Amy Cuddy

“Most of us have two lives. The first one is the life we actually live; the second is the imagined life where we achieve all the success we dream about. Some build a bridge between these two lives. …

For Amy Cuddy, the Excellence Habit came after a bad car accident. At age nineteen she was thrown out of a vehicle and rolled several times. She woke up in the hospital with a severe head injury. As a result, her IQ had dropped by two standard deviations, and she had been withdrawn from college. This was very traumatic for Amy because she identified with being very smart. She had been called ‘gifted’ as a child. So she tried to go back and was told she was not going to be able to finish college! There are other things she could do, she was told, but college was not going to work out. She really struggled with that.

When her core identity was taken from her, it was the worst possible feeling. As Amy felt overwhelmingly helpless, the one thing she could do was work. So she worked, and worked, and worked, and got a lucky break and back into college. Then she worked more, and eventually, Amy graduated from college. It took her four years longer than her peers.

According to her Wikipedia page today, Amy Cuddy is an ‘American social psychologist known for her research on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels.’ She teaches at Harvard, and the video of her 2012 TED talk on body language has the second-highest number of all-time views on TED.com. Amy’s story is extraordinary because when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, she chose to follow her mission. To use the popular metaphor from the book Who Moved My Cheese, she chose to move her own cheese. Amy chose to keep working when there was no realistic hope she could get back what she had lost. Even when she believed she didn’t belong in academia, Amy kept going.”

Zachary, Vlad (2015-11-10). The Excellence Habit – How Small Changes In Our Mindset Can Make A Big Difference In Our Lives: For All Who Feel Stuck (Kindle Location 78). Central Street Publications. Kindle Edition.

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