Everywhere you turn, from self-help books to lectures and even in movies, you will find the idea of acting as-if.
It has even found itself into pop culture in the “fake it till you make it” mantra.
It is a technique that is vilified and seen as a con game yet praised elsewhere. To some, this is some sort of magic pill, yet to others, it is nothing less than a scam that cannot work in real life.
Even those who may want to use the “act as if” it is a technique find it challenging to behave like you have something that you don’t.
It is clear, though, that most people do not understand what living as if entails and how can be employed to lead to the desired outcomes in every aspect of our lives.
What Does it Mean to Act as if?
In the literal sense, to act as if implies living like you are in the state of reality you desire.
For example, if you want to be wealthy, act as if you are wealthy entering expensive and high-end stores even though you won’t buy anything. I did this before I could afford anything: I’d go to the high-end shopping area in Manila every weekend, checked out Gucci, Prada, LV, Bottega Veneta, Chanel stores and I asked the shop assistants if I could check out some items! I imagined buying and wearing the pieces that I liked!
More than 13 years later, I have so many designer pieces already that going to these stores became normal.
Another thing that I did before when I had no money was I frequented luxury hotels, mostly to relax in the lobby or have coffee, tea, or juice. I just liked the ambiance, the fresh flowers, the music, and watching people come and go.
Going back to “acting as if”, the principle behind it is that thoughts influence actions, and when you align your desires, mentality, and efforts to the state you want to be, you can manifest your desires.
In this simple approach, the principle seems superficial and even more like the “fake it till you make it” school of thought. Yet, acting as if requires a totally different approach than just faking it.
YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE YOU ALREADY HAVE IT ALREADY AND SHOW IT IN EVERY FACET OF YOUR LIFE.
It follows the Law of Vibration and it is thus based on the principle that we attract the kind of energy we give out.
The GOAL of “acting as if” is to create outside circumstances by acting as if these circumstances (which we truly desire) are already existing.
What Are Your Intentions?
Intentions are crucial to “acting as if”. They are the source of reality and point out the direction you have to take to realize your dream. It starts by first distilling your intentions, which could be your aims and goals, and finding those that resonate with who you genuinely want to be.
When you align these intentions with your being, you will start manifesting what you want to be and living the life of the person you want to be, ultimately becoming that person.
Intentions provide the energy and motivation you need to start changing your current reality. Acting on them helps you overcome obstacles and see paths you never thought were possible.
Once you have found your goals and you understand yourself and what you yearn for, from the simple aspects like sound health, being responsible, to the weighty issues like finding a relationship, creating wealth, etc., you start working as if you have these things and it becomes a reality.
If this seems too magical to be true, then read on and learn more about the act as if psychology and how it works.
The Psychology of “Act As If”
Thoughts and feelings influence your actions, and the reverse is also true; actions can also impact your thoughts and feelings.
“Act As If” is a well-studied and researched approach to change behavior and guide actions. T
The term was first used by American psychologist and philosopher, William James, who in 1984 wrote that a person should act as if what he does makes a difference because it does.
He recognized that “thoughts influence actions” and that a shift in perspective, which is what “acting as if” calls you to do, results in the creation of a new reality for a person.
One of his students, another psychologist, Alfred Alder, developed the role-play therapy technique still used today. The method’s idea is to help people learn and portray behaviors they are having difficulty developing, such as assertiveness and empathy.
To help, they are to act as if they were already empathic or assertive several times a day until the next session. Adler notes that as people start acting and feeling differently, they become different.
Why “Act As If” Works
The “act as if” technique works and is an effective way to manifest the transformation you want in your life and change your reality. It is, however, essential to realize that it is more than just “wishing as if”.
“Act As If” calls for action in your life and not just random action but clear intention as highlighted earlier to generate and sustain momentum. The actions have to be aligned to something you truly believe you can be because that is what you truly are.
Science has shown in different examples that self-belief creates high resilience and acting as if calls for putting that belief into actions. It is not a magic pill that requires the least effort with huge returns. Instead, every action is intended and not just going through the motions.
As a result, you create new elements from the actions to the thoughts and feelings, and energy tones. All these elements become a reference point in your brain on how to behave in such a situation in the future. You form a pattern and habit, each reinforcing the previous one, and new opportunities emerge.
“Acting as if” becomes powerful because instead of going through intermediary steps to achieve a certain mindset or become a specific person, you immediately step into the role of that person and become that person.
Steps to “Acting As If”
“Acting As If” is not done randomly, nor is it merely wishing for a different state. It is a very particular approach, so there are steps to do it correctly.
1. Become self-aware and be in touch with your feelings and emotions
Self-awareness is critical to act as if. It is only through it that you will know your deepest wants and who you truly are and what you want to change. More importantly, identify the root feeling and emotion behind your desires.
For example, you may seek more money because you are after the feeling of freedom and success it will portray, or you want to own your own house for the sense of security.
Once you have identified this feeling, look for it, or similar feelings you may have had in life. For example, if the root emotion is freedom or success, consider prior times you have achieved something or felt free and start manifesting this feeling more in your life to attract even more of it.
2. Align your emotions and feelings to your actions
If the desire is to achieve success or have a great career, then your actions and emotions both have to reflect this. You cannot feel adequate and act like you are inadequate or vice-versa. You only end up confusing the universe and conflicting yourself, which kills your drive. Focus on your root emotion and act towards achieving it.
You can extend your actions to how you look and present yourself. Dress in ways that make you feel amazing and how you visualize yourself dressing when you achieve your goal.
3. Align speech to your desired state
A wealthy man will not talk from the point of inadequacy nor a successful person from a point of failure. Even setbacks are spoken of as mere failures to be overcome, and that is the same approach you should take. If you are looking for a relationship, your speech cannot be complaining about the lack of suitable partners or complaining about dating and marriage.
4. Believe in the character
To honestly act the part, you have to believe in the character. Whatever you are acting is already within you as that is your ultimate character. You have to believe this character exists within you, and it is you simply getting to the point you want to be. Without this belief, all the earlier parts will not amount to the success you seek.
Practice acting as if in all your areas of life, and you will see your path move from resistance to belief, and you will become more confident in your actions and nurture your growth in your new role.
Ways to practice “Acting As If”
From the last point above, acting as if calls for regular practice, and you can use the following opportunities to play your new role.
- Perform new behaviors entailing the actions the character you want to be would do.
- Change your outer appearance to be more in tune with the person you want to be and visualize.
- Change your lifestyle from hobbies to food to the selection of friends since such factors could have impediments to our new journey.
- Where possible, change your personal physical environment and then choose different environments when out of it, selecting settings that best fit your as-if identity.
- Change your speech from the content to other factors like vocabulary and non-verbal language.
- Engage in role-playing both in new environments that allow you to role-play in real-life situations since no one knows you or with friends or even reading out scripts.
- Finally, let the new character take a life of its own as it becomes who you really are.
“Acting As If” is a powerful conscious reality creation technique since you are acting out your new role instead of stopping at thinking positively.
To be effective, it calls for conscious effort, belief, and practice. There is no delay, and you take charge of influencing your reality by being the person you want to be, creating the positive vibrations which attract the positive manifestation you want in your life.