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Published on February 25, 2020

Does the Power Pose Really Boost Your Confidence (And Why)?

Does the Power Pose Really Boost Your Confidence (And Why)?

Wait a minute, is the power pose a thing again? Didn’t I remember hearing about that from some of my friends a couple of years back?

Well, yes, you probably did. That thing known as the power pose has come back around again.

If you aren’t fully aware of what the power pose is, don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of company. Many people vaguely remember hearing or reading about it but can’t quite recall the details.

The idea is actually pretty cool, and if it can possibly help boost your confidence, then shouldn’t we know more about it? Of course we should!

But, you might be wondering, does the power pose really work? Before we try to answer that question, we should refresh our memories on what exactly it is. So, let’s take a look.

What Is the Power Pose?

First, let’s just look at a quick definition of what the power pose is.

Power posing is a controversial self-improvement technique or “life hack” in which people stand in a posture that they mentally associate with being powerful, in the hope of feeling and behaving more assertively.

Though the underlying science is strongly disputed, its promoters continue to argue that people can foster positive life changes simply by assuming a “powerful” or “expansive” posture for a few minutes before an interaction in which confidence is needed.

One popular image of the technique in practice is that of candidates “lock[ing] themselves in bathroom stalls before job interviews to make victory V’s with their arms.” [1]

History of the Power Pose

The power pose as a concept was first introduced in a paper published in the journal Psychological Science in 2010.

The people behind the paper were Dana R. Carvey, Amy Cuddy, and Andy Yap. The three authors claimed that strong power poses produce actual mental power.

The study included 42 participants who were coached to assume a physical position of power.

Their hormones were tested before and after the posing, and the authors claimed that there was an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol after posing.

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The researchers went on to claim that using power poses can induce lasting hormonal changes, which can in turn lead to positive work outcomes such as successful wage negotiations and job interviews.

The TED Talk

The power pose really came to prominence during a famous TED Talk by Amy Cuddy in 2012. Cuddy, an American Social Psychologist, was on the faculty at the Harvard School of Business when the paper was published.

Her video went on to become the 2nd most viewed TED Talk on YouTube, with over 43 million views to date. [2]

It’s a very interesting talk to watch and well worth the time.

After the TED Talk, things really took off for Cuddy. She became a much sought-after speaker and somewhat of a celebrity in the science world, and she went on to publish the book “Presence” in 2015.

She became the main spokesperson and advocate for power posing and how it can positively affect your performance, primarily at work.

Backlash

The entire power pose concept made a big splash when it was introduced in 2010, and it grew to great prominence after Cuddy’s 2012 TED Talk. Then, the backlash against the power pose began.

Of course, many times when a new theory or idea is presented in science, there are naysayers and doubters.

However, for some reason, the adverse reaction to the power pose claim and in particular to Cuddy was more than the usual amount.

There were a variety of factors for the backlash, but the biggest one seems to be the inability to replicate the same results as put forth by Amy Cuddy and her two associates.

This was the case in a number of studies after the rise in popularity of the power pose.

The P-Curve

Much of the controversy also came into question due to a statistical technique referred to as the p-curve.

What is the p-curve?

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Boiling it down to its simplest terms, the p-curve technique is the theory that if a majority of studies in a particular area just barely meet the criteria for statistical significance, then the research itself may not be legitimate and valid.

It could be a sign that researchers manipulated their data or excluded certain data to make their point more relevant, or potentially that they even just gotten lucky.

Some of the science community stated that the findings presented by Cuddy and her two associates did not pass the p-curve, and therefore the findings were not valid.

Hence, these community members claimed, the “power pose” theory was not real.

Does the Power Pose Really Boost Your Confidence?

So, one group of people says the power pose has science behind it to prove it’s true. Another group of people say that science and the studies aren’t valid, so the power pose is simply a fairy tail.

Who is right?

The Science

It’s been written a number of times since the backlash to the power pose that there is actual science behind it.

