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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU STRUGGLE TO TAKE ACTION

What if you could start on the right foot every day, and set yourself up to take proper action to achieve your goals? 

It would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

In this post, you are going to know what to do when you struggle to take action.

You are going to learn a powerful technique that you can implement straight away.

It’s simple, and it takes just two minutes; but please, do not underestimate it, because it may be a game-changer. 

There is science behind it!

This technique will help you get done what you are supposed to do even when you don’t feel like it, or even when you are terrified and paralyzed.

So get ready; your emotional state is going to change, you’ll feel good and you’ll get closer to your goals!

We all know that to get results we need to take action.

Likewise, we all know that if we are not satisfied with what our life is like, we must approach it differently, otherwise, we are doomed to “reap the same fruits” we have always picked, aren’t we?

Our current circumstances, e.g. the way we look, the relationships we have, the success in our career or business, the amount of money we have in our bank account, are nothing more than lugging results of past behaviors and habits.

Our present life is the result of the decisions we made in the past!

Here’s the bitter truth, if we are not satisfied with our life we are the only ones to be blamed, not other people or external circumstances.

Our past decisions, taken over time, got us where we are now.

So, if we want to create a different life and become a better person tomorrow, we have to start doing something different and make different decisions today.

There’s no other way to get there.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. - Albert Einstein

It’s as simple as that!

However, how often do we find ourselves hesitant to behave differently?

Quite often!

Our brain is hardwired to keep us safe, thus it’s not designed to let us thrive.

That’s why, when it’s time to take the leap and do something different, irrational fears, excuses, anxiety, and all the other associated feelings kick in.

If we don’t become aware of how those emotional states dominate and limit us, we are more likely to be stuck in the same boring and unproductive routine we have built over time.

In other words, we keep taking the same action and we keep getting the same outcomes.

When we are in a state of fear or anxiety, we behave and we get completely different results than if we were in a state of courage, confidence, optimism, and enthusiasm, don’t we?

So, the most important key to changing our lives is to shift the emotional states we are in so that we can take the proper action which eventually will create the life we want.

So, how can we break the disempowering emotional states that trap us, and prevent us from living life to the fullest?

And, above all, how can we enter empowering emotional states that enable us to build the life we want?

The American social psychologist, author, and speaker Amy Cuddy can help us answer this question.

Have you ever heard about POWER POSING?

Amy is the first person who introduced the concept of POWER POSING in a study completed at Harvard Business University. 

POWER POSING is a technique that illustrates how our body posture and stance influence the way we think and feel about ourselves, thus the way we behave and ultimately the results we obtain.

In the Harvard study, participants were asked to sit in either a high-power pose (expansive posture) or a low-power pose (leaning inward, legs crossed).

This study aimed to test whether adopting high-power vs. low-power poses before a high-stakes social evaluation could improve an individual‘s performance on the evaluated task.

Amy and her team found that those who sat in the high-power pose felt more powerful and performed much better than those who did not.

Besides, they found out that by embracing a high-power pose for two minutes, we can increase testosterone levels by 20 percent and decrease the stress-related hormone cortisol by 25 percent.

These physical changes shape our minds, transform the way we think and feel about ourselves.


Here’s an abstract of the above-mentioned study: 

“In both human and non-human primates, expansive and open postures reflect high power, whereas contractive, closed postures reflect low power.

Not only do these postures reflect power, but they also produce it; in contrast to adopting low power poses, adopting high power poses increases explicit and implicit feelings of power and dominance, risk-taking behavior, action orientation, pain tolerance, and testosterone (the dominance hormone) while reducing stress, anxiety, and cortisol (the stress hormone).

The acquisition of power causes individuals to feel more positive, in control, and optimistic about the future and become more goal-oriented and likely to take action.

Thus, power could improve performance in high-stakes social evaluations by positively orienting people toward goals and by liberating them from the psychological constraints that could prevent them from performing to their full potential”.


Mia Skytte O’Toole, a professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, after publishing a review and analysis of all the studies regarding this area - correlation between our posture and our mind and our emotional states - declared: 

“To me, it is non-controversial to say that the way we approach the world with our physical bodies shapes the way we think and feel”.

You can learn more about how your body stance changes your mind, your feelings, your behavior, and ultimately the likelihood to achieve your goals in Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk: 

At the end of her Ted talk, Amy describes a life-changing event that will blow your mind.

Due to a major car accident, her IQ dropped significantly to the extent that she was withdrawn from college and told:

You're not going to finish college. Just, you know, there are other things for you to do, but that's not going to work out for you". 

Her college advisor told her:

“Fake it until you make it”. 

Amy says she used that approach through undergraduate, graduate school, and as a teacher, until she forgot that she was faking it and actually became it. 

Here’s her message: POWER POSING will feel like you’re faking confidence, but because your body position is a tool that creates confidence, “faking it” will help us become it.

If you are still not convinced that making a radical change in our body changes the way we think and feel about ourselves, the way we behave, and ultimately the results we get, bear in mind that American author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist Tony Robbins, as well as many other well known motivational speakers, teach it continuously.

These motivational speakers start their show by asking their attendees to move their bodies and hold specific postures.

This is because by changing your stance and the way you move your body, you change your physiology and, consequently, your emotional state. 

Bottom line: power posing produces more certainty in us, which in turn enables us to take the different actions necessary to get the results we want.

