Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

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Why not make power poses the way you behave all the time?

If these poses are so good for increasing power and improving outcomes, increasing testosterone, and reducing stress and cortisol, why not adopt these power poses as your natural way of inhabiting the world? Why only do this just before an interview - why not all the time?

What would the social impact be if you assumed dominant poses all the time, regardless of with whom you are socializing?

The experimental data would suggest that merely adopting these poses, regardless of any mental intention or thought, is sufficient to produce the desired beneficial effect. Would doing this all the time "wear out" the effect, or strengthen the effect?

Would combining a mental intention - such as doing great at a job interview - with adopting the pose amplify the effect?

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    Oct 7 2012: Dear Danger,
    You ask..."Why not make power poses the way you behave all the time?"

    In a comment on another thread, you speak about "self actualization", and you write..."Regular mind practice (or substitute the phrase spiritual practice if you prefer), over time, reveals the joy that has always been all around us, ours for the taking if we but know how".

    I agree with your statement, and believe that the body language practice that Amy Cuddy proposes, is simply another part of self actualization....another way to "know" ourselves by using this mind and body practice.

    Science is discovering more and more about how the body/mind works together. I'm sure you know that it has been proven that laughing and crying release healing endorphins in the brain? When that was discovered many years ago, people started using the phrase..."laughter is good medicine":>)

    As we learn more about the function of the body/mind, we have an opportunity to find balance in our every day practices. It has been shown, that communication is about 65% body language. I have had conversations with people around the world when we do not even speak the same verbal language, and yet we understand each other because of body language.

    What Amy teaches, is not about having power and dominance, but rather, learning about ourselves and all the tools we have available to us to learn, grow, evolve, and communicate in this life experience. It is about finding balance in ourselves and our actions/reactions. We are multi sensory, multi dimensional human beings, and we can experience humility and confidence, as well as many other feelings at the same time. It is about being mindful, aware, and knowing ourselves to be able to be truly effective, while traveling this earth life experience and evolving in ourselves as individuals, as well as improving the whole to the best of our ability.
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    Oct 8 2012: (Quote from topic narrative): "What would the social impact be if you assumed dominant poses all the time, regardless of with whom you are socializing?

    As both Colleen and Linda implied in their posts, the social impact would vary depending on how well other people understood the concept of "power posing".

    If everybody understood it and could recognize it, then nobody would really gain an advantage outside of their "knowing themself" and achieving an internal gain of recognizing their own potential (as Colleen's post indicated).

    But if you are "power posing" with someone who doesn't understand the concept, you run the risk of getting "labeled" as being arrogant, inflexable, anti-social, and a plethora of other things (as Linda's post indicated).

    In as much as powr posing can provide the individual with better insights to their own true potential, it is a great concept. But also in as much as not everyone will understand the concept of it in that way, it needs to be tempered in everyday use today to avoid the risks you may experience when other's mis-interpret the power posing. Of course, that only applies if you give a darn about what anybody else thinks about you. If you are truely arrogant to begin with, you aren't power posing at all. Arrogance would be your natural way of interacting with other people.
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      Oct 8 2012: Good point Rick, to understand the concept a little before using it in social gatherings:>)

      I suggest that if a person is not familier with "power poses", s/he practice in front of the mirror before using it in other settings. By practicing in the mirror, we can "feel" the influence on our own body/mind and maybe imagine how it may impact others.

      Regarding the quote from the topic introduction...
      "What would the social impact be if you assumed dominant poses all the time, regardless of with whom you are socializing?"

      I believe that what Amy is speaking about is not to be "dominant" all the time, but rather to feel strength, confidence and balance more of the time. Good posture allows the flow of energy through the body/mind, and it feels more balanced, so ANY interaction feels more honest and authentic.
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        Oct 8 2012: Agree with what you said.

        As a slight "off topic" examination of the subject, power posing is not something new. Amy presents it in a new way, but it is used by many people familiar with the concept already. One example...poker players (see my profile ;-) )

        In poker, someone who doesn't understand the concept of "body language" is usually described as "dead money" at a poker table. They are going to lose. Their body language will give their opponant many clues about the power of their hands, whether they are bluffing or not, etc. Players who aren't good at masking their body language, and even using their body language to send FALSE information about their hand's strength or betting tendancies, will get eaten alive by more professional players. There's an old saying about playing poker...if within 20 minutes of you sitting down at the table, you haven't identified the weakest player at the table...it's YOU.

