Fake it till you become it

A simple answer to a complex question, and mindset to accomplish anything

freedom swim

An artist must be careful to never think he has arrived somewhere, he must always be in a constant state of becoming. – Bob Dylan

“What the hell am I doing?”

The question crept into my head just after 7am on the 4th of July.

You’d think that kind of self-interrogation and criticism would arise only after a late night of debauchery or a missed workout.

After all, I should’ve been peeling my hungover self off a couch (or stranger’s floor) and bee-lining it to the nearest breakfast burrito and cup of coffee.

Or at the very least, just sleeping in, lightening up and relaxing on a bonus rest day afforded by the holiday.

In past years, yeah – definitely. But nope, not this year.

I was at the gym, in the pool, somewhere in the middle of a ladder swim workout, when I shook my head and asked, “What the hell am I doing?”

I chuckled a bit (underwater) because in college, my friends and I used to laugh and ask that rhetorical question after particularly reckless nights and weekends (usually with the suffix: “with my life?”)

And in the time passed since then, I’ve found that during any change – be it a travel adventure, a career move, or a new hobby – “What the hell am I doing?” seems to float to the surface at some point along the transition.

Only under these circumstances, the question means something much different: it’s like your past self trying to bring you back to reality.

He’s whispering things like:

  • “You’re not a runner.”
  • “Humans weren’t meant to swim.”
  • “Since when are you a morning person?”
  • “Come on mang, days off is for day drinking.”

Nope – not today.

As obscure and unconventional as my past self finds me to be these days, I’m not satisfied, and not done pushing my boundaries to improve.

I followed my sister’s recommendation to read the book 10 Minute Toughness by Jason Selk, and am invigorated as ever to dominate my training plan and become an Ironman this year.

All this self-improvement and “What the hell am I doing?” talk reminds me of an excellent Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

She talks about power poses, and how little things like improving your posture can change your life.

But more importantly, she expounds upon the concept of “fake it till you make it,” and drills further to explain that a more accurate phrase would be “fake it till you become it.”

Her message and story resonated with me, and can be applied to so many aspects of life.

So when, “What the hell am I doing?” pops into my head as I wake up at 3:45am for a Saturday bike ride, swim lap after lap before work, pass on a slice of birthday cake at a party, or only hang out for one beer at happy hour, here’s my response: becoming an Ironman.

– Live every day –


  • Sharon Ronstadt

    C’mon readers! What the hell are YOU doing? Chime in, please. Me? Becoming a marathon runner.