(Read time: 2-3 minutes)
You've probably heard the phrase: "Fake it ‘til you make it."
I agree with this advice but with one caveat: Don’t fake the superficial stuff. Fake the meaningful stuff.
Don’t fake the money.
Don’t fake the accomplishments.
Don’t fake the ego.
This is a horrible waste of time and energy and it gets you nowhere. Instead...
Fake the consistency.
Fake the work ethic.
Fake the action.
For many things in life, pretending is just as good as the real thing. In fact, for some things the difference is indistinguishable.
Courage is a good example of this. You can’t tell the difference between someone who acts courageously and someone who actually is courageous. If they both run into a burning building to save a child, both are heroes and both are considered courageous.
Real vs fake
This observation might lead you to ask the question:
“What's the difference, then, between someone who we consider to be ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ versus someone we consider to be ‘fake’ or ‘inauthentic’?”
When people label others as “real” or “fake” I suspect they mean something like this:
If who that person believes they are matches up with their behavior, then they are "real."
But if who that person believes they are does not match up with their behavior, then they are "fake."
But this is a silly and arbitrary way of judging authenticity. Why should we first have to view ourselves in a certain way in order to start behaving that way?
The answer is: We don't.
Take a concrete example like work ethic. Faking the trait of work ethic implies that you don’t currently view yourself as a person who possesses this trait (otherwise, why would you need to fake it?)
But here's the million-dollar question:
If you emulate the behaviors and habits of a person who does have great work ethic, is that “faking it” or is it the real thing?
Point being, it’s not necessary to view yourself as the person you want to become before you start acting like it. Act like the person you want to become now.
Ruben Chavez is a writer, personal development educator, and host of The Think Grow Podcast. His Instagram account, ThinkGrowProsper, has amassed over 3 million followers. Along with his blog, these platforms are his way of inspiring and connecting with thoughtful, creative, and ambitious people just like you.