Remember that scene from the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? You know, the one between Willy Wonka and Violet Beauregarde. In case you don’t remember, it went a little something like this:
Out of all the memorable lines from this American classic, Willy’s last line, “confidence is key” is what sticks out to me the most. Why? Because everyone knows that it’s a universal truth– especially for actors. The real question is how does one become confident? Or how can one at least appear confident?
In a 2012 TED talk, social psychologist Amy Cudder, gave a lesson on how your body language can shape who you are. “Our non verbals do govern how we think and feel about ourselves,” she says. Furthermore, practicing body postures associated with dominance such as an open chest or a wide stance can have a chemical effect on your brain. In a study she conducted, Amy found that taking these “high power” positions for as little as two minutes led to a 20% increase in testosterone levels. That extra boost might be exactly what you need in an audition room full of anxiety.
But what about the times when the voices of doubt creep into your head telling you things like “you will fail” or “give up”? In an article written for Forbes, life coach Jaime Kulaga says to fight fire with fire: “Cut your negative thoughts immediately and replace them with words that are positive and confident. The more you repeatedly send positive messages to yourself, the more positive you will become”. It’s cliche, but there is some proof that we do have the power to speak things into existence.