By Tami Warren
Perhaps now is the time to stop perpetuating the saying, “Fake it till you make it.” As if pretending to be something you are not will magically influence what you become. I understand dedicating time into your craft, learning, researching and modeling what it is you wish to become. However, we are in a time in which pretending to be someone you are not, holds dangerous consequences, it operates on the premise that if you look the part, you are the part. Which is fine if you are actually playing a part, if you are playing a role in theater or film, however this message of “fake it till you make it,” is impacting our collective well-being, with people holding influential positions, without the merits required.
Operating in the space of self-delusion, of faux accomplishment is unhealthy and drives the wrong message, a message that even if you don’t actually have a viable product or viable skills, just pretend – in other words, lie until people are fooled, and give you what you want. For example, the Trump Organization and Theranos were able to achieve “success” and represent what so-called victory in business looks like, by having their name on buildings, appearing on magazine covers, and the occasional mention in rap songs. For years Trump and Theranos operated with lies, litigious threat and self-aggrandizement, respectively faking their rise to power with false claims about what they didn’t actually have and didn’t actually know. Yet, people had faith in them, and showed their faith at rallies and with financial backing. Hollywood is bringing the Elizabeth Holmes story to the big screen, with the faux inventor being portrayed by Academy Award winner, Jennifer Lawrence. When all is said and indicted in the Trump fiasco, I hope Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee, Nick Nolte, portrays Trump, aside from being a phenomenal actor, Mr. Nolte’s middle name is King, which is fitting, as Trump is monarch mixed with mobster.
Public Enemy cautioned everyone Don’t Believe the Hype, back in 1988, and we still shouldn’t believe the hype now. “Fake it till you make it,” may work if you are faking it through a song in a lip sync challenge, however when faking it involves human lives or world diplomacy, faking must halt – full stop. Accepting and endorsing the notion that it’s okay to lie in order to achieve success, as long as the liar is well packaged, is dangerous. Donald Trump and Elizabeth Holmes, are well-packaged people, blue-eyed blondes, photographed with lots of famous folks, both claiming to have knowledge or a product they allegedly didn’t have, both with an odd signature manner of speaking; speech they evoke to deny truth. Trump and Holmes are two “self-made” billionaires who perpetuated confidence in themselves and their respective products in spite of what the facts seemingly reflected. Both took advantage of people who looked to them as examples of achievement, both manipulated people into believing their respective false image. Fake is just another word for fraud. No more encouraging the motto, “Fake it till you make it,” instead encourage a phrase I humbly prefer, “Work Till You Win,” the latter usually doesn’t involve DOJ or SEC investigations. Pretending only makes you pretentious.
fake: /fāk/ adjective: not genuine; counterfeit; forgery; sham; fraud; hoax.
hype: /hīp/ noun: extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion; a deception carried out for the sake of publicity.