Body Language 33 Mirroring

June 22, 2019

You have probably noticed that people have a tendency to mirror or mimic the mannerisms of other people, particularly if they are interested in the conversation.

For example, you may be chatting with another person at a table and realize that you have folded your hands in the same way the other person has already done. You did not make this move consciously, but the mirrored configuration happened by instinct.

Mirroring can be a very powerful force. Let me share a real example to see if it works for you. If I use the word “yawn” in this article, some percentage of the readers will find themselves yawning within a minute. See if you are one of them. Did I bait you?

The most common form of mirroring is a smile, You will instinctively smile at a person who smiles at you. Try this experiment next time you are walking down a hallway. As you pass a person, show a smile and see that in most cases the person you smiled at will return the smile to you.

According to Psychologia, the mirroring is primarily caused by a neuron that affects part of the brain. That neuron causes you to mimic the facial expression you see in others. The gesture shows affinity for the other person and is a way of bonding. Mirroring is a way of controlling your mood.

You can change your mood simply by thinking thoughts consistent with the desired state. If you smile and think you are happy, it will tend to cheer you up.

If you feel deep anger, chances are that emotion is becoming evident on your face. Likewise, if you think successful thoughts, you have a tendency to move in the direction of higher success.

The science is called Psycho-Cybernetics as described in the book by the same name by Maxwell Maltz in 1960. He described techniques to develop positive inner feelings as a means to enable positive outcomes. Another common way of expressing the phenomenon is “fake it till you make it.”

Try another test. Next time you are discussing something with a friend, try steepling your hands by having fingers together and palms apart. You should notice that you feel more confident about what you are saying. That is because steepling is a means to show confidence or even superiority.

Mirroring occurs in voice mimicking as well as body positions. You can observe people modifying the volume, cadence, and even accents to match the person the other person. It can be a great way to develop rapport and trust, but there is a major precaution.

You have to be careful with mirroring, because if you do it consciously, you will likely overdo it, and you will annoy the other person. If you have ever been on the receiving end of someone trying too hard to mirror you, then you know how exhasperating it can be.

The best approach with mirroring is to observe it in others, but let your subconscious do the mirroring for you. It will be more natural then and will likely be well accepted.

As you go about your daily routine, try to count the number of times you see people mirroring other people. If you count accurately, you may be astonished at the number of times you see this type of gesturing.

This is a part in a series of articles on “Body Language.” The entire series can be viewed on https://www.leadergrow.com/articles/categories/35-body-language or on this blog.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPLP, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of four books: 1.TheTrust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 600 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations. For more information, or to bring Bob in to speak at your next event, contact him at http://www.Leadergrow.com, bwhipple@leadergrow.com or 585.392.7763


Paradise is a State of Mind

February 27, 2016

I do a lot of online teaching of leadership and business courses. My students live all over the globe and have interesting backgrounds.

I have had a student write his assignments while on bombing runs in Iraq and another individual participate in class while fleeing a hurricane bearing down on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

In one of my classes, there was a student living in Hawaii, so many of the other students were jealous of this individual, since we were having a rough winter on the United States mainland.

At one point, a student who lived in Detroit was lamenting another dreary day, and he reached the breaking point. His comment to the student in Hawaii was, “Well, I have to take responsibility for my own misery. After all, I chose not to live in paradise.”

I immediately wrote to the complaining student reminding him that:

“paradise” is a state of mind rather than a state of the Union.

I believe human beings have the power to live in reasonable happiness most of the time, regardless of where they are located or what the conditions are. It all has to do with our attitude.

Please understand, I am not being frivolous here, I am talking about true peace and contentment being possible even when circumstances are far from pleasant.

There are stories galore of POWs who have achieved a state of joy and gratitude for life even as they were being starved and tortured.

One such individual was Viktor Frankl during WWII in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Viktor was a psychologist in Vienna living a comfortable life when he was nabbed by the Nazis and brought to the camp.

He was treated with disdain and was starved and beaten, like most POWs. He was curious about why some people survived, while most others quickly died.

He described the survival instinct as the realization that there was something significant to live for, or something yet to do in their life. Once they were reminded of their purpose for living, they had the ability to endure their hopeless situation and survive.

