The concept of “fake it until you make it” is an important idea and one that is crucial for getting ahead in many realms of life. Unfortunately, a lot of people hear the word “fake” and immediately have a negative view. Also, trying to make things as real and open as possible is very popular right now. When it comes to emotions, one of the hottest phrases these days is focused on “bringing our real/whole self to work” even when it could lead to negative results. In the physical realm, one person says that wearing makeup is fake while another person feels like makeup allows them to be their true self. Let’s get real though, we all have different expectations when it comes to authenticity. What is real and what is fake? Is one worse than any other? Let’s take a look.
So what is “fake it until you make it”?
It basically means that you pretend something until you are, or feel, something. Frankly, I think it is just a fancy word for “practice”. No one was ever really against practice, right? You may not be where you want to be now but there is a way. Whether you call it “faking” or “practice” or “trying something new”, the most important thing is that you keep going.
Sometimes, faking it until you make it can have positive implications for your health or career. Did you know that studies have shown that just the act of smiling can actually make you happier? According to Phsychology Today:
“Scientists have known for a long time that emotions are accompanied by numerous changes in the body, from elevation in the heart rate to flexion of the zygomatic major muscle (i.e. smiling). However, we’ve come to understand more recently that it’s a two way street. Your brain actually pays attention to what your body is doing, and it affects your emotions. This was first called the “facial feedback hypothesis”, but it applies to more than just muscles of the face. The good news is that while it’s sometimes hard to control our emotions, it’s much easier to control our muscles.”
Being happier has a number of benefits. Studies have shown that being happier can lead to better results for your company, higher productivity and a bigger salary. All of those benefits because you used your muscles to turn up the corners of your mouth and “fake it” to your brain! Sounds like a good deal to me.
But what if you just can’t stand the idea of being “fake”? Maybe it feels a bit too political or you just want to stay focused on being your true self and being authenic in every way. That is OK too but sometimes making changes means that you have to act out of charachter and challenge people’s perception of you. And, if you don’t feel like you can make changes in a particular area that’s OK too. The most important thing is that you do what feels right and push yourself in a new direction!