Are you confident in yourself? Fake it ’til you make it is a saying that has been a cultural mainstay since I can remember. There have been and still are many ways in which it’s said, used and interpreted. Whichever saying you’re accustomed to, it usually is being used as a manner to imply how to convey confidence. The question I seek to answer in this post is rather simple, is this saying based on reality or is it just another phrase to be used on social media to sound cool?
You see, whether you say “fake it ’til you make”, “act like you’ve been there before”, “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” or any other iteration, the concept is the same. No matter how you really feel, behave in a manner that will give the impression you know what you’re doing, that you are, indeed, confident. The purpose being that how you act will in turn affect how you feel and how you project yourself unto others. If you feel in a negative manner and act in a positive manner, over the long haul the positive actions will change your negative feelings. Under this premise, you are capable of achieving almost any goal you set for yourself as long as you take the necessary actions to achieve said goal. But not just take action, take action as if you believe it will cause positive change, even if you don’t believe it because in time you can and will believe it. Think inception, but about your own confidence.
There have been countless books written on the subjects of confidence, projection, visualization and self fulfilling profecies and there are even more people that swear by it. Have you ever heard that if you tell a lie enough times you’ll start to believe it? Same principle.
To be completely honest, I do believe that there is truth beneath these sayings. You see, people who don’t know you will react to how you act in their presence, not thinking of who you “really” are. Ever met somebody at a party and thought they were an arrogent and then every time you saw them afterwards your perception of everything they did came from believing they were what you initially thought. Maybe after some time you noticed they were actually nice and humble and caring, but the strength of that initial interaction affected how you viewed this person for quite some time. Well, if you act like someone who’s very confident, people that don’t know you can’t help but think that you’re a confident person with everything that entails. If people start treating you like they treat confident people, you’ll start to feel like a confident person. It’s a circle of positive reinforcement that can only truly be undone by you and your actions. The more times people see you acting with confidence, the more they will believe you are confirming that trait about you.
No matter what you think of yourself, confident or not, as an adult you have the ability and power to make changes in your life. Whether that’s your professional life, your personal life or your romantic life, you have all the tools necessary to create real positive change in your life.
Let’s test this theory out. Start small, maybe start dressing a little differently. No, no suit and tie all of a sudden (unless you want to go that rout). But instead of going all out, lets start simple by looking inside your closet. Whether its full of dress shirts, polos or the finest in vintage comic book inspired tees, you can take what’s already in there and do a “mini” upgrade to your personal style. Remember this saying, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”, well that applies to clothing too because it’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it.
I’m going to work with what some might say is the “worst” type of wardrobe, the jeans and t-shirts wardrobe. Now this first small change will take some work and effort at the beginning, but if you make it a habit it will become easier to implement as time goes by. What’s the first small step you ask? Easy, get your t-shirts washed… and ironed. Yes, iron your t-shirts. No one is super impressed by ironed t-shirts, I know, but you know what does create an impression? Dirty, stained or wrinkled t-shirts. So if you can wash ’em, do it. If you have to iron or steam them, get your butt to Target and get what you need to get the job done. If a shirt is permanently stained, then congratulate it as it has served you well but it is time to retire it, either to the trash or to your sleeping attire rotation.
The point is we want to give off the impression of someone who cares about themselves. So clean clothing from now on. Try not throwing your clothes on the floor if they’re clean. Frankly, I don’t care much about you throwing them on the floor, in your closet or on the sofa but a mountain of clothing is a mountain of wrinkles. Next time you have to run out in a rush, you will undoubtedly grab the first thing you can, if that’s a wrinkled shirt you threw on the ground last time you washed a load, then wrinkled shirt it is. Think of whether you shave regularly or you have an awesome beard, if you maintain and take care of your face everyday, when you have to rush out you won’t look like a complete mess. (If you need help with the beard, check out our article on that topic here).
Also, every once in a while add a suit jacket or retro sports jacket to your arsenal, something as simple as that can give a welcomed twist to the jeans and tshirt look and therefore give the world a better look at the real you. You can keep your personality, keep your own style, tshirt, polo or button ups and all. This first tip isn’t just for the tshirts and jeans crowd, rather is to prove that if with tshirts and jeans you can easily take an action that will affect your confidence in a positive manner, then surely with polos and button ups you can do the same.
Try this first step and let me know how it goes. If you found this article helpful, leave a comment, I will continue follow this up based on the feedback I get from you guys and girls.