Some critics of Jeb Bush say that he projects "low energy" and he's "not exciting enough". When they make this observation, whether they realize it or not, most of what these people are seeing is his body language.
In most (can you cite the exceptions?) of these five accompanying images, the former two-term Florida Governor's hand-arm positions are configured either relatively alpha or in a more neutral, yet still assertive alpha-beta hybrid stance.
However Jeb Bush negates these positive body language components with two similar and overlapping high-beta nonverbals.
Mr. Bush has a strong tendency to hunch his shoulders. Similarly he also foreshortens his neck and shift it forward (termed the "Turtle" or "Turtle Retreat"). Sometimes one is more prominent than the other, yet he displays both of these nonverbals fairly often. Taken in isolation, either of these body language signs send beta, low-energy and relatively weaker signals. When these are coexistent with hand-arm signals which are stronger or more alpha-beta balanced - the entire cluster then projects a level of emotional dissonance.
Of course his thoracic and cervical spine are not what they were when he was 25, yet this hunching and neck foreshortening are primarily NOT medical in nature - rather they are due to his collective emotional state.
Flashback to when Jeb made his formal declaration of his candidacy: This image was taken just before he went on stage. At this moment he was speaking to his father and the 41st President of the United States - George H.W. Bush. Note his straight back and squared shoulders. There is no hunching - or foreshortening of his neck. His left arm is at a 45 degree angle to his chest and his right arm is being held moderately away from his torso. His feet are slightly less than shoulder width apart. This posture is projecting strength and confidence. You can feel it. Yet this same feeling of strength is substantially lacking in many other moments.
The vast majority of people, certainly the middle 40% of the electorate, do NOT vote with their heads - they vote with their hearts. Of course these same people will dress up their emotions and rationalization with logic and facts - and then proceed to give you (as well as their own silent self-talk) a lot of intellectual reasons why they're voting one way or another.
While you may or may be voting for Mr. Bush or agree with him on any given issue - or you may be a staunch democrat - his body language sends signal to your psyche of a man who is less than full strength. This is NOT a political statement. It's certainly not to say he cannot govern, or perhaps become a good - or even great president. Yet if he is to win the republican nomination and then the White House, he has got to both elevate and project more confidence, assertiveness, energy and strength. As silly as it may sound to some, it is simple strong biology - we all want a leader who - not only is strong - but one who looks strong too. This is also how we choose a life partner - we are pre-programmed to pick a person who projects health and vigor - not age and wither.
Human beings are primarily emotional - and far too many "leaders" - elected or otherwise ignore this at their peril.
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