Posture!

June 20, 2014 by Joshua
in Tips

Yesterday’s post on very basic but incredibly important instruction schools rarely teach reminded me of another.

Everyone evaluates you on your posture

Your posture conveys your mood—especially confidence—as much as anything, meaning people judge you on your posture. Maybe a smile, or lack thereof, counts for more.

Most healthy people have total control over their posture. Since your emotions and behavior (I consider your body language and posture part of your behavior) influence each other, you can drive your mood by choosing your posture. You can also change your posture by changing your mood.

How to improve your posture in one second, and boost your confidence

Walking into a meeting or networking event where you want to feel confident? Or a social situation? Here are two quick ways to do it.

Before you think they’re just quick tricks, try them for a while conscientiously and I predict you’ll find they have long-term effects on your mood and posture. When you feel them affect your emotion, you can use other ways to keep your emotion up or augment it.

The more I talk to very successful people, the more I find they built overall success on countless little tricks like these. Each one raises their overall baseline, however little, by a non-zero amount. We only see their accumulation over decades and presume they’re all one big thing. Or at least I used to but don’t anymore.

Short term

The first method one of my early coaches taught me. It has two steps you can do in one second. Try it and tell me if it doesn’t leave you with a confident posture and at least a slightly more upbeat mood. You do it while standing.

Step 1: Hold your chest out, stomach in, and shoulders back.

Step 2: Relax.

You can do that without telling anyone you did it. It costs you nothing and has no downside.

The second method I learned from a tailor and works equally well, again taking less than a minute. You also do it while standing.

Step 1: Think of the topmost part of your head. Now imagine it being pulled up, as if by a string, and let your body follow accordingly.

Step 2: Relax.

Try it too. Does it also leave you with a healthy, confident posture and at least a slightly more upbeat mood?

Long term

To improve your posture long-term, do the above ten or more times a day for a month. If you can, reinforce the behavior by connecting it to emotional reward. For example, each time you do it, when you feel your mood become more confident, try to act on the greater confidence, like talk to someone. Or if you have to call someone, do it before calling so you start the call slightly more confidently than you would have.

Cost: zero.

Risk of injury: zero.

Time lost: less than one second per instance.

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