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Letters to My Children: Pretend

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Today was a little hard, watching as you struggled at the plate for the first baseball game of the season. We worked with you during the off-season, and you're definitely better: you stand taller, you swing more explosively, you step more fluidly. Each facet of your hitting is getting better and better.

You just don't believe it.

Your disbelief at your new abilities makes you like most people: your own worst enemy. You see yourself as you were, not as you have become, and it prevents you from moving forward.

Let me help you with this. Let me tell you a secret that most people don't learn until they are much, much older, and some never learn. That secret is simple: everyone is pretending. Pretending to be adults. Pretending to be happy. Pretending to be living perfect lives. Pretending to be immune to the bad things in life.

Worse, some are even pretending to be alive. Not in the physical sense, but pretending nonetheless.

When you were first learning to walk, you either imitated those giants talking around you, or you pretended you knew how to walk until you finally did. Sure, you fell down a lot, but you know it now, you can walk. How silly, you think, of course you know how to walk. You also know how to jump, and talk, and run, and drink milk from a straw. You didn't always know how to do these things. Imitating and pretending enabled you to learn how to do each of these actions that come so naturally to you now.

The ultimate job of pretending belongs to actors. If they do their job well, then you believe they really are the characters they are portraying. Very few good actors instantly knew how to act, they had to work at it. They had to work at pretending. They had to pretend at pretending.

But pretending is what I'm going to ask you to do. When you go out for your next swing, I want you to pretend you're the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Pretend you have no fear of missing. Pretend you know intimately how to smack that ball out of the park, if that's what you want to do. Or that you can hit the perfect bunt. Pretend you run like the wind and you sprint to first base.

Because as you pretend, your body will listen. Your mind will listen. Your fear will lessen. When you pretend, you give yourself permission to do what your head is limiting you from doing.

Soon, you'll discover you don't need to pretend. You'll be doing. You'll be what you've been imaging. You will become. You will be.

Until then, pretend.