Millennials influenced by social media often feel the need to create a perception of themselves that is larger-than-life, leading to mental health challenges.
By Lanre Olusola
According to Wikipedia, “Fake it till you make it” is an aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realise those qualities in their real life.
It draws from the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principle that enables a person change their behaviour.
It is based on the premise that you don’t have to wait till you feel right to act it. For example, you don’t have to have the right amount of courage, self-confidence, self-esteem in order to go ahead and achieve your goals.
You “act as if” you are already courageous, already self-confident and then the feeling will follow.
Faking it till you make it works when you have identified something within you that is holding you back and then you act or change your behaviour till your body, feelings and thoughts catch up.
It is basically about getting out of your comfort zone.
Examples of faking it till you make it could be:
- Striking a power pose in order to make yourself appear more confident.
- Getting up and going for that run even when you don’t feel up to it until it becomes second nature.
- Smiling when you don’t feel happy.
The key here is that, it is intrinsically motivated and not extrinsic, like is being done today. This is actually a faith phenomenon. Hence, instead of calling it “fake it till you make it”, we should call it “faith it till you make it”.
Unfortunately in the world we live in today, this phenomenon has been bastardized. It is now misconstrued as being fake, inauthentic and deceitful; pretending that you are something that you really aren’t.
If your motives are external and all you aim to do is to prove your worth to others, this principle will really backfire as confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research which found that people who try to prove their worth to others will most likely dwell on their shortcomings and feel more like failures.
They will end up feeling less empowered.
For example, ambitious wannabes break their backs, borrow, beg and steal just to wear very expensive clothes, watches, live in highbrow areas, register their children in expensive schools etc.
They want to live a lifestyle that their income cannot maintain for the gram or just so they can keep up the “Joneses”. News flash, even the Joneses are broke! Live your authentic life.
Most of these people will do any and everything to appear more successful or richer than they really are BUT in the end, they feel like big failures compared to others.
Often times, many of such people become dependent on substances like alcohol and drugs. Many of them eventually fall into depression and commit suicide. These fake lifestyle choices and decisions put them under so much pressure and mental health challenges crop in due to the added stress of keeping up appearances.
You don’t have to lie about your qualifications and experience. You don’t need to borrow a fancy car so that you can be seen as a successful person. You don’t have to over promise to a client or customer and not deliver. Doing this is the fastest way to lose trust with your customers.
For millennials, adults and entrepreneurs, living in the digital age, social media can be a positive or negative influence; the struggle to be authentic is very real. On social media, everyone appears to wake up all perfectly photoshopped and are living “perfect” lives. Wake up from your slumber dear friend. A lot of what you see around, especially on social media today is FAKE.
You cannot build a house on a faulty or fake foundation and expect it not to collapse one day. BEaWARE, your life may just collapse like a pack of cards if you continue to live a FAKE life under the guise of faking it till you make it.
Let me leave you with the following real life success tips:
- Be authentically you
- Live your own life
- Find and do what makes you happy
- Walk your own path
- Know thyself
- Believe in thyself
- Become a solution to problems around you
- Follow your passion
- Turn your passion into profit
- Stick to your area of expertise
- Master and utilize your skill and gifts
- Selflessly serve humanity with your skills and gifts
- Bridge your knowledge, skill and competency gaps
- Don’t be all fluff, develop substance
- Understand your limitations
- Get a coach
- Get a mentor
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- See failure as feedback and a learning opportunity
- Develop yourself
- Grow ! Grow ! Grow !
Editorial Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.