Its current connotation, however, seems to be more about pretending to like people you do not like, pretending to be more informed than you are and pretending to be someone you are not all in an effort to trick both yourself and others into thinking you actually are that person you are not.
I have examples!
Top ten list of how to be successful: “#1. Kiss up to difficult people and tell them that they are great. Everyone likes to have nice things said about them, especially difficult people. They like their egos stroked, so just do it! Sure, it’s fake. #2. Make your body language match your fakery. Actions speak louder than words. There is actual research to back this up. Smile! Nod! Tilt your head! Laugh! Fake it ‘til you make it!”
My this is fuckery* moment: Said “actual research” was not provided. And “tilt your head”?
Blog on how to bullshit your way through life: “Lying is not necessarily something to boast about, but it’s something everyone does. However, it’s acceptable when done right. If you are going to tell your boss that you also loved Wuthering Heights, you better have at least one decent thing to say about it. If you haven’t read it, that’s fine.”
My this is fuckery moment: The author also thinks that “if you are savvy enough, you too could bullsh*t your way to the top.” Um, if you are savvy enough, can’t you get to the top without the bullshit? Just saying.
Ted Talk on how your body language shapes your life: “Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves … standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.” The talk is summarized with ”don’t fake it ‘til you make it; fake it ‘til you become it.”
My three this is fuckery moments: I agree that “power poses,” as Amy Cuddy refers to them, will help some people feel more confident temporarily, but her talk chafes for three reasons:
- Just because it seemingly worked for Amy, it doesn’t mean it will or should work for anyone else.
- The study she conducted recorded the short-term effects on participants 17 minutes after they performed power poses and non-power poses, and found that participants felt more powerful and had higher levels of cortisol and testosterone after performing power poses for two minutes. The study did not determine any long-term effects.
- I question whether or not you can or should try to truly “become” someone you are not. For example, if you are an introvert, I don’t think you can or should fake it as an extrovert in an effort to become an extrovert. It belittles the value we all provide by being authentically who we are, and assumes that all power-posing extroverts are somehow better.
Some research shows that acting happy, despite the fact that initially it feels forced, will eventually make you truly feel happy. Other research states the opposite – forcing happy thoughts makes people feel positive in the moment, but depressed afterwards.
Either way, I say faking anything is not a long-term solution. At best, it’s a short-term solution to help you overcome a momentary hurdle – you have to make a public speech, ask someone out, go through a job interview – “faking it” consists of you essentially talking yourself into doing something even though it scares the shit out of you because you want the opportunity to make that speech, go on that date or get that job.
It’s not a short- or long-term plan to be someone you are not. No. Be you. Sure we can all use a little self-improvement once in a while, a helpful push to exist outside of our comfort zones, a reminder that we’re a little stronger, smarter, faster than we think. And faking it ‘til you make it is a possible temporary solution, but we just need to remember that it’s meant to help us do something not be someone.
*Fuckery definition: Stupid or untrue talk or writing. Nonsense.