Act As If: How Confidence Makes Dreams Come True

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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What does it mean to act as if? Can the practice of learning how to act as if help you work on manifestation, and using the Law of Attraction?

To act as if means to act as though you’ve already achieved the things you want, and been granted your wishes by the universe. This technique uses the power of positivity to ensure you’re emitting positive energy, and get good things in return. Read more about the “act as if” technique below.

What Is Act As If? What Does It Do?

Any action you take is guided by thought. When you take action, you are fulfilling the thought that inspired us to act. When you want to create something in your life, your actions should support what you’re trying to attract. 

You’ve heard the phrase “Fake it till you make it.” The principle of act as if is the same thing. This idea is a physical embodiment of Step 3 in the Creative Process: feeling the joy of receiving what you have asked for. The same is true for actions. You should know how to act as if you already have it.

  • For example, if you want a new bike but live in a cramped apartment, clear a space and hang a bike hook so the universe knows you are ready to receive.
  • If you want your significant other to commit and move in, make a new key, clear a space in your drawers and medicine cabinet, or get an extra parking pass. 
  • These actions tell the universe you believe and know that you will receive what you want. 
  • If you leave things as is, it’s like saying, “There’s no room in my life for what I’ve asked for.” If you send that signal to the universe, the Law of Attraction will continue to reflect that reality back to you. 

Actions, like feelings, are a good way to understand what your thoughts are. You may not even realize what you’ve been thinking. But by looking at how you behave, you can start to understand your underlying thoughts and act as if.

Example: Byrne had an artist friend who was attractive and successful but perpetually single, despite his desire to date.

When he painted, he always painted women with their backs to him, at first believing it was a stylistic preference. Later, he realized the pictures represented his subconscious thoughts about how women saw him. Despite his attributes, he thought he was unable to get noticed by women. 

After realizing what his thoughts were, he started painting pictures of himself with women. A few months later, he was inundated with dates. Because of act as if, he was able to conjure the life he envisioned.

This artist hadn’t realized that his actions were antithetical to his wants. By aligning his actions with his desires, he was able to focus all of his power on the thing he wanted—dates with women. With his newly aligned actions, he signaled the universe to bring that picture to him.

Let the Universe Guide Your Actions

Instincts are the manifestation of inspiration from the universe. The universe is pulling you toward the thing you asked for so you can receive it. Trust your instincts and know they are leading you toward inspired action. The universe knows your energy, and knows if you understand how to act as if you already have it.

Inspired action differs from forced action. For many people, the term “action” denotes work. But action is often only work when it is forced.

  • Forced action is blindly acting in a way you believe will bring something about.
    • For instance, you may overburden your life with work, thinking it is what you need to do to afford the lifestyle you want.
    • You haven’t asked for what you want and received the answer “take on more work.” You’ve forced the action to get a result. 
    • Forced action is a deviation from the Creative Process and feels like a struggle.
  • Inspired action is when you are acting in accordance with the universe, or acting in a way that allows you to receive.
    • Inspired action doesn’t feel like work.
    • Inspired action occurs when you allow the inspiration from the universe to guide what you do.
    • Rather than overburden your life with work to be able to buy the things you want, trust the universe to provide the answers you need to attain what you want.
    • You may end up working more, but the work will be inspired by the universe. You will not feel a struggle because you know that, through the action, you are receiving.
    • With inspired action, it’s possible to not realize you are acting until you receive because you felt good or happy. 
  • Imagine that you’re running down a long country road. When you are acting to try to bring something about, you are running against the wind. You feel the pressure holding you back, fighting you for each step forward. When you are acting through inspiration, you are heading the opposite way, with the wind at your back. You are being pushed forward. You feel your momentum improving. 

Make a Vision Board

A Vision Board is a physical representation of all the things you want and an important part of how to act as if you already have it. To create one, get a poster board. Cut out pictures representing what you want in your life – things, people, experiences. Looking at your Vision Board, you should feel it encompasses all the major things you want out of life.

The act of creating a vision board means you can act as if.

As you put each item on the board, make sure you take a moment to feel the experience of already having that item now. 

  • If you put a picture of a beach vacation on your board, feel what it’s like to be on that beach—the sun, the Mai Tai, the sand in your toes, the relaxation deep inside. If you can feel what it’s like to be there, the universe will find a way to bring those feelings into reality. 

Put your Vision Board in a place where you can see it everyday. Take a moment every day to visualize your ideal life.

Vision Boards are good activities to do with children to help them begin to understand the Law of Attraction. You’re never too young to start creating the life you want or learn what it means to act as if.

Act as if is a principle that helps you envision what you want, and gain control over your life. As you learn how to act as if, remember that you control the outcomes of your life, and can change it for the better.

Act As If: How Confidence Makes Dreams Come True

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret" at Shortform.

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  • How to visualize the future you want to increase your success
  • Why visualization works, according to the laws of the universe
  • Why thinking about negative things sabotages your success

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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