Home » Ann Washburn on Body Language: The Key to Your Subconscious at TEDxIdahoFalls (Transcript)

Ann Washburn on Body Language: The Key to Your Subconscious at TEDxIdahoFalls (Transcript)

And if you could have been in my brain at that time, it would have been very entertaining, because as I walked around I had this dissonance going on inside of my head, because my old program was saying ‘people are unsafe’. But I was choosing to send a message that I felt strong and comfortable and open around people. So I said, ‘My hands will go here when I’m not using them’. Now that doesn’t mean I walk around like this, that would be very weird. But it does mean that when I wasn’t using them, I put them away here. But then my subconscious would say, ‘It’s more comfortable to fold your arms’ and I’d say, ‘No, I want my arms here.’ ‘Fold them here, fold them here, fold them here.’ And that’s what it felt like in my head.

But after a little while, my subconscious decided, you know what it’s going to be easier to just adopt the new program and not keep arguing with it. And I began to feel differently. And so people around me started to notice. Now you can feel this with me right now. Some of you may have heard of this scientific term, it’s called gravity. You heard of that one? It pulls down on us really well, and during the day it likes to pull down on our shoulders and pull down on our chin. So everybody let your shoulders come down and your chin come down. Now, how does that feel? People tell me it feels tired, it feels burden, it feels depressed. But now, instead, pull your shoulders back up, and pull your chin just above level. Now how does that feel? It feels empowered, like I am awake, I can do it. You’ve just felt the difference in changing or choosing a new program.

In fact, in 2009 there was a study that was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and in there what they had done was they asked people to fill out a self-evaluation and they did the self-evaluation either in a slumped stance or in good posture. And the people who had good posture rated themselves higher on their self-evaluation and it turns out your grandma was right, because she was pretty smart, she kept telling us to sit up straight. But that is an opportunity to feel different on the inside of us.

So that’s one of the things that I did to start changing my programming. Now I’ll share two more with you. OK, what I’ve noticed about me – well, actually let’s talk about you for a minute. When it comes to body language, I watch body language everywhere I go and I’ve worked with thousands of people. And what I’ve found is that the majority of people will use a lot of push-away body language. They push away and then they wonder why they are not getting job promotions or raises or opportunities or relationships in their lives but they’re pushing things away.

In fact, the fastest way to see somebody use push-away body language is give them a compliment. When you give somebody a compliment, how do they respond? Thank you. And they like throw the compliment away, or they’ll explain it away. I love it, I do a little test all the time, I’d give people a compliment, and then I watch their body language after the compliment. And often people suddenly have to brush off their pants when they get a compliment. Or they’ll like brush their shoulder, or my favorite was once I gave a lady a compliment, and she said “Oh, thanks.” And I’m like so that was like a disgusting burger you had just got off your finger.

When we have compliments coming to us if we can’t receive a compliment, how are we going to receive other things coming to us? So I recognized this and decided I wanted to access this program that was inside of me, whatever it was. And I realized the easiest way to do this would be to change how I reacted to a compliment. And so now instead of pushing compliments away, I decided when somebody gave me a compliment I would scoop it up in front of me and place it gently in my heart. So I’d just like this while using the magic words ‘Thank you’. Have you heard those words? They’re good.

So try it with me: ‘Thank you’. Oh, do it again, that’s fun. ‘Thank you’. Now notice how a lot of your mouths, the corners of your mouth went up when you did that, because you felt the difference, you felt the difference. And so when you use this kind of body language, it’s changing the program in your subconscious. And as I was doing this in my life, people started to notice the difference in me. And one of the people that noticed the difference was my teenage son. Because at this point in my life, he was 13 years old. And we had been moving around quite a bit, so he had gone to four different junior highs.

Anybody ever been to junior high? Crazy place, junior high — and he’d been to four of them. So he comes home one day after the first day in his fourth junior high — so I need a volunteer. Oh, awesome! Would you come up and be my volunteer? So he was at – he’d just gone on to his fourth – or his first day in the fourth junior high. So what I’m wanting from you is I need really great teenage boy body language; can you do that for me? Oh, nice. There we go. Yeah get that your phone out there.

OK, so let’s put that away just for a second but fold your arms for me. And just freeze, but turn this way so everybody can see you. Has anybody ever seen a teenager before? That’s pretty good body language. Yeah, exactly. So here’s my teenager and he stands like this and he goes, ‘Mom, tell me why the kids keep picking on me?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, woo, all right, I’ll tell you, I’ll help you with that’ and he’s like, ‘Is it body language?’ And I said, ‘Yes, dear, that’s what I do’. And he goes, ‘Oh, fine, tell me then’.

So I knew with that attitude I’d time to only share one piece of body language with you. And I wanted to share something that would send a different message out but also send a different message to his subconscious. And so I chose legs. And I asked him, I said, “At school, do you stand with your weight on one leg like this?” And he goes, “Yeah mom, we all do that”. And I’m like, ‘Well, Mr. Attitude, did you know when you stand with your weight like this, it sends a weak message, it sends a message that you feel weak and that you could be easily knocked off balance’. So I said instead if you come put your weight on both legs, when you’re at your locker or up in front of the class, now this will send a message that you’re strong in your foundation. And people will treat you differently. And he rolled his eyes and he is like ‘sure mom’. So thank you, thank you for being my volunteer.

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