A friend of mine’s status on Facebook recently was:
You will not change your behavior until you change your thoughts; right action follows right thinking!
Since her status updates usually consist of prayer requests and mind-blowingly simplistic refutations of Darwinism, I doubt she knows she is quoting the second principle of the Eightfold path laid out by the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. But I think the Buddha, my friend, and I will just have to differ on this point.
This seems to me not only the hard way to do it but to set yourself up for failure. I have always used the “Fake it till you make it” strategy to change things in my life.
I typed “Fake it till you make it” into google and was surprised at how many blog posts there saying “…it is BAD because you are FAKING, don’t fake anything be true to yourself!!!1!!” Srsly, intarnets? What is cofnfidence in the face of long odds if not “faking it”? What about wanting to be a certain way, so you ACT that way. Smart people read and study, I want to be smart, I am not currently smart, so I am going to ACT like smart people act …and before I know it I will be smart! (insert “HWP”, “athletic”, or from our friends at AA, “Sober” That last one is definitely not me.)
If you conduct yourself how you wish you were, even if inside your head that little voice is screaming “You are not smart, motivated, courageous, adventurous! What are you doing?!?”– before too long, how you act, well, that is just how you are.
You gotta walk the talk. When you do what it is you aspire to, you convince yourself that you can be or *gasp* are what you aspire to be.
I suppose there is an argument that these are just the two sides of the same coin — change your behavior by changing your thoughts, or change your thoughts by changing your behavior. But is sure seems easier to fake it till I make it, than to convince my stubborn brain to think a different way. I need to sneak up on it, and then present it with irrefutable empirical evidence.
But that is just me.