Right now you are probably not what you want to be. Not because you are a failure or aren’t talented enough, but because you have aspirations and goals, and that’s good. We want bigger and better things in our lives. It’s just part of the human condition, we all want to BE MORE.
So how do we get to where we want to be? By faking it, of course. I do not mean to imply malicious posturing for the sake of indiscriminate personal gain. Productive faking is pushing your limits, reaching farther outside what you think you are capable of to a place of possibility. The kind of faking I speak of is imagination, improvisation, playfulness, a certain joy in creation.
Let me explain: you want to be a better writer? Or a better pianist or a better tennis player or whatever. You practice incessantly and prepare and the time comes to step up. But you aren’t Steinbeck or Mozart. Yet! You are only you, in this moment, possibly bereft of the skill and experience to achieve what you want, but still you “fake it”, you go for it, you try. And through faking it you acquire skill and experience.
See, “fake it til you make it” doesn’t mean you are trying to be someone you’re not. It is the courage to participate as more than you think you are capable of. It is divine collaboration in this world. Don’t get all hung up on the negative connotations of the word “fake”. Fake cheese sucks. So do fake people. But you are never a fake person for paying for your experience in the currency of courage. This payment is in exchange for personal development. It is diving into the discomfort zone without knowing who you will be when you resurface.
We fake it when we are uncomfortable at a party and continue with the small talk. We fake it when we go all out on the soccer field, running like hell and flailing around trying to make a play. But that small talk may evolve into real talk and you may stumble into a meaningful conversation. You may realize you are a better soccer player than you thought, that your stamina is damn good.
And hey, maybe you won’t succeed in either of these instances. Maybe you will fall flat on your face and make a fool out of yourself. But this hardly means we have failed. It is always possible to derive positive meaning from a perceived failure. Failures shape us as much as successes. They are tools for growth if we recognize them as such. You can always feel accomplishment from not achieving what your faking meant to in this way.
Remember what Emerson said, “Adhere to your own act, congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age.” We need not compromise authenticity in a “fake it til you make it” paradigm. One is honoring the infinite potential of life and experimenting with the cosmic toolbox of experience.
So I say fake it. Fake the hell out of it. When one system of faking fails you, try out a different one. It is our life mission to reveal our own character to ourselves. How can we reveal this if we never take a leap from our comfort zone into the unknown? To fake it a little bit?
To BE MORE we must TRY MORE.
We may awake one day and find we no longer have to fake it; we’ve actually made it.