Fake It Until You Become It: Is It an Effective Method to Achieve Success?

"Fake it until you make it"! Most of us have heard this phrase several times. Many of us believe its validity, while some feel it is a dangerous philosophy that can land someone in a real problem. Imagine the dishonor that comes with being identified as 'faking it' when you haven't really made it. 

But can faking it be any good to your life? 

It appears so; faking it can actually help you to become it. 

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, encourages you to fake it the right way until you actually become what you want and cherish. In her words, “If you feel like you shouldn’t be somewhere: Fake it. Do it not until you make it – but until you become it.” 

This statement was made in her TEDGLOBAL 2012 talk, so most of us who draw inspiration from TedTalks will always take it seriously. We will try to express the implications of this philosophy and how it can possibly make your life better. 

The Role of Your Body Language in Shaping Who You Become 

In the TedTalk Amy Cuddy made the statement that forms our topic of discussion, her actual topic was 'Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.' She explored the topic intelligently, taking on some common warnings we often get like 'don't cross your arms' and 'don't close yourself off'. 

If you have taken a psychology class in the past, you will know that telling people not to cross their arms or to stop scowling and sit up straight is pretty common. In her wonderful Amy Cuddy explained why these are important. 

Pointing out from her own researches, Cuddy stressed that an individual could shape his/her mind by those non-verbal cues. According to her, paying attention and making the simple changes will not only change how people perceive you but how you perceive yourself. Of course, this can be the beginning of something better in your life. 

A Scientific Approach to the Argument 

It is easier to make arguments without involving science, but when science is involved, you can be sure that the result carries a higher level of confidence. Cuddy’s research indicated that testosterone and cortisol both contribute to confidence in humans. She found that a higher level of testosterone and a lower level of cortisol help individuals to feel more powerful and confident. On the other hand, a higher level of cortisol will increase anxiety and reduce confidence at the same time. 

The study further stated that power poses (like arms open, chin up, and hands-on hip) could actually produce higher levels of testosterone than when an individual assumes more timid poses (like small slumped posture, shoulders in, eyes downcast). Some body movements were also found to trigger changes in the secretion of these important hormones. 

In Practical Terms 

Several knowledgeable individuals agree with the findings of this research. The findings have been referenced severally. Even when it is not directly referenced, you will find that some notable individuals agree and allude to the findings of this study. 

According to Dr. Donna Van Natten, a body language doctor, understanding the powers of non-verbal communication is critical in business. The doctor referenced the 7/38/55 rule. An understanding of this role can help everyone perform better in different circumstances. 

According to the 7/38/55 rule, only 7% of our communication is outwards, while 38% is our tone, and 55% os our body language. Most of us know nothing about this rule, which was originally authored by Dr. Albery Mehrabian. 

Many people fail to communicate efficiently because they either know nothing about this rule or don’t believe it. Those who believe and find that they can speak better in meetings and achieve more with the speeches than they did in the past. 

Obviously, our body language communicates louder than the tone of our voice and much louder than the words of our mouths. Body language may have different meanings in different cultures, but it is always more important in communication than the words being said, especially when confidence is required. 

When you assume a confident pose, it is easier for your tone to agree with your body language. Don’t make yourself small because that will make you feel small, appear small, and sound small. Fidgeting uncontrollably, clasping your hands, and excessive eye contact will also make you appear and sound nervous. Nodding excessively is distracting and will also make you look and feel nervous. 

The need to portray confidence cannot be overemphasized. From what we know, it will not only convince your audience that you are cool but will also improve your self-confidence in all kinds of situations. 

How Best To Fake It until You Become It 

Clearly, it is important to be confident when you speak and interact with people. Can you really fake this confidence until you become it? The simple answer is yes; you can do it with remarkable success. The Amy Cuddy research that inspired this article notes that it will only take about two minutes of assuming a confident pose to get your hormone levels to change positively. 

Knowing that your body can change your mind and transform you into who you want to be, you can fake self-confidence as often as you want until you become a self-confident person. You can find a private space to take your confidence pose for a few minutes before heading into the important meeting. While there, assume your confident role, also. This will configure your brain and your hormones to get rid of anxiety and build up the level of confidence you need. 

Bottom Line 

You can certainly fake it until you become it. In fact, it is important that you do it if you are finding being self-confident a little challenging. You can become the person you really want to be. All it takes is practice and patience.

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