Act As If or Fake it 'Til you Make It

For many years I’ve heard that in order to get from where we are to where we want to be, we are supposed to “Act As If” we were already there. A companion phrase that I heard oft-repeated was “Fake it ’til you make it.” Back then, I understood the theory (sort of), but I could not understand how a person who is 100 pounds overweight could look in the mirror and act as if (s)he was thin.

I could not see how one could act as if (s)he was wealthy when a glance at the bank account showed less than $100 to last the next two weeks. How could one act as if (s)he was in a great job when it was the same thing (s)he wanted to get out of? If they pretended things were different, were they in denial?

And when I heard “Fake it ’til you make it,” it seemed dishonest somehow. I was reminded of various stories where people were convicted of fraud and other crimes for spending money they did not have or pretending to be someone they were not. So, how could these techniques be a good, ethical way to change one’s circumstances?

The best explanation I heard for this was during a talk by Dr. Joe Dispenza at Celebrate Your Life in Phoenix a few years ago. Dr. Joe is a brain scientist. Through his studies, he has discovered (as have other neuro-scientists) that we actually rewire our brains as we think new and different things. And he knows that our thoughts and beliefs create our reality.

Because he knows this, he practices conscious thinking and visualization. He has his kids do it as a form of “homework.” One summer, he gave his 17-year-old daughter a homework assignment. He told her it was time for her to manifest something new in her life that would be hard to do. It had to be safe, legal and harmful to no one, but otherwise, there were no limitations.

His daughter decided she wanted to have an unlimited shopping spree. Based on that, Joe Dispenza gave her these instructions:

Sit quietly and visualize being on an unlimited shopping spree 3 times per day. (First thing on awakening, mid-dauy and before going to bed.)

Do the visualization every day until it manifests.

Visualize it as if she was experiencing it from within her own body. ( Not watching herself from a distance.)

Only visualize the experience. (Do not try to figure out how it could happen.)

Get up from visualizing a different person that when she sat down. (Get up from visualizing as a person who just went on the unlimited shopping spree — actually FEEL as if she really had that experience.)

After she did her first visualization, Dr. Joe asked her if she had shopped today. “Yeah, Dad. I shopped my brains out,” she replied as she sprightly walked away. Dr. Joe said he could tell by her attitude and her walk, that she had indeed gotten up a different person than when she sat down to visualize. He occasionally had to remind his daughter to do her visualization, but she otherwise did it regularly.

After a few months, when he was talking to his daughter on a cell phone, she announced that she had completed her homework.

She had gone to visit a girlfriend and they were shopping. (They were trying on clothes and having fun but not spending any money.) A man approached her girlfriend and said, “Aren’t you so-and-so’s daughter?” The girlfriend replied that the man he named was indeed her father. The man explained that her father had done him an enormous favor but would not let him repay it. He then pulled out his Black American Express Card and handed it to her. He told the girls to go have a shopping spree and buy everything they wanted.

They shopped to their hearts’ content for a few hours then returned the card. They had their unlimited shopping spree.

The teenager had visualized an unlimited shopping spree using Dr. Joe’s specifications. She visualized frequently — 3 times per day. She visualized as if it was happening to her. She visualized the experience, but not how it might happen. And — most important of all — she was a different person after she visualized. she was a person who felt the experience of her visualization was real.

Through that visualization — technically a “fake” version of the experience she sought, she was achieving the experience of it happening. It felt real. Therefore, she was acting “As If.” She was truly faking it until she made it. She went there in her mind. It was inevitable that if she kept going there in the mind, she would eventually go there in the body.

Many experiments with astronauts and athletes have proven that the body does not know the difference between a “real” experience and a well visualized experience.

You can apply this to your life. Follow the steps above for your dream. do not entertain negative or limiting thoughts about your dream. Visualize regularly. Use these methods to act as if. Use these methods to fake it ’til you make it.

Copyright © 2009 by Victoria Young