderful TED talk about status anxiety touches on some anecdotes for these media-generated feelings of inadequacy:
“It’s probably as unlikely that you would nowadays become as rich and famous as Bill Gates, as it was unlikely in the 17th century that you would accede to the ranks of the French aristocracy. But the point is, it doesn’t feel that way. It’s made to feel, by magazines and other media outlets, that if you’ve got energy, a few bright ideas about technology, a garage — you, too, could start a major thing.”
Better yet, pick up de Botton’s book, Status Anxiety. His writing is as eloquent and it is thoughtful, and it’s cheaper than therapy.