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Can Social Networking Help You Live Longer

facebookResearchers have observed an effect on longevity in families. Specifically, children of parents who lived 100 years or more tend to live longer too.

A recent study at the Boston University School of Medicine explored possible reasons for this. Is it just in the genes or do these people possess qualities that help them live longer?

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They found that, among other things, children of centenarians are very social. They build friendships. They feel that their friends serve as safety nets in times of need.

A while back, a group of Australian researchers at Flinders University found that people with strong friendship networks were more likely to live longer. They divided the group into thirds based on the number of friends in their network. They discovered that people in the top third of friends were 22% less likely to pass away before the decade-long study concluded than people in the lowest third.

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So we wonder: Will we live longer thanks to online social networking?

Obviously, these researchers aren’t studying online social networks. When they talk about social networks, they’re talking about our physical network of friends. However, given this research, we think active online networkers may fare pretty well for these four reasons:

  • Thanks to online social networks, we connect more often these days than we did before they existed. It’s just easier to keep up with friends.
  • We also connect with more people. Because the communication is concise and streaming, it’s easier to make new friends and keep up with them.
  • We connect with a more diverse group of people. It’s so interesting to learn about all the different interests people have. There’s such an array online. Research has shown that brain activity helps reduce the likelihood of dementia as well. It’s amazing how much you can learn from your online friends. And offline too, for that matter!
  • We connect with people who are more geographically dispersed. We learn about new cultures and new things. Once again, it’s all mind-expanding and that’s a good thing.

So when we’re old and gray, we’ll still be actively involved in social networking. In fact, count us in for the golden tweetup!

Do you think that people who are active social networkers will be more likely to live longer?

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A View that Leads to Bigg Success

watchBigg success is life on your own terms. Our focus today is growth, one of the five elements of bigg success.

We tend to avoid information that’s not consistent with our beliefs. There’s been a long-running debate between psychologists:

Do people actively avoid contradictory information or is it a more natural process? For example, it may be that we don’t hear opposing views because we hang out with people like us.

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Some new research [PDF] (led by a psychology professor at the best school in the world, the University of Illinois) has answered that question.

If you seek opposing views, you’re in the minority

The research confirms that people do avoid ideas that disagree with their own. They did this study to “see … to what extent people are willing to seek out the truth versus just stay comfortable with what they know.”

The researchers found that two-thirds of us choose information that supports what we already think. However, the more interesting part of their research to us was this:

They found that two types of people are more likely to listen to alternative points-of-view:

People who are confident in their own beliefs

We were out with a friend right after we read this research. The timing was perfect. She’s very politically active – politics is one area the researchers cited that we’re particularly reluctant to consider the other side.

Our friend told us that she no longer subscribed to a certain magazine. She said that she found she always disagreed with their point-of-view. After further discussion, it was clear that she’s not confident in her opinions.

If she had confidence in her opinions, it wouldn’t bother her to read the other side. In fact, by reading the other side, she might gain confidence in her positions. Or she might change her mind, but be more confident in her new opinion.

The best way to confirm your opinion is to continually test it against all the information available. Talk with people who hold counter opinions. Read everything you can. Try to balance opinions on all sides of an issue before arriving at a conclusion.

Even then, continue testing that opinion with any new evidence you find, both pro and con. Then you’ll have confidence in your opinions.

People who have to defend their ideas in public

It’s interesting that the researchers cite the much-maligned politicians here. Politicians constantly have to defend their point-of-view.

They serve as an example to us. Don’t keep your opinions to yourself; defend them.

We should point out two things here:

  • You have to be careful discussing certain subjects with certain people.
  • We’ve talked about things here in very black-and-white terms. Obviously, many if not most issues are full of grey. That’s what makes for interesting discussion!

When you do discuss your ideas, you will hear other points-of-view that you can synthesize with your own. Your ideas will sharpen and grow. So will your confidence in what you believe.

That’s bigg success … as long as you agree with us!

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Thanks for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss what we can learn from cats about communication. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Leaders Must Control This Emotion

angryBigg success is life on your own terms. Growth, one of the five elements of bigg success, is our focus today.

If we’re going to succeed bigg, we must learn to control our emotions. Otherwise, they will control us. This is particularly true for leaders. One of the emotions leaders must control is their anger.

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Anger works against communication

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george I know from first-hand experience because I used to have a temper. Over time, I learned to control it because I realized it was counter-productive. People don’t respond well to it.

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marylynnThat’s the point. It seems that, in most cases, people either withdraw or they get defensive. Neither one is conducive to productive communication.

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Getting it under control

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george What helped me the most in controlling my anger was taking a step back – not necessarily physically, but mentally. Although, I have physically taken a step back when someone got too aggressive. It kept the situation from escalating.

