Harness The Power Of “As If”
If your motivation is in the right place: to change yourself positively from the inside, “faking it till you make it” can effectively make your goals a reality
You’ve probably heard of the phase “fake it till you make it”. While the idea of faking your way to success seems somewhat dubious, scientists say that acting a certain way for a prolonged period of time can trick your brain into adopting a fresh perspective – in other words, your “pretend” actions allow your brain to rehearse a new way of thinking, effectively setting off a desired chain of events in the future. Meaning, the more you believe that you are capable, the more you will be.
It’s not about being deceitful and pretending to know what you don’t, but if you’re feeling down or lack confidence in certain areas (for instance, public speaking), acting “as if” you felt a certain way, may lead to happier moods or actual success in those areas.
In fact, acting “as if” is commonly prescribed in psychotherapy. Based on the concept that by behaving like the person you aspire to be, you’ll become that person in reality. This is backed by research which shows that we can change the way we think and feel – by first changing our behaviour.
To become more confident or successful, try acting the part to bring about positive change. In other words, by acting ‘as if’ you are a certain type of person, you become that person.
– Professor Richard Wiseman, author of
Rip It Up: The radically new approach to changing your life:
The Simple Idea That Changes Everything
Acting “as if” isn’t about being inauthentic or phony. It’s about initiating behavioral change and trusting that the positive feelings will follow. Try these quick methods that use the “as if” principle to transform how you think and behave:
Smile often. Studies by Dr James Laird from Clark University indicate that smiling makes you feel significantly happier, while clenching your teeth makes you feel much angrier. What’s interesting about this is research has shown that our body language affects the way we feel. For instance, if you were to force yourself to smile (by biting onto a pencil), the action will make you feel happier! This is known as the Facial Feedback Hypothesis. For best results, smile as widely as possible, extend your eyebrow muscles slightly upward, and hold the resulting expression for about 20 seconds.
INCREASE YOUR PERSEVERANCE
A study by the University of Rochester put volunteers through a set of tricky problems to see how long they persevered. Those who sat up straight and folded their arms kept at it for almost twice the duration of those who didn’t. So when the going gets tough, cross your arms and sit up straight to take charge.
Act as if you’re interested in what it is you have to do and get cracking! After the first few minutes of carrying out the first part of the task that you’ve been avoiding, chances are you’ll feel a strong need to complete it. The trick is to be determined about overcoming the dread of starting on the task.