Friday, November 24, 2006

Size matters: The ballad of Tom and Katie

As the world of celebrity gossip is buzzing with news of the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I thought I'd take my own spin on the whole affair.

Tom Cruise is 5 feet 7 inches tall. Katie Holmes is reported as being somewhere between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 9. Amazing then, isn't it, that Tom looks a good few inches taller than Katie in their wedding photo isn't it?

Now, I'm not the first person to have commented on it. But from a psychological perspective, there's good evidence that taller people generally do better in work and their private lives. So taller people tend to earn more than their shorter counterparts. Taller men also tend to get more dates than shorter men.

From the point of Darwinian psychology, women look for taller mates (it's a sign of stronger genes and therefore healthier babies). Other men tend to give way to taller men too (like the strong lion in a pride).

So what does that have to do with the world of work? There's not a lot anyone can do about their height, is there?

Well, yes actually. And I apologise if you are a woman reader, as the research points to the importance of height in men rather than women. If, as a man, you are very much shorter than normal, you could always consider putting lifts in your shoes. Anecdotally at least, men who put lifts in their shoes see their confidence spiral upwards.

Perhaps more practically though, it points to the importance of posture. If you look around your workplace, you'll probably notice that some of your colleagues have great posture while others have terrible posture. Bad posture can cost you more than 2 inches in height. Literally, stooping over could subconsciously affect your colleagues and boss and cost you to get overlooked for a promotion or pay rise!

So stand up tall. Think of a piece of string lifting your head up toward the ceiling at all times.

Or. You could always get lifts!