In Viktor’s own situation, he was able to use the power of visualization to rise above the incredible conditions of the moment and feel peace and joy, even among the dying and hopeless people. After the war, he wrote a book on his observations entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

What prison do you live in? Does it sometimes feel like you are suffering needlessly at work? Are the managers in your organization reminiscent of prison guards, or at least schoolyard bullies?

Do you feel there is little hope to be happy or content with the conditions that exist around you? If that describes you, then realize you are making a choice. You are choosing to not live in paradise when the opportunity is there for you to do so, or at least to improve your frame of mind significantly.

I am sure many of you are saying, “This author is crazy; he has no clue about the miserable existence I live here in this dungeon.” Well, that is correct, I do not know your condition, but I do know the person most in control of your happiness is you.

Choose to be happy or ignore this advice and remain miserable. I am not saying this is easy, because if it was, everyone would do it. The fact remains, dissatisfaction can be a powerful motivator for change.

Do what you can to change the external circumstances, but the real work starts within. Get clear on what you really want. Use visualization to vividly imagine what it would be like to have it.

Have the courage to face the difficult issues you have been resisting, forgive others and yourself, make decisions that you have been putting off. While you are making your changes, support yourself with positive self-talk and mental imaging. Seek the help of a coach or other professional when you need it. As you make progress, celebrate it!

The more depressed you are, the more you have to gain. Even when you cannot change the conditions being presented to you by the world, usually you can control your attitude or reactions so that your state of mind is much more enjoyable.

This philosophy is not that profound, and we have all heard some form of it numerous times before. Some people call it “mind over matter.” Norman Vincent Peale called it “The Power of Positive Thinking,” while Earl Nightingale made the observation that “We become what we think about.” Henry Ford quipped, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you are right.”

One helpful book is the classic, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz (1960). Maltz became fascinated with the process of setting goals for his plastic surgery patients. He learned that the power of self-affirmation and mental visualization techniques were enabled by the connection between the mind and the body.

Maltz taught how developing a positive inner vision was a means of developing a positive outer vision. This led to the idea that a person’s outer success almost never rises above the one visualized internally. Many contemporary philosophers such as Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy have based much of their work on the theories developed by Maltz.

When you are miserable, it is hard to remember that you can be in control if you want to assume that control. When you get depressed, try visualization techniques. They can make a big difference in your life. If you get into that habit, it really is possible in most situations to make significant movement in the right direction.

The key understanding to enable this skill is how to control your thinking. Paradise is not as far away as it seems.

Video #4 – We Keep Discovering the Same Vein of Gold

Visualization

There have been many books and programs written about visualization and many different techniques you can use. Here are a few resources that I have found helpful in my life.
“Lead the Field” Earl Nightingale, Nightingale Conant Inc.
“The Science of Personal Achievement: The 17 Universal Principles of Success” Napoleon Hill, Nightingale Conant Inc.
“How To Master Your Time” Brian Tracy, Nightingale Conant Inc.
“Goals” Zig Zigler, Nightingale Conant Inc.
“Theatre of the Mind” Maxwell Maltz, Nightingale Conant Inc.
“Unleash the Power Within” Tony Robbins, Nightingale Conant Inc.

To get you started on visualizing your own personal paradise, here is a sample process that many find helpful.

• Relax in a quiet place and focus on the end result. Don’t worry on how you will get there.
• Imagine vividly what it will look like and feel like when the goal is achieved. Use every sense. In what condition are your body, mind, emotions, and spirit? Zoom in on the details. Flesh it out.
• Feel the joy of gratitude for everyone and everything that helped you get to this place. Feel the excitement of achievement.
• Accept that you are able and worthy to achieve this goal.
• Affirm that the Universe is conspiring to assist you.
• Be open to inspired ideas for what the most important steps to take next.
• Trust the process. Experience will show you it is an effective one.
• Write down your goals, including the all important “What’s in it for me.”
• Act on your inspired ideas.

Having visualized the outcome, you have activated the Reticular Activating System, part of your brain which will help you notice things that can be helpful to your quest. Every time you visualize, it gets easier to see yourself succeeding and you can add more detail and get more ideas. Regular visualization can help with your motivation because your goals no longer seem out of reach.

