When was the last time you jumped? It may have been during an exercise class but quite possibly you may not have jumped at all lately! Do you ever find yourself slouching in your chair or walking with hunched shoulders and a droopy neck? This can easily happen without even being aware of it. More often than not we walk around with a lot of tension or sit hunched over our Smartphones and tablets.
New research reveals that poise is not the only thing lost when we give in to the temptation to slump. Such postures can send “sad” signals to our brain, darkening our mood. On the other hand, acting out certain “happy” movements has the opposite effect, brightening our outlook and lifting our spirits. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones. Cuddy and her team have classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded. Her famous TED talk on power poses goes into more detail on this. Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Amy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
—Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity
You can also jump symbolically by simply saying “yes” more. In fact, why not try saying “yes” for one day and see what happens? We have this ability to constantly say yes, agree to new opportunities, walk through new doors, and each time we do something, even if it’s a perceived failure or mistake, we’re always going to learn something. In fact, we’ll probably learn more if we fail. So it’s key to break down this fear of failure and start saying ‘yes’ to things that we know will enrich us, whichever way it goes. Have you ever noticed how often you say “No?” Not just to things that merit refusal, but to fresh ideas, new possibilities and the chance to make unexpected discoveries? Whenever you say “No” to life, you miss an opportunity: to discover something new, to try something you haven’t tried before, to learn and grow, to find some aspect of yourself or others that you missed before. To start afresh with an interest, a project or maybe your life’s true calling.
So many people go through life and work convinced that there is only one path open to them. That makes it true, because they never try anything else. But the world is a huge, glorious experiment, not a set of rules to be followed and boxes to the checked. How much you are willing to join in that experiment is up to you. The closer that you stick to the same script, the less you will discover about what might be even better. What holds most people back is fear of losing what they already have, however imperfect it might be. Just remember that you are in control of the experiment.
So jump and do power poses and say yes more! That’s it.
The Advantage is a unique two-day experiential learning workshop that raises immediate awareness of adaptability, empathy, critical thinking, integrity, being proactive, optimism and resilience. This workshop is currently being delivered within a range of settings from employability to corporate. It is effective because the facilitator works with what emerges from the group in the moment. We are currently licensing trainers to deliver this workshop. Find out more here.
The Advantage workshop is based on the book by Emma Sue Prince published by Pearson Business and translated into eight languages.