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A Simple Way to Make a Decision

Do you have a decision to make? Are you unable to make decisions? Here’s a tactic we heard on the To the Lost episode of Boardwalk Empire:

Flip a coin.

Whether it comes up heads or tails barely matters. What does matter is how you feel when it’s in the air. What are you hoping for?

It’s your intuition at work. And ultimately, it can be an important decision-making tool. If you prefer, you can use a Magic 8 ball to make your next decision.

(Unless you usually get it wrong. Then you may want to use
George Costanza’s technique.)

Whatever you do, there’s an important concept underlying these methods. It’s a systematic way to apply your intuition. Once you grasp it, it will help you make decisions in life.

Frame your options as a binary choice: heads or tails, yes or no, this or that, either or.

For example, let’s say you want to start a business. One question you may ask is when.

So get out your coin. Heads you’ll go into business now. Tails you’ll wait.

Flip the coin in the air. Do you feel a knot in your stomach? Which side do you want to come up?

More importantly, don’t stop there. Take the hoped-for answer and expand on it. Create a series of choices:

Part-time or full-time? Online or off? Start or buy? Independent or franchise?

Of course, the choices will be determined in part by the type of business you want to own. Step-by-step, you’re creating a decision tree.

By getting it on paper, you’ll be able to quickly see how choices now affect options later. You can weigh what you’re giving up against what you’re getting. Then you’ll be able to make a decision that leads to BIGG success!

Image in this post from stock.xchng

Left-Handed, Dyslexic Entrepreneurs are the Most Successful Leaders

left-hand-writingLeft-handed people comprise about 10% of the population. Yet 57% (four) of our last seven Presidents have been lefties.

Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were righties. (Although, some people assert Reagan was a leftie who became ambidextrous because he was “cracked by the ruler” as a school kid.)

Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford were all lefties. (Although, Ford said in his autobiography that he wrote with his right-hand when he was standing. We wonder which hand he used when he was tripping? :-)

Since we’re both lefties, we were really curious about this phenomenon. What explains this seemingly huge imbalance between the general population and Presidents? It’s simple:

Lefties make better leaders.

The left side of our brains is ruled by logic; the right side by intuition. Left-handed people are more likely to use the right hemisphere of their brain. While logic is important for leaders, intuition rules – especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

The success of dyslexic entrepreneurs

We couldn’t find any studies about the handedness of entrepreneurs. However, about 10% of the population is dyslexic.

It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left-handed. Research has shown that dyslexia affects 35% of all entrepreneurs and just 1% of managers in the corporate world. This same study showed that, on average, dyslexic entrepreneurs:

  • are more likely to be serial entrepreneurs
  • grow their businesses faster
  • hire more employees

Coping for BIGG success

The researchers assert that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may grow faster as a coping mechanism. They learned to delegate at a young age, finding people who could easily do things they found difficult.

This ability to recruit and work with key people is an advantage in building an entrepreneurial enterprise. The need to hire people to help shore up the entrepreneur’s own strengths creates a pressure to grow faster.

As a business grows, structure is required to continue serving customers effectively and efficiently. The researchers postulate that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may feel stressed by this structure. So they choose to sell the business and move on to another entrepreneurial endeavor. Entrepreneurs without dyslexia are more comfortable with structure so they tend to stick with one business longer.

An opportunity for government officials and venture capitalists

So…

Lefties make better leaders.

Lefties are more likely to be dyslexic.

People with dyslexia are more successful entrepreneurs.

Therefore, if we’re going to grow our economy…

We should look for left-handed people with dyslexia who want to be entrepreneurs.

Government officials should start programs to locate and encourage these potential venturers.

Venture capitalists can refine their screening process and just look for left-handed entrepreneurs with dyslexia.

What if you’re not a left-handed dyslexic?

Before we close, we want to speak to all of you who aren’t left-handed dyslexics. Is there any hope for you? Of course there is.

Remember that it’s April Fool’s Day!

