I subscribe to a lot of blogs that encourage positive thinking, breaking the mold, seeking personal fulfillment and following your bliss. I get some sarcasm about that, but I figure, we get enough negative messages from pretty much everywhere (news, magazines, TV shows, etc.) that having a few places where positive thinking is the norm can only help.
One thing I notice, though, is that the same issues get brought up in those blogs over and over, and generally, all those issues can really be boiled down to one: lack of self confidence.
Where did that happen? Is it an inborn personality trait the majority of us share? Is is nature or nurture? Can it ever be conquered?
I don’t know. However I can say with complete authority that what does work in helping combat insecurity is “fake it until you make it.”
I did not always believe this. I thought it was cheating, and pointless on top of that. I believed there was nothing to gain from acting like I was beautiful, smart, successful, competent, or creative until I had proof in hand that I was all those things.
What I did not take into account is the mental component of the feedback loop; that is, if you act competent and confident, people believe that you are competent and confident and treat you that way, which your brain translates as proof that you are competent and confident.
It all comes back to how damn tricky the brain is. It really is a sneaky and shifty and clever organ, more than we give it credit for. For instance, the reason visualization techniques work for competitive athletes is because it literally tricks the brain into believing it is doing something the body is not doing. The reason positive affirmations work is not due to mysticism, but because they are a form of self-brainwashing.
So, sometimes I have to wake up and tell myself, “I am a successful writer.” Not because I am (yet), but because I fully intend to be. It’s not about creating self-confidence or bolstering it, but training the mind to believe that it is already there.
Fake it ’til you make it, baby.