I have ambitious goals when it comes to reading. Numerous “must read” lists pop up on my social media feeds, and I’m tempted to add so many of those noted to my list. I’ve realized I need to narrow my choices and aim to finish at least one book (or even a magazine or two from cover to cover!) a month.
Here’s my list for this fall:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol Dweck, PhD
Many schools and educators are now focused on “growth mindset.” Thinking back to my school years, I remember not having to try too hard. I studied and was involved, but I don’t think I pushed myself as much as I could have. Mindset explores a new model, where the emphasis is on working hard to continually improve.
by Arianna Huffington
With so many of us trying to prioritize the demands of work, children, social lives, and more, it’s only natural that we feel worn down and stressed. In this book, Huffington reflects on her own experiences, and she uses scientific reasoning to emphasize the need for mindfulness and meditation to achieve balance.
Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately
By Daniel Lubetzky
What I love most about KIND Snacks, besides the yummy bars and granola, is the company’s commitment to “make the world kinder” through their grant program, KIND Causes. Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND, is a visionary and entrepreneur, and his own personal story inspires us all to approach life with more attention to our words and actions.
Why Not Me?
by Mindy Kaling
You’re probably thinking this pick is the one that doesn’t belong. Well, yes it does! And why not? Mindy Kaling is funny, confident, and exudes enthusiasm for life. She’s a great role model for young women and proves that being comfortable in your own skin, skills, and talents is a far better use of energy than trying to fit into a neat and tidy package.
What are the must-reads on your list?
If you’re like me, TED talk videos probably have a hypnotizing effect on you. I watch one, and before I know it, I’ve watched three more and am suddenly ready to tackle all of life’s challenges. The messages given in these talks are often powerful and compelling, but even more so, I find myself drawn to the speakers themselves.
I recently watched a talk by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist who researches the impact of body position on your level of confidence. She captured my attention within thirty seconds, and as it turns out, I’m not the only one – Cuddy’s video is the second most watched TED talk to date.
Though studies on what your body language communicates to others are not new, Cuddy offered a refreshing change of perspective. Her talk focused on how choosing or “tweaking” body positions can impact your own confidence. She believes that “power poses” held for at least two minutes can affect hormone levels causing you to feel and act more confident. Though the scientific validity of Cuddy’s experiment is being questioned, I think the premise behind her idea has merit. If yoga, meditation, and exercise are all thought to have a positive impact on our stress levels and mental prowess, then why doesn’t it stand to reason that power posing would have some effect on hormone levels and our confidence?
The validity of Cuddy’s study aside, what was most compelling about the talk was her own personal story, one in which she overcomes severe brain damage at 19 to not only graduate college, but also go on to join the faculty at a prestigious university. Early on in her career, Cuddy felt out of place among her distinguished peers, but a mentor encouraged her saying “you belong here.”
From that interaction, Cuddy realized you can “fake it ’till you become it.” One small word change, and the phrase takes on new meaning. To me, “fake it ’till you make it,” implies you have stray from being true to yourself to accomplish goals. Cuddy’s version encourages you to internalize the feeling of confidence. By “faking” that feeling of confidence and power continually, you truly begin to believe it. Confidence becomes the new reality, and soon you begin to approach change, new situations, career, personal life all with a different perspective.
So, the next time you question whether you belong at a networking event or at the podium giving a speech to a large crowd, remember to strike a power pose and “fake it ’till you become it.” Tell yourself you do belong in that boardroom or that roomful of smart people. Be true to your ideals, but remind yourself you can be the best at whatever it is on which you have you mind set.
Are you intrigued? Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk and let me know what you think.