When people climb up their career, particularly in academic world, it is common to find oneself surrounded by bright minds that make our own shine look dim. Typically our course to intellectual training and maturation are inevitably endless combinations of self-development and external competition. During all hustle and bustle of academic life, one lingering challenge for me (and maybe for you and all of us) is how to establish self-esteem amongst bright(er) minds.
For nerdy kids who have found their joy of life from distinguishing talent for many years of early school periods, it is understandably frustrating experience to find oneself being "inferior" to someone in the same age (or even younger) or with similar life trails (or even less fortunate ones). Over years, I personally felt such frustration and luckily, sometimes was the source of frustration (while such luck typically diminishes quickly). More daunting fact is that such self-esteem conflict is fairly routine in academic environment, especially fueled by nowadays' winner-take-all culture of academia.
Do I have solution for this? Unfortunately no. As people get experienced in academia, it is sometimes too obvious to feel this themselves or from other people. Maybe the only ready solution can be being insensitive to these kind of thing. I personally learn to be self-looking rather than looking around brighter minds. But for longer term remedy, correcting the academia's winer-takes-all culture would be more constructive movement. However, it would also be problematic to reward inferior talent over superior talent. Probably this is just a variation of the central problem of human society - making everybody happy is hard - again disclosing the tormenting nature of human life.