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Relationships and the Dog Eat Dog World

dog_daysThis is the third installment of our five-part Dog Days series. Today we want to talk about relationships. There’s that old saying, “It’s a dog eat dog world.

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It reminds us of this exchange on Cheers:

Woody: "How's it going Mr. Peterson?"
Norm: "It's a dog eat dog world, Woody, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

Dog eat dog is a zero-sum mindset. In order for you to win, the other party has to lose. There may have been times when this mindset worked. If you were in a large city or you sold nationally or worldwide, you may have been able to get away with it.

But the world is getting smaller and smaller.

Man’s best friend

Thanks to the internet, more people are connected with more people. Reputations can be built or destroyed pretty quickly. So it really pays to think win – win.

Be man’s best friend. Build loyalty by being trustworthy. Win friends by being loveable.

Those attitudes win alliances today. Your network is the single biggest asset you can have. The value of your network is the sum total of the value of each and every relationship in it.

Call the dogs off

You build value in relationships by giving. So call the dogs off.

You’re seeing this so much now as more and more people start using new tools like Twitter. They follow you; you follow them back. Then you’re immediately greeted with an auto-generated sales pitch.

As we’ve said before, the problem is they’re not seeing people. They only see dollar signs, but the dollars don’t materialize because people are turned off by the initial communication.

Of course, you can be too laid back in your networking efforts. You have to think highly enough of yourself, and what you do, to promote yourself. If you don’t, why should anyone else promote you?

Find the balance between too passive and too aggressive.

“His bark is worse than his bite”

We’ve all probably heard these famous words uttered by a dog owner. Perhaps you’ve said them yourself.

Is it a problem if we as humans exhibit this behavior as well?

Of course it is! Because we lose credibility if that’s the case.

When you choose to elevate a discussion, you have to be ready to back up your words with actions.

Barking and biting can be tools if they are used carefully. If they aren’t, they’ll come back to bite you (pun intended)!

If you never bark or bite, people may think they can steamroll right over you. On the other hand, you can use these tools too much. Then people avoid you or just brush off the dialog without really listening. They also lose respect for you.

So it’s okay to bark, if you bark occasionally. When you do it occasionally, it makes the communication stand out.

And it’s okay to bite … if you rarely do it. Sometimes you have to confront an aggressor head on. It puts teeth into your words.

Relationships. It’s hard to fully quantify them. They don’t show up on your Balance Sheet. But nonetheless, they are the single biggest asset you have. So build relationships for your bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today.

Occasionally, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in the dog house. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about how to get out. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by mioawee)

Can Happiness Buy Money

golden_eggWe’ve heard it again and again … money can’t buy happiness. According to the Beatles, it can’t buy love either!

But what if the order is reversed? Can happiness buy money?

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The latest research supports the notion that happiness can buy money[PDF]. It comes from a team effort with researchers from the University of Virginia, Michigan State University, and last but certainly the most, the University of Illinois. Okay, we’re biased but at least we admit it.

Happiness buys an extra $8,263 a year!

The researchers surveyed incoming freshmen at 25 elite colleges. We’re not sure how they defined “elite”, but we’re pretty sure it’s the schools we attended!

The participants reported their cheerfulness. 19 years later, when the participants were about 37 years old, the researchers asked them to report their annual income.

On average, the participants in the highest 10% on the cheerfulness scale earned over 15% more than those in the lowest 10%. In 1995 dollars, this was a difference of $8,263 a year, on average ($62,681 vs. $54,318).

Attitude to altitude

That’s a bigg difference. So not only can happiness buy you money, it can buy quite a bit of it! Apparently attitude does determine altitude!

That’s one of the bigg takeaways here. If we approach the days of our lives with the right attitude, we’ll be more productive. We’ll show more initiative. We’ll get more opportunities.

More money, less risk

We also found it interesting that the most cheerful participants were one-third less likely to ever be unemployed than the least cheerful. It appears that being of good cheer not only helps you be more prosperous, it reduces your risk as well. That’s a slam dunk!

