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From an article titled How to Fake It ‘Til You Make It (Or Become It):

In 2012, [Amy Cuddy] gave a TED Talk on the topic, which went viral and has been watched over 34 million times. She talked about how body language affects how others see us, but also how it changes how we see ourselves. She believes that it’s possible to fake feelings of power until we truly feel more powerful. “Don’t fake it ‘til you make it. Fake it ‘til you become it,” she urged.

A Russian friend asked me to translate the meaning this last sentence, but after thinking about it I realized that I don't actually understand this sentence well enough to translate it. I don't really see what the distinction is between "faking it 'til you make it" and "faking it 'til you become it".

In both cases, it seems that the meaning is to pretend that you are confident about your competence for long enough to actually become confident about your competence. I can't see any meaningful difference, except that "make" rhymes with "fake" and thus sounds more catchy than "become", so it seems like the instruction above basically boils down to the nonsensical "Don't do X. Instead, do X."

What is the distinction between these two things, if any?

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    Probably if you listened to the TED Talk you'd understand the distinction she was making. "fake it til you make it" is a common idiom, she created "fake it til you become it" to describe her variation. – Barmar Feb 10 '18 at 0:37
  • @Barmar it's not a new idea ... – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 0:38
  • @WillCrawford But is the phrasing new? I've never heard it before. "fake it til you make it" is popular because of the rhyme. – Barmar Feb 10 '18 at 0:40
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    "To make it" in colloquial English means to be a success at something: life, job, appearances, etc. So, pretend to be something until you are successful at it versus pretend to be something until you become that thing. The idea is: to make it is an outward idea of success. To become something is "inner" and integrated into your person-hood. – Lambie Feb 10 '18 at 1:26
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    The phrasing seems oddly familiar, but in truth, it is annoying that adding the soundbite to the idea makes it suddenly popular - what she's peddling isn't really any different to CBT, or Adler's therapies [this is mentioned on Wikipedia's page for Fake it 'til you make it but I hesitate to cite them :o)]. – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 1:35
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It is the difference between playing a role convincingly enough to influence others — to achieve the desired goal, i. e., "make it," versus actually becoming the powerful person one portrays, i. e., "faking it" until it is no longer fake but fully integrated into one's personality.

  • C S Lewis used a similar example to explain how people develop character through sustained efforts to change (it's hard work). The key difference is that one is about being a hypocrite (literally, "mask-wearer" from the Greek) versus practicing until it becomes second nature. – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 0:37
  • “Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you already have it. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups – playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.” – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 1:33
  • Nice quote. You should turn that into an answer, if only to show the same sentiment can be expressed in a language adults speak. I'm not sure, however, that a faker to make it is a hypocrite before the desirable trait becomes fully integrated except in the literal sense. Of course, to Pirandello, all we are are masks anyway. – KarlG Feb 10 '18 at 1:40
  • Oh, my sentiment was that it's a usually a bit of a false dilemma - most people try to actually be what they’re initially pretending about :) I just wanted to explain the distinction she was trying to make ... – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 1:43
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The distinction that the author was trying to make is between pretence as a form of hypocrisy (literally the word means "under a mask" from the Greek, meaning the actors of the day who typically wore masks showing the character they were playing) and pretence as a form of practice to try to become more like the persona they’re portraying. In other words, in the latter case pretence has a subtly different meaning.

In my opinion this is well illustrated by C. S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity:

“Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you already have it. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups – playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.”

It’s the motivation that matters; are you passing yourself off as something, or trying to become that thing?

In my experience most people mean well, modulo the famous adage about the path to hell being paved ...

It’s not a new idea, at any rate :o)

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In the biochemistry of our brains there may be little difference.

In her much-publicized 2012 TED talk, Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social psychologist, shared her findings that adopting a powerful posture can affect your body chemistry. In her study, she had subjects adopt either a power stance—with their chest and head lifted and arms propped on their hips—or a meeker pose—hunched over with their arms crossed—for two minutes. The people who maintained power poses showed a decrease is the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in testosterone, a hormone related to dominance and confidence. “Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves," Cuddy concluded. "Our bodies change our minds.'

Mental Floss: 8 "Fake It ‘Til You Make It" Strategies Backed by Science

and paraphrasing

a study by Goldapple and colleagues, 5 treatment responses for CBT [ non medication cognitive behavorial therapy ] ... was associated with increases in metabolism in the hippocampus and dorsal cingulate ganglia and decreases in the dorsal, ventral, and medial frontal cortex.

How Psychotherapy Changes the Brain by Hasse Karlsson, MA, MD, PhD

and

Modifications of affect [smiling, standing and acting confident], behavior and cognition ... are mediated by biological underpinnings and are linked to modifications in specific brain regions.

Brain Imaging and Behavior

This answer refutes nothing said in this thread. Yes, this has been around! But while we ponder and debate 'faking it' and 'becoming it', our brain notices, and actual neurochemical changes are made. Learning, un-learning, chemicals change and memories are transmuted into proteins in our brains.

  • Citations need to be properly and correctly formatted. The text appears to be written in your own words when clearly it is not. Please use block quotes, – Mari-Lou A Feb 12 '18 at 0:19
  • @Mari-LouA cor link - tks. Addressed citations. – lbf Feb 12 '18 at 0:35
  • @Mari-LouA again tks - block quotes, citations, paraphrasing etc... A template i can freq refer to. ps my degrees were in the sciences ... not eng ... as you can see. – lbf Feb 12 '18 at 0:56
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    You might find this link helpful english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4973/… – Mari-Lou A Feb 12 '18 at 1:01
  • @Mari-LouA aye! – lbf Feb 12 '18 at 1:02

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