Neglect your posture

Carry yourself with confidence and pride

A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.

– Morihei Ueshiba

When we walk into a room with slumped shoulders, dragging our feet, or with our head down, we communicate lack of confidence and energy. When we enter with a natural posture, with a strong stride, shoulders open and relaxed, we send a very different – and positive – message to those around us. But crucially, the way we hold our body sends a message not only to others but also to ourselves. When we walk like someone who is confident, we actually become more confident; the physical act of sitting up straight actually boosts our motivation and increases our energy; when we shake hands firmly, we become assertive.

Assuming the posture of how we would be if we were more assertive and energized in fact boosts our confidence and invigorates us. Our behavior changes our attitude.

Marva Collins was born in Alabama in the 1930s. As an African – American girl growing up in the segregated South, she experienced racism and discrimination, and yet she became a highly successful and celebrated teacher, helping thousands of at – risk students succeed. How did she do it? How did she get so many students who were written off as “unteachable” to thrive? She provided her students with the gift they needed most – the belief in themselves, the confidence that they could succeed. The source of the gift she gave others was her own self- confidence, the belief that she had in herself.

Collin says, “In those days it was quite rare to be black and to be successful.” she attributes her success to her parents who, despite their economic circumstances and regardless of prevailing beliefs, brought her up “with a sense of pride.” In the midst of the pervading culture of discrimination and racism that can be so devastating to a person’s sense of self- worth, Collin’s parents taught her to be strong and to stand up for herself.

The importance of standing up for oneself was a concept that her parents took quite literally. From a very young age Collins learned that to be proud it was important to assume a proud posture, one that communicates to everyone – to yourself and others – the message that you are worthy. Collins recalls her mother often admonishing her and her sister, “Get your head up!” Today, in her seventies, Collins still walks with her head high and communicates to all those around her – as well as to herself – confidence and pride. She commands respect through her posture, her voice, her eyes – and of course, her deeds.

Sit up straight. Express pride through your stride. Carry yourself in a way that communicates to the world – and to yourself – strength and confidence.

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