Thinking About Naked Women (And Goal Achievement!)

"Gordon Bryan", "Gok Wan"I was thinking about naked women the other day. And goal achievement. In this article I’m going to explain the connection…

I had seen an advert that had a picture of Gok Wan. Gok is a stylist, who came to fame via his TV show ‘How To Look Good Naked’, where he took women with low self esteem, and turned them round to liking their naked bodies without any surgery, but through attitude.

Make up tips, yes. Hair tips, yes. Clothing tips, yes, but the underlying change was an attitude change, and it started right at the beginning of each show.

He would get the woman to undress down to her underwear and stand in front of mirrors, which was a vulnerable tearful experience for most of them. They would say that they hated this part of their body, or that part, or all of it – that they could hardly bear to look at it themselves, never mind let anyone else see it.

Then Gok would get to work, and by the end of the session he would make a breakthrough which would underpin the rest of the process.

I remember one episode in particular, where he said to the woman that she didn’t always have to be the first to tell herself she wasn’t ok as she was. There would be plenty of others to do that for her, no need to put herself at the front of that queue.

He went on to tell her that instead, she should be the one leading the way with positivity towards herself, something that might be harder to find in others, but that would come easier if she went first.

She smiled, then burst into tears as she realised what she had been doing to herself mentally for years. You could see the change in her eyes, and it was a powerful demonstration of how quickly an attitude can be changed.

Relapses along the way? Yes, but that vital initial seed had been sewn.

Another part of the programme showed another massive self improvement tip, and again it involved the women in their underwear…

Gok showed the woman a line up of models, also in their underwear, of various sizes from small to large. He then asked his subject to place herself in the line up where she thought she fitted size wise.

The woman got it wrong, even after having a good look up and down the line, by putting herself at too big a size. Wrong by a good few inches, a good couple of dress sizes.

She couldn’t believe it when she found out, and without a stroke of surgery, Gok had taken inches off her size. Of course he hadn’t taken anything off in the actual fact, but in her mind he might just as well have done.

A simple change in attitude, backed up by hard facts, had made a huge impact on the self esteem of the woman. It had shattered negative misconceptions, and coupled with his previous pep talk about being positive rather than negative, the results were amazing.

At the end of each show, he would have the woman parade up and down in a shopping centre catwalk, strutting their stuff, loud and proud.

What a feel good show! What a way to make the point! So how is this related to goal achievement..?

Well, I’ve long written that a key element of goal achievement is attitude – not only do you have to believe that the goal will happen, but you also have to believe that you are worthy of the goal, that you deserve it. That’s a self esteem issue, so anything that improves self esteem improves your goal achievement chances.

Maybe you don’t have any particular goals, in which case the self esteem improvement is enough to put an extra spring in your step.

If you do have goals though, think of Gok’s technique – ask yourself how you are doing on the self esteem front. Are you the first in the queue with positivity towards yourself, or negativity? Have you got a misconception about yourself or your abilities that is clearly different to what others see?

You don’t have to strip off in front of a mirror (although do send me pictures if you do…), but do let me know what you think!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
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  • Great post about how society’s messages can interrupt our own ability to perceive what is even real! I work as a coach with people seeking relationship changes – from finding friends to dating to dealing with family and special needs – and so often my clients just need support to “see” past society’s messages (such as autistic people can’t make friends, or middle aged people can’t date successfully). We all get stuck in these messages sometimes!

    Great topic, funny title, and a good reminder that a little coaching can help!

    (sorry, no naked pic!)

    • Thanks Claudia,
      In fact, reading your comment, it occured to me that I had focused on the effect the coaching had, while not really mentioning the value of the coaching. It was sort of deliberately done like that in the article, but you have raised a great point.
      Gordon (you make an interesting post about behavioural intervention on you blog btw)

  • Great post…I especially like what you wrote about how “she didn’t always have to be the first to tell herself she wasn’t ok as she was. There would be plenty of others to do that for her, no need to put herself at the front of that queue.”

    It truly is all about attitude…how often have we seen someone (man or woman) who wasn’t the best looking or most attractive person in the room, or not the most skilled in what they did, but who had an attitude of confidence and worthiness that made them magnetic? I’ve witnessed this phenomenon time and again, it all begins with the self image, whether its body image or goal achievement!

    Thanks for presenting this concept in such a clever way!

    • Oh yes Lara,
      you’re right that we can spot the people who have the confidence and self worth! I love the fact that the seeds can be planted fairly easily, and then nutured to produce some stunning results in people!
      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks Sheri,
      it’s a subject I’ve felt strongly about for many many years, both seeing it in myself and others, and trying to make the difference when I can.
      Your recent post does a more thoughtful job with the subject than mine!

