Fake It ‘Till You Make It???

Effective Use of the ‘As If’ Principle

As-If principleIf you’ve attended a workshop or two in support of personal growth or change, you have probably heard the phrase – fake it ’till you make it. Some refer to this as the ‘as if’ principle.

From Wikipedia: “Fake it ’til you make it” (also called “act as if”) is a common catchphrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence. The purpose is to avoid getting stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy related to one’s fear of not being confident…, e.g., by thinking, “I can’t ask that girl out because she would sense my lack of confidence.” The article How You Too Can Be an Optimist in Prevention points out, “In research at Wake Forest University, for example, scientists asked a group of 50 students to act like extroverts for 15 minutes in a group discussion, even if they didn’t feel like it. The more assertive and energetic the students acted, the happier they were.”

To apply ‘fake it until we make it’ effectively, we need to take it on an authentic test drive.  Few people like fakes, but most will admire or appreciate people who are their own lab rat and push their limits. So, we want to ‘fake it,’ act as if, to test ourselves, to learn something about ourselves in the service of positive growth and change. This usually involves challenging our thinking, fixed behavioral patterns, and limiting beliefs.

The maxim “fake it until you make it” makes sense on some levels. Most people occasionally struggle with feeling overwhelmed or unconfident, so the idea of pushing through those negative emotions seems logical.

But sustaining a false front for the long term isn’t in your best interest. Here are a few reasons why. read full article »

Before you rush into acting as if, set a short term goal for how you want to use it effectively, then take yourself out for a test drive and see what you notice. Going outside your comfort zone is necessary. Learn from the new experience. This will help with long-term change.