A long time ago, 1988 to be precise, there was a great TV movie about the Roger Bannister story- you know, breaking the four minute mile.
The actor that played Bannister, Richard Huw was an OK runner, but had to train to look credible and copy Bannister's precise running style. What was interesting was his claim that as Richard Huw, he could run OK, but as Bannister, he was quicker.
That's right, when he was acting as a famous runner he was faster than running as himself.
It doesn't make any sense, but it makes all the sense in the world.
The mind, and what it believes it can do, are far more maleable than we lead ourselves to believe. So is the actual self.
You can atcually change your personality by 'acting' like the person you want to be. If you want to be more confident, pretend to be more confident, copy the mannerisms and traits of someone confident you admire and eventually you won't be pretending any more.
But you can have an instant effect too, with all sorts of ways to trick the mind. That's why wearing the sports gear of your heroes isn't so dumb- you feel a bit more like them and start to play a little more like them.
Even more, copying Federer's forehand does't just help technique, it makes feel a little more like Federer and that precious mental spark makes you hit the ball that little bit better.
Just as my defective freestyle stroke was healed by trying to copy Micheal Phelps' distinctive stroke. Not just because of the technique, more that trying to BE more like Phelps enough tricks the mind into thinking you are.
Just as the biggest crunch meeting of the last few years for me saw myself and the very pretty account director decide to go as Don Draper and Joan. Now, it surprised the clients, expecting the usual overpriced, agency smart casual garb, but more than that, we nailed it. I really felt like I was presenting carousel.
Anyway, what I'm driving at is that if you want to address your personality, or if you want to be better at something, or get through a difficult twenty four hours, the only thing stopping is you is you.
If you're a suit wanting to be a planner, look at planners you admire and copy them. Their mannerisms, how they come accross, in fact, dress like them. But do more than that, read what they read, watch what they watch. And by acting like them, you'll find you become them.
That goes for planners wanting to be a bit more organised, or hold the room like a suit.
Just as,if you want to be patient fun parent, copy parents you admire, become them. Flick that mental switch when you become someone else.
Just as, if you want to hit better topspin forehands, invest in some Nike tennis gear and copy Nadal. Pretend you are him.
Just as, when Richard Huw copied Bannister, he ran faster.
That's why using relevant celebrities in brands isn't that daft. L'oreal might not make you look like Beyonce or Cheryl Cole, but it will make you feel a little more like them and perhaps that's all that matters.
So yes, it's not so much that you can be who you want to be, it's more that acting like someone else actually MAKES you someone else eventually.