You’re familiar with Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on how specific “power poses” instantly create feelings of confidence and power.
Body language doesn’t just affect how others see you, she argues. It affects how you feel.
You also know that certain of her peers challenged her findings, and called them pseudoscience.
Does power posing really work?
You’ll answer that in exactly thirty seconds.
To answer the question definitively, first think about these two truths:
- In her research, it worked for some people and not for others. (Her statistics don’t show that it worked 100% of the time.)
- In any research study, a technique works for some people and not for others.
Statistics are important. They indicate, to researchers, in which direction to look for the techniques most effective for the largest numbers of people.
But statistics cannot indicate what will work for you. An individual’s result informs the statistics. The statistics don’t inform the individual result.
The information flows from the individual tests toward the gathered statistics.
So, how can you know if it will work for you? 😉
An individual may believe statistics can indicate whether a technique works. (Meaning “Will it work for me? Will I feel more powerful when I strike a power pose?”)
And that is an understandable mistake. Statistics are powerfully indicative, en masse. They inform us about the big picture.
An understandable mistake. But an egregious mistake:
Statistics can’t tell us anything about ourselves as individuals.
That seems an odd statement at first. But only at first.
Because you remember: That’s not what statistics do. Statistics don’t tell us about individuals. They tell us about probabilities among large numbers of individuals.
Statistics can’t reveal your outcome.
They can only predict your chances of a given outcome.
Here’s how to know if power posing will work for you:
There’s only one way. By now you’ve guessed what it is.
And it is to try it. Only then can you know.
Don’t let the know-it-alls and their p-curves deceive you into not trying a technique. Don’t suppose that it is somehow disapproved by science, and therefore useless.
The scientists are right to focus on statistics in the context of research.
But if someone were to discourage you from trying power posing? Out of their lane.
Or worse, to discourage you from continuing to use it, when it’s been working for you?
Completely out of their lane. Stats tell you nothing about yourself as an individual.
To answer the question for yourself, try this now. Strike a power pose. How do you feel during and afterward?