Sun & Skis

Fake It Until You Make It

When I was in optometry school, one of my attendings shared with me an amazing phrase that I still reference today. Fake it until you make it. My fellow student interns and I were a tad nervous on our first day in clinic seeing real patients, so our task was to put on a front of being an actual licensed doctor and the patients will think you know what you are doing. A “tad nervous” might underestimate the level of anxiety some of us had. But the magic words, fake it until you make it, floated across the room and rooted itself in each of us. Anxiety didn’t feel so bad after we heard that phrase. All the patients knew we were students, and some of them had more confidence in their care because of our self-assured smiles.

Five+ years later… 

I went on a ski trip with one of my friends, a guy in his early 50’s, who seemed to be fulfilled with life.  Very positive, encouraging, and happy. On this trip, we had about 7 hours on the road and 6 on the slopes to wax philosophically; at some point we came across the notion of being happy. He said to me, “Meghan, you gotta fake it until you make it“.  YES! That phrase! In that moment, we both realized we had part of the source of our happiness in common.

Snowshoe Mt.
“Fake it until you make it” does not apply to skiing down a double black diamond full of moguls.)


We both thought that maybe for many folks it all starts with faking your happy. The title of this site is all about making a conscious decision despite the bad in your life. What happens when it is hard to think of even one thing to make your smile brighter?  You’ve got to fake it. Put your smile on, be nice to people, perform a random act of kindness. Eventually your smile will indeed become brighter, right?


Please note, however, that I am not suggesting you skip the grieving process: I will surely be posting about that topic soon. Accepting a bad situation is part of grief! My idea about how to get your mojo back, how to bring about happiness, centers around the part of life after you have reached the acceptance stage. Smiling in the face of adversity, for example, could be your first step. Tell people you’re happy. You might actually start to believe it yourself over time.


That phrase rooted in your soul, fake it until you make it, will grow into your thoughts and into your actions. Little seedlings of happiness will float across the divide to someone who needs it. And it just might sprout within them, too.


It’s your choice. I choose my happy and my happy starts with a smile… even if I sometimes have to fake it.



-Meghan

3 comments on “Fake It Until You Make ItAdd yours →

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    1. A TED Talk! Very nice! I was perusing some of these on happiness this past weekend. Very wonderful video. :) Thank you so much, Paul.

  1. “Fake it until you make it” is the true epitome of ambition. We as a society sometimes forget that as people we can gain anything in life as long as we look like we were supposed to have it. Great advice Doc!