A teacher once told me: If you want to become something, Act as If you’re already there.
Initially this seemed confusing, but the more I tried to achieve my goals, the more useful the advice became.
When you pursue a goal in the traditional way, you chase after a thing while remaining the same. The pursuits are stuck within the realm of “I Will.” A laundry list of tasks perpetually extending into the future. Sometimes growing, sometimes shrinking. But every achievement is a change in the Self. You must become different in order to arive at a goal. Remaining the same means your achievements remain the same: unachieved.
When you ‘Act as If’, you embody that goal. You become the accomplisher and view it as something already within you. In your self talk, and your visualizations, you act as if you have already gained the prize, or that you are already the person you are aiming to be. When you ‘Act as If’ you invite the reality.
Psychologically, the process becomes akin to your external circumstances ‘catching up’ with your internal trajectory.
If you want to learn Russian, and keep that goal as something you ‘will’ achieve some time in the future, you have what seems to be a plethora of daunting tasks ahead of you. Books, drills, classes, intimidating conversations with native speakers. This can seem, at times, like an impossible mountain. How much easier it would be just to blow off a given task and relax…
When you ‘Act As If’, you say ‘I AM a Russian Speaker! Now…what would someone who speaks Russian be doing? Reading Russian books. Speaking to people in Russian…’ Your pattern of thinking becomes more immediate and consistent. Simple goal pursuit rests on the wax and wane of passion. When you ‘Act as If’, you are always ‘that’, whether you feel like it or not.
Many titles and life goals are abstract. When, after all, does one really become a teacher? A comedian? A father? Self doubt and negative thinking can quickly strip away achieved identities you have seemingly gifted yourself. The nebulous nature of these ever receding titles can be used to your advantage.
Act as If you are already ‘that’ which you want to become. The title becomes yours, and your burden changes from chasing a fleeting self-definition, to continuing to be your embodied goal through the actions and directed thoughts you take in the present moment.
When you Act as If, you simultaneously become, and are the person you want to be.