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Life lessons #101: Fake it till you make it

What do you think is the secret behind those sophisticated looks of our favorite TV star? Doesn’t every paparazzi photograph look beautifully candid?  It cannot always be true that they are living an elite life. But how does it happen then? They make the best of every opportunity to present themselves. How taxing could it be? They need to make sure that each appearance shows their best side. I mean, they just seem to be the people who are good at faking it so much, that sooner or later people around believe them to be elite. There is no other way it is possible to always be a suave and the apple of an eye. They seem to have mastered the art to fake it until making it.

Thinking about “faking it,” however, the first thing that comes to mind is less about specific markers of success and more about my intangible self-improvement goals. Frequently, acting as though you’re confident is enough to garner some of the same benefits.

Sometimes life hits us with situations where we’re forced to fake our way through it. We have no other choice than to pretend we’re getting along, to pretend we know what we’re doing. ‘Fake it ‘till you make it’ isn’t about faking confidence and tricking everyone around you, but rather refers tricking yourself until you are confident.

‘Fake it ‘till you make it’ isn’t about faking confidence and tricking everyone around you, but rather refers tricking yourself until you are confident.

Preparation and presentation to fake it

It is based on the idea that if you behave like the person you want to become, you’ll eventually become like it in reality.

  • If you want to feel happier, do what happy people do—smile.
  • If you wish to have more friends, behave like a friendly person.
  • Best of the lot, if you want to get promoted, act like you already are in that position

How simple can it get, right?
Don’t worry, faking does not mean that you’re doing anything dishonest or disreputable. All it means is that you’re camouflaging your insecurities rather than advertising them to the world. Research shows that changing your behavior first can change the way you think and feel.

Faking it until you make it only works when you correctly identify something within yourself that’s holding you back.  If your motive is to prove your worth to other people, your efforts won’t be successful. Research shows this approach actually backfires.

MBA students who wore Rolex watches to increase their self-worth just ended up feeling like bigger failures. Their attempts to project an image of success diminished their self-control.

The biggest mistake that people make

Putting in so much efforts into “Faking it” uses up the mental resources and interferes with the ability to make rational choices. Though you’re feeling fearful, you do not share that with everyone. Instead, you present yourself as you want to be seen.

The more we think about new things rather than the ones we are conditioned to think, the more influential the new things become in our decisions in life.  In time, if persistent, our behaviors and habits change.

The more we think about new things rather than the ones we are conditioned to think, the more influential the new things become in our decisions in life

See if you can try these scientifically backed strategies for faking your way to a better relationship, job or mood

  • Say cheese: Scientists have found that if you want to lift your mood, you should force yourself to smile. Did you know? The positive benefits of forced smiles last for four minutes on an average.
  • Pretend you know the answer: Expecting to know correct answers can actually improve our test-taking abilities. It’s not me, just science guys! Of course, goes without saying, this is after your preparation!
  • Listen to happy music: Research says that forcing yourself to listen to happy music and consciously trying to become happier can actually lift your mood.
  • Strike a powerful pose: Adopting a powerful posture can affect your body chemistry. Research show that powerful poses show a decrease in stress hormone and increase in testosterone, a hormone related to dominance and confidence.
  • Fake confidence to gain influence: By just shifting your thoughts to your goals, the research suggests, you can project a more capable, confident persona.
  • Mimic leaders: The best thing you can do is mimic someone else around you who display the required skill sets, even if your first inclination is to worry about appearing like a fraud. By viewing ourselves as work in progress, we multiply our capacity to learn, thus becoming a better leader.

To make it

As long as your motivation is in the right place, faking it until you make it can effectively make your goals become reality. If you think about it, ‘Faking it’ is a simplistic advice. The intent is ‘Don’t worry’. However, don’t just try to make it. Everyone can make it—but only the best of the best can keep it.

Confidence is key – after all, people are unlikely to believe in your skills if you don’t show you believe in them as well. But be sure you stay humble and genuine. It is a very line of difference between confidence and arrogance. You will never want your confidence to override your need to learn and grow.

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