Fake it 'til you make it
Recently, I have seen a spate of posts and videos from bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, etc. in which they discuss the unedited, real versions of their lives. I don't think anyone is really surprised to learn that their lives aren't a string of workouts, photogenic meals, vacations in exotic locales, and invitations to glamorous events. Part of this confession, is often an acknowledgement that most of the time, they have no idea what they're doing. It's all "fake it 'til you make it," if you will.
The first time I heard the phrase, "fake it 'til you make it" was in the theme song to Lizzie McGuire ("And sometimes we make it/ And sometimes we fake it/ But we'll get one step closer each and every day/ When we figure it out our own way" -- yes I just typed that out by memory #NoShame). At the time, I was really bothered by the line "And sometimes we fake it." Why would someone pretend to be something they're not? How could projecting a false image be a good thing, let alone something to actively practice? What pre-teen Leah didn't understand is that the concept is nuanced. Obviously you shouldn't say you speak fluent French if you don't, that's a lie and benefits no one. However, if you don't know exactly how to make a slide show using PowerPoint (I know, I went for low-hanging fruit), but know enough about the software and have the ability to learn, then taking on a project that involves said slideshow is ok.
Life is about learning and everyone was once a beginner but we all have our minds and can convince ourselves of anything if we try. When you're nervous or scared, chances are you think about something positive or envision a positive outcome and that helps, right? If not, try it and see what happens. I took a class once where we learned that if you force yourself to smile, it will make you happier and lead to a real smile. Your brain knows the emotions associated with the movements for smiling and gets triggered, how cool is that?! Sports psychology and envisioning winning is all about this. [For some other interesting "fake it 'til you make it" studies, check out this article.]
So why this sudden revelation? I think it has to do with age. As we hit our late 20s and early 30s, we realize that nope, Mom, Dad, and every other adult in our lives don't have any magical secret for how to do life. They, like us, have simply faked it 'til they made it, and still are. Making this discovery and seeing your elders more as peers, is, frankly, shocking and disrupts your sense of self and social hierarchy. It's this shock to the system that I believe propels people to disclose. It's the "you are not alone" and "you will be found" of Dear Evan Hansen sensibility; the need to assure others, but more so ourselves, that each of us has had our sense of self disrupted and we're all in this together (did not intend that HSM reference but seems the quoting is pouring out of me today). Who knew Lizzie McGuire was so poignant?
What do you think? Are you a "fake it 'til you make it" gal/guy?