Trying to fake your way to success seems dubious at best and delusional at worst. And yet, there is plenty of science that proves you can actually fool yourself and others into becoming more successful, finding love, and increasing your happiness. Researchers have found that “acting” a certain way allows your brain to “rehearse” a new way of thinking and can set off a desired chain of events in the future. Here are eight scientifically-backed strategies for “faking” your way to a better job, relationship, and mood.
1. Admit When You’re Wrong
We travel a long and bumpy road before we “make it.” There’s bound to be a hefty number of screw-ups and mistakes along the way. Everybody makes them; it’s human nature, and there’s no getting around this fact. The problem starts with the people who don’t own up to mistakes they make.
It’s always someone else’s fault. Something didn’t go right. No mistakes were made, yaddayaddayadda. This type of incompetency is no way to ever get close to the point of “making it.” People who don’t own up to their mistakes, won’t learn from their mistakes; thus, continuing the vicious cycle.
When you make mistakes, admit that you made them – and then look for a solution.
2. Look ‘Em in The Eyes
I purposely keep conversations short with people who don’t look me in the eye. I think to myself that this person is weak, is wasting my time and is therefore not worth talking to. That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth – and I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks this way. When you’re talking to someone, make sure they don’t think this way about you… by simply looking them in the eye. When you make eye contact with someone, you’re seen as more powerful, skilled, and valuable as a human. You appear confident and dominant – as all powerful people are.
3. Be Superman
Do you remember Superman? Remember how he stood? He looked pretty cool, didn’t he? He looked powerful. Dominating. A force to be reckoned with. You don’t have to stand like Superman, but standing in a “higher power” pose decreases cortisol levels, as well as “jacking up” your testosterone – which is linked to your confidence. People in the public arena like confidence, and in some cases even envy it. Can you think of anything wrong with feeling more confident and self-assured?
4. Positive Music
Ken Sheldon (University of Missouri) and Yuna Ferguson (Knox College), in two separate experiments, revealed that our minds can make us happy – using nothing but the power of thought and music. Yes, by listening to “happy music”, you will be made happier. In both studies, college students listened to “happy” music. One group of students were told to think positive thoughts – the other group of students were told to listen to just the music. After these sessions, Ken and Yuna recorded the students’ mood levels. They discovered that the group who was told to think happier thoughts (big surprise here) were a lot happier. Science 2.0 went so far as to ask which music makes people happy.
5. Don’t Be Negative
The power of a negative mindset is dangerous. If thinking positively (while listening to music) raises your moods, it stands to reason that thinking negatively gives you the same result. Think about the number of dysfunctional and unhappy people in your life: how many times have they, out loud, cursed and deeply sighed and talked about being miserable?
What you think about yourself determines how you feel about yourself. Why would you make yourself depressed? Conquering the world means having the nerve to believe you can, and to believe in yourself. When you’re on a bad thought-path, your actions are going to follow suit. You’re opening yourself up to screwing up and making mistakes when you follow the bad path.
6. Loosen Up
Loosening up is a method of relaxation. You want to be relaxed at all times in your life; when you’re relaxed, you’re less likely to be stressed, which is bad for blood pressure, but also clouds your judgment. Life is short – and while there’s a definitely a time for putting in the grind, there’s also a time for kicking your legs up and “turning off.”
Here’s how you loosen up: sit back and close your eyes.
- Inhale deeply and slowly
- Hold for three seconds
- Exhale slowly
- As you’re exhaling, say “Relax, feet”
- Inhale and exhale again (Only this time, say “Relax, legs”)
- And repeat – each time you repeat with a different body part. (Stomach, hands, arms, shoulder, face.)
7. Be Unpredictable
It’s a fact that we’re creatures of habit; nobody can argue about this. A lot of us do the same things every day, week after week, simply because we’ve spent so much time repeatedly doing it. (I’m guilty of making coffee first thing in the morning.)
Robert Greene, in his sensational book “48 Laws of Power”, tells us in order to have power over people (who are studying our behaviour) we must purposefully be unpredictable. Behaviour that has no rhyme or reason will “keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves.”
How do you fake being unpredictable? Look at a scenario/situation… and how you would normally respond to it. Now do the opposite of that.
According to Roger Dooley (of Forbes), fake smiling improves mood and reduces stress. It makes sense: whether you genuinely smile or fake smile, this smile releases endorphins from our brains. (Remember: endorphins are the “feel good” and “feel happy” hormones.) And, since we feel good, we’re more apt to feel relaxed – which is an essential thing be during stressful times.
9. Mimic World Leaders
Try mimicking Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or Les Brown. (It can’t help to mimic the richest—and happiest—people on the planet, can it?) By studying what tremendously successful leaders have done, you’re effectively “moulding” yourself to pick up their attributes – so you too can be successful.
For example: let’s say you have enough money to start a business. Are you going to do what Peter Thiel (net worth $2.2 billion) when he co-founded PayPal… or are you going to follow you’re the advice of your family or financial advisors (who aren’t worth $2.2 billion).
(Hint: Want an interesting read about good leaders? Check out the PayPal Mafia.)
“Faking it” is not ingenuine – it is a method, a concept, and principle. By faking it, you force yourself into the mindset you wish to naturally experience. The longer you fake it, the better your odds are for making it. This happens because you’re setting yourself up to make it. But you have to start. You must begin now. Otherwise you won’t improve or go anywhere – and definitely won’t become the boss of everyone else.