Can POWER POSING change your life for the better?
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, talks about “Power posing” and how nonverbal actions can impact our lives and increase the chances of success. She focuses on how the nonverbals of a person like their thoughts, feelings, and physiology affect that person themselves with a special focus on the nonverbal expression of power and dominance.
Power posing according to Amy is standing in a “confident posture” even when we don’t feel confident, to increase our self-belief.
She also says that when a person is low they tend to do the opposite, i.e. they make their body as small as possible. From an example of her class, she talks about how the feeling of the different degrees of power affects their body language. Being an instructor at a renowned business school, she observed that the students who are generally confident tend to ask questions or answer queries by raising their hand quite high, whereas a person, low on confidence tends to raise their hand at a really low level than the others. The observations confirm that our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us but the real question is whether our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves.
Amy Cuddy explains that there are many differences between powerful and powerless people, as the powerful ones like to take more risks, they are good at decision making, etc. and she further explains that hormones are responsible for the feeling of power and dominance in our bodies. One may feel powerful if they have a high level of testosterone and may feel very stressed when they have a high amount of cortisol. She detailed the effects of “power posing,” based on research by herself and other scientists working in the field where a few people were told to sit in a room with the “confidence pose” and the others were told to sit in the “low confidence pose”. Then a gambling game was done for all the people involved and also their saliva samples were checked before and after taking them out of the room. It was noted that people who sat in the room with the “confidence pose” not only had more confidence to gamble but also had high levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol as compared to when they entered the room. And for people sitting in the “low confidence pose,” they had the opposite results. A small manipulation in their body language for about two minutes showed changes in their hormonal levels that can configure one’s brain to be either assertive, confident, and comfortable or be stress reactive or shut down.
Bringing attention to the topic of whether power posing can change our lives in meaningful ways, the talk describes how practicing the change in our body language can lead to change in our mind, behavior, and outcome with a personal story from Amy’s life. An accident during her college time dropped Amy’s IQ by 2 standard deviations. As a result, she struggled a lot to compete with the others in her batch. One of the most important things which helped Amy get through her college and eventually be able to make it as an instructor at a business school was “power posing” and believing in herself. She concludes with the powerful statement,
“Tiny tweaks lead to big changes and just two minutes of power posing can bring the best in oneself.”
To watch the full TED talk, visit the following link: