You have probably heard the expression “Fake it till you make it.” before. If you haven’t yet then be warned that, at some point in your life, some optimistic yoga instructor, personal trainer, sports coach, supervisor, manager, co-worker, family member, motivational speaker or favorite blogger will speak those very words to you.
Most likely you will be at the beginning of some project or journey that you may never have attempted before. While on that path you will be confronted by some seemingly insurmountable obstacle and will ask said Experienced Optimist how to overcome that hurdle and that, my friend is when you will hear the slogan that will ring in your ears for the rest of your life.
“Does it work?”, you may ask. “Can you really just pretend your way through that difficulty and on to success?” Not to sound too Manic Pixie Dream Girl here, but I have found, in my experience, that you can almost always overcome an impassable blockage, now I my brain has gone 13-year-old boy on me and I am picturing things that I won’t discuss on the internet, by faking your way through.
I have used this technique with school work, projects, home repairs (nothing electrical), job interviews, bad attitude days, exercise routines, cooking/baking projects, art work and many other facets of my life. It is not always 100% successful, but when all else fails it certainly doesn’t hurt to try to use this positive thinking technique to move forward.
Take this morning, for example. I woke up with some slight stomach pain, probably induced from the bag of Smart Pop that I had ingested the previous evening while slightly tipsy. My stomach issue was only exacerbated by my raging hormones due to my impending feminine cycle. Sorry guys, but we all know this happens so let’s just jump over that uncomfortable TMI bridge together. I faked my way through cooking breakfast, which I was not interested in doing, with great result. Next, it was on to the will-I-or-won’t-I debate of my daily exercise routine. I knew that I should do it, but my brain and body spent about an hour trying to persuade me to not even attempt stretching. An hour later I got my butt off the couch, walked into the bedroom and changed into my work-out clothes. That was step one done; time for step two. I turned on my TV and, once my internet loaded, (Gotta love gadgets that allow you to use the internet on your TV.) I pulled up Pandora, put on some stupid, fast-paced, Pop music and started my stretching. Done with step two and on to the hardest part; continuing to step three and doing the hour of cardio/weights that was on the list for today. It was certainly much easier to continue through to step three after I had faked my way through one and two. After the work out I felt a bit better. The shower was a wonderful little thank you to my muscles for taking those steps and seemed to make it all feel worthwhile.
So you see if I hadn’t psyched myself out, by going through the motions, I’d probably still be sitting in the same position on the couch, feeling sorry for myself and possibly even eating something I shouldn’t to alleviate that gross, blah feeling. After gorging on something delicious, but not healthy, I would have felt even worse; the shame would have set in and once that happens the whole nasty cycle starts again.
It’s like smiling when you are talking on the phone. Some scientists claim that you can hear a smile in someones voice. It’s a little trick that I learned in my time in customer service. If you are on the phone with someone and you want them to feel more at ease you simply put a smile on your face while you are speaking. It got me through years of reception positions with great references. Smiling when you feel down is also supposed to help you change your mood. I know that I have used that trick to snap myself out of a funk before and there seem to be quite a few studies out there on the power of physical expression. If you want to read more on the science of smiling you can do so here with a little article from Scientific American.
So I guess my point is that you have all the power in your life to make it what you want. You get to make the choice between reveling in your ineptitude or putting on your big girl pants and trying your best. What could it hurt?
What about you? Do you have things that you can’t bear to do until you’ve started them? Vacuuming, running, little chores around the house, maybe even writing a blog post? Do you find that once you have started the chore becomes a pleasure? Do you think that all of this positive psychology is just bunk? What is it that motivates you? I am interested to hearing your thoughts.