William James, a pioneer of psychology, said ‘Act as if what you do matters. It does’. He also said ‘If you want a quality, act as if you already have it’.
I call that the Act As If principle. There is a third way to apply this principle. When you don’t know what to do or say in a situation, think of someone you know who would know exactly what to do or say. What would they do or say? Mentally step into their shoes and Act As If you’re them. This at least starts you moving in the right direction. It might even produce the precise result you’re after. You then have this new behaviour as part of your repertoire and your self-image grows to include being someone who knows what to do or say in that type of situation.
Some of you may know that I’m a Star Trek fan tragic. The late Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock, that super-cool, super-logical fellow with the pointy ears, said that playing Spock had a huge effect on him and his thought processes. Playing Spock, he learned so much about rational, logical thought that it re-shaped his life.
By Acting As If he were logical and rational, he became logical and rational. Acting As If you are the character or the person with the characteristics you want to adopt gives you energy and inspiration and builds the behaviour and memory patters that last you your entire life when you do it often enough. Acting becomes reality with repetition. We become what we do.
I’m not saying don’t be authentic. I’m saying keep improving your authentic self and Acting As If is one way to do that.