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Are Good Looks an Advantage or a Disadvantage at Work?

A lot of attractive people complain that people assume things about them without getting to know them. It’s assumed that they’re unintelligent, superficial, and even arrogant.

You’ve been given the gift of physical attractiveness, which has to mean you’re lacking in other areas. In the social world, you’re just the pretty boy or girl.

But does that perception carry over into the professional world? Is there a bias against people who are good-looking?

 

Green Without Envy
Economists Markus Mobius of Harvard University and Tanya Rosenblat of Wesleyan University did a study to see how looks affected the hiring process. They divided participants into five groups:

  • Two of the groups never saw a photo of the candidate or the candidates themselves
  • The other three either saw the candidate’s photograph or in-person.

The groups who saw the candidates were much more likely to hire the more attractive candidate, even though the less attractive candidate was just as qualified.

These employers predicted that the attractive candidates would be more productive, and would be rewarded for it with higher pay.

Even Greener Pastures
Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the economics of beauty. Dr. Hamermesh has focused on how beauty effects financial success in the workplace.

His research confirms the results of the study we just referenced – that beauty gains an advantage because the doors of opportunity open more frequently. So they make connections, learn skills, and grow professionally. Then they’re able to leverage that first opportunity into many more opportunities, which results in even higher pay.

He also offers little hope for the unattractive. His research has shown that spending money on things to enhance your looks is a waste. You’ll only get back about 15 cents in pay for ever dollar you spend.

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”

The more colors you have, the more colorful your world can be.


Questions for you

Socially, we often hear pretty people complain that they’re discriminated against. But research seems to show that it works to their favor in the workplace.

From your experiences, do you think good looks are an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a difference between men and women? Are good looks more important in the workplace for men or for women?

How about age? Is this something you think affects young people more than older workers or vice versa?

What do you think of Dr. Hamermesh’s finding that it doesn’t pay to try to package yourself better? Do you think it makes a difference?

Share your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

 

Related posts

The Confidence Game

The Single Most Destructive Thought You Can Have

Where Are You If You Ain’t Where You Are

The Greatest Miracle In The World

(Image by svilen001)

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6 Factors to Help You Succeed When Opportunity Knocks

knock_on_door

We’ll deviate from our usual format to better explain today’s show discussion.

George: When I was just getting started in business, I had an opportunity to buy a property that the real estate broker said would support a 12-unit apartment building.

I determined that 24 units could be built; upon checking with my architect, I found out it would support 26. So I knew the property was worth at least twice what I was paying.

But a business opportunity came along, and I decided to go for that. I sold my option on the property to my architect at cost.

Within weeks, a major building project was announced right across the street from this property. I could have made way more money in months with the real estate project than I did in years in the business!

6 essential factors you must have in place when opportunity knocks

Mary-Lynn: #1 – You have to be in the right place. Your research showed that you were in the right place, George. You knew the property was worth more than you were paying.

George:
#2 – It has to be the right time. Had I done more research, I might have discovered the new project across the street. But I got nervous about losing my option money, which I needed for the business. 

Mary-Lynn: #3 – Recognize that you’re in the right place at the right time.
You have to actually realize the moment you’re in so you can capitalize on it. But George, you sold because you had another opportunity?

George: I did. However, the returns came in slower than they would have with the real estate project. I can’t complain about it, though – the business opportunity helped launch my other businesses.

Mary-Lynn: Why did you sell the property at cost when you knew it was worth more?

George:
I was only 22 at the time … I was inexperienced. And frankly, a little scared. I needed the money for the business opportunity. So I did what I thought was best, but I lost out on an opportunity to jump-start my net worth.

Mary-Lynn:
#4 – You need knowledge of what to do. This is all about education. When your opportunity presents itself, you don’t have time to prepare.

George: I knew enough to find the opportunity; what I lacked were the specifics of what to do with the exact situation.

Mary-Lynn:
So how did you to get ready for the next time?

George: I studied all of the ways you could make money with a property. I read books, listened to tapes, and talked to anybody and everybody who would talk to me.

Mary-Lynn: #5 – Know how to do what you need to do. This is about experience – knowing how you actually execute what needs to be done.

George: From this experience, I started smaller the next time. I learned how to go through the process, from beginning to end, to develop a property.

Mary-Lynn:
Is it important to start out smaller?

George: Not necessarily, although I think most people start out relatively small. I wanted to make sure that I could afford to see my next project through to the end.

Mary-Lynn: #6 – You need access to the required resources. Who you know plays a part. You need to be able to raise the money required and find the right people to get the job done.

George: This was perhaps my biggest stumbling block. I became overwhelmed at all that would need to be done. I didn’t see how bigg an opportunity it was or how easy it would have been to capitalize on it.

But here’s the good news – I learned so much that made me so much because I missed out on this deal!

Have you ever missed an opportunity? What lessons did you learn? Share them with us! Leave a Comment below.

Our bigg quote today comes from Abraham Lincoln.

“I will prepare and perhaps someday my opportunity will come.”

Do your homework now so when opportunity knocks, you can answer.

Next time, we’ll discuss communicating effectively across department lines. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Related posts 

Lessons Learned From A Bankrupt Business Owner

Confessions Of A Serial Entrepreneur

The Single Biggest Barrier To Your Success 

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Escape From Your Dead-End Job

Bigg Challenge: We received a question from Gary, one of our listeners. He graduated from college a few years ago with a liberal arts degree. He had planned to go to law school, but didn’t want even more debt. He tried to get a job in his field, but didn’t find one. So he’s still delivering pizza, a job he started in college.

He feels trapped. He’s applied for a number of jobs, but has been told that he’s not qualified because of his inexperience. He wants our advice on how to get out of his dead-end job.

