Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted February 22, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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Keep Your Game Face On

Read More: better self, change, growth, transformation

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I saw a movie recently in which one of the characters told his wife in the movie to keep her game face on.

He told her this because he didn't want her to let her guard down and reveal the truth, which was that they were not the honeymooning couple they appeared to be.

Keeping their game face on meant that they should stay in character and that they should not reveal any underlying fear or doubt.

This reminded me of advice I give to people who are trying to change.

In general, when people want to transform themselves into a better version of themselves, I encourage them to repeat affirmations throughout the day to remind themselves of who they want to be and in what ways they want to change and grow.

I also encourage them to do creative visualizations before going to sleep, whereby they get into a meditative space and then envision themselves exactly the way they wish to be, feeling good about their new image.

Additionally, I advise them to "act as if," which means they should act as if they have already accomplished their transformation, and they should act the way their new self would act.

It's very difficult to be somebody we're not on a daily, consistent basis, but if we can do this, if we can act as if we are that idealized version of ourselves, we can become that version.

It takes a lot of concentration, vigilance over our thoughts, and discipline to maintain the facade, but it can be done.

When we find ourselves slipping out of character and returning to our old patterns and ways of behaving, we don't demonstrate our fears, insecurities, weaknesses and doubts.

We can share these feelings with significant others we trust, but we do the best we can not to leak these feelings indiscriminately onto others in our lives.

We do the best we can to present ourselves, regardless of what is happening around us, as calm, confident and charismatic. We smile. We laugh. We stay positive. We keep our energy up.

We don't indicate that we're feeling weird or insecure. We don't indicate that we don't have our new self down pat quite yet. We keep our game face on.

Over time, as we practice, persist, and consistently act as if, our behaviors become habits, and eventually we are that person we wish to be, we are our better self.