Fake it until you make it

We took a quick road trip over the weekend. The boys demanded a movie within seconds of the engine starting. We have a pile of DVDs ready for just such an emergency however we’ve played them so many times now that the hubby and I can repeat the dialogue by heart. Therefore we weren’t exactly thrilled to fire up the player. We told them they were going to have to wait until we reached the interstate.

We have two sets of headphones that go along with the entertainment system so that backseat passengers can listen to their movie while the front seat listens to the radio. Unfortunately my two-year old is too young to appreciate the benefit. He has no interest in keeping a large electronic accessory strapped to his head.

My eldest was patient for approximately ten minutes which I am sure felt like hours to him. He begged us once again to turn on a movie. We told him that we would put the movie on after his brother fell asleep. He immediately turned to his brother and said, “go to sleep so that we can watch a movie.”

If my youngest was any older, I am sure that would have been exactly the wrong thing to say to achieve his goal, instead my youngest smiled and pretended to fake sleep, including snoring. Snoring loudly. Then not so loudly.

I turned around. My youngest was sound asleep in his chair. He pretended he was asleep until it became his reality. I handed over the headphones to my eldest and fired up the DVD player. Three out of four of us achieved our goal.

The morale of the story is sometimes you have to fake it to make it. Or in my sons’ example, have your underlings fake it until you make it.

Mark Twain once said that “to succeed in life you need two things: confidence and ignorance.” The ignorance part is easy. We all start out as amateurs. Had I known everything I know now would I have taken the same path? Maybe. I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not veered off course or made a mistake or two hundred.

The confidence part is trickier. How can you build up your confidence when you’ve never done something before? Some people take issue with the phrase fake it to make it as the word fake implies that what you are doing is deceitful and or a lie. I understand where they are coming from, but I fear that they may be getting caught up on the literal definition. You should never commit fraud or portray yourself as anything other than authentic, but adults can and should still play make-believe. Like a toddler mimicking the actions of an adult, or older sibling, you have to act in the manner in which you believe a successful person should act. It’s not brainwashing. It’s practice. In this manner you gain experience, which reinforces belief. Belief then fuels confidence. If you can convince yourself that you deserve to succeed, then one day you may just discover that you are no longer pretending.

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