    • Thanks Kathy,
      Yep, self perception is at the heart of our attitude, and attitude is at the heart of action, which is at the heart of results. That’s why it’s a shame so many people don’t properly assess their self perceptions.

  • Nice article Gordon. The only problem is, women have developed a low self-esteem by comparing themselves to others in the first place. So, to make themselves feel better because they are “thinner” than where they placed themselves is still about judging their bodies according to whether they are overweight, more or less.

    Women have to begin to judge themselves, NOT by their looks, but by what resides in their hearts! What they GIVE, their purpose….

    Maybe if they where in a pitch black room, and only heard others voices, and then heard their #, and compared based upon how they answered a question…. I’m not sure, but I know there is a HUGE problem for self-esteem for women, no matter how successful. And society feels it’s ok to judge even the most successful and amazing women by their looks- even Obama did it last week, and had to apologize.

    That’s what I do in my work with women- mindset adjustment!

    • Hi Lianda,
      I can see your point, but everyone compares themselves to others, men do it too, and we all do it in all different areas, not just size.
      Also, the thrust of the show was not to make the women think of themselves as ‘thinner’, it was to make them comfortable in the body they had whatever the size, and part of that process was to get them to see the actual fact rather than their perception.
      The line up exercise helped with that acceptance of fact, along with getting them to display their real personalities through their outward presentation.
      Thanks for the excellent thoughts,

  • Hi Gordon
    Well that nifty title certainly got me here to read your thoughts

    Seriously though, our self image affects our self esteem with affects how we think, behave and achieve (or not).

    I saw the programmes you mention above and it is amazing to see how attitudes can change in such a short time.

    I would be interested in seeing some follow-up programmes to see how the subjects manage to continue with their new-found confidence. I believe that being able to maintain our new confidence on a day-in, day-out basis is the ultimate aim.

    In fact, popping over to your blog and reading your posts regularly and/or reading your book Transform Your life in 21 Days could well be the answer.

    (My naked pic will be forwarded in a plain envelope)

    • Ha, Thanks Dave,
      They have the odd follow up show, and the women have indeed kept the new confidence, noticed by all around them too.
      They built up some habit and momentum during the show, which is a key element to lasting change,

  • I like this post in so many ways, Gordon. I enjoyed the show and the way the women went through such an inner transformation. I care so much that all of us, but especially women, learn to like our bodies exactly as they are, instead of despising and punishing them. I also agree that this change of attitude can apply in so many other areas. When you really start to think about it, it’s sad and crazy that we can so easily put ourselves down and crush every bit of self-belief we might have had, ourselves. It’s a bit like gluing our own feet to the starting blocks and then thinking we are failures when we don’t win…

    • You’re right Harriet, about how easy it is to put ourselves down – where does this comes from?
      Peer pressure? Education? Easier to take comfort in known misery than potential positivity? All of the above I suspect!
      Shows like this do inspire me, because they can show how simply the seeds can be planted to just think a different way about ourselves!
      I’ve been writing about it for many years, and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon!

  • Great post! Yes this is so true. After my divorce I had to work hard to get my self esteem back but I did. Not only did I find that inner confidence but I also realised that I can achieve anything I want to achieve as long as I believe I can. This is no longer something I just say, it is something I know to be true. In order to get to this stage I had to take a good look at who I really am rather than who I thought I was. This is why I am now passionate about helping others do the same. Thank you for this post.

    • Indeed so Kama, and it’s no coincidence that you and I tend to enjoy bloggers that write about the same points, because we believe so much that banging away at the same points from different angles might strike a chord with someone, that can literally change their life.
      Self esteem is there to be tapped into, to be uncovered under the layers we may have placed above it ourselves!
      Thanks as ever for stopping by,

  • GreatGord,
    Your title really cracked me up! So funny! I find the idea of this show sad and fascinating all at the same time. It is sad that we tend to (women do, anyway) judge ourselves by what we look like, how much we weigh, how slim our thighs are, or whatever, when what matters is what is inside us. Really the body will eventually be dust, so why does it matter so much to us what it looks like?

    I can’t help but mention that it might be interesting to see a men’s show of the same type . . . I’ll betcha it would be quite different. 🙂

    • Hi Amy,
      The show had an underlying thrust that looking good all comes from within, not from without = after all, they didn’t call it “How to look thin naked”, but “How to look good naked”
      It was all about working on the psychology, and battling that influence of society’s view of ‘thin’.
      I did focus on the line up exercise in my article, because it shows the power of self perception and misperception – fully appreciating what we have rather than yearning for something we think may be better.
      I think there have been male versions – I need to check!