Sun | Jan 23, 2022

I fake it because ...

Published:Monday | July 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Life is difficult and seems to get more so every day. We are stressed by the demands of our jobs, our families, and people we interact with daily, and we get bogged down. But before we get a new job and interact with different people, maybe all we need to do is change our approach. This week, we continue with our series 'Change your Mindset, Change your Life'. With the help of certified behaviour modification coach and author Trevor E. S. Smith, we will help you through some of the bumps and scrapes of life - to be more productive, deal with difficult people, and a host of other topics, with his insightful perspective and boost of confidence for life.

Truth be told, we fake it at some point. In a conversation with Trevor, Anna exposes the extent of faking. Is she over the top? How genuine are you?

Trevor: So you believe that deception is the fuel that kick-starts relationships today?

Anna: Faking it is essential to navigating relationships ... at play or at work.

Trevor: Why is that?

Anna: Faking begins from the early years of socialisation. We are primed to put on a show. We are drilled in the importance of presenting an image that the world would like. Developing the skills to effectively pretend is mastered by the time we hit kindergarten. We hone them to perfection consistently after that.

Trevor: Aren't you being a bit cynical?

Anna: I am just being real. Think also about the mega beauty industry where billions are spent each day by individuals who want to disguise how they really look, women who would be scared to be seen without their make-up on and men with toupees?

Trevor: Sure, but ...

Anna: Then what about the men who wear the platform shoes since height is such a desirable feature? Fakes! What you see is hardly ever what you get. Girdles and special bras further the illusion on the other side. Deception is today's currency.

Trevor: So what is your take-away from all this?

Anna: You need to first understand the magnitude of the problem. The almost universal acceptance of having to fake it with our physical appearance seeps into our mindset and reinforces our lifelong encouragement to put on a show.

If I can comfortably pretend to have a full head of hair, why can't I not only cover up my baldness but also the fact that I am a selfish jerk?

So, the desire to employ deliberate deceptions makes the leap into the realm of our behaviours. The new frontier to be conquered is the capacity to create storefront personalities for our stage performances - dates, job interviews, etc.

How many employers wonder where did this guy come from once he has picked up his third pay cheque? You just did a series on radio coaching applicants how to ace interviews.

Not everybody hires a Hutch to coach them into faking their way into a relationship, but most of us know endearing things to say and just the right mannerisms to display to open doors.

Trevor: Wow! You make it sound like it is a minefield out there.

Anna: But it is. Think how many times you have met up with an old friend and asked "So, how is John or Mary?" and you get the answer "Oh, we are not together again."

This is within your circle of normal, average individuals. We are not here including the tabloid revolving-doors scenario. Many of these relationships started out with great expectations. What happened?

Trevor: You tell me.

Anna: My guess is that, as more and more of the masks are removed, one or both parties see things that are not appealing to them. They find it challenging to commit to a lifetime of having to deal with certain characteristics. It doesn't help if the source of the attraction was not sufficient to anchor a lasting relationship.

So, you ask about my take-away.

I really think that this call to deception is actually wasteful and painful. If the intention is to go beyond the short term, then the process of unmasking will take place. What is covered up will be revealed in due course.

If what is being hidden is unacceptable to the other party, all that has been achieved is a postponement of the inevitable. The real danger is that, by the time it is discovered, so many things might have happened to make it really painful when the plug is pulled.

Trevor: How is someone who is dating - or worse engaged - to respond to your convincing but very scary views?

Anna: Millions have come through unscathed. Today, they have the advantage in that they can add insightful behavioural assessment to their intuition.

Trevor: And employers?

Anna: Their task is even easier. They can apply Hiring Smart techniques using sophisticated Role Fit Behavioural DNA screening assessments.

• Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, which is recognised by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM certifications. Home of the ICF-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award. Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean. Website: