He hunted African big game and even fought off a leopard with his bare hands. Carl Akeley killed more animals than any hunter before him. So is he a murderer? A role model? Or something else entirely? Akeley’s story forces us to explore one of our favorite pastimes: judging others. But more importantly, he’ll show us how to rise above it.


Think of your day today. In what situation will you be when you most likely use an extreme label for someone? Be specific. Is it in the car on the way home from work? Will you be sitting down at your desk to email someone? Write down a few notes to make it real. To substantiate what you’re learning about yourself.

Now, consider this. How has this label impacted your own behavior towards that person?


Extreme labels are practically begging you to dive deeper into the situation, And it’s a perfect trigger for a powerful micro behavior. WHEN you pin an extreme label on someone today THEN think of one creative situation they may be facing.

That’s it. That’s your action. Go ahead and think about the situations you reflected on earlier. When you just know you’ll use a label for someone. Envision that moment. Are you at your desk? In a car? Will you be by yourself or in a crowd? Be specific. You know what your daily routines and context look like. This moment is your trigger. Now, you’ll most come up with one crazy, made up situation that’s affecting their behavior, and then suddenly you’ll think of more details. But all of the sudden you’re thinking in a complex narrative. And you can do all of it in a matter of seconds. 

It’s amazing how fast your brain can work when asking the creative parts to get involved. But now it’s working for you, instead of a learned behavior, defaulting to the Fundamental Attribution Error.

Episode Sources:

Akeley, Carl Ethan. 1923. “In Brightest Africa, by Carl E. Akeley, Illustrated from Photographs.” https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.14059.

Aristotle. 1847. The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

Bodry-Sanders, Penelope. 1998. African Obsession: The Life and Legacy of Carl Akeley.

Cherenfant, Sabine. 2018. Presentism: Reexamining Historical Figures Through Today’s Lens. Greenhaven Publishing LLC.

Gilovich, Thomas, and Lee Ross. 2015. The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology’s Most Powerful Insights. Simon and Schuster.

Kirk, Jay. 2010. Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man’s Quest to Preserve the World’s Great Animals. Henry Holt and Company.

Marraffa, Massimo, Mario De Caro, and Francesco Ferretti. 2007. Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection. Springer Science & Business Media.

Ross, Lee D., Teresa M. Amabile, and Julia L. Steinmetz. 2004. “Social Roles, Social Control, and Biases in Social-Perception Processes.” Social Cognition. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203496398-20.

Stewart, Jared, and Sarah Waugh. 2015. Tribalry: A Business Tale. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

Thiede, Brian C., and David L. Brown. 2013. “Hurricane Katrina: Who Stayed and Why?” Population Research and Policy Review. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-013-9302-9.

Comments (2)
  1. Whoa! Great episode! It’s amazing how all that science and sources can be boiled down to a simple behavior. I’m curious to see if it works and how I can apply it on the daily. Can’t wait for more content!

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