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?!

Download Dale Carnegie’s latest white paper on “Recognizing Leadership Blind Spots.”

Posted by MaryAnn Means-Dufrene

MaryAnn Means-Dufrene is Tarrant County Market President for Dale Carnegie North Texas. MaryAnn develops tailored strategies to meet the professional development needs of Fort Worth businesses. Through strategic partnerships, she works with clients to create customized skill development plans to enhance the variety of solutions Dale Carnegie offers through both in-house delivery and publicly offered workshops and seminars. MaryAnn has tremendous experience in collaborating with organizations in Tarrant County, most recently serving as Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth, and previously serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in psychology, and earned her Master of Public Administration and Master of Strategic Human Resource Management degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington. MaryAnn lives with her husband Matt, son Hogan, and three dogs, Sable, Deuce, and Lovey in Fort Worth, Texas.

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