Hi Vanessa and the Science of People team,
As many of the intelligent and passionate people above me, training to be a body language trainer would be a dream come true and the perfect culmination of many years learning about human behaviour.
I’ve been fascinated by psychology ever since I stumbled on one of my mum’s psychology textbooks when I was 13 or 14. It was Three Psychologies: Perspectives from Freud, Skinner and Rogers and I didn’t really understand that much of it, but what I did understand caught my attention.
Not long afterwards one my mum’s friends immigrated to Canada and gave me her own psychology and sociology books – which I promptly consumed. Despite being 6ft 3” from 14 onwards, I was never really that confident (what teenager is?) and learning how our bodies show our thoughts and emotions and exactly how those actions and expressions came to be was fascinating to me.
And yes, I’ll admit I did recognise the potential benefits of understanding body language when trying to speak with girls - FYI it didn’t work for a long time, but that’s another story!
Anyway, during Christmas one year, I was speaking to my uncle, a psychology teacher at the time, and he recommended I read People Watching by Desmond Morris. I did and it was incredible. I quickly bought his other books on anthropology, (The Human Zoo, The Naked Ape, The Naked Man and The Naked Woman) and also read a few of Allan and Barbara Pease’s books (Why Men Lie and Women Cry, Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps and The Definitive Guide to Body Language).
Skip forward 3-4 years to university, I chose to study marketing which included a lot of consumer psychology (persuasion, motivation and NLP). I saw marketing as the only real way to make money using psychology.
While I was at university, two things happened – Sherlock Holmes and Neil Strauss.
Being fairly geeky, I’ve never been great and talking to girls and my knowledge of body language didn’t exactly help – understanding body language is great, but if you’ve no idea how to deal with the emotions you spot, it’s kind of pointless.
I discovered Neil Strauss’s The Game and seduction strategies aside, it really opened my eyes to human behaviour. Put simply, humans evolved for conditions 40,000 years ago and while society has developed and evolved hugely since then – our brains haven’t. We’re still operating on Windows 40,000 B.C.
Thanks to my renewed interest in body language and increased understanding of how humans REALLY behave, I met my wife and was able to convince her (don’t ask me how!) that I was a mature, intelligent, interesting and protective potential mate - we’ve been together since 2008.
So body language has really had a HUGE impact on my life.
The second thing to happen, which has led me to this point, is Sherlock Holmes. I read the books as a kid, but seeing his skills being played out on screen by Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. lit a fire in me that has refused to go out.
I was instantly hooked; so much of Sherlock’s methods relied on keen observation and sharply honed analytical and mental processes – both areas covered intently by the types of books I was reading and talks I was watching.
Having loved reading and writing for so long, I decided to write an article on How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, the information didn’t really exist at that point, aside from a few short blog posts. The article has been read now over 100,000 times and inspired me to study the mental processes Sherlock goes through even further.
I joined Udemy and signed up to Jonathan Levi’s course on memory and learning. It was wonderfully delivered and I realised that with all the random knowledge I’d picked up over the years, I actually already knew most of what was taught. Taking Jonathan’s course inspired me to write a book and eventually create a Udemy course combining all the knowledge I’ve picked up over the years.
After starting the book, I stumbled upon Vanessa’s courses and decided to see how much I really knew about body language. I was surprised that I knew a lot of what Vanessa was teaching in terms of reading people, but there was a huge hole in my education. Ok, you’ve spotted anger…now what?
Beyond trying to impress people with magic trick-like lie detection, I had no idea what to actually do with the information I was spotting.
And now to arrive at the point - I know I have a solid foundation in human behaviour, but the majority of what I know is academic and theoretical. I’ve never applied that knowledge to anything useful or practical – I’m not sure how.
Learning to be a body language trainer fills that hole. For the past few years I’ve wanted to change careers into one where I have passion, control and, quite honestly, the opportunity to talk in front of an audience.
Vanessa’s success is exactly what I want to reach and who better to learn it from that Vanessa herself?
My dream is to be a part of a team that uses scientifically backed knowledge to teach people to improve their observation and analysis skills to improve their personal and professional lives. With my marketing and existing knowledge of psychology, I feel I’d have a lot to offer and training with Vanessa and the team and being a larger part of the Science of People community would just be fantastic.
Sorry for the essay - well done for making it this far!