confidence · Fake it until you become it · life lessons · TED Talk

Fake it until you become it

We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it until you make it.”  I tell this to my students often to build their confidence.  However, I recently watched a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy.  She spoke about body language shaping who you are, as it is an important piece of nonverbal communication and language.  Many are judged based on these “nonverbals” as she calls them.  Powerful people take up a lot of space and their bodies are more open.  The opposite is true of the powerless, who close up their bodies hunch, and try to make themselves look small.  It should come as no surprise that in the study Cuddy was involved in, women felt the most powerless.
During her talk, she suggested a new spin to “fake it until you make it,” which is to “fake it ’til you become it.”  What an interesting idea.  She takes the original idea, which implies showing outer confidence, and makes it about you (inner confidence).  The transformation becomes not about just what you show others, but how you feel about yourself.  Once you’re able to change the way you feel about you, you become it and know that you have it.
Confidence is something that you have or don’t.  Many, myself included, struggle with a lack of confidence.  For me, it is in part due to my shyness.  I am most confident being able to express myself with written words.  Unfortunately, you can’t always take time to form a written response, rather having to come up with a verbal response on-the-spot, which can be painful, anxiety-driven, and an overall tough thing to do.
Cuddy talked about using power poses.  I’ve heard others mention using them as well.  The most well-known is the “Wonder Woman” pose.  There are a few variations of it.  The one I think of first is standing straight, legs apart, hands on your hips.  This is the iconic image I have of her from comic books and TV.  Another pose is the one you often see athletes make after reaching the finish line:  standing with arms raised in a ‘V.’  You use your body to change your mind, making an impactful change in the way you view yourself.
What tips have helped you with gaining confidence?

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