Breathe Deep and Put Your Arms Out

About 10 years ago I heard Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, talk about how he puts his arms out and takes a deep breath before giving a talk.  He said he does this in order feel more powerful.  In the past. I tended to dismiss many of Tony's ideas.   In my opinion, he gets his fans really motivated, for a few days.   I dismissed this idea as well, at least until I heard about body language research by Amy Cuddy.

In her research, Amy tested the hypothesis that not only can our mind change our bodies, but our bodies can change our minds.   She did this with two experiments.   The first measured hormones and the second measured an interviewer's perception of people that were put in a stressful five minute interview.

In the first test, she had half of the subjects strike a power pose (see the wonder woman picture) and the other strike a low power pose such as such as crossing their arms and other ways to shrink the space they occupied.   The subjects did this for two minutes.   The high power subjects were measured to have a 20% increase in testosterone and 10% decrease in cortisol.   The low power subjects were measured to have a 25% decrease in testosterone and 15% increase in cortisol.   Cortisol is a measure of reacting to stress.

The second test also had subject prepare for two minutes with high power and lower power poses before their mock interview.  In the second test, the high power pose subjects were perceived as:

  1. Confident

  2. Passionate

  3. Authentic

  4. Enthusiastic

  5. Comfortable

  6. Captivating

So Tony Robbins fans, I apologize.   As Amy said in her Ted Talk, fake it until you become it.  This is her personal story.