We made two (at least) logic errors in our analysis above:

  • “Lefties make better leaders.”

    While it’s interesting that such a high percentage of our recent Presidents have been left-handed, there’s no evidence to indicate that lefties make better leaders than righties.

  • “It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left handed.”

    While we found numerous people making this assertion, we found no credible research to back it up.

The benefit of being YOU

So what’s the point? Was this whole post just a ruse? No.

We wanted to highlight that YOU have an advantage. It’s up to YOU to find it. Nature has endowed YOU with certain characteristics – handedness, dyslexic or not, etc.

Your environment has afforded YOU with certain experiences unique to YOU. Your perceptions, knowledge and know-how are all yours.

Your duty, should you choose to accept it, is to find where your endowments and your experiences are leading YOU.

Once you find that, YOU are ready to build a life, not just make a living. That’s life on your own terms! That’s BIGG success!

Image in this post from tulp

Is Entrepreneurship the Fountain of Youth?

one You probably intuitively know this but studies have proven it as well – our willingness to take risks declines with age. A banker we know says that the difference between junior lenders and senior lenders is …

Junior lenders want as high a lending authority as possible because that shows confidence in their abilities. Senior lenders want as low a lending authority as possible because that gives them cover!

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Entrepreneurs are hot about hot decisions

Scientists at the University of Cambridge recently released a study on “cold” and “hot” decisions by two groups – managers and entrepreneurs. By their definition, “cold” decisions involve little emotional involvement whereas “hot” decisions involved taking risk. The outcome of these hot decisions is unknown in advance; it could go either way – good or bad.

Both the managers and the entrepreneurs in the study were about 50 years old, on average. The researchers found that the managers took risks consistent with their age.

Entrepreneurs, however, made hot decisions –
accepted risk – like someone twenty years younger.

So we can only conclude that entrepreneurship is the fountain of youth. By taking risks, we act younger than we are!

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marylynn
I thought taking risk was the cause of some of the gray hairs I have to cover!

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george
And I thought it was the reason I have a lot less hair than I used to!

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We know that, right now, a lot of us aren’t in a risk-taking mood. But if the past is any indicator, it will be risk-taking entrepreneurs that turn our economy around and start creating jobs.

Risk-taking can be learned

This study also showed that risk-taking can be learned. So you can tap into the fountain of youth by learning how entrepreneurs are able to manage the risk they take.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs aren’t risk lovers. They are willing to accept moderate risks, in general. However, as we see again in this study, they’re more willing to accept risk than the general population. We can think of four reasons why they do this:

Entrepreneurs may read the situation differently.

They often have insights that people on the outside don’t have so they’re able to interpret the situation differently. We may look at a situation and see a lot of risk. The entrepreneur knows it’s much less risky because of his or her unique knowledge.

Entrepreneurs aren’t paralyzed by risk.

Many people are willing to do everything right up to the point of taking action. They develop analysis paralysis and never pull the trigger. Entrepreneurs analyze to a point, but then they just go.

Entrepreneurs are often able to shift a portion of the risk to others.

It could be the firm’s employees, customers, vendors, or financiers. As entrepreneurs get others to buy in, no matter what the form, the level of risk they are taking goes down to a manageable level. Then they know they can act.

Entrepreneurs are able to handle and live with “entrepreneurial terror.”

They can handle the stress that comes along with the risk. They are able to ride the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.

So what we learned today is that entrepreneurs don’t act their age. And that’s one of the secrets to their bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we talk about another study that shows that a happy friend is worth $20,000 in the bank! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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3 Action Items to Increase Your Productivity

In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a group of researchers surveyed 58 random people in a shopping mall. These researchers asked the participants to recall the decisions they had made that day. Then the researchers asked the participants to solve some simple math problems. They found that the more decisions a participants had made, the less likely they were to solve the problems.

 

There appears to be a price to making decisions – we become less productive as we make more decisions. And boy, do we have to make a lot of decisions today!