And it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. We learn in business school that you have to take more risk to make more money. But as this study shows, you can make more money and actually have less risk with the right attitude!

That’s the bigg idea behind bigg success – to get all areas of our lives working harmoniously by finding synergy like what we see here.

Being too happy is costly

Here’s a surprising twist from this study: People who were moderately cheerful (above average on the researchers scale but not in the top 10%) earned the most on average.

They made almost 6% more than those in the top 10% and about 22% more than the bottom 10%. In 1995 dollars, that means they earned $3,563 and $11,826 more than the highest and lowest deciles respectively.

So being really happy leads to much better income than being really unhappy. But being happy instead of really happy is even better yet!

It turns out that Droopy had it right. He never said, “I’m really happy.” Just “I’m happy.”

Bigg Success is the community of bigg goal-getters. People who are usually happy, but never content. This research supports the notion that this “happy, not content” attitude leads to bigg success.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today. You can get more tips and tools to be a bigg success by subscribing to our free weekly newsletter.

Please join us next time when we’ll discuss what entrepreneurs have that MBAs don’t. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post by Mattox)

The Hero Within the Hero

reflection Today we wrap up our 3-part series on heroes. We started by discussing what makes a hero a hero. Last time, we looked at the heroes behind us, where we played off the Bette Midler song “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Well … the only way we could get that song out of our heads was to talk about another one. So today we’re going to look at Mariah Carey’s Hero.

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We love lyrics and Mariah Carey certainly has strung together some powerful words in this song. It’s particularly appropriate in the tough times we face right now.

We’ve all heard the song, but you may not have really thought about the words. So here we go …

Who are you?

It starts off …

“There's a hero if you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid of what you are”

We may feel a fear that if we show people our true selves they won’t like us. They won’t accept us. We might be embarrassed because we won’t succeed.

It’s ironic … in many cases, it’s this fear that keeps us from succeeding. Because each of us has something very unique to offer the world. It’s born in us. It’s our duty to develop it. To show the world our authentic selves.

The promise

The verse continues …

“There's an answer if you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know will melt away”

We just love this. There’s a promise if we reach within ourselves. We can do it. You can do it! Makes you think of an Adam Sandler movie, doesn’t it? We won’t go there!

You can find the answer to whatever problem you are facing. You and you alone have the solution.

Love begins with you

Then we come to the 2nd verse…

“It's a long road when you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand for you to hold
You can find love if you search within yourself
and the emptiness you felt will disappear”

We’ve talked about this before. It is impossible to truly love other people if you don’t love yourself. Love begins inside each of us. If we can’t see the beauty within us, we’ll never experience the beauty around us.

Finding the way

Now we come to the final verse …

“Lord knows dreams are hard to follow but don't let anyone tear them away
Hold on, there will be tomorrow, in time you'll find the way”

We have to stay true to our dreams even when they’re tested. We have to hold on. Martin Luther King had a dream. We’ve recently witnessed what happened!

We have to keep searching for the answer. But we know we will find it and we will achieve our dreams.

It starts with an attitude

Because when all of this is going on, when your problems seem insurmountable, when the world around you is nothing like the world you envisioned … 

“… then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside and you know you can survive”

It all starts with an attitude. You have to look within yourself – deep within yourself – with the confidence that you will find the answer. You know you’ll come back strong. You know you will survive.

Cue Gloria Gaynor? No, we’ll pass on that!

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A final thought

In a world that is looking for heroes, in a time when people are fearful and pessimistic, what should our response be?

“… when you feel like hope is gone look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth – that a hero lies in you”

We’re so grateful that you read our post today. Join us next time when we look at what to do if your employer stops matching your 401(k) contributions. Until then, here’s to your bigg success! 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post by cabalero)

What Makes a Hero a Hero?

hero You’ve probably seen the photos and the news stories of the “miracle on the Hudson” Captain Chesley Sullenberger was able to save over 150 passengers by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River after both engines of his plane failed.

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He’s received accolades from across the country, including Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York and two Presidents – President Bush who was the President at the time this happened and now President Obama who invited Sully, as his friends call him, to the Inaugural Ceremony.

