The gist: Not only does our body language influence other people’s judgment of us, it also shapes how we see ourselves.
From the studies Amy Cuddy has conducted, people’s postures affect their hormone levels, thus influencing their decisions and performance. For example, power posing for 2 minutes before your job interview can make you feel confident thus more likeable. Basically, you can trick your brain into performing in your favor.
To be honest, I’ve had my doubts about these psychological “tricks.” Sure, telling myself I can do it definitely will make things magically easier. But for the past few months, I’ve been carrying this routine where I look into the mirror every morning and say to myself, “I’m happy; today will be an awesome day!” Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? But it starts off my day on a positive note and sends me off with a bright attitude. This is Amy’s point. It’s not about changing the situation you are in, but rather to change your perspective and attitude, which might then change the outcome.
“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”
In response to the popular saying “fake it till you make it,” Amy tells a poignant story about one of her students at Harvard to illustrate her point: you can’t stop when you “make it,” you have to keep “faking it” until one day you realize that you’ve actually become it and that you don’t feel like you are an impostor anymore. Even when you are scared to death, keep telling yourself that you are supposed to be here.
Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes. Sit up straight, walk with your chin up, smile. Feel good about yourself so others can feel good about you. It’s science. Your body language affects your testosterone and cortisol. And many desired qualities–confidence, composure etc.– are controlled by exactly these hormones.
Use your body to make positive suggestions to your mind, configure your brain, and internalize it until you actually become it.