FINAL THOUGHT

As we have seen tiny tweaks in our posture can bring about BIG CHANGES.

If we get used to tweaking the way we hold our bodies, our life will significantly change.

Let me stress it once more: Our bodies change our minds; as a result our behavior changes, and so do the outcomes we get.

I’ve been applying this technique recently and it works.

I feel way more confident, optimistic and bold.

Showing up to myself and taking action aligned with my goals is way easier.

It’s wonderful how quickly we can change our thoughts and the way we feel. 

Now that you know the power that dwells in the way we hold our body it is your choice whether to adopt low-power poses or high-power poses.

For me, it was a no-brainer choice.

Here I am 🙂

Christian Caliendo holding a high-power posture

I invite you to judge its effectiveness first-hand by accepting the following challenge.

You are going to adopt the high-power pose for two minutes every morning for 30 days in a row.

What do I mean by high-power pose? Any posture that is open, expansive, and takes up space.

Just start modeling wonder woman, i.e. keep your shoulders open and straight, put your fists on your hips, and spread your legs. 

wonder woman

I strongly advise you to do it in front of a mirror, while you also repeat to yourself “I am powerful, I am confident, I am capable of everything, I am committed to showing up to myself”, and notice how you feel.

Another thing I have been doing first thing in the morning to start my day on the right foot is simply to smile; try it out 🙂

Lead researcher Sarah Pressman Ph.D. from the University of Kansas says:

"It's not just that our brains are happy and make us smile, it can also be the opposite - we feel the smile and become happy."

Likewise, Lead researcher Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos in his study published in the journal Experimental Psychology declares: 

“In our research, we found that when you forcefully practice smiling, it stimulates the amygdala, which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state”.

These researchers have proved that even if we are not actually happy, activating the muscles associated with smiling can fool our brain into thinking we are. 

Preparing ourselves to deal with stressful situations - like getting out of our comfort zone and taking different actions - is worth doing considering it takes just two minutes, don’t you agree?

I hope you will take up the challenge.

If you do, be assured you will feel more powerful, confident, and you will take massive action more easily.

It’s not just what I’ve experienced myself; there is scientific evidence confirming it. 

Remember: To get different results we must be ready to challenge ourselves and do something we have never done before.

So, why don't start by holding a high-power pose for two minutes? 

I hope you will be committed to the challenge, because I am sure you will feel way better, and you will take massive action more easily.

Looking forward to hearing how following these tips has worked for you.


If you have got any value out of this post I invite you to share it with as many people as possible.

As Amy says at the end of her Ted talk: 

“I want to ask you to share this science because this is simple.

I don't have an ego involved in this. Give it away. Share it with people, because the people who can use it the most are the ones with no resources and no technology and no status and no power. 

Give it to them because they can do it in private. 

They need their bodies, privacy, and two minutes, and it can significantly change the outcomes of their life”. 

Christian Caliendo
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9 thoughts on “WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU STRUGGLE TO TAKE ACTION”

  1. I will take up the challenge. I think it would help others to do the same if you explained exactly what the pose looks like. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Ludo for giving me your feedback.

      I’ve added the explanation of the high-power pose as you suggested 😉 For a high-power pose, you can adopt any posture that is open, expansive, and takes up space.

      Just start modeling wonder woman, i.e. keep your shoulders open and straight, put your fists on your hips, and spread your legs.

      Look forward to hearing how the challenge goes and its benefits 😃

  2. I remember Prince Ea recommending the same thing – to take on the Superman pose as a way of feeling confident and to also smile on the days you feel a bit low. Isn’t it great how we can change the way we feel not only by thinking differently but by moving our body in a certain way. Great post Christian. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Donna. I didn’t know that also Prince Ea recommends adopting Superman/Superwoman pose😃

      Yes, it’s super that we can change the way we feel by holding specific kinds of posture and by moving our body; above all when it really takes a few minutes to experience the beautiful feeling. of power and confidence.

  3. This is such a great post Christian!!
    I can relate to the ‘Power Pose’ through BollyX dance fitness.
    As an instructor of BollyX the Bollywood workout, the moves and end poses of each dance have to be dynamic, bold and full of expression.
    First it is very much part of Bollywood Dance, to show big moves powerful and strong!
    Secondly it shows Confidence and impacts on others at a different level.
    From seeing instructor and others exude these powerful strong moves and poses , they too start to feel this energy and start striking those poses with confidence and power.
    Not only one looks better and more happier and confident in themselves, but one feels amazing inside too and this shows, the amazing energy and vibe can be seen and felt, it’s all about confidence , checking in on ourselves and showing those moves and
    Power poses !

    1. What a wonderful association Christine!! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with power posing through BollyX dance fitness.

      Love it! Not only BollyX gives you the opportunity to improve your strength and endurance, but also your confidence as you said.

      What’s more, in those types of group activities the energy, the power, and the confidence are spread through the partecipants😃

      Keep inspiring people to start this powerful dance fitness.

      The world needs people like you, who can spread those disciplines and have a huge impact on other people’s lives.

  4. Lara Cayo Widmer

    So so true and such a wonderful life hack. The biology of our bodies and minds is just fascinating. I love how we can use this feedback loop to our advantage. We show our emotions with our body language (and hormones are released) but our body does not make a difference whether the position results from the emotion or the emotion results from the position.
    Thanks, Chrisitan for reminding me!
    PS: Yes, this is why laughter yoga exist =)

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