You probably heard the phrase “Fake it ’till you make it” – it’s kind of impossible to not know it since it seems it’s the motivational phrase of the century. 🙂
Confidence is probably one of the most complex feelings. But why should you fake something that’s a feeling that only you can feel?
Psychology Today defines confidence as:
Confidence can be described as a belief in one’s ability to succeed. – Psychology Today
We all want to be successful and happy. And most importantly: we want that others see or think that we are successful and happy – that’s basically the reason we use social media.
What Does It Mean to Fake Confidence?
Faking something means to imitate or pretend you did or feel a certain way.
While in most cases faking or imitating turns out being illegal, it does not apply in this case. Yet.
There are a lot of researches that point out that our brain can be trained to think and “act” in a certain way. That’s why things like visualizing you achieving your goals is backed up by a lot of people as a foolproof way of becoming better.
It’s funny that we can fool our brains so easily.
Anyway, faking confidence basically means mimicking attitudes that are related to confidence, even if you don’t feel them. Doing all these hoping that, eventually, you will actually believe everything and you will actually feel that way.
So, mostly we fake confidence for two reasons:
- to actually feel confident (and competent) eventually
- to intimidate others
We all see confidence in different ways. But there are certain small gestures that are generally linked to confidence in our eyes, such as:
- elegant clothes
- a firm handshake
- power posing (back straight, head straight, arms wide open, etc.)
- steady/firm voice
- non-deflecting poses like crossed arms
As I said, we have different views of what confidence actually looks like. But even if they might be different, in the end, they have something in common: these attitudes intimidate us. Even a little.
What You Can Learn from Faking Confidence
Before starting, I highly recommend you to write down what confidence looks like for you: high heels, dresses, a firm voice, etc.
1. Your Limits
Faking a feeling is not easy. You will discover that pretending you feel in a certain way will be terribly wrong for who you are.
For example, I know that one of my red lines is integrity. So I can’t pretend I’m a person with zero integrity since this defines me as a person and I won’t ever fake it.
2. How Little Things Can Make Huge Differences
A while ago a salesperson taught me that a firm handshake is one of the most important first impressions you can give to someone. Ever since I pay a lot of attention to different handshakes.
I can’t tell you how much I hate squeezing a dead fish in my hand. I will automatically label you as a timid, extremely introvert, possibly not very interesting person. Sorry, but now you know.
Tiny things such as:
- a firm handshake
- a smart casual, neat outfit
- ask questions even if you’re not sure where the discussion is going
- a smile
- a straight back and neck
- a steady voice, etc.
will change the way people look at you.
The “dress to impress” phrase actually has a meaning. So yes, clothes can tell a lot about you or how you want to be perceived. So adopting tiny gestures (like a firm handshake in my case) that won’t make you leave your comfort zone too much, can bring huge changes.
3. Accepting Compliments Is Difficult
Is it just me?
When someone tells me that my hair looks good, I try to be modest and say something “oh, this mop? it’s everywhere, I can’t stand it!”. I haven’t realised that me trying to be “modest” was actually making the other person feel uncomfortable.
We fear that if you just smile and reply back with a simple “Aw, thank you, that is kind of you!” would make us look as a vain, narcissistic prick.
It’s true that some people might think that you are vain because you accepted a compliment, but honestly… that’s their shit. A compliment is by definition something positive and should be answered with positivity. End of story.
4. Pretending Is Tiring
Tring to remember to behave in a certain way, or wear clothes that are not 100% comfortable (like dresses for me) is tiring.
There will be days when you will count the hours until you’ll get home and switch to PJs. And I agree: faking something that you don’t entirely believe in feel is tiring.
Does it count if I tell you that in the end, it (might) work?
5. Some People Simply Can’t Do It
I’ve met people that were extremely shy and even though they were aware of it and wanted to at least look more confident, they simply couldn’t do it.
For some people, the pressure is too much and they prefer to stay in the cosy comfort zone.
I personally believe that getting out of your comfort zone is something everyone should do – life is boring in the comfort zone. But if you simply feel that you can’t do it, don’t force it – it might be worst if you do.
What have you learnt from faking confidence, it is for you or not? Please let me know in the comments below! Also, would you like to know a little about my weird/funny faking confidence story?