Fake it Until you Become it
Pick up a copy of Amy Cuddy’s book presence to gain an understanding of the relationship between our physical and mental states. TL;DR our mental state is influenced by the physical manifestation of self. How we stand, the posture we adopt and what we do all has a direct influence on the psychological effects we experience.
Our body language influences how we think and vice versa. If we stand in a more confident posture we become more confident, if we adopt a more powerful stance we become more powerful and if we sit in a specific way which sees us take up more space we appear outwardly confident to those around us.
Equally, if our body language becomes more closed mentally we embrace a more reserved character. If we retreat within ourselves our body language mirrors our thoughts, but that can be defeated by being mindful of how we stand, what we do and how we act. By simply being cognisant of what we are outwardly portraying we can alter the perceptions that ourselves and others have of us.
An effective tool others have used is to watch people you admire and copy their traits. By mirroring confident people we can experience their state of mind. The confidence becomes contagious and spreads within us and where it grows it becomes more powerful. The confidence multiplies which in turn gives us more confidence. It is a self-reproducing cycle of ever improving confidence which simultaneously allows us to feel more confident while expressing it.
And then you have to practice. Embrace new experiences and volunteer to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Only by doing can you overcome your fears. My shyness used to be debilitating. I couldn’t speak in front of a room of more than 5 people and I retreated in crowds even when the people there were my friends.
My first step to recovery and overcoming the issue was recognising it as a problem, which is the first major step . I studied the reasons why people get shy in hope of understanding why I was feeling the way I did. By understanding, I was able to make slight alterations to the way I thought and acted which enabled me to view my shyness from an alternative viewpoint and tackle it.
I spoke at conferences and in front of large crowds. I watched back my performances and refined my approach. Over time I visibly became more comfortable which also made my crowd more t ease. Confidence is contagious. They were enjoying what I was doing more because I was more confident which made me feel even more confident.
If you are willing to work towards something you can get there in time. It won’t happen overnight but if you actively pursue knowledge and understanding of the feelings you are experiencing you can defeat any obstacle.
And if you want to acquire certain characteristics simply begin acting as if you already possess them. If you want to speak more confidently pretend you are more confident. Listen to the people you admire and the tone of your voice and copy them.
Faking it is the most effective way to become it. The old truism of fake it until you make it isn’t effective. You need to do more than make it. Making it could mean you never truly embrace what you have been aiming for. It could mean you have worked towards it but been incapable of actually embracing it as part of who you really are.
So you need to become it. You need to fake it longer than just making it. You need to fake it until your truly believe that you have become what you set out to achieve and at that point it becomes second nature and you are no longer consciously acting a specific way. Instead it has become deeply ingrained within you, you are no longer faking, you are what you set out to become.
But it all stems from a conscious decision. You need to actively pursue the change you require and you need to embrace opportunities to practice what you are aiming to be. It’s no use adopting a new mindset and not utilising it to achieve the things you have hoped and dreamed.
You need to put yourself in the position to grow. You need to allow yourself to become it by doing and you can only do that through deliberate practice. The actuality of faking it is that you aren’t actually faking anymore. It’s an act which is the equivalent of training. We cannot grow and evolve unless we adopt the mindset that we can grow and change. We can achieve anything once we have conditioned our minds to believe it.
So fake it until you become it and allow yourself to transform into the best version of you.