James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.


Fake It, Till You Become It

This post was featured on TEDxWindyCity's blog. View it here.

When it comes to art and design, there are plenty of opportunities to give up before starting, especially with the cry of perfectionism. With the fear of failure, great ideas can be often stopped short, not even knowing where to begin or where to end. Confusion always comes about and diverts passion into uncertainty and then the entire day is spent drowning in a sea of blog posts, tweets and reading everyone else’s success stories. When it’s so easy to distract yourself when you come across a discouraging thought, sometimes it’s important to embrace uncertainty and dive into a subject you know nothing about. It’s important to realize how much you can trick yourself into learning something new. One of my favorite TED talks dealt with this issue, presented by Amy Cuddy and the importance of how body language shapes not only who you are, but what you do.

While the premise of the talk was dealing with the importance of your body language, it also spoke about constructing your image creates your own thought process, as well as the psychology that is involved with trying new things and will power. In the talk, an important quotable stuck with me upon finishing…”Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.” (right at 19:27 if you care to take a look). Realizing that success and learning is built upon will-power and the courage to try something new really stuck with me.

An example is someone that wants to be an artist. They appreciate the practice, discipline and dedication it takes to develop the craft and they work towards make it happen; embodying what they want to be. It doesn’t mean lying about your abilities and being dishonest, but taking the matters of your interests into your hands and learning what it takes to succeed, all while learning as you go on.

Another stand out quote from Amy’s talk was “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” One of the biggest problems I had when going into art and design, and still struggle with today, is the notion that every successful and determined person was born with an inane ability to conquer every task easily. When you really look at it, the only difference between the person that achieved the success and the one who did not, is action. Anyone can have a strong interest in something they enjoy and want to get better at it, but it takes a stronger person to dive in and fake it till you become it, learning on every step of the way.

James T. Green James is an artist, designer, and illustrator living in Chicago. He exhibits in galleries, and practices his craft as a print/web designer at 22nd Century Media. He fills time freelancing silly illustration and lettering projects, sampling trail mix, daydreaming, and geeking out over technology.

Twitter: @onthefirefly

Favorite TED Talk: Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

James T. Green