I'm a starting graduate student in math. Without a doubt I'm not a genius or even that smart, and that creates a serious problem: I often lose my nerve while doing research or studying other people's paper. I feel that some of those people (if not most) are just too good and I crack under the pressure to produce works of similar quality. I know the right thing to do is to be "brave" and power through and see where I end up. But this issue of "cowardice" has severely hurt my productivity. Do successful researchers have same problem or are they just totally engrossed with their work and do not care about anything else? How can I somehow be more disciplined with my emotions?

  • I hesitate to flag this as duplicate, but you should certainly read this site's most upvoted question. The fact that it is, in fact, the most popular question says something in itself, especially regarding your first question. – henning Feb 6 at 19:54
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    That would be this question: academia.stackexchange.com/q/2219/75368. Likewise a search on this site for imposter syndrome will turn up much more advice. – Buffy Feb 6 at 19:56
  • Also, this: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/11765/… (and just for the record, I'm the first to say 'imposter syndrome') – henning Feb 6 at 19:57
  • You are not alone in feeling doubtful of your abilities. This is a very common feeling amongst grad students. Let me just state: being a grad student can suck. The professors (despite what they say) usually have forgotten how hard it is to learn really complicated ideas, which, if you are in grad school for math, you certainly are doing. Read Buffy's and henning's links. They may help. – Van Feb 6 at 19:57
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    Possible duplicate of How should I deal with discouragement as a graduate student? – Buffy Feb 6 at 20:00

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