        Amy's "Fake It until you Make It" concept is basically another way of giving an individual who has self-doubt about themselves the opportunity to place themselves in situations where they can learn what they are truly capable of doing. It replaces the subconscious "I Can't Do That!" that prevents people from even trying to do something they are fully capable of doing in the first place.
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          Oct 8 2012: Agree...power posing is not something new. It goes WAY back to Yoga, Martial Arts, Warrior Dances in preperation for battle, etc. etc.

          The word "fake" is what people are getting "stuck" on. Fake, does not necessarily mean it is not REAL. To me, faking simply means practicing, and when we are aware of the strength and confidence we can experience with different postures, it simply gives us more "tools" to function naturally in the earth school:>)
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      Oct 11 2012: I think this Rick's post really gives a good resume of the thing. It more like a social accpetance issue.
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    Oct 7 2012: Because people start to think you are scary. This can complicate many things. Some people may think you are not receptive to new ideas. Some may withhold vital information because they fear you. You can get excluded from team work and be viewed as too independent.
    • Oct 10 2012: I see this is a list of the many reasons why someone wouldn't want to be recognized as "powerful." The complications of displaying power poses can result in having to spar with the other powerful characters who will be jockeying for position. Men tend to spar out of a respect for ideas. An aggressive challenge that 'tests' for dominance is a social activity among men that women commonly misunderstand.

      Perhaps combining with body language some education about linguistic mannerisms? (recommend Deborah Tannen's books about power and control in the workplace.) There was a bit of discussion in Tannen's series of books about the effects of changing your speaking mannerisms and how it might affect the way people react and respond to you. Making some fundamental changes to body language would also similarly apply to changes in self image.
  • Oct 8 2012: This reminded me of several topics covered in the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell; specifically the idea that even though emotions cause facial expressions, facial expressions can cause emotions as well.
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    Oct 8 2012: I'd like to expand on my previous post a bit by examining the first "video example" Amy Cuddy used in her presentation. The President offered a handshake to the "guard", the guard shook the President's hand, then the Prime Minister did not.

    How the President, the guard, and the Prime Minister will be "evaluated" on their actions will vary greatly upon accepted beliefs of what was right or wrong under the circumstances.

    In the U.S. it is acceptable for a soldier at attention to acknowledge an offer of a "VIPs" handshake and return the handshake, thus breaking the required "position of attention" the soldier is standing at. However, if it is considered unacceptable for the guard in the video to break his "position" because of the culture's beliefs he is in, then people living in that cultural "norm" would think the guard was wrong in what he did. Maybe the Prime Minister did not agree that the guard should have accepted the offer of the handshake? In this context, I'm thinking of the "Royal Guards" in The UK. People try to make them smile all the time. Their training and expectation is to not return the smile. What if the President had only smiled at the guard, and the guard stayed "stoic"? Would it have been less disrespectful than refusing the handshake?

    Perceptions are always a factor. Perceptions can be influenced by cultural expectations. I suspect the in the video, none of the players did "anything wrong". The President had one set of expectations he acted on, the guard was "caught in the middle" of being disrespectful towards a foreign VIP if he ignored the handshake offer, then the Prime Minister acted in a way towards the guard that was expected based on his own country's cultural beliefs about what the guard should do. Nobody was really wrong in what they did.
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    Oct 7 2012: Power poses are just one of the many ways of gaining the advantages you have listed. I think each and every person should focus on his or her mental state; the state of the mind.
    Thoughts of defeat, inadequacy, failure and being too worried about what other people think of you......these are known to bring out the worst in people no matter what pose they have.
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    Oct 7 2012: so maybe it is a one-side opinion
    we should find more .
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      Oct 8 2012: Dear Chen,
      More ideas, thoughts, feelings, perceptions and opinions are always good to share, and I appreciate yours:>)

      In another comment thread, you recognized that I live my life simply, as the ancient people did? That is very perceptive of you my friend, because I do indeed feel very connected with ancient cultures. I went to that site to respond, and it was closed...sorry I did not respond in a timely manner.

      Ancient cultures knew the concept of "power poses". In the practice of Yoga, for example we practice the warrior pose, and there are many power poses in the practice of Martial Arts. In addition to demonstrating strength to others, power poses open the flow of energy, and contribute to balance and strength in our body/mind. One belief with the practice of martial arts is to come from the core with strength. Power Poses allow us to feel the strength in ourselves, and in my perception, it is a very natural practice. What do you think Chen?