For the month of September, our Events Coordinator, Brimley, read Presence by Amy Cuddy. Amy Cuddy, notorious for her TED Talks on power posing and “fake it till you become it” put together a book filled with deep thoughts and tips on how to become your best self. We sat down with Brimley to see what she thought about the book and this is what she had to say!
Who would benefit from reading Presence?
The book is about bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Anyone facing challenges in life, whether it’s an interview, your job, or talking to people in general, needs to approach each situation with confidence in themselves and what they do. Presence teaches you how.
What is the main focus of the book?
The main focus of the book is how to gain confidence. I’ve learned that I can be a lot more confident than I am. The book goes over so many different ways to build confidence and all you really have to do is flip the switch in your brain.
I’m hard on myself and reading this has made me see that people often respect you more than you think and think highly of you more often than not. You need to have positive thoughts about yourself in order to show that you have a powerful and confident energy.
What was one of the most interesting concepts the book talked about?
The book talked about the Spotlight Effect. It’s the most enduring egocentric human bias. The Spotlight Effect basically makes people believe that people are paying more (bad) attention to us than they really are. What the book mentioned was that we have a tendency to overestimate the number of people that notice things about us, and that we should take comfort in the fact that people really don’t notice us as much as we believe them to.
"We can't be fully engaged in an interaction when we are busy second-guessing ourselves and attending to the hamster wheel in our heads."
Did the book go over any confidence building exercises?
Yes! Amy Cuddy talks about posture and how your posture can affect how you feel about yourself. Nowadays, so many people are bent over their phones and computers, but what we should be doing is pay more attention to our posture and have our shoulders back, head up, and our chins parallel to the floor. Adjusting ourselves this way can help us to feel more confident.
She also talks about power stances. Power stances aren’t to be done in front of anyone, but alone before a challenging situation. Whether you’re going into an interview, public speaking, or just having a tough conversation with your bosses, you can adapt these certain power poses (like the Superman pose with a puffed chest) to give you energy before a difficult situation.
What is one way we can positively change our thinking?
There was a research study done by Carol Dweck that goes over growth vs fixed mindsets. The study showed that you can make dramatic positive improvements if you set small goals for yourself. What we should strive to do is focus more on our behavior towards goals instead of just the outcomes. This is one of the main reasons why New Year’s Eve resolutions never work. We create unrealistic goals and when we don’t reach one, we feel like a failure and don’t carry out the rest. By having a small goal and having good behavior towards it, we can see the positive changes we are making towards our goal and in ourselves.
How are you going to apply this knowledge?
I’m going to try and have a better mindset towards my posture at work and try to have a more confident presence when talking and interacting with people. If you’re confident in yourself, you’ll portray yourself better as a person which is what I want.
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