Presence by Amy Cuddy
3 Bullet Book: 2020, book #53: “Don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it.” — Amy Cuddy
Finished on July 21, 2020
This book is the followup to one of my all-time favorite TED talks. I’ve listened to this book a handful of times now, I think three. The first time that I went through this book was great. I listened in November of 2017, again in 2018, and once more in 2020. It’s the concepts like this that people don’t pay enough attention to. This past week I just raised my desk by about 4–6 inches so my posture wasn’t as hunched. I strive to always text with my phone at face level so I’m not hunched over and in a posture of weakness. There are the little things that we all need to pay attention to — they have big impacts. Especially over a period of time, the small actions and decisions compound to create a large impact.
The 3 Bullets
1. People underestimate and undervalue their subconscious. It’s a well-known fact in psychology that the subconscious mind doesn’t have a filter and that whatever it hears, it will accept as truth. Imagine what the subconscious mind believes when we consistently slouch. “Your body is continuously sending messages to your brain and you get to determine the content of those messages (body-mind connection).”
2. There was a study done that Amy highlighted in a section of the book. “ Smaller devices cause more “eye hunching” and slouching and cause people to be less assertive. Smaller the device, the more we constrict ourselves to use it. The more powerless we feel as a result. Reduces assertiveness.” The study entailed people being tested with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Then, I believe the proctor said they were leaving for five minutes and would return. The test was to see how long people would wait before asserting themselves and looking for the proctor — as they knew they were in an adjacent room. The researchers found what Amy highlighted above, “the smaller the device, the more we constrict ourselves to use it.” We really need to be conscious of the posture that we have as we are using different pieces of technology and more than that, as we are doing anything.
3. In addition to the second point that I highlighted here in the three bullets, Amy Cuddy emphasizes how the body shapes the mind. As she says it, “starfish up!” You could find exactly what she means through a quick online search so I won’t outline here. Here’s the main point though, “Awareness of and control over our posture and positioning are vitally important elements and we should take care to stand and sit at ATTENTION.” I wear a watch every day at the office which particularly helps me in this area. I am cognizant of what time it is and will regularly remind myself, “ok 10 minute check in, how’s the posture?”
The spotlight effect:
The feeling that people are paying more attention to us than they actually are. We often overestimate how many other people notice things about us because we view the world through our lens.
The most powerful leaders typically showed lower stress levels and a greater level of control over self and their lives. Elite performers were shown to have high levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol.
High-status individuals (those who possess high social power in the office) tend to have higher testosterone. As status is gained, testosterone rises.
Your body is continuously sending messages to your brain and you get to determine the content of those messages (body-mind connection).
Don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it.