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Motivate Yourself 117: Unleash Your Inner Superhero

Have you ever pretended to be someone you’re not?
Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Now I don’t necessarily like the phrase “fake it till you make it” because it conjures up thoughts of imposter syndrome, but one thing that we all need to bear in mind is that we are not born with any behavioural traits, no particular personality, no beliefs about self, nothing.

So how to we develop our personality?
How do we learn what to say and how to say it?

We learn from copying someone else, and anyone with children can see that. But that doesn’t stop when we grow up.
If you spend a great deal of time with someone you pick up on their behaviours and habits, you use the same words, accents and even develop opinions.
As you do this you usually believe it was through choice. That the decision to use those words, or have that opinion was all your own conscious decision, but of course it wasn’t it was all going on in the background of your mind.
It seems that we can change our personalities by accident, so what can we do with our personalities when we actually put some effort in to becoming the best we can be?
Karen Pine
I’m reminded of a field of psychology called Fashion Psychology. in particular some research by Professor Karen Pine, at the University of Hertfordshire. It transpires that we communicate a great deal about ourselves through our own personal style and dress. Karen’s research shows that when women feel stressed they wear less of their wardrobe, neglecting 90 per cent of it, and the main reason women dress up is not to look attractive but to feel confident.
So there’s quite a correlation between emotions and fashion. If we’re feeling gloomy we’re more likely to wear clothes that remind us of feeling gloomy and so continue to make the association stronger.
In a series of Karen’s experiments students were asked to change into certain T-shirts and they were then asked a series of questions about themselves.
Some students had plain T-shirts, some had the Superman logo on them. Turns out that we take on any symbolic meaning to our clothes.
The students with the logo perceived that they could lift heavier things and even rated themselves as more likeable and superior.
And there have been many other experiments that show similar outcomes. Women performed worse in maths tests when wearing swimwear compared to when wearing sweaters.
Putting on a white coat improved people’s mental agility, as their brain was primed to take on the mental capacities they associated with being a doctor.
Turns out that not only is it true to say “we are what we wear”, but also “we become what we wear."
Similarly weight lifters given placebo steroids are able to lift heavier weights because they simply believe that they are stronger today than yesterday. But not only does that belief give them permission to try harder but it actually makes them stronger, the belief that they are growing muscle mass sends signals to the muscles to make them grow, that’s how powerful the mind is!

So just imagine what happens if you are constantly telling yourself that you can’t do something, it has the same effect and prevents you from achieving your goals.
As the old saying goes “Be careful what you look for, as you just might find it.”

Episode List

Episode 138: Keeping Up With The Joneses
Episode 137: The Likeable You
Episode 136: Why It's OK To Be A Loser
Episode 135: The Psychology Of Extremism
Episode 134: Are You A Lobster?
Episode 133: Critical Thinking
Episode 132: There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad
Episode 131: The For And Against Of Imagination
Episode 130: Loneliness & Social Networks
Episode 129: Letting Go Of The Past
Episode 128: What Is Love?
Episode 127: Procrastination
Ep. 126: Who Were You Before The World Changed You?
Episode 125: Stop Saying "Sorry"
Episode 124: Emotional Contagion
Episode 123: Patience
Episode 122: Building On Your Foundations
Episode 121: Dealing With The Critics
Episode 120: Being Assertive. Just Say No!
Episode 119: Inactivity
Episode 118: Social Functioning & Evolution
Episode 117: Unleash Your Inner Superhero
Episode 116: Goals, Values and Priorities
Episode 115: 10 Tips To A Happier Life
Episode 114: Lies And Confabulation
Episode 113: Confirmation Bias
Episode 112: Are You An Imposter?
Episode 111: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Episode 110: Are New Years Resolutions a good idea?
Episode 109: The African Violet Queen Of Milwaukee
Episode 108: Reframing
Episode 107: Spiders And Behaviourism
Episode 106: Practise Makes Perfect
Episode 105: Fear Of Flying
Episode 100 - 104: Happiness
Episode 99: Body Image And The Media
Episode 98: Evolution and Adaptation
Episode 97: Reflections And Regrets.
Episode 96: Dealing With Fear
Episode 95: Confidence
Episode 94: Enthusiasm
Episode 93: Tips To Relieve Christmas Stress
Episode 92: Dealing With Change
Episode 87 - 91: Self Esteem
Episode 86: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
Episode 85: The Importance Of Being Lazy
Episode 84: Elephant Chains
Episode 83: Eating Bananas And Setting Goals
Episode 82: Ignoring The Media And Listening To Music
Episode 81: Awakening The Instincts
Episode 80: The Fine Line Between Love And Hate
Episode 79: The Best Medicine
Episode 78: A New Start
Episode 77: Time Distortion
Episode 76: Making Decisions
Episode 75: What's In A Name?
Episode 74: Pushing Ourselves Further
Episode 73: Conformity
Episode 72: Purpose
Episode 71: Perspective
Episode 70: Expectation
Episode 69: The Mind / Body Link
Episode 68: Overcoming Shyness
Episode 67: Mood Boosting
Episode 66: Sabotaging your goals
Episode 65: Self Talk
Episode 64: Money Makes The World Go Round
Episode 63: First Impressions Count
Episode 62: False Belief
Episode 61: Absolutes
Episode 60: The Psychology of feeling calm
Episode 59: Belief
Episode 58: Anchoring Emotions
Episode 57: Negativity and Perspective
Episode 56: Health And Happiness
Episode 55: Imagination vs Reality
Episode 54: Change