Isambard Kingdom Brunel was considered a genius engineer.
He built across gorges, and tunnelled under rivers and through hills to construct railway lines, stations, viaducts, bridges and docks. He built three of the biggest, fastest and most advanced vessels in his world, along with the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Great Western Railway.
His school reports confirmed that he was a precociously talented child, and he excelled in German, maths and drawing.
I am certainly impressed.
Yet his diaries show that he was plagued by self-doubt, particularly about his diminutive physical stature. In an attempt to look taller, he wore an 8” stovepipe hat in order to look more imposing.
“As I pass some unknown person who perhaps does not even look at me I catch myself trying to look big on my little pony.”
Berating himself for caring so much about what people think, he was also conscious of projecting an image through which he would be considered successful.
I suppose we can all understand that, to a point. Strange though how he perhaps didn’t see himself for the amazing person he was.