Here’s an extended audio version of this post (with some extras!)
When we were growing up, imagining worlds that didn’t exist, we were pretending to be superheros, basketball stars, firemen, architects… We thought up things that were bigger than us. Beautiful things. But we were pretending. And as fun as it is to think about those times, this is real life now. We don’t time to pretend anymore. Right?
We still need to pretend.
This is from a (brilliant) commencement speech by Neil Gaiman:
“Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult, in this case recording an audio book, and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but pretend she was someone who could. She put up a notice to this effect on the studio wall, and she said it helped. So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”
We talk about pretending like it’s a negative thing. Like we’re all no doing it anyway. This is the birth of the Imposter Syndrome: In the belief that it’s a bad thing to act like someone we’re not with the fear of being exposed as the fraud we know we are. Well here’s the great news: We’re all frauds. We’re all trying to become the person we want to be. In order to do that, we have to slowly (read: daily) start to:
Think like that person.
Act like that person.
Look like that person.
Make like that person.
Talk like that person.
Write like that person.
Love like that person.
We have to do all the things that they would do if we want to grow into that vision.
So the question becomes who do you want to pretend to be? I can’t tell you who your personal superhero is but mine is courageous, strong, brave, smart, talented, loving…. All the things I want to get better at, this guy is already a boss at. So I’m going to wake up everyday and pretend to be that dude. Pretend that I can do the things he does. Because pretending isn’t fantasy. Pretending is growth.
Pretend to be a superhero today. Keep pretending.