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Fake it till you make it

What this week's contributors think of this aphorism?

Mark Ritson
Founder @ Marketing Week MiniMBA & Marketing professor

"I regard fake it until you make it as kind of the 'good bullshit' for the most part"

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Carla Heath
Agency Advisor @ Carla Heath Consulting

"I think the phrase is dangerous"

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Ranzie Anthony
Co-founder @ Athlon

"I believe it can be empowering"

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Tash Courtenay-Smith
Founder @ Bolt Digital

"It encourages focus and behavioural change towards your desired outcome"

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Liam Corrigan
Founder @ RedPill

"I agree with it. Because I don't understand how anything would ever get done - unless you're an expert."

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By Daniel de la Cruz
Chief Learner @ Polymensa

My reflections on the aphorism: "Fake it till you make it!"

Jeeeez, where do we even begin with this? Free will? Self-belief? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Dunning Kruger? What is lying? Cognitive dissonance? The meaning of life??? 😅

Without writing a whole thesis, I'm going to try and summarise some of my thoughts on this week's aphorism.

In the early 1900s the founder of the school of individual psychology, Alfred Adler, apparently said: "if you want a quality, act as if you already have it". But he was Austrian and likely said that in German, so the origin of the exact phrase "fake it till you make it" is still unclear.

Simon & Garfunkel's "Fakin' it", released in 1967, played with this aphorism - but in their case they weren't really making it (apart from the song being played on radio despite the song length being 2:74). However, this is a good starting point... because the song lyrics talk about conformity. And surely that's were it all begins, with some sort of desire or need to belong.

Today large parts of society have an oversupply of food, water, air and shelter - so what needs are left, if we managed to fulfil those basics?  Our psychological need "to fit in" - which is now far greater than ever.

According to the WHO, more than one in every 100 deaths (1.3%) in 2019 were the result of suicide. It's important to note there are many reasons why people commit suicide. But social isolation is a very common cause.

Why you going so deep, bruh? Because the need to "fake it" has to stem from the desire to "make it" e.g. build and sell an agency, become the Managing Director, earn your first million, become an Olympic athlete, buy a house with an ocean view, become the ultimate eco-warrior, ... 

But if most of us have covered our basic needs for survival, what is driving our desire for "making it"?

One theory comes from 
Luke Burgis - a business professor and entrepreneur. In his book, Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life, he argues that we are influenced by what others desire, and our own desires are shaped by the desires of those we admire or imitate. And you really have to put your ego aside to understand Luke's theory and recognise this in your own behaviour - don't worry, I tried denying it just as much and failed on most occasions!

But, let's face it
, we probably wouldn't have survived as a human race up until now, if we didn't imitate each other to some extent.

Yet, it takes an incredible amount of courage to "make" something so "different/odd" and not give a shit whether it will be accepted by anyone, not even one person - and persist without imploding. Kind of demonstrated by the courage of this "Lone Nut" in 
Derek Sivers' TED talk - which "incidentally" ended up in a movement (one could argue he danced that way to be accepted by everyone around him).

Let's move on to the "faking" bit. I'll go with the definition that faking 
typically involves deliberately misrepresenting oneself or one's abilities, often with the intention of deceiving others.

But what is if you're faking to be a "credible" person in in the oil industry, land a job at an oil company, with the ultimate goal to shift the company to solely renewable energy. Does that make it OK to be deceiving? Is it OK because it is not necessarily for personal gain, but instead to save the planet - and humanity? 

So do I think you should fake it till you make it?
No you shouldn't deliberately deceive people for personal gain. But it is OK if the outcome improves society.

Also, when I start something I've never done before, I often vocalise my noob status to people more experienced than me. As it often makes people open up with tips on how to improve and it sets their expectations.

Should you practice self-believe that you are able to achieve e.g. a certain skill level, even if you are far from that level right now? Yes. That can be incredibly useful to persevere through difficult learning stages.

But most importantly I think it's dangerous to compare my progress against someone who's ahead of me. But it's so important to compare it against someone who's not yet at my level. The first one is pointless, if you're fundamentally not able to reach that person's level, the latter is good to appreciate the progress you've been making.

And as I draw to the end of my extended summary, I'll admit that at various points of writing this I pretended to know more about this topic than I actually do - but my goal was to inspire you to believe in yourself and hopefully I achieved that.

Appreciate you taking the time today to read our Polynut newsletter. Any comments, ideas or questions - feel free to reach out to me [email protected]

And a
HUGE THANK YOU to our contributors for giving up their time to share their knowledge with us and providing multiple perspectives! 🙏

Cheers ✌️

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Blindspot: The Luck Factor

The whole Steven Bartlett / Social Chain story really got me thinking about "luck" this week. And not necessarily why some people are more lucky than others? But more what effect does feeling lucky have on you and your future?

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