How to Not Make Bad Decisions — Avoiding Scammers and Manipulators

This post explores the ins and outs of critical thinking, deductive reasoning and discernment, issues that should concern everyone in the voting booth, on a jury and to protect both heart and checkbook in personal and business relationships.

In my intuitive healing practice, I help people identify and heal the vulnerabilities that make them susceptible to illness as well as emotional scammers and financial predators like Donald Trump. Trump, a narcissist with a very long video and audio taped, public record documented rap sheet of lying, stealing, scamming, (Trump University) and other nefarious behavior, basically scammed his way into the Oval Office. He told his conservative base what they wanted to hear on topics important to them to get elected and once in office is doing mostly the opposite. He conned them.

Subsequently the national conversation, or should I say divisive slugfest, has focused on how and why Trump was able to lie his way past voters who should have known better.  (The KKK influencers, Nazis and alt-right/alt-white racist haters are beyond reason and I’m not referring to them here.)

Scams and Scammers: Are you easily manipulated?

Most people would say no, and most people would be wrong. That’s because scammers, whether they’re after your retirement account, your vote or your heart, are experts at discerning and exploiting your vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are fears, concerns and potential weaknesses, and a good scammer can assess yours with the single-minded stealth of a lioness stalking her prey.

Street criminals, pedophiles and con men (confidence men—they gain your confidence/trust) are highly intuitive and very skilled at psychological assessment. First, they spot a vulnerability and do a test-run on your boundaries, tossing out bait you’re likely to take– “this private investment is 100% safe and provides triple the market returns!” Then they pause. If you don’t take the bait, they don’t give up, they just switch the bait until you take it, then reel you in. People with personality disorders– sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists– as well as slick advertising thrives on seductive manipulation and propaganda.

Three Effective Survival Skills Everyone Needs:

  • Critical Thinking: noun; “The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” It should be noted that “judgment” in this context is not the same as judging someone, which is deciding to shame them or make them wrong because they look different or think differently than you. In critical thinking, forming a judgment means coming to a conclusion that is based on analysis of facts, observations and other factors. Critical thinking and intuition is part of the internal radar that should go off when someone says one thing and does another, once or consistently.
  • Deductive Reasoning: A logical process in which a conclusion is reached based on “connecting the dots” that are reasonably believed to be true, aka facts. Deductive reasoning is the process of discerning that if it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, unless, the anxious skeptic would add,  it’s a person in a costume imitating a duck, it’s probably safe to assume it’s a duck.
  • Discernment: noun; “the ability to judge well.” Discernment is protective. When combined with maturity, gut level intuition and common sense, discernment produces excellent jurors. A good juror listens to the entire conflicting story presented by the prosecutor, the defense and the witnesses, some of which have personal agendas, then apply the jury instructions and the law to discern guilt or innocence. It’s an emotionally taxing responsibility in which discernment is absolutely required, along with critical thinking and deductive reasoning.

So here’s the deal: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably IS. When faced with a shark, do not attempt to outmaneuver it—get out of the water instead.