Fake it til you make it

I love popular science, so of course I love TED Talks. Here’s one you should check out—a 20-minute commitment. The visual isn’t much, so turn it on while you’re washing dishes and just listen. ?????????????????

Link to the video: click here –> Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains, “that your body language shapes who you are. In the same way that you can improve your mood by forcing yourself to smile, pretending to feel powerful by taking a physically powerful stance can actually make you feel more powerful.” Cuddy’s research questions are, “We know that our minds change our bodies, but is it also true that our bodies change our minds?” Through a fairly simple experiment, she shows that the answer is yes. A further experiment answers the question about whether assuming a powerful pose—power posing, she calls it—“can really change your life in meaningful ways.” Again, the research gives the answer yes.

In this video, Cuddy talks about power. A professor at Harvard Business School, she studies power dynamics that have to do with dominance, confidence, and assertiveness accompanied by low stress or feeling comfortable. This is the kind of power we’re aware of in the workplace or in person-to-person situations.

Today, I’m thinking of power as physical strength, building muscles, and physical fitness. I find her research and results helpful for this personal training adventure we’re on. Cuddy espouses the fake it til you make it method: spend two minutes in a power pose to increase your confidence and lower your stress hormones. In cases where you do not feel confident or low stress, use your body language to change your mind and drive your behaviors, affecting your outcomes.

So, I’ve been doing this: using my body language and my thoughts and feelings to pump myself up—literally. I picture my capably strong core and powerful leg muscles doing things I want to do. One of our trainers has advised us to “put your mind on your muscle” while lifting weights. Know what muscle you’re using, he says, and focus on it while you’re using it. I like using my imagination to picture how my body will look as I continue to get slimmer and fitter. My own imagination is somehow far more motivating for me than a trip to Paris (although I still plan to win the lose-weight-go-to-Paris challenge!)

The fake it til you make it method has worked for me in so many aspects of my life. Yes, I still have to show up and lift the weights and I have to choose what foods and amounts I do or don’t put in my mouth, but I’m using all my thoughts and feelings to supercharge these activities and choices.

Amy Cuddy’s video leaves us with this: “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.” Six months of personal training and a smarter, super-healthy diet may not seem like a tiny tweak, but six months out of the 504 I expect to continue living … well, here’s to big changes.

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2 thoughts on “Fake it til you make it

  1. Love this! I’m a huge fan of using the Wonder Woman pose, as well as a God Father-esque office chair to infuse power into my work. Good luck on your Paris challenge. (I’m going to try that focusing on the muscle thing!)

  2. You are speaking my language, body language, here, and I love it. I feel compelled, drawn, to yoga every day. It may sound ridiculous to some, but when I begin to move into ‘poses’ that root my feet into the earth, connect me to the strength of my legs and abdomen, lift my breastbone (heart) and crown of my head upward, with a little tuck in my chin, I feel alive. Present. Aware of my presence in my own life. Strong, Empowered. And humble. This process is a daily awakening and I want to be awake and participate in my own life as it cycles and spins and moves toward wherever I am going. It is truly a celebratory process and an honor to guide and observe this subtle awakening in the bodies, minds and spirits of my students.
    Namaste Ratchet.

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