October 6, 2012

MUSE: How well can you fake it?

My friends know my life philosophy. Fake it until you make it. As an enthusiastic autodidact (just a fancy word for self-taught, but it sounds great, doesn't it? Like a big long-legged bird), I have long appreciated the value of illusions in society. We judge someone immediately through their body language, and give out signals based on our own. Look at your body language right now. Are you caved in or carved out?

It's no accident that I chose these photos - the woman's limbs are curled inwards, the man's splayed out - there is a gender difference in terms of how we peacock and cocoon ourselves. And a lot of this is just common sense leaking from our cave-dwelling past. There's something vaguely sexual about both poses, too, yet in terms of body language, the woman is being shy and protective, the man confident and open. Presumably, these signals would suit the gender. Men want to protect, woman want to be protected.

Aside from the mating game, though, we are judged all the time. Walking on the street, talking to each other, interacting on a daily basis. What does your body language say about you? Do you move with authority, or try to be invisible? Have you found a comfortable balance between the two? Is your head more often up or down? Do you put your hands on your hips, or thrust them into your pockets?

I began the day with this TED.COM video by Amy Cuddy, about how we can change our body language to change the way we feel about ourselves, and in doing so, change how the world reacts to us. Simple, yet powerful. Amy tells us about her own struggles with "faking it" to overcome a tragic car accident, and how her realization of "making it" touched her deep inside. What have you been yearning for? Start acting as if you own it. Fake it until you become it. And then you really do own it. Once again, proof that practice makes perfect.

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