Hmm! Under most circumstances I would not accept “Fake it ‘til you make it” as a good principle of life. But, after seeing hundreds of marriages ending up in divorce and lives destroyed by the rush for instant gratification, I’m compelled to borrow the phrase in order to make a point.

We have been conditioned by our culture to believe that the things that matter in life are those we feel passionate about, those things we truly believe in. The entire marketing industry has uses that cultural instinct to reach us. We make purchases based on our feelings, we get involved with people because of our feelings, we make life choices based on feelings, we even go to church based on feelings. Life one hundred years ago was built around duty and responsibility. Now it’s all about feelings, and what feels good rules!

The dark side of a life built around feelings is that when the feelings, the passion or the instinctive belief system is damaged or destroyed, we feel justified in moving on. It’s a cultural disorder, and viewed objectively it’s both surprising and alarming. This disorder has affected every area of life, from school and jobs to relationships, careers, professions, business… It’s endless.

I was talking to the director at a huge corporation in Los Angeles two weeks ago. He told me about one employee on which the company had bestowed a great deal of special treatment to get him trained in a particular skill area. They coped for a year with this employee’s bad temper, his undisciplined manners; they spent a great deal of time and money and gave him preferential treatment because he convinced them he was extraordinarily valuable to the company. Then, two weeks ago he walked into the office and told his manager he didn’t feel like working there anymore, and he left. My friend was shocked.
But how could he be shocked? Not only were the employee’s motives based on his instinctive “what’s best for me” values, but the company had also instinctively rated him as worth the extra effort. His belief system wasn’t based on anything other than feelings that mattered to him, and their belief system wasn’t based on anything more substantial.

The statistics on divorce, which holds steady at approximately 50% of all marriages, also show that nearly 75% of second marriages end in divorce. There are myriad reasons why couples split, but one we all certainly see is the one “explained” with the statement “I don’t feel like being married anymore.”

Not everyone thinks this way, of course. I’ve talked to people who have been married for 50 years, and I’ve talked to businessmen who have owned their business for 40 years. I seldom hear these folks talk about “feelings.”
There’s an overarching principle of life that supersedes the impulses of the “feeling” movement. It’s the ancient wisdom of the Old Testament in the Bible. Obey first, then you will understand. Act, and then you will feel. Set a purpose, then let the reward comes in its own time.

Part of the surge of the “feeling” movement is the notion that only you know what’s best for you. What undermines this premise is how many people presume to act selfishly but instead hurt themselves in the process. They make impulsive, selfish decisions that ultimately leave them angry, hurt and depressed. In the meantime, there is a trail of damaged people in their wake. The irony is that in acting on “feelings” rather than established morals and ethics, they’ve left themselves feeling bad. Those boring old rules of behavior may preclude impulsive, “feeling-based” choices, but they often leave us happier than we’d be if we reacted selfishly.

So I do see the value of “faking it ‘til you make it.” Following the rules, those based on having a high regard for ethics, morals and consideration of others –behaving the way you’re supposed to behave rather than acting on your “feelings”- will generally make you and everyone around you happier.

Apply these principles to marriage. One spouse is amorous, passionate, romantic and all into the “love” thing. The other spouse is pragmatic, structured, borderline boring and self-consumed. How does “fake it ‘till you make it” work in this scenario? The same way it worked 100 years ago. You make a promise and you stick with it. Stick with it and make it work! Whoever told you can break promises just because you “feel” like it? Are there reasons why a divorce is justifiable? Of course! But 50% of the time? No!

Research proves that most divorces are not justifiable but rather capricious and impulsive. Most people who dissolve their marriages because of “feelings” end up in equally unhappy subsequent relationships. The statistics bear this out. In each case, they hurt those around them in the quest to make choices that are intended only to serve themselves.

Apply this principle to work, a profession, a job, school and it works the same way. If your “feelings” are definitely pointing you in a different direction, test your feelings, seek advice and find out if they’re valid. Feelings have never meant to be directional in life, but rather informative. I always tell the people I coach, “Listen to your feelings, but filter them through reason, wisdom and common sense. Validate your feelings by thinking. Disable them by thinking if they are negative.”

So, yes, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it! What happens is that while you’re faking it you’re creating important disciplines for your life. My four kids have asked me the same question at different points during their growing years: “Why do I have to learn this or that? It’s so irrelevant? When am I going to use it?” Here is what I tell them: “Learn it as if your life depends on it. If you never use it, you’ll still develop your brain and the disciplines to be a good person in all the areas of your life.”

Simple! Isn’t it?

Author's Bio: 

Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt is co-founder of the "LIFE ZONE." Harold is a consultant, a seminar speaker and a LIFE Motivational Coach. The "LIFE ZONE" is a resource and a coaching center for personal and spiritual growth committed to providing sound strategies for dynamic living and LIFE FITNESS. Harold believes that PAIN is the greatest window into the best life has to offer! PAIN is never pleasant, it's never fun; but great people have always faced PAIN and difficult times before they found the key to a magnificent life. Harold resides in Southern California and is the father of four wonderful human beings! For more information and coaching visit: or call 1-888-MYZONE2 (699-6632)