Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: Harvard Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on Mastering the Antidote to Anxiety, Self-Consciousness, and Imposter Syndrome

Review by Nancy Chick

    In “Harvard Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on Mastering the Antidote to Anxiety, Self-Consciousness, and Imposter Syndrome,” Maria Popova reviews Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, the 2015 book from Amy Cuddy, familiar to many of us from her TED Talk on body language (the second most watched TED Talks of all time). In her healing after a traumatic brain injury, Cuddy became interested in the ways in which we “lose ourselves,” feel disconnected from who we think we are and want to be. While her case is less common, Cuddy connects to the ways in which our fears prevent “us from showing up for any interaction with our whole, unselfconscious selves.” Popova points us to the familiar experience of thinking of an appropriate response to someone only much later: call it “staircase wit,” “afterwit,” or the 3am comeback, it’s a perfect example of us not being present enough to act with “comfortable confidence and synchrony, and [to] leave with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.”

    I imagine educational developers experience the 3am comeback after consultations, meetings, budget talks, and all sorts of moments when we need to be fully present but are plagued by the fear of disappointing someone, or imposter syndrome, or one of our other mental companions. Connecting with Brené Brown’s work on resilience and Parker Palmer on authenticity, Popova encourages us to read the book to find out how to Cuddy tells us to achieve presence.

Popova, Maria. “Harvard Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on Mastering the Antidote to Anxiety, Self-Consciousness, and Imposter Syndrome.” Brain Pickings. 28 January 2016. Web. 15 March 2016.

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