“Fake it until you make it never works because you are faking.
FAKING always looks like FAKING!”
Stop faking it! You are not making your life any easier. The problem with the old saying, “Fake it until you make it,” is you are unconsciously thinking, “I’m faking it.” In turn, it feels fake, as in being someone or something else, not you.
When trying not to be you, your instinctive body language will come through loud and clear.
Think about body language as your shadow; wherever you go, whatever you do, there you are.
Observers believe your body language first and foremost. Even if your gift of gab has bedazzled the listener, they will say, “Yes, but something isn’t quite right.” The listener’s conscious mind might win that round and accept what they heard, but the unconscious mind always knows something “fake” is happening behind the scenes.
How you talk to yourself about yourself is directly reflected in your body language. Your body language will show in micro-expressions, and little “tells” if you try to hold in your non-fake thoughts and emotions.
Your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and actions all merge in the unconscious mind, and they flow from your beliefs.
Within us, faking doesn’t work because the unconscious mind is literal — very literal.
Try it out — tell yourself, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” What is in your mind right now even though you told yourself not to think pink elephant?
Your BIG pink elephant gets reinforced in your memory every time you read the two words — pink elephant.
The unconscious mind takes every word you say to yourself as fact. If we say, “fake it,” then that’s what the unconscious mind does! IT FAKES IT! And, it shows.
If I can’t fake it-what can I do?
Choose someone you admire for the specific skill(s) you would like to learn or adopt.* Let’s call that person your Behavior-Buddy. Then observe them using those behaviors you wish to try out.
Since your actions are tied to your thoughts and emotions, strategically and intentionally choose the activities and behaviors, you would use to get the result(s) you want, filtering through three questions.
Observe your behavior-buddy and take mental note of the answers:
1. What skills or behaviors are they using to get the results I would like?
2. When do they choose to use those skills?
3. Why then and not other times?
Then, choose your time and place to practice those behaviors and skill(s) as if you already are an expert.
For example, a friend of mine is an extrovert. He gives a whole new meaning to the word extrovert as I do introvert. As such, he has no problem walking up to strangers that “look interesting” and starting a conversation.
Some of the skills I admire are:
- Even in new situations, he breathes comfortably with no rapid or shallow breathing that most people do when they feel anxious.
- He then walks up to someone he’s never met and introduces himself, and says non-invasive yet personal statements or questions such as “that’s a great tie,” or “those are great looking shrimp, did you find them at the buffet table?”
- He then gauges how receptive the person(s) is to further conversation and if he thinks “yes,” he asks another question like “What brought you here tonight?” Simple and effective ice breakers.
There are times I would like to do what he does so easily, such as at networking events or parties. So when I’m not getting the results I want, or I am talking myself out of meeting someone at a networking event, I ask myself, “What would he do?”
I metaphorically step into his shoes and Act-As-If, I’m him, all while being me. I know it might sound silly, but Act-As-If works. When I step into Act-As-If, the unconscious adopts the movements, communication patterns, and positive thoughts and emotions necessary to make it work because I’ve shown it an example of what I want.
The stories I tell, the topics I chat about, the questions I ask are all ones I would typically ask once I felt comfortable. Since it’s still me, it shows my unconscious mind how easy it is to do the behaviors I had previously resisted doing — mainly because it didn’t “feel” safe.
The success I’ve experienced with Act-As-If reinforces the desire to keep using the new skills. Each time I choose to use the extrovert skillset, I’ve seen that I already had the needed skills in each situation.
My unconscious mind, thoughts, and feelings no longer tell me I can’t do “that” since I’ve already had the experience through Act-As-If.
Remember, “Act-As-If” is not “fake it until you make it.” Telling yourself “to fake it” is faking it. The brain knows the meaning of “fake,” and it will make it look fake… so trash that model and Act-As-If….
You will be amazed at how quickly you adapt your behavior-buddy’s success skills without even realizing it.
See what I mean, contagious isn’t it?
Enjoy the adventure,
* Now, I don’t recommend Act-As-If (or faking it for that matter) for mimicking brain surgery or rocket science or similar, but I think you get the idea of how this works…
If you’d love to know how you are being seen, I have a gift for you: The 5 Little-Known Things That Affect How Others See You… body language e-book (outside Medium link) Some might surprise you! What fun!
I look forward to connecting with you and enjoying the grand adventure of life. I’m passionate about communication, finding answers and making meaning out of challenges including living well.
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A previous version of this article was published at SharonSayler.com
on August 9th, 2018. Updated October 19th, 2021.