It’s an old businessperson’s axiom: you have to spend money to make money. But what happens when you have no money? Many aspects of the world cruelly require the very thing we need more of. The more people you know, the easier it will be to make friends. If you have chickens you can get eggs. If you have eggs you can yield more chickens. Facebook’s Julie Zhuo on how to break this vicious cycle:

One great line from Gagan Biyani’s talk last week has stayed with me: faking the chicken. It means doing whatever it takes to get the chicken in place so that you can start reaping the benefit of eggs.

Or, if you’re lacking confidence, fake it until you make it. Act as if you have conviction in what you’re saying even if the entire neighborhood’s butterfly population has taken up residence in your stomach.

Or, if something seems out of your capabilities, surround yourself with people that have done it before. Take inspiration from those who make it look possible, and maybe even easy. Trick yourself into thinking you already have the chicken.

At the end of the day, that’s life—the constant wrestling with and pushing of the self. The cycle of striving for better and better cycles, so that we can achieve something of meaning in an unfair world.

Read her entire essay here.

  • Sarah Peterson

    I don’t think the “fake it till you make it” advice is necessarily to be dishonest or lie. I think it is speaking more to the common idea that you can’t do much of anything until you’re “good enough”, when really, being good enough is the result of years of just going out and doing it anyway—regardless of where your skills are at any given moment. It’s the doing of the work and the constant putting it into practice that reaps the benefit of skill.

    For example, sometimes when you hear a musician’s first single or studio album, you think, wow! They’re really talented. When in fact it’s more than just talent… it’s the result of years of tinkering around and playing in the basement and bombing the first gig, etc. If everybody just waited around until they actually were “good” they’d never really do or make anything.

    • Bob Tabor

      I completely agree to what you said about the musician … she is “laid bare for all to see” on that first painful gig. She can’t hide the fact that she is not quite there yet, and while there are glimpses of greatness, there’s no denying that she has just started along the road towards mastery. It’s a beautifully flawed natural moment — the struggle that MUST happen if she is ever to become great. This is a GREAT example of what I’m saying … and I completely agree.

      What I bristle at (to extend this particular analogy, although my focus was more business oriented) is those who were born with the blessing of good looks. Some producer sees she has the look that pop music just loves, convinces her to sign a contract and uses her as the puppet. She goes into the studio using songs the producer picked. Her lack of chops is no problem … she is auto-tuned to over-perfection. Later, she goes “on tour” and lip syncs to crowds in malls. Faked it. Made it. But it’s not sustainable. She will be found out for the fraud she is. Ask Milli Vanilli. 🙂

      • Sarah Peterson

        Haha, good point. I would argue that when we talk about “making it” perhaps we should re-define the term. Certainly it’s different than commercial success or fame.

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