A six item grocery list
Picture yourself in a grocery store holding a list with six items – orange juice, bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese, Crest toothpaste, Coke, and lettuce.

In 1970, with that list you would have had a choice of 50 items. By 1998, you would need to filter through 250 different products just to get all the items on your list.

This comes from the spectacular book, Simplicity Marketing: End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion by Steven M. Cristol and Peter Sealey.

Think about it – that was 1998. Do you think it’s any better now?

3 bigg action items to simplify decision making

#1 – Make a list that’s specific.

So specific in fact, that you could send someone else and get exactly what you want. Studies show that people who shop with a list don’t buy as many impulse items so they tend to spend less money.

More importantly, it saves you time and mental fatigue as the studies showed.

#2 – Set a time limit when you’re making a major decision.

Before you begin doing research for a bigg decision, set a time limit. Once you’re satisfied with your findings or once you reach your time limit, make a decision.

As an example, we recently set up the web site for Bigg Studio, a sister company to Bigg Success, for audio production services. We needed to decide on the design for the site. There were an endless number of possibilities. We chose one that fit our criteria and moved on.

Here’s another tip that we love – get out your magic 8 ball. Ask it if you made the right decision. Look at its answer and see how you feel about it. This taps into your intuition about the decision which makes getting to the decision you’re most comfortable easier.

If you like this idea, here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

#3 – Become a partner in stress relief for the important people in your life.
Get to know the preferences of the people who depend on you, like your customers, your co-workers, your boss, and your significant other. Weed through all the options and present them with just a few.

The authors of Simplicity Marketing make the point that

“the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress.”

So there’s a significant opportunity in the future for people and companies who are able to simplify things. This applies not just to your company brand, but also to your personal brand.

This is one of the things we try to do here at Bigg Success. We try hard to sort through all the information out there and deliver to you those few things we’ve found to be the most important.

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Intuition – It’s Not Just For Women Anymore

We’ve all heard about women’s intuition. We’re told that women rely more on their feelings when they make decisions. They’re more emotional. But women certainly use logic to make decisions as well. Men reason more because they like to be able to prove their point. Supposedly, they’re more argumentative. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use their intuition.

We value logic today, perhaps to an extreme. Few people, except the most successful, will admit to using their gut instincts to make decisions. Once successful, people like Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump proudly proclaim that their hunches were partially responsible for their bigg success.

So, guys, it’s okay to admit that you use intuition. Don’t see it as a bad thing. Know when to use it and how.

Which type of decision-maker are you?
Gerd Gigerenzer, a social psychologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, recently wrote a book, Gut Feelings. He is a pioneer in research on intuition. He says there are two kinds of decision-makers:

  • “Maximizers” have to know all of the facts before they decide.
  • “Satisficers” only need to be “satisfied they have enough information to suffice” before they make a decision.

Gigerenzer’s research shows that you can often make better decisions with less information. Think of the time that saves you! But he does has skeptics within his field.

Sometimes the data lies
Steve McKee wrote an article recently for Business Week, entitled Beware the Advertising Pretest. He mentions a number of advertising campaigns that didn’t test well during market research. For example, if the advertisers hadn’t gone with their gut, against all the evidence, we never would have “Got Milk?”!

When should you satisfice?

  • The more familiar you are with the situation, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • The less the decision will significantly affect your life, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • Ask yourself, “Who is affected by my decision?” If the answer is “you”, then satisfice. If it involves others, you may want to err on the side of research.

Intuition and the magic 8-ball
Here’s a technique to try the next time you have a decision to make. Do all the analysis you want. Then frame a “yes” or “no” question. Shake your magic 8-ball (or flip a coin). How do you feel about the answer? That’s your intuition at work! This simple exercise helps you start to understand how your intuition plays in to your decision-making.

Our quote today is by Albert Einstein, considered one of most intelligent people ever.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There
comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will,
the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”

Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

Next time, we’ll revisit visualizing the life you want. We challenged you to answer the question, “If neither time nor money was an issue, how would you spend your time and your money?” We’re ready to take it to the next level – live your dream with a purpose.

