Yesterday I read an interview with an author who praised the art of pretense. Not pretending to be someone you aren’t — pretending to be capable and competent when you feel just the opposite. Pretend you’re good at it, she said. Pretend you’re good at something when you clearly feel you are not. This advice wasn’t about not being able to admit there are things you cannot or should not do — like deciding to re-wire the house when you aren’t an electrician or running a marathon without training — it was about administering courageous self talk when you feel you need it and convincing your inner self that indeed you are proficient. When you are about to speak in front of a group of people for instance, when you are walking into a strange and new situation, when you feel fearful in the face of difficulty. Step bravely and pretend you’re good at it.