Bigg Advice: Sometimes you know you have more potential than your job offers. It sounds like you’re in that position, Gary. But keep your chin up – you’ll find a rewarding career if you keep trying.

You don’t find your current job challenging. But here’s the good news – when you go home, your job doesn’t go with you. Think about these two questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Are there opportunities to do something part-time in that field?

Get your foot in the door.
On the show, Mary-Lynn said that, when she was young, she wanted to work full-time in radio as a disc jockey. She didn’t have the experience or the skills required.

So she got a full-time job as a waitress and worked part-time at a local radio station. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, she volunteered her time so she could learn the skills she needed. She wasn’t getting paid for that time, but she was investing in her future.

It paid off! Within a year, she got a full-time job as a disc jockey! Get your foot in the door.

  • From janitor to mogul
  • As a kid, Sean Combs knew that he wanted to be in the music business. He went to New York and volunteered to be the janitor at a record company.

    They were growing fast because hip hop was hot. They needed people. They were comfortable with him. They knew that he had a good ear for talent. He had proven himself. In a year, he became the Vice President of Marketing. We know the rest!

Part-time business
Would you like to start your own business? Could you do it part-time? A lot of businesses – like Dell, Microsoft, and Apple – started part-time.

On the show, George said that he was a salesperson when he was young. After his work was done for the day, he devoted his time to his part-time business. Within two years, he opened a store, which provided him a full-time salary.

Back to school
You mentioned law school, Gary – why not go back now? You may have to take on some debt, but most lawyers get paid well. Odds are you’ll be able to pay it off quickly. It doesn’t have to be law school. Maybe there’s something else you’re passionate about that offers great opportunities now and in the future.

Thanks, Gary, for sending us your bigg challenge. We wish you bigg success!

Do you have a suggestion for Gary? Leave a comment below.

Our Bigg Quote comes from Cullen Hightower.

“Worry compounds the futility of being trapped
on a dead-end street. Thinking opens new avenues.”

But that’s just the start! After you’ve thought about your escape route, put it in gear and burn some rubber getting out of there!

Next time, with the Super Bowl upon us, we’re going to discuss how to fumble forward, toward the end zone. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Read more Bigg Challenges

 

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Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)    

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)   

Coping With Life Change    

Your Potential Power    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)    

10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business    

Stretch Yourself Anew    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

How Do You Define Success      

Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)    

Climbing The Stairway To Success    

Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Do You Know Too Much?

When George told his dad that he was going to get his Master’s degree, his dad said, “Be careful, son … you don’t want to get so educated that no one can use you!”

Is your knowledge a blessing or a curse?

The curse of knowledge
It seems that as our knowledge and experience increase, our creativity and innovation decrease. When you become an expert in a field, you risk losing the innovation that probably got you there. That’s the curse of knowledge!

That leads to some strange things … for example, why do you have to go to “start” to shut off your computer? Techies understand that. However, to the average person, it doesn’t make sense at all.

Group think often results when experts collaborate. As long as you only involve people just like yourself, you end up with things like going to “start” to finish.

The sign of the curse
Have you tried reading a book written by an expert in a field new to you? Or gone to a web site that’s outside your area of expertise? What did you see? Perhaps it was like reading a foreign language. It was jargon – the sign of the curse.

Maybe you’ve sat in a room of people, all speaking jargon. At some point, you asked a question! Gasp! Do you remember the looks? You don’t know it all! Gasp (again)!

If you find that your speech is full of jargon, you may know too much!

New discoveries
Something interesting happens as novices ask questions. The experts are forced to explain their subject simply – from the perspective of a newbie. In the process, the experts often discover new ways to look at the same old problems.

So why do so many people only hang out with people just like them? Because it’s comfortable. It’s good for your ego to feel like you’re part of such a prestigious group. Your input is valued when you’re in your area of expertise talking with other experts.

A good problem within limits
We’re certainly not suggesting that you don’t want to be an expert in your chosen field. In fact, the opposite is true – seek first to be an expert!

Then you can have the problem we’re talking about here – it’s a good one to have! But recognize that your creativity and innovative tendencies are often limited when you’re an expert.

So how can you remain creative when you’re an expert?

  • Make some new friends, outside of your field.

Or reconnect with some old friends, outside of your inner circle of experts like you. People you don’t converse with much anymore because you’re too busy! Mingle with people who have a variety of experiences. You’ll learn things from them that that will help you be more innovative again.

  • Get a hobby, especially a creative one.

We wrote an article recently, Does Your Hobby Work For You It highlights a study of Nobel laureates. That’s a pretty innovative group, wouldn’t you say? The researchers found that about one percent of all scientists claimed some leisure pursuit. They were surprised to learn that over fifty percent of the Nobel Prize winners had a serious hobby! So get out of your “lab” and get your creative juices flowing again.

Sometimes, it pays to listen to novices

Cynthia Barton Rabe wrote a book called The Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine… And What Smart Companies Are Doing About It. She tells the story about an executive who was with Ralston Purina when they bought out Eveready. Eveready had successfully marketed flashlights for years, but now the business was very mature.

This was the mid-1980s. Eveready sold their flashlights through hardware stores and lumber yards. They offered two colors – red and metal. The transferred executive suggested new colors – pink, light blue, and light green. These colors would appeal to women, she argued. Gasp! The experts only looked at her with dismay.

She suggested that the flashlights be distributed through grocery stores! Gasp! Fortunately, she sold the decision-makers on her idea. The result – bigg sales! You’re the expert.

Keep in mind that sometimes that’s a curse. Be open to new ideas, even from novices!

Our bigg quote today comes from William Shakespeare.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

If you know at all, you’ll know that you don’t know it all.

Next time, we’ll discuss climbing the stairway to … success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00045-011108.mp3