Action faking is an idea that I first heard in MJ Demarco's Unscripted and I really like the idea. I shared it with my psychologist and even she thinks it's great. (maybe she will use the idea with other patients)
Action faking is when you think you are making progress toward something BUT you're not actually doing real, meaningful work to achieve your desired whatever.
Action-Faking (verb): Is any action, task, or "to do" that isn't found within the critical path-- the exact steps that will get you your first customer. An action-fake is playing dopamine games with your brain. — MJ Demarco
I.e. your are getting things done on your to do list, which make you feel good. BUT the things you are getting done on your to do list aren't really that important. So you're actually sort of deluding yourself into believing you're making progress at something, when you're not.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest to fool.” — Richard Feynman
He applies this concept mostly to business and entrepreneurship but I think it can be applied to many things throughout life.
- Swiping through Tinder. It makes you feel like you're making progress toward something you want — getting a significant other, having sex, etc. But most of the time, it leads to nothing and it's just a waste of time.
- Going to business school with the goal of running a business. This one isn't as bad but I can tell you from my own personal experience, I went to business school and once I got out, I was pissed Queen's Comm never taught me how to run a real business. I was of the mindset that Queen's Comm never set up a business structure for me, taught me how to run it, etc. etc. Looking back on it, if i truly wanted to learn how to run a business, it probably would have been better for me to just start a business LOL
- Reading self-help books. I did this in 2019 and 2020 soooooo much. I read a ton of self-help books/psychology books to figure out "what is wrong with me". However, when I finished the book, I'd move onto the next self-help book I deemed crucial and never ended up putting anything into practice from the books I had read. So I thought I was making progress (look at all the books I've read) but I wasn't actually doing actions based on what I was learning.
- Complaining about soreness/body issues but never goes to see the doctor. Person X complains all the time about soreness. They say they've looked up doctor's phone number online but can never seem to get ahold of the doctor to book an appointment. This kind of demonstrates to me that they don't actually want it bad enough to get fixed; or, put another way, their issue isn't severe enough for them to actually stop action faking and #MakePlays #NotExcuses.
Written: October 28, 2020
I will add more examples of action faking as I think about them.
- This is why therapy based in actions/behaviours, such as CBT, DBT, and ACT, are so important. It's about taking steps to act on things you've learned.
- Reason I write about this article is that I've been struggling with this. Each week, I tell my psychologist, "Hey, this is what I'd like to do for this next upcoming week." Then the next session rolls around and I realized that I've been busy but haven't done the stuff I said I wanted to do...
- For me, I think I need to institute the The Eisenhower Matrix or something like that (maybe Getting Things Done?) to better juggle my work.