The story is fascinating. We heard over and over again how calm and collected he was. His coolness kept the passengers calm and collected too.

What makes someone a hero?

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission defines a hero as “a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her own life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person.”

That definition fits the mission of their organization, but is it expansive enough?

We turned to Merriam Webster. Two of their definitions of a hero stand out:

  • a person admired for his or her noble achievements
  • someone who shows great courage

We crafted our own definition:

A hero is an ordinary person who does something
extraordinary for the good of someone else.

It is a gift, not a sacrifice (although it may involve sacrifice) in the mind of the hero. It is the opposite of narcissism, but it is definitely not martyrdom.

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3 steps to heroism

Do you want to be a hero? We thought about this and it seems to us that becoming a hero is a three-step process:

Heroism starts with an attitude
Almost all of us think we have a duty to prevent harm to others as long as it doesn’t cost us too much. A hero expands upon that attitude. They feel a duty to serve others – to do good – whether or not it costs them something. 

It continues with preparation
This sense of a bigger duty drives them to preparation. They have a drive to be ready when the time comes.

Going back to Sully … as the pilot of a plane, he knew at some point there might be a crisis. So he gave a great deal of his free time studying everything situation he might encounter. It was his duty to be as fully prepared as possible should a crisis arise.

It completes itself with an action
The act of a hero is the manifestation of an underlying attitude. The success of that act depends on the preparation for it.

Sully had to respond because it was his duty. But his response didn’t start when the birds knocked both engines out of his plane. It began years earlier when he began studying flying.

So when the situation arose, he was ready because he felt a sense of duty and he had prepared.

Heroes, heroes everywhere

Heroism doesn’t always show itself in actions that make the news. There are heroes all around us. That’s what we’re going to talk about in our next two posts. Next time, we’ll discuss the hero behind the hero.

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Is E-Mail Diluting Your Message?

communicate Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, is the author of Silent Messages. This book discusses his legendary research into the relative importance of verbal and non-verbal communication.

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Mehrabian’s rule

When you’re trying to communicate emotions, think about the three V’s: verbal, vocal, and visual. They are the three parts of what has become known as Mehrabian’s Rule – 7% of your message is given verbally (the words you use), 38% comes vocally (the tone you use), and 55% is delivered visually (your facial expressions and body language).

We see from his research that, when we’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes, the overwhelming majority of the message comes through non-verbally. If the verbal and non-verbal don’t agree, people will rely on the non-verbal.

Choosing your medium

Therefore, understanding the three V’s of communication helps you prevent misunderstanding. If the recipient of your message can’t hear and see you say the words, your message may get diluted.

E-mail is convenient, but it can be easily misunderstood because it’s only words. What about text messages?

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marylynnA friend of mine told me that her husband’s ex-wife texts her husband about problems with their kids. My friend gets frustrated after several rounds of nothing getting solved. She says she tells him to just call his ex-wife.

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So choose your medium carefully if you’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes. Some media only use one part of the communication trio, and a very minor one at that!

If you’re just relaying facts, e-mail is fine. If you want to express more than that, your message may get diluted. A phone call enriches the conversation because you bring in the voice. And while it’s not always possible to meet face-to-face, it is your best bet for your most sensitive communication.

Speaking of which …

Let’s apply this to a presentation, whether your audience is one or many. How you say what you say, and what you do when you say it, are actually more important, in getting your message across, than what you say.

What?

It’s hard to explain this in just words. Hey, that illustrates our point!

You can say, “I’m excited.” If you say it with enthusiasm in your voice while standing straight up, your audience will believe you. If you say it like Droopy says, “I’m happy” and slouch while you’re saying it, your audience may doubt you.

People remember the impression more than the words. So if you want to connect with an audience, it’s important to practice your inflections and your gestures to make sure they’re congruent with your words.

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We really appreciate you reading our post today. If you listened to our show, you could’ve heard our appreciation in our voices! Join us next time when we get a visit from a very special guest – Santa Claus. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00289-121808.mp3

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(Image in today's post by ilco)