“When you are actually writing, and working as hard as you should be if you want to succeed, you will feel inadequate, stupid, and tired. If you don’t feel like that, then you aren’t working hard enough.”
That is Michael Munger in the midst of describing one of his 10 tips on how to write less badly in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This thought is particularly relevant to writing, a uniquely difficult endeavor, but the general sentiment applies across a range of difficult yet worthwhile pursuits. Doing good development work is hard. The same goes for project management, organizational change, and research. I have frequently felt some combination of inadequate, stupid, and tired over my time here in Honduras. I have high standards. But, these feelings don’t overcome and incapacitate me (at least not usually); I take them as a sign that I care about what I am doing, that I am trying, and they motivate me to do better. Ultimately, if what you’re doing matters to you and it’s going poorly, you should feel bad, and from there you should change something about what you’re doing or something about yourself.