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Bill Bergeman


10 Reasons To Always Be Skeptical

It's important to trust people to develop strong relationships, but it's also important to keep one eye open.

    1. People will always look out first for their own interests.

    No matter how altruistic someone claims to be, one ultimately is being altruistic at least in part for one's own satisfaction. Someone may be honest in trying to help you but always look at the motivation behind that person's offer of assistance.

    2. Even the greatest men in history have succumbed to falsehoods.

    Harry Houdini once convinced the unflappable Theodore Roosevelt that a ghost in a séance knew where his last adventure took place, even though supposedly few other people in the world knew at the time.

    3. Sometimes when people do have the best of intentions they still get it wrong.

    Even when someone has tried the thing, tested the thing, analyzed the thing, and shown evidence the thing works, it could still go wrong. Look no further than what happened to Apollo 1.

    4. No one experiences the same thing in the exact same way.

    Studies have shown that no two people see the color green the exact same way. No two people experience an auto accident the exact same way. And no two people respond to a piece of music the exact same way. We all encode and process incoming data with slight, and sometimes great, differences. So just because one person believes fervently in something does not mean you should as well. Your experience may be entirely different.

    5. The only things that are 100% reliable in this universe are gravity, taxes, and death.

    And therefore, nothing else is certain and should always be up for examination.

    6. Ignorance is bliss is the lazy man's way of saying, I'm too comfortable to make a change.

    It's fine to be ignorant but be prepared for surprise.

    7. Once bitten; twice shy.

    If you have been duped once by someone, you know best not to be duped by that person again.

    8. No one is going to look out for your interests as much as you will.

    So you might as well start taking care of yourself by exercising caution when distinguishing claim from reality. Because no one else is going to do it for you.

    9. Cigarettes and leaching (bloodletting) were once considered good for one's health.

    And people completely trusted this as fact.

    10. Trust but verify.

    This phrase, oft attributed to Ronald Reagan and his dealings with the Soviet Union, suggests one should develop a trusting relationship but always examine another's motives and actions.

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