Cuddy published a paper in 2018 in the Psychological Science Journal that shows extensive evidence that the power pose (now renamed “postural feedback”) is valid. [3]

Her publication examines 55 studies and does demonstrate a strong link between expansive postures and feelings of power.

It clearly shows that people who assume high power postures feel more powerful than those who do not. Then the power pose is real, right? Well, not so fast.

The original publication stated two outcomes from power posing:

The first was that people would indeed feel more powerful after assuming a power pose, and that appears to be true and backed by scientific data and studies.

The other stated outcome from the first publication was that power posing also led to a change in hormones. This is the part of the claim that can’t be substantiated.

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While Cuddy no longer stands by the original claim that power posing will result in hormonal changes, she does still maintain that “postural feedback” is an effective confidence-boosting technique.

The Reality

Things have settled over the last several years in regards to answering the question of whether the power pose really boosts confidence.

The data and ongoing studies have not been able to show that power posing has any change on hormone levels.

So, there is no proof that channeling your inner Wonder Woman ten times a day will lead to an increase in testosterone, making you more effective in negotiating and boosting your confidence.

On the other hand, Amy Cuddy’s most recent studies and publications do show that by assuming a powerful pose, people will indeed feel more powerful and confident.

Therefore, if you want to increase your confidence levels, this could be one way to do it.

Bonus: 5 Ways to Boost Confidence

Finding confidence-boosting tips is of interest to a lot of people. Power posing may work for you, and if so, go for it. Here are a few other ideas to help boost your confidence:

1. Take Care of Your Body

Think about how much better you feel about yourself and your performance when your body is functioning at a high level.

I know when I am feeling run down or sick, I am nowhere near as motivated as when I am healthy and rested.

Taking care of our bodies translates to higher confidence levels because we feel physically up the to challenge. Get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, and take care of your body.

2. Be Self-Compassionate

Sometimes it seems to be easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. I used to be very hard on myself every time I made a mistake. I now see making mistakes as a learning opportunity.

When you make a mistake, forgive yourself quickly and move on. Taking a chance here and there and trying things you sometimes wouldn’t have if you were afraid of messing up certainly builds up your confidence.

3. Take Action

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? That’s when you think about something so much it actually slows you down in regards to taking action.

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You get yourself so worked up and feel you have to do more research. Or, you tell yourself you have to think about it a little bit more, or feel compelled to get another person’s opinion before you take action.

Sometimes, simply taking the action without overthinking things will help you feel more confident, whether or not it works out. It’s because you charged ahead and took action.

4. Measure Yourself Against Yourself

One of the biggest confidence-killing actions is to compare ourselves to others.

I hate to break it to you, but there’s always going to be people smarter than you, or people who make more money, or a friend who has a fancier car than you. And that’s perfectly fine.

When we base our definition of success or failure on what others achieve instead of what we want to achieve it’s a no-win situation.

We probably won’t ever be the most anything, but we can be the best version of ourselves — and, most importantly, the version of ourselves that we want to be.

5. Celebrate Your Wins

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I am always going after more. Every year, I want to make more money than the year before. I want to get stronger in my workouts, have more dates with my wife, lead another project at work, etc.

Sometimes, I get so focused on working towards more that I forget to celebrate some of the wins along the way.

When we stop to celebrate our wins, both small and big, we remind ourselves that we are making progress towards things that are important to us. And this in turn gives our confidence a boost!

Conclusion

So, does the power pose really boost your confidence? As we’ve seen in this article, the answer really is, it depends.

There is no definitive proof that a power pose will cause lasting hormonal changes that will increase your confidence.

But there is also that 2018 paper that Amy Cuddy published that includes 50+ studies and does show that there is a link between expansive postures and feelings of power.

If you are looking for ways to boost your confidence, it’s probably worth your time to check out the power pose and see if it can help.

There’s also a wide variety of other tips, tricks, and ideas to help raise your confidence. Pick what works for you and go get it!

Even More Confidence-Boosting Tips

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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Mat Apodaca

On a mission to share about how communication in the workplace and personal relationships plays a large role in your happiness

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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