‘Fake It Till You Make It’: The Collective Wisdom of Elle Woods and Anna Stern

Both Elle Woods and Anna Stern share knowledge of the wisdom I like to call the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality. The concept is simple: faking it till you make it means pretending you totally know what you’re doing and acting confident about it, even though you have no idea what you’re doing.

Who said there was something wrong with false confidence? Besides, the whole second half of faking it till you make it is to then go learn whatever skill you lack confidence in. The point is not to just pretend to be something you’re not all the time, that would be lying. The point is to pretend to be confident while you actually work on being confident.

The phrase can be traced back to Aristotle, and is often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous or a therapy technique for fighting depression. But faking it till you make it isn’t an excuse for just pretending to be happy when you’re not. Use this wisdom for good, not to cover up emotions. It’s almost a whole new angle on the ‘glass half full’ outlook on life. The whole feigning confidence part serves as a cover for self-improvement.

Why do you think “Confidence, Cohen” has become one of the more popular quotes from The OC? Cause Anna Stern knows whats up! Elle Woods uses the same idea to get herself into Harvard Law. Elle has a degree in Fashion Merchandising, no experience with law, but sends in an application that makes her look like a boss bitch, and then proceeds to study her butt off. Pretty soon she’s got real confidence, and is practicing law in a murder trail as a first year. Which leads us to this scene of cinematic genius.

What has faking it till I make it ever gotten me? Well, this magazine for one thing. Along with several past jobs I was definitely not qualified for. Maybe a few dates. If i’ve learned anything about life it’s two things: it’s all about who you know and nobody really has any idea what they’re doing and if they say they do they’re a big fat liar (Except maybe Oprah).

Ways to apply the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality to your own life !

  • Your resume. Again, don’t lie. Just make sure you glean everything from your past experience possible. Play up your strengths.
  • Breaking into a new social circle. So you don’t have anything to add to that conversation about Plato’s allegory of the cave? I bet they don’t know Liz Lemon’s life story the way you do.
  • A new job or internship. Just smile, be nice, and work harder than everyone else.
  • Rockin’ that new outfit you’re unsure about. Someone will compliment you if you believe you look rad. Confidence, Cohen.

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

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About Joanna Harkins

co-founder and editor-at-large of inconnu

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