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Acting ‘As If’

In acting, there’s a concept called ‘as if’ or if you are a fan of Stanislavsky, the ‘Magic If’. It’s where the actor acts as if something was actually happening to them in a scene, in their own life, as if it was real. This allows the actor to respond in the moment, with authentic emotions and genuine intentions-- to achieve their goals and objectives within the scene. There is much psychological research in that human beings process and sometimes change their perspective of reality based on one’s experiences, their imagination, and the given circumstances of their current reality. Imagination, is the only area of these three that’s the most uniquely flexible —filled with a virtually limitless potential for creative change to happen; from the single perspective of a person in the moment.

Acting ‘as if’ allows people to embrace and become more aware of their sometimes hidden, however true potential. Each moment allows us to try on a new self and possibly experience a new perspective on how to approach life. Even if we consider this as just “playing“ with reality, since our mind processes experiences along with our imagination in the moment, we can actually build and strengthen new habits for application in everyday life. Or as a person who participated in recent research put it in relating to everyday relationships, "Acting gave me the tools that I didn't even know existed."

I sometimes use acting as if when I go for a run and I'm not feeling particularly motivated. I share this to bring to light the importance of whatever you choose to use is specific to you. When I am feeling tired when running, I think of myself as Rocky (in Rocky III) running down the beach with Apollo Creed. When I think this way (since we cannot have a thought without a feeling), I suddenly feel a sense of empowerment and energy-- literally out of nowhere.

Here’s an exercise to try on for size. Think of an actor in a scene from a favorite movie. Act as if that actor is you in dealing with whatever you have to deal with in your life right now (you could actually do this with anyone you admire). Ask yourself: "What better way could I handle my situation through taking on this role as if it were me? What qualities or attributes does this actor have that I am capable of trying out?" How might you/they handle your situation in a more pleasing, beneficial way, leading to a better outcome? I would love to hear how it goes! Reply in the comment box below or send me an email.

Act as if life is the way you would like it to be... “Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right” — Henry Ford

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About the Author

For over 20 years, John Cane has helped over 100,000 individuals in areas of Self Improvement. John is a Certified Integrated Wellness Coach (Mind, Body, and Spirit), motivational speaker, and writer. John has six certifications in Personal Growth and Development. His Journal Books, ‘Important Things I Remember from My Parents’ are used in schools and as an aid for adults in gaining strength in self-identity in the United States and Europe. John is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology & Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybrook University, Pasadena, California.

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