Research at VU University of Amsterdam has been looking at how people make judgments about leadership potential based solely on visual assessments of physical traits. This is a topic they have studied for some time, refining their process of creating faces for analysis.
Smart Vs. Attractive: Who Wins?
Their most recent study was designed to test whether people preferred intelligent looking leaders or leaders that looked very physically healthy. To begin they created four faces out of a composite of volunteers. Each face was a white male with no jewelry, glasses or other accessories so that defining features such as gender and race would not skew results, and so that distractions were minimized.
Then, these four faces were manipulated to appear more intelligent or more healthy. (The manipulations necessary to create these appearances were the results of other studies that showed what traits made people appear more intelligent or more healthy.)
Finally, test subjects were given corporate scenarios and asked to select a new CEO for the company, just from looking at pictures of faces.
According to the Harvard Business Review article, “For Leaders, Looking Healthy Matters More Than Looking Smart,” by David Burkus,
“When the researchers tallied the choices of all the participants, both healthy and intelligent-looking leaders were chosen more often. However, health cues were more clearly influential in choosing a leader than intelligence cues. In 69 percent of choices, participants favored more healthy-looking faces over less healthy-looking faces. The tendency to choose healthy faces was dominant regardless of the scenario presented.”
What this research proves is something that great leaders have known for a long time, your appearance and how you take care of yourself, matters to other people. Your long-term effectiveness as a leader will definitely be a result of your words and actions, but when people choose how implicitly to trust you and whether or not to follow you right off the bat, your appearance matters a great deal. Healthy and fit people are attractive and weight training is a great way to improve your health and fitness.
These snap judgements and first impressions are a crucial part of leadership, that you can make efforts to improve. Taking care of your own physical health will help people believe in your potential as a leader, and that early belief will create momentum as you move forward in your career.
Fit People Earn Higher Incomes
Exercise can actually help you earn a higher income.
How is this possible? Cleveland State University published a study that reported that those who exercise at least three hours per week will earn at least ten percent more than those who are inactive. Although there is a link between a person’s activity level and earning a higher income, at this point it is mostly speculation. There is a link though, that part has been proven.
Getting the required amount of exercise will naturally energize your body throughout the day, meaning you will get more work done at your job, especially if it requires a lot of physical activity. This will show that you are a highly valued employee and should earn more than you do. Exercising will boost both physical and mental functions of a person, which will increase your overall productivity.
Winners Win – Because They do More
Those that are inactive will usually be a lot more tired than their active peers, which means they will not be efficient at all. They will also not feel as good as their peers because exercise releases a certain chemical called endorphins, which makes you feel good while reducing and stress or anxiety you may have. Physical activity will also boost your strength, stamina, endurance, flexibility, as well as your immune system, which means you have less of a chance of getting sick resulting in missed days of work.
When creating a good exercise program for yourself, be sure to include a good mix of cardio, aerobic, and strength training exercises. Having these three types of exercises incorporated into your program will burn away any extra fat while building up muscle.
Even if you do not currently have a job, it is still important to get the exercise your body needs in order to survive and thrive. Exercise should not be done just to increase your income. The main reason to exercise is to keep your body as healthy as possible, which will prolong your life in the long run.
The benefits you will see from exercising include increasing the durability of your bones, improving balance, enhancing memory, and preventing serious diseases and illnesses. Your health should be your first priority, not how much money you can make. You can’t buy back your health. Don’t convince yourself that you can.
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