We’ve all heard the phrase, “As a man thinketh…so is he”. But are thoughts everything?
Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, says, “Our best evidence of what people truly believe and feel comes less from their words than from their deeds.” In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the author cites scientific studies showing that not only do the people around us study our actions to make judgments about us, but we also study ourselves to align our self-perception with reality.
In another study, Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, PhD, produced evidence that even something as seemingly insignificant as body language can affect our stress and hormone levels. Dr. Cuddy showed that we don’t have to believe the action (in this case, the use of a power pose) will have an effect—we just take the action, and the action itself produces the result.
This means that the relationship between our mindset and our behavior is reciprocal. The thought of taking an action might occur before the action is taken; but the action then serves to reinforce the attitude that generated the action. On the other hand, an initial action might produce a result that shifts our attitude, thus driving additional action. This concept is consistent with Dale Carnegie training methodology: it takes both an emotional change and a behavioral change to create a performance shift.
The beautiful thing is this—the human brain is designed to support our choice to be on a path of continual, life-long growth and improvement. To borrow Dale Carnegie’s words, when we “fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope,” and concurrently “keep busy” testing new leadership tactics, we will see the fruit of BOTH in our professional lives.
Power Pose, anyone?!