“They have you making photocopies again? Oh my god, they may as well chain you to your desk!”
We eventually get into a conversation. I notice it happening again: my hands are in my pockets. I’ve been doing this a lot lately and I need to eliminate it. It is submissive behavior.
In The Reconciled Hierarchy, Frans de Waal comments on the observation that the dominant one is often sought after or followed by other members of the group.
“Whereas pure fear would induce an animal to run away and never come back, social animals usually stay and show submission. Submission results from ambivilence between fear and attraction.”
When you see an extremely attractive woman, you are motivated to talk to her because you are attracted to her. Yet you have anxiety. Since you have such high levels of both fear and attraction, you act with submission.
You communicate your fear through certain reliable mechanisms. You have learned these submissive mechanisms so that you can attain friendly harmonic social integration with those who have power in that particular group.
You avoid eye contact. You only look when you know the person isn’t looking at you.
You look down. You avoid conflict by averting your gaze.
You become invisible. You make yourself “smaller” physically. You take up less space. You put your hands in your pockets.
You speak quietly. You avoid generating attention toward your actions.
You follow rather than lead. You avoid initiating interactions.
You act with body language that purposefully shows a lack of confidence.
You do not logically in your mind decide to act with a lack of confidence. Your behavior is engrained in you as a means of survival.
Just like your fear would prevent you from stepping off of a cliff, your body prevents you from behaving too boldly. It prevents you from taking inappropriate social risks that would jeopardize you.
You learn to communicate submissive signals in order to remain part of the social group on which your survival depends. These communication signals are highly consistent and predictable.
De Wall writes,
Rowell has already demonstrated that subordinate behaviors are remarkably consistent in their direction as compared to most dominant or aggressive beahviors. A further distinction with the category of subordinate behavior was reported for Java monkeys by Angst and de Waal. These macaques signal subordinance by means of a stereotypical facial experession in which the teeth are bared. This facial display is completely unidirectional between individuals, i.e., if during a given period A shows the signal to B, B will never show it to A. Non-ritualised expressions of fear, such as avoidance and flight, show exceptions to this rule in up to 5% of the cases.
How do you change these submissive signals into confident signals?
1. Become aware of what the signals are.
There are a lot of ways you can do this.
You can watch DVD’s.
You can befriend and imitate confident guys.
You can get coaching from people who know how to bring out confidence in guys.
Reading and watching this information is helpful, but it can not be overlooked that this is a SOCIAL process. Reading about this stuff will only have limited results as compared to socially interacting with people who know about this stuff.
2. Practice changing these submissive signals.
Your body will fight you when you begin to change this stuff. Your primal brain wants to protect you as you step near the edge of that cliff. It can be an uphill climb at first.
But it begins to snowball. Confidence breeds confidence. As you eliminate overly submissive behavior, your body starts to understand your place as being different than it was before.
Your hands come out of your pockets.
Your begin to speak with a more confident tone.
And soon, you become a visible confident part of every social interaction. And your life is never the same.