Until then, here’s to your big success!

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Get Out Your Magic 8 Ball for Your Next Important Decision

By Bigg Success Staff
03-15-08

Life Skills

magic_8_ball

Use a magic 8 ball to make your next decision? Sounds preposterous!

But it works!

This is really a simple four-step process to help you when you’re having trouble making a decision. You’ve done all the research you need to do. Now it’s decision time. You know it, but somehow you just can’t decide. 

So get out your Magic 8 Ball and proceed:

Step 1: Frame your options into an either / or choice.

Step 2: Take one of the choices and turn it into a “Yes” / “No” question.

Step 3: Now see what your Magic 8 Ball says.

Step 4: How do you feel about the answer?

Are you glad to see the answer? Or are you surprised, perhaps even disappointed?

That’s your intuition talking to you.

Simply complex

This simple decision-making process is actually more complex than it seems. You’ve done your research. You’ve probably even formed an opinion.

Now you’re being required to frame your question in the simplest manner. That alone may have some benefits. It requires you to cut through all the clutter to get to the essence of the issue. Even if you don’t use the Magic 8 Ball, it’s a step in the right direction.

After you get your answer from the Magic 8 Ball, you see what your gut reaction is. Gut reactions, when backed by a reasonable amount of research, often prove to produce good results.

The primary thing is it moves your decision along, because once you have all the information you need, delaying your decision rarely helps.

Magic 8 Ball, is this a great decision-making tool?

Signs point to yes!

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Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll? Signs That You Need To Change Careers

By Bigg Success Staff
01-10-08

Life Changes

rock_roll_jpgPicture this – you wake up. As you begin to gain consciousness, you realize that it’s Monday morning. The weekend is over. Another week has begun. How do you feel?

This Monday morning test tells you a lot. It’s your intuition talking to you. If you’re excited about the week ahead, you’re in the right job. If you’re dreading the week ahead, you may need to think about a change. The question is:

Do you need to change your JOB or do you need to change your CAREER?

Will changing your job change how you feel on Monday morning? If that’s the case, things are much simpler. Just find a new job!

If changing jobs won’t change your outlook on Monday, it may be time for a career change. Here’s how to know how urgently you need to rock and roll.

3 signs that you should change your career NOW

  • Anxiety
  • Pat Benatar got it right: “Anxiety spoils all the fun.” Stress takes a toll – professionally and personally. Your health is more important than your career. When your career starts affecting your health, it’s time to rock and roll!

  • Burn, baby, burn
  • You’re burned out – tired of being tired. Frustrated day-to-day. When you’re dissatisfied, and beyond, it’s time to look for “a promise somewhere”, as The Trammps said. Rock and roll!

  • The thrill is gone
  • You’re a victim of your own success. You’ve gone as far as you can in your career. You don’t see any new challenges on the horizon to keep your fire burning. When “the thrill is gone”, as B.B. King said, it’s time to end the blues!

3 reasons to change careers SOON

  • Takin’ care of business
  • Industries mature. Strategies change. Outside forces prevail. You may be in a bad business. If it’s your whole industry and not just your employer, you may need to change careers. You’ll be “takin’ care of business” as Bachman – Turner Overdrive proclaimed, if you rock and roll! Maybe you should be self-employed!

  • Cool change
  • When you started your career, your personal situation was different than it is now. You’ve had a “cool change,” as The Little River Band called it. For example, maybe you were single then. Now, you have a family for which you need and want more time. Change your career so you can “breathe the air.”

  • Money, money, money, money
  • We’re “talkin’ ‘bout cash money,” as the O’Jays said. Perhaps you have reached an earnings plateau. If you change careers, you can get a significant boost in pay. This is last on our list, because being happy and getting paid more are not necessarily correlated. If you think they are for you, then rock and roll, baby!

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(Image of Rock_Roll by krautwald, CC 2.0)