How Acting “As If” Can Help You Achieve Success
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A long time ago I had dinner with a guy who was freelancing at the company I used to work for. He was always a bit eccentric and into some kind of “new age” philosophy, so he was an interesting cat to hang out with.
At the restaurant, he opened his menu and said he was looking for the most expensive item. I had to laugh because he was pretty much baiting me to ask why. When I did, he said he was reading a new book (probably something along the lines of The Secret) which said that if he was ever going to be rich, he needed to act like he had all the money in the world and therefore could order the most expensive item on the menu.
Knowing he didn’t have a lot of money, I thought this was completely absurd! “Hello? Denial much?”
My guess is he was taking the advice of acting “as if” to the extreme, or way out of context.
Acting “as if” is one of the chapters in the book I’m currently reading by Jack Canfield called, The Success Principles. He describes how if you act “as if” you have achieved everything your heart has ever desired, you start to manifest what you want. This doesn’t just require you to sit and daydream about the achievement, but actually physically start to live out what it is you want as if you already have achieved it.
For instance, if I wanted to be an actress, I would physically write out my Oscar acceptance speech, and maybe write an article where Vanity Fair interviewed me about all my success. Jack suggests taking it a step further and have an “as if” party where you invite your friends over and you all role play your ideal selves. If someone wanted to be a super successful businessman, he would come to the party wearing his best suit and talk about all the cool business deals he landed. If you wanted to be a famous speaker, you would talk to people at the party about all the really cool gigs you were asked to speak at like the Ted talks.
The point is you start to embody that success…you walk around with your head a little higher and smile more often because you feel like you have achieved great success. Maybe you stop making excuses that derail your success and take a reasonable chance or to that actually lead to the accomplishment of some of your goals. It sounds super cheesy, but I think there are some great points to acting “as if.”
‘If Only’ Thoughts We All Have
How many times have you thought one of these common ‘if onlys?’
“If I only lost 10 pounds I’d be happy.”
“If I only achieved XYZ in my career, I’d be happy.”
‘If only I could find someone I’m compatible with, I’d be happy.”
We often future trip about what things might be like “someday,” and don’t give ourselves the time to be in the now.
I also think there is a lot of truth to the fact that if you “think” you are successful and happy right now, positive things do start magically coming your way. People want to work with you because you seem confident, self-assured, and happy.
When Daydreaming Goes Too Far
But there is a point, in my opinion, where you can take acting “as if” too far. Just because you are imagining yourself as a billionaire, does not mean you can buy a yacht, eat at the most expensive restaurant in town, or buy Armani suits. I think this is why people get so irritated by the message of The Law of Attraction. They take the message as very literal and think they can’t follow that advice because it’s completely stupid.
To me the exercise is more mental (visualizing) and somewhat physical (writing down what you have achieved, walking with confidence, etc.) than anything else. Even if you are acting “as if” you are a billionaire, you can still make really good choices à la Warren Buffet. You just choose your words differently. Instead of saying, “I can’t afford it,” say “it’s not in my spending plan.” Subtle differences that can be powerful to the mind.
Here is an exercise for you: Write a press release that was written by your PR person (every successful person has one) about the latest and greatest thing you’ve accomplished. Did you just finish your seventh book? Did you just land that 10 million dollar deal? Are you releasing your new album?
Print it out and put it on your fridge or vision board, or stick it in your wallet. It certainly won’t cost you anything, and who knows what great things might inspire you to achieve!
What are some of the things your press release might say? What is one thing you’ve daydreamed about doing but held back on? When do you think daydreaming goes too far?
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