During the funeral of spiritual Teacher Ram Dass, his good friend & Vocalist Krishna Das commented that “Ram Dass became the person who we thought he was when he first came back from India.”
Like all of us Ram Dass had an ideal in his head, and he dedicated his life to embodying this ideal.
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to become somebody, or as in Ram Dass’s case maybe you are trying to become nobody. Either way, there is a potential within you that is looking to be actualized.
You may want to be smarter, fitter, wealthier, better skilled, more awakened, etc. But whatever image you hold in our head you are not quite there.
You may want to be enlightened but you’re still triggered by the small comments your parents make.
You may want to be a world-renowned artist but no one knows of your work.
You may want to be a successful entrepreneur but your business is still struggling.
We all have these doubts, which can be categorized as imposter syndrome, the fear of others finding out that we are not who we claim to be.
But we have a choice.
We can allow imposter syndrome to infect our minds or we can fake it til we make it.
Many see “fake it til you make it” in a negative light. It’s the strategy of tricking others into thinking you are someone you’re not in order to get recognition, respect, money, etc.
The reason why this strategy might bother us is because we think our identity is stable. In truth, identity is highly malleable. That means that we create our sense of identity in each moment.
I am not denying that we have a specific biological and neurological makeup, that makes us better at some things and worse at others. You can’t just become Michael Jordan by wishing it so.
However, the spectrum of who you can be within your own strengths is vast.
Two people can have very similar strengths but develop them to different levels.
I don’t remember choosing this body or the family I was born into. (Maybe I need to meditate more)
We may not control the cards we are given, but we can choose how we play our hand.
A big part of playing our hand well is continuously bringing forth our ideal, even if it can’t ever fully be realized.
In that sense, we are never who we want to be. We are never the image we project. We are always lying and failing to live up to our ideal, and that’s ok.
It is this delusion that pushes us to be better.
We are all trying to convince others that we are better than we are, we are all “faking it”, and those that are good at it are the ones “making it”.
This takes me back to a time when I was running rampant on the rap scene, trying to “make it”.
A friend of mine commented on another artist’s strategy and said “I guess he is trying to fake it til he makes it”. This comment came out in a negative context as it usually does. But the funny thing is this artist did actually end becoming fairly successful in the rap game.
He believed he was great before he was. In his mind, he was already the person he wanted to be even before others saw him that way.
And that is the game we are all playing whether we realize it or not. We all have doubts, we doubt ourselves and we doubt others.
We have to overcome our doubts first, we have to acknowledge our greatness before others can.
When our actions start to fall in line with the ideal in our head, reality has no choice but to conform. The results may not be immediate but they will manifest in time.
“Fake it til you make it” because that’s what all the greats do.