It has been the most-watched and maybe the most misunderstood TED-Talk ever: “Your body language may shape who you are” from Amy Cuddy, University professor and Social Psychologist. In a nutshell, she found that not only our mind steers our body, but our body posture can influence how we feel, think and behave. More concretely, she found which kind of postures help us to establish feelings of confidence, particularly when facing rather intimidating uncertain and unknown situations, such as job interviews, an exam, a first date or any other existentially meaningful situations. Only 2 minutes embodying one of these “victorhood” postures helps to unleash respective hormones which lead us to feel more confident and to behave out of this feeling of confidence. And of course, the opposite holds true too: “closing-off” or “hiding” our bodies in a “victimhood” pose will decrease the respective hormones responsible for feeling confidence.
It’s not a talk about body language - it’s a talk about helping people to raise their confidence and step into their own power.
The talk reminds us of an underused self-coaching tool to raise our confidence when facing the unknown: Our body. What makes this talk so valuable to me came across when listening between the lines. By exemplifying her insights based on her own personal story, it became clear that Amy’s intention was to spread these insights first and foremost to raise equality. It was not about promoting her research but to share these valuable insights particularly among empaths, introverts and the underprivileged who have a hard time believing and trusting in themselves, particularly in intimidating competitive situations. It’s about helping them to step into their own power and realize their full potential.
It’s not about how to fake others best - it’s about a conscious body-mind connection.
I guess most people see in this talk a lesson in how I can fake others into believing I am powerful even though I feel uncertain. This is a misinterpretation and when listening to the end, Amy Cuddy warns explicitly of using the insights in this way. When I look at all the public photos of entrepreneurs and managers who typically use the pose with their arms crossed in order to demonstrate power and confidence, I assume they haven’t had the time to watch the talk up to the end or did not understand the details between the lines. Otherwise, they would know that the most natural pose of power is to spread your arms like wings, opening up your heart to the world and to the others, signaling a total openness for what comes and embracing the New with total confidence and faith!