Lessons from the Godfather: Status

Michael Corleone

In the movie, The Godfather (one of the greatest man’s movies ever made), Michael Corleone goes through a transformation.  In the beginning, he is quiet, shy, and humble.  His status is very low.  Take a look at the beginning of this great movie and focus on Michael.  Then, watch his transformation over time.  His ultimate journey is to become the head of the family.  Watch the brilliant acting of Al Pacino as he takes Michael through this transformation.

This phenomenon of how high status people use their body is fascinating.  Amy Cuddy does a great Ted Talk on Power Poses.  By adopting a power pose for only two minutes, we increase our testosterone and decrease our cortisol (the stress hormone) significantly.  Wow!  In only two minutes!  This is true in the animal world as well.  Dominance is shown by making yourself bigger.  Apes do it.  Birds do it.  Reptiles do it.  Bugs do it.  Check out her video:

I always wondered why the New Zealand All Blacks did their Haka prior to each game.  Now I know.  They are increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol to win the match.  Check this out:

In the beginning, Michael made himself smaller, his voice was higher, and his status was low.   Also look at Freddo and the way he exhibits his lower status.  Check out this video of Michael walking after all of the family business (killing all of his enemies) has been accomplished.  It is a great lesson in status:



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