When I was a young boy, one of my favorite stories was "The Little Engine That Could". The determined, little steam engine got up the steep hill by repeating "I think I can, I think I can" instead of listening to self-defeating thoughts. This proved to be one of the sources of my optimism and sense of adventure throughout my life. There have been numerous successes where I started out needing to "fake it until I make it". Yet now that I have more insight to reflect upon this, I see more to the dynamics involved than "thinking I can".
Most of us have experiences where we did not succeed. "Faking it until we make it" did not work like it was supposed to. In those situations, we know that we're a fake. The thoughts we attract avoid disrupting or contradicting what we know. We may suddenly think "I can do this" when subconsciously we know we'll be shown up as a fake. We may think "I'll succeed if I try hard enough" and end up giving up because no amount of trying disproves our premise of "I can't". We might also think we can overcome the obstacles and show others they are wrong about us, only to discover our reputation is "right on".
We also have experiences where we do succeed at 'faking it until we make it". In those situations we know we will succeed before we do. The thoughts we attract avoid contradicting our conviction about our imminent success. We will think "I can do this" and subconsciously know we're right. We may think "I'll succeed if I try hard enough" and sure enough, we do. We may think we can overcome obstacles and live up to our well-deserved reputation as someone who succeeds at what we set out to do.
There's another facet to succeeding by knowing "it's a can-do" that involves other people. If we are doing something for them, instead of ourselves, what they know can overrule what we know. If they know that "nothing works out for me like it should" while we know "we can do this and succeed", their tale of woe can win. However if they know we will succeed and we know that too, the success will come more easily than usual. Both of us will attract thoughts about what to do, how and when to do it. Moods, motivations and energy levels will show up as a vibrational match.
When we want to change "knowing we're a fake" to "knowing we will succeed", we may need a life changing incident. Mere thinking, affirmations and visualizations are "after the fact" -- attracted by what we know to be the fact. They are kept powerless from changing what we know. They seem convincing and apparently effective until proven to have no effect on what we continue to know is always and escapably true.
The alternative is to "not know" what the facts are. By returning to innocence, wonder and curiosity, there are no known facts to run the show. We can use our "beginner's mind" to start afresh. To overrule our past history, it usually helps to thoroughly capture the present situation as unfamiliar in so many different ways. We need to think 'this is different from last time" rather than "I think I can". If we think with questions like "I wonder how this will turn out", we mess up the known answers for "how it always turns out". We're free to be how we want to be.