Let's face it nobody likes to have been had! But if you are in any kind of business you probably have been hood-winked, if not once, probably many times. So if you're one of those people like me who just wants so badly to trust everybody and you get shafted, how do you keep from becoming a suspicious, paranoid old crank. I mean who wants to do business with one of those?
Here are some rules I follow and you might want to as well, since you probably want to come out of one of these interactions with corruptible humanity, with your own sweet trusting nature that your wife, children, friends and family love so much still intact.
- Be careful who you give power to. Power does not absolutely corrupt; not even absolute power. Power does, however, attract the corruptible. If someone wants to take over for you and make your life "simpler", you should be careful and check to see if your wallet is still in your pocket. There is an old Russian proverb, Ronald Reagan was fond of quoting. It goes, "Trust but verify!" Do that.
- Recognize your limitations. The reason we have contracts, lawyers and personal accountants is because not all of us known everything about everything and what we don't know absolutely CAN hurt us. In any business endeavor bring in people to look out for your interests. It's well worth your while to pay those people if you lack some area of expertise related to self-protection. If you protect yourself, you protect your family. You can turn the other cheek if it's your own, but we are not asked, even by God, to turn our loved ones' cheeks.
- Stop blaming yourself. Sure you feel bad that you got taken. But the person to blame is the evil, lying stinkpot that hood-winked you. The Bible nowhere gives us a commandment that says, "Thou shalt not be fooled." So the upshot is, "Not your fault for being trusting." We do have a commandment about that - "Treat others as you would be treated." Good rule that one. Golden I'd say.
- Pick yourself up and try again. The only way you can be defeated is if you surrender. Rather than giving up, just get up and try again. Some reporter once asked Thomas Edison how he felt after his attempts to build an electric lightbulb failed more than 2000 times. Edison shot back, "I didn't fail 2000 times. I discovered 2000 ways NOT to make an electric lightbulb." That's what I'm talking about.
- Find someone else to trust. It's the old advice they used to give neophyte cowboys when they fell off their horses. "Get back up on your horse." Only way to learn. Then next time your spidey senses start to tingle, you'll be less likely to be taken unawares. Nothing like bitter experience to teach you.
- Finally, redouble your own efforts to be trustworthy. Mark Twain got taken in by some get-rich-quick schemes in his time and wound up badly in debt. To settle that debt he went on a world speaking tour and kept it up till he paid off his creditors. It restored not only his credit rating, but the esteem in which people held him.
We all get had once in a while. The world is crawling with flim-flam men, snake oil salesmen and dirty rotten scoundrels (a couple of whom are running for president). Once in a while you get bitten by one. Since we aren't allowed to shoot them, the best we can do is try to avoid them and carry a snakebite kit with us. There are good people in the world. Don't get discouraged. Be the best person you can be and such people will have little or no power over you.
© 2016 by Tom King