We’ve heard the sage advice to fake it till you make it.
We’ve also seen devious ways it has been abused to manipulate people and events, to the point that it almost sounds like bad advice. But wait! Before you condemn it, listen to what I have to say about this ‘fake it till you make it’ gag.
I’m all for it – but not in the way you think!
- No, I don’t mean that you should pretend to be a doctor without going to medical school.
- Or play lawyer before you clear your bar exam.
- Or offer financial advice without becoming a certified consultant.
That’s just faking it.
What I’m talking about is how you play games – with your own mind!
“Failure is not an option.”
Optimists believe in the future they want to create.
They are convinced that the world will become a place they conceive in their minds. That’s what gives them the determination and confidence to keep going in the face of difficulties, overcoming one obstacle after another.
No journey to an ambitious goal is ever easy, effortless or smooth.
Things go wrong. Often. Goals aren’t met. Targets aren’t reached. The graph of your upward journey isn’t a slope – it’s a jagged see-saw, going up, then down.
Up, and down.
Over and over.
What gets some people over the hump and soaring higher towards success is their ability to persist. To keep on keeping on. Get going and stay moving, despite the obstacles and problems.
Once you start looking on ‘failures’ as little more than ‘temporary setbacks’ which teach you lessons about what doesn’t work, you begin an exciting journey that’s guaranteed to end in success.
There will be a lot to overcome along the way.
Including some disasters. They’re like terrorist attacks on your hopes and dreams.
The biggest damage from a terror attack is not the horrendous loss of life and property. It’s the destruction of a people’s confidence.
The worst impact of an economic recession is not the amount of money lost. It’s the shattering of hope.
Think about what would happen if you lost everything you had tomorrow, and were forced to rely on social services for survival… but you retained your hope and confidence.
Within a short time, you’ll be able to rebuild whatever you had before – maybe even better.
You have precious assets – knowledge and education, skills and training, years and years of experience. Bringing those to bear and rebuilding your life is child’s play – when you believe you can do it.
Yet what happens when you’re sacked from a dead end job that pays you a pittance and sucks all passion and excitement out of you?
You hit the panic button!
You agonize over the lost income.
You worry if you’ll be able to replace it.
You become desperate for something – anything – instead.
It’s almost like a knee-jerk reaction. A reflex.
And that’s because you suddenly become fearful.
“After all, things went wrong once. What if it happens the next time? And the next? Can I take it? Will I always be able to overcome?”
The negative spiral just gets worse and worse – if you let it.
But when you overcome that instinctive fear and embrace the opportunity to recreate something special, magic happens.
That magic is driven by a force within you.
It’s called optimism.
“Dreamers see the world, not as it is,
but how they want it to be.”
Optimism isn’t just a character trait that some are born with. Anyone can acquire it. All it takes is a firm, unshakeable belief that the future you imagine can be created.
Maybe not all alone, maybe not by tomorrow evening, but eventually.
That’s what keeps optimistic people going and going and going – until they succeed.
I read this in a book called “LEAPFROGGING“ by business strategist and innovation coach Soren Kaplan.
An interesting scientific experiment compared two groups of people (one of predominantly optimistic entrepreneurs, the other of rather pessimistic folks) by giving them problems to solve.
On average, the optimists spent 20% more time trying to solve them.
But this wasn’t the most interesting result of the study.
One of the problems they were given (an anagram, mixing up letters which the subjects should form into meaningful words) was UNSOLVABLE.
That’s right. It had no solution.
Yet those in the ‘optimist’ group spent FIFTY PERCENT more time on it than the ‘pessimist’ group!
Yes, even when faced by problems with no known solution, optimists try their best to solve them.
It’s what makes them what they are.
So… what if you’re NOT (yet!) one of them?
Is it all over for you?
Are you condemned – like the pessimists in the study – to just throw up your hands and give up each time you’re faced with a tough problem?
No. Not if you ‘fake it till you make it’!
“Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.”
– Christopher Logue
We all know of con artists, scammers and downright delusional folks who try and pretend being someone they’re not. You probably have a justified revulsion about trying anything like that.
I’m with you.
Faking success or wealth or connections or influence – or anything at all – to fool people or take advantage of them is not right.
But what if you use the principle of ‘fake it till you make it’ purely on yourself.
More accurately, on your own mind.
To try and make yourself behave in a different way. A way more likely to bring you real success. A hack to program your brain, in a sense.
Let me explain with another interesting study.
Two groups of volunteers were asked to adopt one of two different types of postures for a few minutes.
The first group took up ‘power stances’ – to stand leaning forward with hands resting on a desk, or to sit back with feet on the desk. The second group took up ‘cowardly stances’ – sitting with shoulders hunched forwards, or standing with arms folded, almost like they were hugging themselves.
After some time, they were given tests that studied their levels of self-confidence. To the researchers’ surprise, those in the first group behaved uniformly more confidently – while the other group was hesitant and nervous about everything.
And here’s the clincher.
The study participants had their saliva collected before and after the test to measure levels of 2 hormones. Testosterone levels go up when people are aggressive and confident. Cortisol levels increase when stress is high.
In the first group, testosterone was high and cortisol was low. The hormone levels were reversed in the second group.
Brain chemicals don’t lie!
The group adopting confident poses were actually more confident. Those who took up weak stances grew weaker.
So what happens when you fake it till you make it?
Believe it or not, your chances of “making it” GO UP!
It stands to reason.
Who do you think will get something done? A person who approaches the task confidently, with energy and passion, determined to find a solution to any problems that may arise? Or the guy or gal who sets out diffidently, nervous and scared of failing, but secretly convinced that’s what will happen?
If just the act of standing or sitting more confidently can make you seem invincible, what if you extended that way of thinking and feeling… to everything?
Which do you think will be more fun?
Which kind of person do YOU want to be?
New years are about new beginnings.
What’s happened in your past is over and done with. What lies ahead is exciting, ripe with the richest potential, eagerly awaiting your energy and passion, lusting for your enthusiasm, drive and optimism… to bring it to life.
Embrace a ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset internally to give yourself the boost that will carry you ahead of the competition and closer to those hopes and dreams lying locked inside your heart.
Let them flower and flourish, and nurture the world.
The universe needs you, and your dreams.
Step up to the plate with optimism and confidence.
In my new book “Knife At A Gunfight – 5 Easy Ways To Transform Your Life“, I dive deeper into the subject of making magic happen in your life by developing positive habits.
If you want to build new habits that stick, this book will transform your life… in 5 easy steps!