The Advantages of Being a Poser

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On Monday’s post, I told the story of my year as a “poser” – pretending that I was a mathematical genius during my 9th grade year in Algebra 1.  Miraculously, this inadvertent deception resulted in inspiring great confidence in my abilities on the part of my teacher.  Subsequently, her faith made me see myself in a different light. Basically, I developed a growth mindset about math, that led to 3 more years of success in that subject.

I recently heard a TED Talk on NPR’s TED Radio Hour that supported this “Fake it ’til you make it” philosophy.  Amy Cuddy, who is a social psychologist, explains how standing in certain “High Power Poses” for 2 minutes has been scientifically proven to improve your confidence levels.  You can listen to Amy’s interview on TED Radio Hour here. She describes how, after sustaining a severe head injury in a car accident, Amy found herself in the position of “poser” when attending college – and succeeded in making everyone believe that she belonged there. This experience ultimately led to her research discussed during her TED talk.

You can find a great graphic of Power Poses as well as a link to her original TED talk on the TED blog.  Amy pleads for you to share this information with people, as she deeply feels that it can significantly effect the outcomes of many lives.

Even though this story does not specifically refer to the Growth Mindset, I feel that it is certainly a good example that demonstrates how your attitude and hard work can directly impact your future.

Update:  I just added a 2nd video to this post, “Courage: Ask Amy,” in which Amy Poehler gives advice that makes a lot of sense when you take into account the conclusions Amy Cuddy has derived from her research.

Here is another post that I recently did on mindsets that includes videos and other resources.


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