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Leadership and Racial Conflict

We caught up on some shows over the weekend. Survivor Redemption Island was one of them.

Entrepreneurial leaders occasionally need to diffuse a tense situation. Jeff Probst, the host of the show, provides an excellent example of just how to do it in this episode.

In case you don’t watch the show, we’ll provide a brief background. There are two tribes. They have now merged but are definitely not unified. They operate as separate tribes day-to-day.

One tribe’s rice, which is the main food source on the island, got maggots in it. They picked the maggots out but the rice was on a blanket on the beach. It was attracting moisture.

Philip, who happens to be African-American, approached the other tribe to see if his tribe could put their rice in the other tribe’s rice container. Steve, who happens to be Caucasian, rejected.

A heated argument ensued. The race card was played.

Jeff Probst squarely took the issues on when the castaways all met for tribal council. We’ll grant you that this is reality TV. However, we can’t recall a better example of a leader removing the emotion from a situation.

If you want to see it done, watch the Rice Wars episode of Survivor Redemption Island. (The tribal council with Jeff begins at the 31:35 mark.)

Here are the lessons we took away:

Build goodwill before you need it

Without the goodwill he has built up, Jeff probably would not have been able to pull off what he did. You have to build goodwill before you need it so, when you need it, you have a reserve from which to draw.

Listen attentively

Demonstrate your willingness to listen attentively to the divergent points-of-view. You weren’t there. You’re investigating. So talk little, inquire much.

Follow-up carefully

As you get information, clarify it. But make sure you do it in a non-threatening way. If you show favoritism of any sort, you won’t be successful in diffusing the conflict.

Find out what happened…exactly

You want the facts. You want to know precisely what sparked the conflict.

Seek points of understanding

You may not be able to reach an agreement. However, if you can understand what created the problem, you can articulate that without the emotion of the situation.

Look for the crux of the problem

In this case, Philip perceived a comment by Steve as a personal attack – not just on him personally, but on his entire race. It’s the crux of the problem. You need to know it in order to diffuse the situation.

Sum it up

Jeff was able to sum up the problem. You could see that both of the parties involved agreed with his assessment. You could see relief on the faces of all the castaways.

As an entrepreneurial leader, you will be confronted with conflicts between your people. Follow this model to diffuse even the most emotional situations.

The Rice Wars episode of Survivor Redemption Island offers an excellent model to diffuse even the most emotional situations.

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3 Questions for a Brighter Future

questions You and you alone create your future. You are the only person, place or thing with that power. With that being the case, it's up to you to create the future of your dreams.

One way to do that is to look back so you can look forward. Reflecting upon the past and pulling lessons away so your future is bigger and brighter. With the New Year upon us, now is a great time to review last year so next year lives up to its promise for you.

There's a simple three-stage framework for performing this exercise. It involves asking yourself three questions:




Start with the actual events of this year. What happened? Describe major events in your life. As you record your answers, test your perceptions to make sure they reflect the reality of the situation. If it helps, pretend that you are a reporter objectively recording the facts of the event.

So what?

At this stage, you move from reporting to understanding, from logic to emotion. That's why it was so important to get the facts right in the first step. What did this experience mean to you? How did it make you feel? Why did you feel that way? What have you learned?

Now what?

The previous two questions lead to this one. How will you apply the lessons you learned? What specific actions will you take as a result of the events you've outlined?

These three simple questions serve as a great outline to review major events in your life and develop forward-thinking plans to be a bigg success.

Let’s look at a couple of examples, using events from 2008.

Example: Volatile stocks

The stock market can be very volatile.

So what?
I can lose money if I don’t understand the risk and how to manage it.

Now what?
I will learn more about investing and asset allocation. I won’t invest money in stocks that I will need in the next ten years. I will pay closer attention to my quarterly reports to make sure I maintain the proper asset allocation given my age and goals.

Example: Layoffs

Times are tough at work; layoffs are possible.

So what?
It makes me nervous. I think I could lose my job.

Now what?
I will look for ways to help my company save money. I will make sure my boss is aware of the projects I complete successfully. I will look for opportunities to add additional skills so I’m more competitive.

Solid goals

In our examples, the “Now what’s” are a little bit fuzzy. You really want to refine them to turn them into solid goals. For instance, looking at the second example, instead of saying “I will look for ways to help my company save money,” turn that into “I will find one way to save my company $X (you pick a relevant amount) in the next 30 days.”


Would you like more help turning your thoughts into concrete goals? Get our FREE Goal-Setting Workbook when you subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE too!


We really appreciate you taking the time to read our post today. Join us next time when we look at the most important people of 2008. We think you’ll be surprised at our choices! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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The Art of Knowing Yourself

questions In the movie, Pretty Woman, Vivian Ward (played by Julia Roberts) and Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) go to an opera. Edward explains to Vivian that some people who go to an opera for the first time love it. He continues that others don’t love it; they may come to appreciate it, but they will never love it. At the end of the opera, Vivian is crying while Edward sits stoically watching her.



There’s a great article, by Eriq Gardner over at Psychology Today, about what your choice in art says about you. He describes four 4 personality types:

#1 – Taste hunters
These people are always looking for new art and sharing their discoveries with others. If you visited their home, you’d find an eclectic mix of books, CDs, and DVDs. These people are more likely to become artists themselves.

