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Bricks and the City – We Can Be Heroes Not Just For One Day!
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Bricks and the City – We Can Be Heroes Not Just For One Day!

This week I’ve been on a brilliant course all about brain friendly learning, it was all about designing training courses that use a wide variety of learning techniques for making learning (and the design of learning) faster, more fun and effective. There was certainly no ‘death by power point’ during the 3 days I was on the course, I only wish I’d known what I know now earlier in the week when I was delivering Risk Management training!! I can now design a…………wait for it…………….exciting and enjoyable Risk Management course which is something I never thought I would say in a sentence.

Anyway, I wanted to share one of the key things I learnt which is, STATE IS EVERYTHING. So, what does that mean? According to Kaizen Training who ran the course:-

‘States are the primary determinant of behaviours, they are like the weather in your brain and provide a “pool of choices” from which all behaviours emerge. They regulate motivation’.

There are 3 ways to change your state, through the body, through language and through focus. States can be changed both positively and negatively. So, if you observe your own or someone else’s body language, if you are slouching, arms folded, making yourself small it can say a lot about how you are feeling within yourself and that could be influenced by your reaction to someone saying something negative to you or your own self talk. From a focus point of view, how many times have you said to yourself, I can’t find my keys, I can’t find my keys and then someone else finds them exactly where you were looking?

Your physiology sends a message to your brain about your state, therefore by changing your physiology, you can change your state, by saying positive things to yourself you can change your state and by focusing on something positive you can change your state.

One exercise to demonstrate this was to have someone stand up with their arm out to the side and say something positive or focus on someone who is a positive influence in their lives and say their name over and over again, the person standing next to them would try and force their arm down and they couldn’t. When that person focussed on something negative, the arm went down straight away, they lost their power. How many times do we do that on a daily basis?

So, why the super heroes? One exercise you can use is to adopt a super hero power pose (see blog photo for demonstration). Adopting that pose for a few minutes or even stretching your arms out wide above your head can send a positive signal to your brain and change your state. So, next time you have a presentation to do, or an important meeting, or even job interview, take yourself to a secluded spot (aka the ladies or gents) and do some power poses, see how it works! There is also some scientific research to back this up and if you have 5.57 minutes spare I would really recommend watching the following link.

Amy Cuddy is a Social Psychologist and Professor at Harvard Business School who noticed how student’s body language was impacting on their performance and contribution and carried out research on how adopting power poses can make a difference. Testosterone, known as the dominance hormone is associated with confidence and assertiveness, cortisol known as the stress hormone is associated with inability to adapt to highly stressful situations. The research showed that adopting power poses increased the dominance hormone and reduced the stress hormone.

Finally, I wanted to leave some food for thought. If you had a friend who spoke to you the way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you still be friends with them?

Have a great week super heroes!!

PS, if you are ever feeling down or in a rubbish mood, watch this youtube clip, it is guaranteed to bring a smile to you face and change your state baby laughing at ripping paper especially if you’ve had a job rejection letter this week………!

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