To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday, I thought I’d steal some of his wisdom.
“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.”
That’s currently my favourite Shakespeare quote because it’s way classier than saying fake it till you make it.
If you don’t think you are where you want to be, start acting like a person who is. Ask yourself, what would they do in a situation like this, assume the virtue, even if you are sure you haven’t got it.
As Hamlet goes on to point out, the more you assume the virtue, the easier it becomes to assume, until you get to a point where you can assume it without any trouble.
True, you may wonder whether Hamlet is such a great role model. I mean, he drove his girlfriend to suicide, murdered several people and regularly hallucinated conversations with his dead father. I get that those might not have been the best life choices, but he did have a lovely turn of phrase.
And perhaps things would have gone better for him if he hadn’t taken his own advice. Maybe if he’d assumed the virtue of prudence and fortitude rather than a mantle of insanity then the play would have ended up with a big musical number and his marriage to Ophelia.
Take his advice: don’t follow his example.