Gossip and the Boomerang Effect


Tom Corley boats - crop

In my Rich Habits study, one of the data points I found interesting was about gossiping. 94% of the wealthy avoided it vs. 79% of the poor who engaged in it regularly.

I never thought much about gossiping until my research. Since then I’ve learned quite a bit about it from numerous studies. Here are some startling stats that I uncovered in my research on gossiping:

  • 90% of workplace conversations are gossip.
  • 15% of workplace email content is gossip.
  • 60-70% of gossip is negative – Gossip is 2.7 times more likely to be negative.
  • Gossip irreparably damages relationships.
  • Gossip causes chronic stress.
  • Engaging in gossip, either by communicating it or listening to it, flips your mindset from positive to negative.
  • 60% of gossip is judgmental.
  • Gossip often destroys reputations in the workplace.

Spontaneous trait transference, also known as the Boomerang Effect, is a phenomenon where people are perceived as possessing a trait that they describe in others (Hovland, Janis and Kelly, prominent psychologists, first recorded and named the boomerang effect in 1953). Telling others that your friend is lazy will cause them to infer that you are lazy. Those who engage in regular gossip, most of which is negative, are inadvertently creating negative perceptions of themselves. It’s one of those Poor Habits I talk about frequently that act like an anchor, dragging you down and creating a life of misery. 

No good can come from gossiping, which is predominantly negative. It not only damages the reputations of those you gossip about, it also has a boomerang effect, damaging your own reputation. Like many behaviors, it’s a habit that must be broken if you hope to succeed in life. Awareness is the key to changing any habit. When you find yourself engaging in gossip, stop and change the subject immediately. Or, only engage in positive gossip, which is a Rich Habit. Good gossip, saying something positive about someone when they are not around, will make others like you. They will unconsciously assume that you will say nice things about them to others as well.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit, Money.com, India TV, News.com Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money, SUCCESS.com, Inc.com, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider, Credit.com, Bankrate.com and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Davene Meehan says:

    As a woman, I have always been encouraged to vent. Now what I think–what is running around on the edge of my brain–is that venting is gossiping and it is a way to run away from the problem instead of fixing the problem. I like to vent with my husband and mother. If I have a problem, I need to figure out how to fix it with that person. So with this on my heart–I woke up thinking how I need to talk to this woman who bothers me by always dropping by and complaining about other co-workers and mooching my candy. 🙂 She seems so sensitive how can I not hurt her??? I resolved to only bring it up the next time she did so. Well that excact morning, she came up to me, put her arm around me and told me that she needed to apologize for her words in regard to the last worker she had been complaining about. She had seen on my face how distressed I was. (But I was trying to let her vent.) This gave us a chance to talk. I did not bring up the candy–a subject for another time.

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