Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about that! 🙂
I’m talking about faking confidence. Something I can confidently say that you should do… or shouldn’t.
One of the main principles taught in NLP training and life coaching courses is “Fake it till you make it”. A principle I tend to agree with. But not fully.
The principle goes something like this: Imagine you want to be more confident. All you have to do is make believe that you are. Stand, walk, talk, gesture and even blink like a confident person would. Eventually you’ll trick your mind into believing you’re confident and slowly but steadily confident you will be (said master Yoda)
What would happen when you trick your mind into believing you’re confident, when you really shouldn’t?
I started learning a new hobby about two years ago. Right from the first class my teachers were telling me how talented and natural I was. Of course that was great to hear but it also lead to me being over confident in my abilities… un-rightfully so.
Luckily my hobby isn’t that dangerous. But imagine if you were getting into the world of martial arts. The strange thing about martial arts is that it’s great for building confidence. Sometimes, however, that confidence could be misplaced.
If you’ve been to Thailand you’ll see gyms advertising that they’ll train you to be a Muay Thai fighter. And should you choose to, they’ll also arrange for you to fight and maybe make some good money. However, they emphasis this very strongly: they will be damn sure you’re ready before they let you in the ring.
Why is that? Because when you start learning martial arts, all of sudden you feel unbeatable. That’s especially true when you’re a beginner. Until you get punched in the face. Your trainers, who are considerably more experienced, are able to tell, more accurately when you’re ready or not, regardless of how confident you feel.
The more I advanced with my hobby, the more I realized there’s a looooong way for me to get to the level I aimed for. The more I progressed and I looked back, the more I realized I was nowhere near as good as what my teachers told me.
Luckily Muay Thai teachers are different.
So although my teachers were being positively encouraging, I got a big head that almost got in the way of my learning and progressing. It’s not my teachers’ fault. It was obviously my fault. Even though, I must say that the fake confidence was mainly the reason I actually got excited about learning more and steadily progressing.
Notice the dilemma? Faking confidence could stop your learning and progress but it also can be the main reason behind motivating your further.
To Fake it or Not to Fake it? This is the question. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
And the answer is, yes fake it, within a limit and not forgetting what’s real. Now life coaches and NLP training professionals will jump up and down saying reality is subjective. It is, but facts are facts. When you suck at something, you suck at it. That’s a fact. When your bank account is empty, it’s empty. That’s a fact. No matter how much you try and trick your mind into believing you’re good at something or your bank account is full, it’s not. But it could be… and here’s how.
Talking to you as the best life coach in the world 🙂 and having faked it quite a bit, I came to realize this:
Faking it works for emotions and NOT for skills
Say you want to be a great fighter, dancer, life coach _____ (fill in the blank) but the idea of going through the process scares you. In that case it’s OK to trick your mind into thinking learning this is easy. It’s going to be fun and enjoyable.
It’s NOT OK however to try and trick your mind into believing that you have the skills when you don’t. Life will no doubt throw curve balls at you. And regardless if you’re in the ring, in a business or climbing the corporate ladder you will need to skills to know how to handle this. Because it’s never fun getting punched in the face.