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Self-confidence can be faked

Posted by UJU Onyechere - on 2006/06/21 | Views: 404 |

Self-confidence can be faked

Before you say a word, first hear me out. I am getting used to the series of debate associated with this topic whenever it comes up. “How can you fake self-confidence......

Before you say a word, first hear me out. I am getting used to the series of debate associated with this topic whenever it comes up. “How can you fake self-confidence you may ask? The truth is that self-confidence can be faked, at least for a while.

One of people’s greatest fears is public speaking. Our hearts race, our palms sweat, our knees tremble. Never will I forget my first day. I was extremely nervous, especially since I was fairly young and still fresh from school, a green horn you may say. In the midst of seasoned professionals, what in the world will I say to the audience that the professionals have not?
We all have times when we don’t feel confident.

Though we may not be able to eliminate those feelings, we can put them aside and move forward. Self-confidence helps us to go on when the odd seems to be against you. The morning after the great Chicago fire, a group of merchants stood on State Street, looking at the smoke remains of what had been their stores. They went into a conference to decide if they would try to rebuild, or leave Chicago and start over in a more promising section of the country. They reached a decision – all except one – to leave Chicago.

The merchant who decided to stay and rebuild pointed a finger at the remains of his store and said, “Gentlemen, on that very spot I will build the world’s greatest store, no matter how many times it may burn down.”

That was a very long time ago. The store was built. It stands there today, a towering monument to the power of determination as was exhibited by Marshall Field.
After the fall of France in World War II, a fable began to circulate about the fate of England. The story was told that in July 1940, Hitler and Mussolini invited Churchill to Paris for a secret conference.

They met at a tea table beside a famous camp pool. The Fuhrer opened the dialogue: “England is finished, Churchill! Sign this document admitting defeat and all Europe will have peace tomorrow!” Churchill said quietly, “I don’t agree that we have lost the war.”
Hitler pounded the table and cried, “Ridiculous!”
“Why not settle with a wager?” Churchill asked.
Hitler responded, “What is the bet?”

Churchill said, “See these big carp in the pool? Let’s wager that the first to catch one without using customary fishing equipment will be the winner.”
Hitler and Mussolini agreed and the Fuhrer quickly pulled out a revolver and emptied it at the nearest fish. The water deflected the bullets. Next Mussolini jumped into the pool and tried to catch a carp with his bare hands. He failed.

“Your turn, Churchill,” said Hitler.
Churchill began to repeatedly dip his spoon into the pool and toss the water over his shoulder. “What are you doing?” Cried Hitler. Churchill replied, “It will take a long time, but we are going to win the war?”

We need to be reminded that we can’t fake anything forever – nor should you try. It’s never my idea to preach insincerity. Acting as if it is a technique with roots from behavioural psychology. The story is told when Leonardo da Vinci was still a pupil, his elderly, well-known teacher asked him to finish a painting he had begun. Young da Vinci stood in such awe of his master’s skill that at first he respectfully declined. But his teacher would accept no excuse.

He simply said, ‘Do your best.”
Trembling, da Vinci took his brush and began with each stroke, his hand grew steadier as the genius within him awoke. Soon he was so caught up in his work that he forgot his timidity. When the painting was finished, the frail and weak master was carried into the studio to see it. Embracing his student, he exclaimed, “My son, I paint no more!” According to Vergil “They can conquer who believe they can.”

I am reminded of popular commercials where individuals are made to act as if the product in question is the best in the world. I mean take the case of Michael Jackson holding a bottle of Pepsi. Take a look at movies where actors and actresses are made to play roles that have no semblance with them in real life. Some school of thought call it make belief.

If you simply act in a particular way, you will soon think, feel, and believe as one for whom the action feels comfortable and normal.
For some people, all the positive self-talk in the world won’t get them up in front of an audience or keep their knees from shaking uncontrollably when they do. Applying “act as if” helps overide their belief system. By simply resolving to act like a supremely confident person, you quickly acquire the feeling of increased confidence. This feeling of confidence automatically triggers positive thoughts, such as “I can do this.”

The effectiveness of this simple technique was proven by Dr. William James at Harvard University decades ago. Today, it is often referred to as “fake it till you make it.” because I started with motivational materials on time, I got to know about some of this principles and started putting them into practice before my peer group at school in those days. In fact to “act as if” was one of the first secrets I learnt. I started acting like my role models and that earned me the nickname "acting bigman.” The truth of the matter is that most of the things I acted those days have come to pass in my life.

This exercise is one of the best ways to eradicate fear. I challenge you to practice this exercise and experience how easy it is to overcome your fears. Remember most of our fears don’t actually exist. FEAR stands for Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real. Look at the key word there Fantasized. So most fears are but our imaginations. There was this story about a cat named Charlie who loves to defend his turf. And he does pretty well at it, except for another cat named George. Early in the game George learned that all he had to do was show up in the yard, let out a blood – curdling wail – and Charlie breaks the four-minute mile. George wasn’t that strong but was just acting it, whenever he lets out that blood-curdling wail others take cover.

Acting as if can also be brought to bear in the work place. You can begin to act like the person who occupies the position you are aiming at in your workplace. Watch his/her dressing and other ways of doing things. Begin to assume and work towards getting that lift. Chances are that you may be called upon to take up that position when that person gets promoted or that position becomes vacant.

Your intentions must be sincere and genuine. Don’t ever try to fake integrity or sincerity. With practice and repetition, you will no longer have to fake a trait because you will have overridden your conscious and subconscious belief system. Remember anything you do consistently for 21 days becomes a part of you because it would have programmed into your entire system.
See you at the top!

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