One of my most embarrassing moments was the time I fell for a NYC shell game. I was a college freshman. That Saturday, my sister and I were engaging in our dangerous, but favorite, past time—running up bills we couldn’t pay! As we walked 34th street, we noticed a crowd around a man who had made a table out of crates and cardboard. We watched as he dared someone in the crowd to wager $20 on which cup the ball was under. In my heart, I knew a con was lurking somewhere. But I thought my youthful eyes were quicker than his hands. In my mind, winning that $20 would be easy. You already know how this ends—I got hustled!
All of us have been conned at some point. Maybe you—like me—can now laugh it off with a headshake. But sometimes, the shame and pain from being duped goes deep. Our response is to bury it and forget it. While this approach may spare us from hearing the inevitable, “How could you fall for that?” it doesn’t help us heal or learn.
Sometimes we get drawn in because we ignore the second commandment in the “Don’t Talk To” rules. After, “Don’t talk to strangers!” we need to learn “Don’t talk to stupid!” Stupid in this case means any person or thing our instincts warn us to avoid. There is no upside or potential for a fruitful ending when we invest our time in stupid!
The danger is that if we listen long enough, something stupid says will eventually seem to make sense. Once we cross that line, we end up making poor decisions and acting in ways we never imagined. Ignorance can be educated—but stupid will be what it always was! The only way to win the game is to not play it at all! When stupid attempts to connect, the best response is to simply disconnect!
Many times, “stupid” is easy to discern, but at others, its danger lies in subtlety. We ignore our instincts and engage in fruitless and painful relationships, conversations and actions because they promise to:
1. Quickly Meet Our Needs: There is nothing wrong with having needs—it makes us human. However, we are prey to them when we they are stronger than our commitment to character, integrity and patience. We will ignore good sense simply to exchange it for the empty hope of relief.
2. Provide Significance: Who doesn’t want to feel important? Sometimes our need to prove that we are different, or special, will lead us to heed counsel that is not in our best interests. If we don’t realize our worth, we will cling to the person who affirms us where we lack confidence.
3. Satisfy Our Lusts: I may not be a street smart New Yorker, but it wasn’t naïveté that inspired me to take the dare. I wanted quick cash. My lust drowned out my conscience. Even after losing $20, I allowed myself to be so lured with the possibility of “easy money” that I took Mr. Hustle up on his offer again. I walked away $40 lighter in my purse.
Check your heart, where are you actively going against your own instincts in order to satisfy a need, feel significant or because it satiates your lusts? Play the movie forward—what do you stand to lose? Is it worth it? Find out how you can “wise up,” schedule a free 20-minute laser coaching session.
Affirm out loud, “I embrace, respect and value wisdom!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.