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marylynnOf course, sometimes it pays to remove yourself from the environment altogether. Literally move to another space and relax for awhile before you respond.

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Responding like Goldilocks

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george I’ve coached a lot of people on just that issue. This is another Goldilocks principle. You want to get your response just right. There’s a tendency to respond too quickly – on the spot – and with anger.

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marylynnYou may win the battle but lose the war. The person retreats but the relationship is damaged. Or the other person comes right back and the conversation escalates to an even higher level of anger.

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george Exactly. The other side of it is leaders who don’t respond quickly enough. You have to get back to the person in a timely manner or you’re essentially rubber stamping their behavior. As a young manager, I probably responded too quickly. As I got older, I may have been too slow at times. Hopefully, in my advanced years, I’m getting closer to a good balance.

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How you say it

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marylynnKnow the purpose of your follow-up communication. Understand that how you say it is just as important as what you say. If you want to build the relationship, talk in the third person as much as possible. This is not the time for you-view. Try to frame the discussion like a reporter. Remove the personalities to diffuse the situation.

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Controlled anger can be a tool if brought out under the right circumstances:

Focus on the situation

When you express controlled anger, your people know you’re serious. You have to be careful with this one, but it’s okay to express anger about a situation.

This is an important distinction – be angry about the situation, not the person. You will keep things moving in the right direction with this mental shift.

Use it infrequently

This tool isn’t productive is used regularly. It has to be the exception. Otherwise, you’re the boy who cried wolf! If you only pull it out once in a while, it can serve a useful purpose.

The bottom line is to be yourself. It’s okay to let your anger show now and then. Just keep it under control and keep your purpose in mind when you respond.

Then you’ll build relationships rather than tear them apart. You’ll build your people up rather than bring them down. That’s bigg success!

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Thank you so much for checking in with us today. Please join us next time when we discuss reasons why you should keep your day job. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Getting to Know You – Part 1

personalitytype_logoToday on The Bigg Success Show we visited with Paul D. Tieger. Paul is the author of the million copy best-selling book “Do What You Are” along with four other books. He is an internationally recognized expert on personality type and has created a personality assessment, Personality Type, which has been rated “extremely” or “very” helpful by over 40,000 people.

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marylynnPaul, we define bigg success as life on your own terms. Knowing who you are is implicit in that definition. There are a lot of personality tests. Why yours?

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paul_tiegerYou’re right. There are a lot of personality tests and I think they all try to do the same thing. The one that we’ve developed is the gold standard. It’s based on the Young – Myers model of personality type that a lot of people know about. Our test really identifies the key aspects that are critical to finding work that they’ll find intrinsically satisfying and being able to succeed in those jobs based on the insights they get on their personality type.

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georgeI have to tell you, Paul. I took your free test. It’s only four questions. It took me about five minutes. It sounds easy, but I may have failed!

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paul_tieger
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You can’t fail a personality test!

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georgeI marked “not confident” on two of the four questions, which meant I got more information about that particular aspect. It’s fantastic. But, for instance, I ended up saying I was an introvert. But everybody I talk to says that I’m an extrovert. When I look at the descriptions you have, which were very helpful, it seems like I’m about fifty -fifty.

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paul_tiegerHere’s the thing. There’s no psychological instrument that is 100 percent accurate. That’s why you have that cool little drop down box when you’re “not confident” that helps you figure it out. Nobody is exclusively an extrovert or an introvert, but everybody is primarily one or the other. Sometimes it takes a little digging. What happens when you take this personality assessment is that you come up with a personality profile. If it turns out that it doesn’t hit the nail on the head, then you can look at other profiles. It’s really rare that a person has to do this more than two times to find their true type.

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marylynnI found out that I’m an “ESFP” which means I’m an Extrovert, Sensor, Feeler, and Perceiver. It says that only four to nine percent of the population is this type of person. I’ve always felt that I was different and this just verified it for me!

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paul_tiegerThere are sixteen different personality types. Every type has its strengths and its blind spots. Every person is unique. You can be in a room with a hundred other ESFPs and you’ll have a lot in common. You’ll have a great time because ESFPs do like to have a good time.

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marylynn
That’s me!

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paul_tiegerBut you’re all different – different backgrounds, parents, experiences. You live in different parts of the country. It’s a very individualized thing, but learning about your type is really your home base. It’s the essence of who you are. For ESFPs, these are people who really live in the moment. They’re very resourceful. They like to enjoy what they’re doing. They’re very social people. They like to take care of other people and make sure everybody gets what they need.

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marylynn
Going back to what George was saying, I also have some introverted qualities but you’ve already answered that when you said that we all are introverts and extroverts.

