Fake it until you become it! This is the phrase that inspired me to write this post. Stick with me and you’ll know what it means.
As a kid, I was always told by my parents to hold my shoulders high if I don’t want to become hunchbacked. Even though my folks back home didn’t know the neuro-anatomical implications of this aspect, I wanna thank them for trying to have me adopt a good body posture for the sake of my physical health.
After reading several books on body language such What Every Body is Saying which was written by an Ex-FBI Agent whose name is Joe Navarro, the research that Allan Pease conducted on body language, as well as Paul Ekman’s book called Emotion’s Revealed, I happened to start developing the beautiful technique of reading the others around me and better understanding them by their postures and facial expressions.
The work and the research of Dr. Paul Ekman has inspired many throughout the world, as well as a TV-series in the U.S. called Lie to Me, which is about a doctor who solves crimes by reading the facial micro-gestures of criminals.
Besides, the researches that have been conducted in the past few decades show there is a direct connection between how we look in front of others, how we feel about that, and also how others perceive us.
1. Here’s an example:
This is a very relaxed (the left one – extremely relaxed) individual whose ideas will most likely flow out of his brain as they are conceived. The person to whom he talks will perceive him as being very confident.
2. Here’s another one:
Both males reveal an open body posture, because each of them are holding the hands on the hips or in the pockets. The orientation of their feet reveals they are open for another person to join the discussion.
The message that is communicated by either of these 2 males to each other is well received because the body posture allows it. These postures encourage communication and each of them most likely feels confident into sharing his thoughts with the other one.
3. Here’s another posture that is totally opposite to the open position:
This guy will not retain most of the messages directed to him by others (persons, media, noise, etc). This posture is deeply wired in the brain so that it stands as a barrier to any outside influence. Most of us do it unconsciously in our talks with our friends and loved ones.
Trying becoming aware when you should retain something and you are in this position. You should immediately open up. Also, try removing others from this position when they talk to you, unless you want them forget almost everything you say.
These three and many, many more are universal body gestures which have been shaped towards perfection in the human mind for eons of evolution.
The connection between our bodies and our minds is bi-directional. The human mind can influence the body, while the body can also influence the human mind, if persistent.
This is also why Amy Cudy (learn about her later) was saying: Fake it until you become it!
She means that we should adopt positive body gestures to trick our minds into thinking that everything is okay, until the situation is really improved.
For example when you are in an interview or in a chat with someone, even though you may feel a bit disconnected and may have less self-confidence, try these postures:
Or if you think that’s too dominant, just use this one:
Always adopt such a body position which is at least equal or superior compared to the body posture of the one you are talking to.
Never adopt body lowering gestures like the ones below because they transmit to you and to the others a very humble (negatively speaking) attitude:
If your body express a low attitude, your mind will conform to that attitude and your audience (friends, family, girlfriend, boyfriend, boss, etc) will treat you the way you treat yourself.
Have a good body posture at all times: when you walk the street, while at shopping, while at work, while at home, at all times and you will see how things change around. Force yourself into having these body postures until they become part of your reality. Your whole world will change in front of your eyes.
A little more technical explanation is that your body gestures send a message to your brain, which in turn activates the release of different hormones (epinephrine or cortisol) which can either elevate or lower your comfort and stress levels.
The way you expose yourself is the way you are treated by others!
The concept of fake it until you become it is very ingenious because you are taking advantage of something that is known (only few know and apply it) about the anatomy and wiring between our body and our brain to obtain something that through other means would be difficult to obtain.
1. Do this if you want to be happy:
2. Do this if you want to make other people happy:
3. Do this for high self-confidence:
And, most importantly, do it all the time!
One of the most extensive readings that I did on this subject was the book of the federal agent. He wrote this book as a result of his 30+ years of experience within the FBI. He explains in detail what your feet are saying about yourself by the way they are positioned, what your body in general is saying, what body postures are different in men and women, and what your hands and face are transmitting.
Joe Navarro, the author of What Every Body is Saying also teaches you how to look and analyze the context in which other people make gestures so that you can determine the false positives, those situations when touching your forehead is a result of something that itches you over there and not the acute feeling of guilt.
I have to admit, I’m only half way through but I keep struggling with the concept of fake it until you become it because I know that this will change also the way I perceive myself, the way I feel, the way I am, and also the way others see myself.
Here’s the video of Amy Cudy, which partially inspired me to write this post:
Also, to start an interesting discussion, please tell me what body posture from Amy’s video or from this post you would use to change your mind with the help of your body? What exactly would you like to change?
Need more self-confidence? Need to be happier? Need to be more trustworthy? What do you need? Please share your thoughts in the sections below.
Joe Navarro – What Every Body is Saying – An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People
Allan Pease – The Definitive Book of Body Language
Dr. Paul Ekman – Emotions Revealed – Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life
Special thanks for the illustrations to: India Bix