Show My Face who challenges you to write a story about your life in just six words. It's such a great idea, I don't know why I haven't done it sooner. Go check it out to learn more.
My words this week are Fake it till you make it. It's a phrase heard often in my profession (I'm a drug and alcohol counselor). What it means when we say it to our clients is that all behavior change is difficult. We humans, confounding things that we are, tend to choose the familiar. Even if the familiar is about the worst thing we could possibly do. So new, healthy behaviors- simply by virtue of being new- are ALWAYS uncomfortable when we first do them. We'll choose to walk barefoot through broken glass if we've never worn a pair of shoes before, just because the shoes are uncomfortable when we first put them on.
So what to do? Fake it till you make it. Act as if you are comfortable when you're so very not. Act as if you know what the hell you're doing when you haven't the foggiest idea. Play the part of the person who is competent in the task, and then you will gain competence. Because we learn by experience. Pretty straight forward, right?
These words apply very frequently in my own life. One of the most obvious ways is karate. When I first start to learn a form, it feels weird. As amazing as it appears when other people do it it's always awkward when you try it yourself. Cause, you know, your body doesn't normally move that way. Crane stances are not something I encounter in everyday life.
So, I fake it. I get the pattern, try to think through the physics of what my body is supposed to be doing, and then rep it out. The first few times, it feels (and looks, I'm sure) a mess. My balance is off, my steps are clunky, my hand is not where it's supposed to be. But as I keep doing it, it starts to make sense. My body- not my mind, that just get is the way- starts to figure it out. My hips torque the way they're supposed to. My head settles over my hips. My wrists start to stay straight and the form starts to look the way it's supposed to look. Every now and again I get an excited comment from my instructor letting me know it's coming together and I start to realize that I may actually have a clue as to what i'm doing. Competence.
It's something that applies here as well. Most of these posts- heck, all of these posts- are experiments. I don't know how the hell they're going to turn out when I start writing them. I've given up the belief that if I do it right they will be as good as the truly brilliant thoughts I had in my head- cause it's never gonna happen. My thoughts will ALWAYS be better than reality because the constraints of reality do not apply to them. But when I write anyway I tend to make something better. Not because it took effort to create, and not because it brings my voice to life. No, it's better for one reason alone: it exists.
My thoughts, amazing things that they are, are just thoughts. They come and go faster than I can make head or tail of them. But my writing? Well, it's there. I can change it, edit it, take it in another direction and share it with the world. And you know what I've learned about the world? It can never be as harsh to me as I can be to myself. Meaning that I always get better responses about my writing from others than I do from myself. Always.
It's enough to make one believe they actually know what they're doing.
So, I fake being a writer in the hopes of one day being a writer. I fake being an amazing martial artist in hopes of one day becoming an amazing martial artist. I fake being comfortable with conflict when my heart feels like it's going to explode out of my chest. I fake being comfortable in large social gatherings when my mind races with insecurities. I fake being a person perfectly at peace with life when I'm quite sure i'll never know what the hell this whole thing is all about it. And along the way, I actually pick up a few things.
I learn, I grow, I improve. And maybe I'll never be an "expert", maybe I'll never be "the Best". But I will be better. And better is the greatest feeling in the world.