Not many people know that the "con" in con-artist is short for confidence - the main skill needed to successfully pull the wool over someone's eyes. It's how people like Frank Abagnale could travel all over the world for free in the jump seat of a Pan Am jet. By posing as a pilot, Mr. Abagnale successfully convinced security guards, stewardesses, and even actual pilots that he was someone he was not. He truly embodied a false identity. In a way it's something we all do. We are our own greatest deceivers. We live in a culture of the curated personality. We crop, edit and even delete the aspects of our lives that we don't like. Constantly justifying, ignoring, and procrastinating. We are our own con-artists. But often without the confidence. When we sculpt the perfect persona we often end up hiding behind it. Empathy, openness and in turn confidence, fall to the wayside, hindering the real life skills that make us human. We end up believing in our own con.
Having the confidence to make mistakes and to be vulnerable is, in my opinion the key to success. Unlike Mr. Abagnale we can afford to slip up every once and a while and question the lies we tell others and ourselves. It's what makes us human. Hiding behind our social avatars is often the easiest way to fall victim to our own (false) high standards. If we are authentic with ourselves we often find that the world is easily accessible, goals achievable, and genuine connection can be made. Pretending to be someone else was a way for Frank Abagnale to ignore the truth. It was a way to cope with the lack of control. And although Mr. Abagnale worked solo, I gather he feared being alone. By becoming aware of the falsehoods you might be perpetuating in your own life you enable yourself to break down the walls you've built only to discover what you're truly made of.