#2 – Thrill seekers
These people are highly social, connecting with others at concerts, clubs & theaters. They crave sensory excitement, often consuming several media at once. They enjoy bold colors or themes of sex or violence.

#3 – Self-medicators

These people may be somewhat neurotic, evidenced by anxiety and sensitivity. They are highly creative and emotional. So they like art that depicts emotion – romantic movies and books, and music like rap and heavy metal. They use art to regulate their moods and validate their feelings.

#4 – Art as decoration
These conscientious people are dependable, focused, and task-oriented. They enjoy order and rules. So they like art about things they like in real life. They choose art for its aesthetics, often selecting it based on its market value. Conventional art is preferred over modern or abstract. Musicians who are technically accomplished are favored.

Which type are you?

Edward Lewis was definitely the “art as decoration” personality. He went to the opera to be seen by people who viewed as important. He chose the best seat because it made him look important. He consumed art in a very logical manner. He didn’t experience it fully, but he appreciated the craftsmanship that went into making it.

Vivian Ward was very extroverted, enjoying flashy clothes throughout the movie. She felt the opera deeply. This all steers us toward thinking she was a “thrill seeker”. But she was also very emotional, perhaps showing some tendencies of a “self-medicator”.

That’s the thing about these four personality types. Most of us probably fit into more than one. What type or types are you?

Consuming art can reduce your stress

The article also cites a study of office workers – one group looked at art, the other didn’t. It took five hours for the group that didn’t look at art to wind down after work. The group who looked at art achieved the same stress level in forty minutes!

It also helps you understand yourself better. By thinking about the type of art you like, you get to know yourself better.

It’s also a great way to get a conversation going. It helps you connect with others. By knowing what art a person consumes, you come to understand them better.
So take advantage of the upcoming weekend to take in some art!


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Next time, we’ll discuss smart investors in tough times. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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Success Building Blocks: Enthusiasm

By Bigg Success Staff

Timeless Principles

John Wooden, arguably the best coach in the history of college basketball, developed the Pyramid of Success It’s a wonderful tool to succeed bigg in any endeavor you choose.

Last week, we looked at 843 Industriousness], one of the two cornerstones. This week, we’ll look at the other cornerstone.


You must have a solid foundation if you want a building to last. The same can be said for success in life – if you want long-term success, you have to build on the basics.

The second cornerstone of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is an emotion. It’s how you feel about what you’re doing.

If you’re not excited about your life, why should anyone else be?

If you’re not excited about your work, why would anyone else get excited?

It’s hard to attract customers, employers, subordinates, even a life partner without enthusiasm. You have to be enthusiastic about you so that others are enthusiastic about you and your prospects for success.

The difference between success and failure is often small. The difference between bigg success and run-of-the mill success is even smaller. Enthusiasm is a critical component that makes the difference!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Business Owners Must Be Duplicitous

By Bigg Success Staff

Bigg Success in Business


You may get conflicting messages about being in business. You hear that you need to be passionate about what you do. You’re also told to approach every business decision rationally.

So which is it – love or logic?

As an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do. If you don’t love it, you won’t be able to make it through the inevitable tough times. So get into a business about which you have a passion.

  • Then take pride in your accomplishments. Celebrate them like you’ve just won the Super Bowl. Be human in defeat. Learn from it and then move on. Practice the 24-hour rule – give yourself 24-hours to enjoy victory or recover from a loss. Then move on.
  • Be stubborn about what matters. There are things that are important to your success. They are your core values and purpose. Don’t ever agree to compromise on the things that are important, but be quick to concede if a better idea comes along that’s not in conflict with these core values and your purpose.
  • Finally, don’t fear the fear. As a business owner, you will face fearful times. That’s okay. Successful entrepreneurs have faced the same fears; they just overcame them. You’ll need to do the same. Press on.

Emotion clouds your judgment. You have to get beyond your emotions in order to succeed in business. You have to be calculating, weighing the pros and cons of a given strategy against your goals and the pressures of the market.

  • Separate your ego from your business. Entrepreneurs often get in trouble when they start creating monuments to themselves with the resources of their businesses. Don’t make that mistake! Every business decision should move you one step closer to your dream life.
  • Admit your mistakes. If you don’t admit them, you’ll never learn from them. Unsuccessful business owners often devote even more resources trying to turn a bad decision into a good one. It rarely works. Admit your mistake and move on.
  • Aim before you fire. This is one of the best ways to make sure you’re not acting emotionally. Get ready … aim … fire. Business owners who fail often get caught up in the moment and forget this crucial step.
  • Focus on results. Measure everything you accomplish against your goals. Have you exceeded them or fallen short? Why? Answering those questions along the way will take you a long way toward the success of which you dream.


An example of love and logic at play is to remember why you got into business in the first place. You had a goal in mind. You had a plan on how to achieve it. Along the way, you gained new insight and information. You changed your plan, but the goal is still the same. You’re practicing love and logic at the same time!

The bottom line is that it pays to be emotional and unemotional at the same time about your business … be irrationally rational!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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It’s Safest To Stick To What You Know




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