Key Concepts in this article:
1. Paradise is a state of mind, not a state of the Union.
2. We live in a world of our own creation and have much more power than we realize to control the quality of our lives.
3. Many philosophers have discovered the simple but most powerful concept of positive thinking.

Exercises for you:
1. Think of a time when you were miserable. How did you finally pull out of it? That process is one clue to how you can control your emotions in the future.
2. In what ways do you help other people out of their depressions? Are you effective at this, or do you merely annoy people who are already down?
3. Think of three ways to feel more paradise today. What is holding you back from doing these things?

Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. He can be reached at bwhipple@leadergrow.com  585-392-7763. Website www.leadergrow.com   BLOG www.thetrustambassador.com He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change.


Paradise is a State of Mind

February 20, 2011

I do a lot of online teaching of leadership and business courses. My students live all over the globe and have interesting backgrounds. I have had a student write his assignments while on bombing runs in Iraq, and another individual participate in class while fleeing a hurricane bearing down on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In one of my classes, there was a student living in Hawaii, so many of the other students were jealous of this individual, since we were having a rough winter on the United States Mainland.

At one point, a student who lived in Detroit was lamenting another dreary day, and he reached the breaking point. His comment to the student in Hawaii was, “Well, I have to take responsibility for my own misery. After all, I chose not to live in paradise.” I immediately wrote to the complaining student reminding him that “paradise” is a state of mind rather than a state of the Union.

I believe human beings have the power to live in reasonable happiness most of the time, regardless of where they are located or what the conditions are. It all has to do with our attitude. Please understand, I am not being frivolous here, I am talking about true peace and contentment being possible even when circumstances are far from pleasant.

There are stories galore of POWs who have achieved a state of joy and gratitude for life even as they were being starved and tortured. One such individual was Viktor Frankel during WWII in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Viktor was a psychologist in Vienna living a comfortable life when he was nabbed by the Nazis and brought to the camp. He was treated with disdain and was starved and beaten, like most POWs. He was curious about why some people survived, while most others quickly died. He described the survival instinct as the realization that there was something significant to live for, or something yet to do in their life. Once they were reminded of their purpose for living, they had the ability to endure their hopeless situation and survive.

In Viktor’s own situation, he was able to use the power of visualization to rise above the incredible conditions of the moment and feel peace and joy, even among the dying and hopeless people. After the war, he wrote a book on his observations entitled Man’s Search for Meaning.

What prison do you live in? Does it sometimes feel like you are suffering needlessly at work? Are the managers in your organization kind of reminiscent of prison guards, or at least schoolyard bullies? Do you feel there is little hope to be happy or content with the conditions that exist around you? If that describes you, then realize you are making a choice. You are choosing to not live in paradise when the opportunity is there for you to do so, or at least to improve your frame of mind significantly.

I am sure many of you are saying, “This author is crazy; he has no clue about the miserable existence I live here in this dungeon.” Well, that is correct, I do not know your condition, but I do know the person most in control of your happiness is you. Choose to be happy or ignore this advice and remain miserable. I am not saying this is easy, because if it was, everyone would do it.

If you choose to change conditions for the better, get some material on mental imaging and start changing your life. The more depressed you are, the more you have to gain. Most of the time you cannot change the conditions being presented to you by the world, but most of the time you can control your attitude or reactions so that your state of mind is much more enjoyable.

This philosophy is not that profound, and we have all heard some form of it numerous times before. Some people call it “mind over matter.” Norman Vincent Peale called it “The Power of Positive Thinking,” while Earl Nightingale made the observation that “We become what we think about.”

One helpful book is the classic, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (1960). Maltz became fascinated with the process of setting goals for his plastic surgery patients. He learned that the power of self-affirmation and mental visualization techniques were enabled by the connection between the mind and the body. He taught how developing a positive inner vision was a means of developing a positive outer vision. This led to the idea that a person’s outer success almost never rises above the one visualized internally. Many contemporary philosophers such as Zig Zigler, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy have based much of their work on the theories developed by Maltz.

Unfortunately, when we are miserable, it is hard to remember that we can be in control if we want to assume that control. When you get depressed, try the visualization techniques. They can make a big difference in your life. Paradise is not as far away as it seems.