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paul_tiegerIt’s really a preference. It’s like handedness. Some people are born righties; some people are born lefties. I believe that, after having done this for about 25 years now, people really are born with a personality type preference. You grow and you learn as you get older. But you’re either a righty or a lefty. Let’s say you’re a right-handed person by nature. You can learn to use your left hand if you work at it, but it’s never going to be your natural, default setting. It’s the same thing with personality type. If you’re a sensing type, then you’re a person who’s pretty realistic and practical, sees the details, and focuses on what’s going on in the moment. It doesn’t mean that you have no imagination or that you can’t be creative. It just means that’s not your first mode. Somebody else might be very creative and that’s where they go automatically.

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georgePaul, I write left-handed. Most things I do right-handed. The first ball glove my Dad bought me was a left-handed glove. But I’d take the glove off and throw with my right hand. So, related to personality types, if there are things that you admire about an extroverted personality, is it possible – or is it good – to try to move yourself in that direction?

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paul_tiegerIt’s a good question. I found that the people who are the most successful in any of their endeavors are really the people who have the most balance. That doesn’t mean they’re androgynous – that they’re equally both – because I believe that people have a natural in-born preference for each of these categories. But if you are so extroverted that you have to be with people 24 / 7 – you can’t be alone or you can’t read a book – that’s not good. If you’re so introverted that you can’t look somebody in the eye or you can’t do anything with other people, that’s not good. So fortunately, all of us have a balance but there really is a natural preference from where you get your energy. The key is to understand who you are because that’s really the key to your career satisfaction. Then build on your strengths while being aware of your blind spots so you can compensate for them.

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georgeThat is really helpful. I want to take the test again now, thinking about my natural tendency but also keeping in mind that’s it’s not all I’m going to be.

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paul_tieger
Well, I think your Dad screwed you up with that left-handed glove!

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george
And that’s just one of the many ways!

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What is your personality type?

You can find out by taking the free personality test we discussed today.

*Special Offer: To get a 10% discount on your full career report, use promo code: biggsuccess

Tomorrow we’ll continue our discussion with Paul. Please check back to discover how knowing your personality type will help you find new opportunities in today’s tough job market.

Thanks so much for putting up with our goofy personalities today! Until next time, 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/00418-061709.mp3

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One Career Path Leads to Another

tutors-on-tv.jpgToday on The Bigg Success Show, we did another installment of Tutors on TV. We love the sound effect so much we had to bring it out again!

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marylynnWho ever said you can’t learn anything from watching television? Today, we’ll pull out a syndicated show. We recently caught the Waterworks episode of The Cosby Show. In this episode, Cliff (played by Bill Cosby) decided to fix the tile in the bathroom.

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georgeWhen I was in the plumbing business, it seemed like just about every time someone called after trying to fix something themselves, it turned out to be more expensive than if they had just called us in the first place!

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Well, that’s exactly what happened! Cliff got in over his head. Clair (Cliff’s wife) and Theo (their son) began calling plumbers (without Cliff’s knowledge). In the midst of it, Sondra (their oldest daughter) called Clair, who filled her in on what was going on.

Sondra told Clair about some friends from college who had their own plumbing business. Cliff was perplexed – why would someone with a good degree from a good college become a plumber?

Jennifer (the head of the crew) said that trying something new isn’t throwing your field away. She went on to give some examples:

  • Gauguin was a stock broker before he became a painter.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – was a doctor before creating his unforgettable character, Sherlock Holmes.
  • Shirley Chisholm had a Master’s in Elementary Education before she became a Congresswoman.
  • Gandhi studied law before he became … well, Gandhi. 

Is there a profession lying within you just waiting to get out?

For many people, the second time’s a charm. The second career is the one that leads them to bigg success.

So if you find yourself considering a career change, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, here are a few tips:

You are the entrepreneur of your life. One of the things that entrepreneurs understand is that change means opportunity. So don’t resist change, welcome it. Better yet, look for it.

Next, redefine yourself. Bigg success is life on your own terms. Don’t define yourself too narrowly. Broaden your terms to find your bigg opportunity.

For example, if you’re in sales, do you sell tangibles or intangibles? No matter which one it is, there are a lot of occupations and industries to which your skills are transferable.

You’re still going to the same destination. You’re just going to ride in a different vehicle. For example – if you find yourself out of work, think about what you loved about your last job? What were you really good at? Look for those same things in your next career.

Remember that where there’s growth, there’s opportunity. A rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes. So look for industries or sectors where the number of jobs is expected to rise in the years ahead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to research that.

You may find yourself going through a difficult time. You may find yourself longing for something better.

Think about Gauguin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Chisholm and Gandhi. They found the second time was a charm.

Take all that you’ve learned about yourself and look for your opportunity for bigg success.

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Thanks so much the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we think about school days. We’ll ask, “As adults, can we earn extra credit?” 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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