Monthly Archives: March 2014

Fake it until you become it

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist.

In 2012 she delivered a TEDTalk that has since had over 15 million views online.

As of December 2013, Cuddy’s talk ranked as the fifth most watched TEDTalk ever.

When she was 19 Cuddy was involved in a serious car accident.

She was thrown from the car and sustained life-changing head injuries.

Waking up in hospital she learned that she had been withdrawn from college and that her IQ had dropped by two standard deviations.

Having always identified herself as being smart this was especially tough news to take.

Despite her efforts colleges would not take her back.

Doctors advised that she should focus on something else.

Left with the thought that her own identity had been taken from her, she felt completely powerless.

Determined not to give up and accept second best she began working on a way around it.

She worked a lot and got lucky and eventually graduated from college.

Then she was able to convince her Doctoral Adviser, Susan Fiske to take her on at Princeton.

As part of her first year at Princeton, she was due to deliver a talk.

Despite gaining her place at Princeton, Cuddy felt she was an impostor who was not meant to be there.

The night before her first year talk she decided that the risk of being found out the next day was too great and she informed Fiske of her decision to quit.

Not content with Cuddy’s decision, Fiske told her to fake it.

She told Cuddy to do every talk that she ever gets asked to do.

No matter how terrified she is.

No matter how paralysed by the fear she is.

No matter how many out-of-body experiences she has.

She must fake it.

But one day she will have a moment when she realises she is doing it.

She will become the thing that she was faking.

Years passed by and Cuddy delivered and ‘faked’ it until she found herself at Harvard.

One day at the end of her first year at Harvard a student entered her office.

The student said “I am not supposed to be here”.

At that moment Cuddy realised that she had become what she thought she had been faking.

She also realised that the student was meant to be there.

Cuddy told that student to go and fake it.

Fake it until you become it.