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95. Hate Being on Camera? Understand Your Brain’s Biases To Change Your Mind

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There used to be a time when people who were camera shy could mostly avoid being in photos or on video. For better or worse…those days are long gone. A lot of us hate seeing ourselves on camera, and today I’m going to talk about why. Our brains are actually programmed to hate seeing ourselves on camera because of specific biases. I’m going to talk about those biases, how they affect our brain, and give some tips to overcome those biases.  In a world of selfies, Instastories and YouTube…it’s hard to not be on camera these days. With the coronavirus pandemic (which I covered in episode 91), the world has been flocking to Zoom, which before the end of February had already added more active users than in all of 2019. In the coronavirus episode, I touched on why the brain is wired to react the way it does during a novel and frightening situation like this, and why we all feel inclined to hoard lots of supplies like toilet paper even when we know that is a bit irrational. Today’s episode gets into concepts like familiarity bias, confirmation bias, and comparisons that are working to make our brains hate seeing and hearing ourselves from the outside looking in. I talk about what we see and hear and what others see and hear. I explain how these biases affect us. I also share my own experiences with these biases, and share seven tips you can use to convince your brain that being on camera, audio, and video isn’t that bad after all.

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Show Notes:

  • [04:32] Not too long ago, any of us who wanted to could pretty much avoid cameras – either video or photos.
  • [08:13] I get it. AND I want to help everyone understand some of the things going on in all our brains that make us less than excited about seeing ourselves on video (or listening to our own voices on a recording) to make it a little easier to do that next one.
  • [08:23] There are a couple of mind tricks conspiring against seeing yourself on camera, including confirmation bias, familiarity bias, and the comparison effect (essentially relativity), and the focusing illusion.
  • [08:55] FAMILIARITY BIAS This is one of those things that is so obvious when you hear it, but not something that people are usually connecting the dots on themselves.
  • [09:19] We see everyone head on, and they see us head-on. The only way we see ourselves is a reflection in the mirror. We actually see the opposite of what everyone else sees.
  • [10:23] This is why our familiarity bias kicks in when we see our image in a photo, and we think that something is off.
  • [10:56] Studies have actually shown people two images – head on and mirror image – to see what people preferred, and it confirmed that friends and partners…everyone else, prefers the “straight on” image of us, and we all prefer our mirror images.
  • [11:13] People could never explain why they didn’t like one and why they preferred the mirror image. The conscious can’t explain it…but the subconscious knows what it is used to looking at.
  • [11:47] Until you train your brain to see your “real face” more, it will not be familiar and it will feel off. This means putting in the effort to be in more pictures and on video and watching yourself.
  • [12:11] Some smart systems like Zoom actually let you choose if you want to be looking at and recording your “real” face or your “mirror image.” 
  • (Bonus side note not in the episode – I did a run through of a training using GoToMeeting the day after recording this and saw myself in NOT mirror image for the first time in a while…my brain’s immediate reaction was that it was awful! But I was able to use the tips from the episode to get past it and not make it awkward.)
  • [12:42] Help train your brain to get used to the good stuff of the true you. Our brains dial in WAY too closely on things when we are thinking about them.
  • [13:22] You will be focusing on yourself in a way no one else does. So you have two options. First: train yourself to watch the general image and try not to narrow in on one specific item.
  • [14:21] The second option is to know that the focusing illusion will still be happening because your brain is wired to focus on stuff. Focusing on the good stuff will make you happier and smile more.
  • [15:26] Zoom also has a “touch up my appearance” option that gives you a smoothed out look and can be the edge you need to feel more comfortable.
  • [16:50] We actually hear ourselves differently than everyone else, because our voices are reverberating around inside our heads while we speak. Your perception of yourself is biased.
  • [18:26] CONFIRMATION BIAS Familiarity bias combines with confirmation bias to really reinforce the bad stuff deeper into your brain.
  • [19:26] We remember the feedback that aligns with our self esteem more than we remember anything that doesn’t align with it.
  • [20:42] Your subconscious is making 99% of the decisions and evaluating tons of information every second to screen out what fits its rules and what doesn’t.
  • [22:24] You need to embrace the new positive just make it plausible enough that your brain will believe it.
  • [23:39] COMPARISON EFFECT for our purposes this is essentially relativity.
  • [23:56] The context (the environment you were just in) will impact the way your brain perceives the next item.
  • [26:14] If video is important to your business, invest in making yourself look as good as possible. This will benefit your personal brand and make it easier to see yourself. Here are those 7 tips:
  • [29:51] #1 Try to focus on good stuff you like about yourself instead of the stuff that makes you cringe.
  • [30:02] #2 People are programmed to like you more when they see you the way they are used to seeing you. People like authenticity.
  • [30:34] #3 Reframe your focus to a positive.
  • [30:50] #4 Be okay with mess ups. They will happen.
  • [31:49] #5 Imagine the audience is laughing at the right spots and loving every minute.
  • [33:21] #6 Decide to get over it. Find positive things to focus on and see yourself better.
  • [34:33] #7 Do as much video as you can as often as possible.
  • [35:13] It’s time for a new challenge. I’ll be going live every day between now, April 10 and May 15 when episode 100 goes out. Will you join me? Find me on social and use #BeThoughtful
Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

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