One of the most incredible things about art (whether that’s paintings, literature, theater, dance, etc.) is the ability it gives us to “experience” things that we never experience, “feel” things we’ll never feel, and spend time in someone else’s head. Art provides the most compelling argument and profoundest proof of the universality of human emotion.
This has especially stood out to me as I have been reading Presence by Amy Cuddy. It seems strange that I have thought so much when reading a nonfiction book. And not just a nonfiction book, but science. With studies and statistics and everything. But I realized it’s the same feeling. This feeling:
I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
This is something that Amy Cuddy actually explicitly addresses in her work as it relates to impostor syndrome. The studies and scholarship that prove how common it is to feel like an impostor? That’s what art does. We meet characters that we feel we have more in common with than any real person we’ve ever met. We read about an awkward encounter and think, “That’s exactly what I feel like when I do something stupid.” We read a description of what it’s like to take a walk in the early autumn morning and feel like it perfectly encapsulates the experience.
This miracle of art (because that’s what it is) is something I never expected to find in a book about psychology and confidence. But I have. On every single page of Presence.
Every single page.