Sometimes Things are What They Seem.


We have a saying that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. With so many scams in this day and age it's a pertinent warning, but why have we reached this point where we have conditioned ourselves not to trust? Was it always this way?

Our natural instinct is often actually to believe what we're told, so I don't believe it was always this way. When we lived in tribes and villages we relied on one another for our survival and all knew each other, so it was in our best interests to look after one another. If someone offered to do something amazing for us then there was generally no need for suspicion, unless they were an outsider.

Now we don't know a lot of the people we're dealing with from day to day, but we also often don't have a community to turn to either, so we might default to trusting that others may have our best interests at heart and really, most regular people aren't out to scam us. However, they generally don't have reason to go out of their way for us either, so if they do offer something that seems to good to be true then the suspicion is there as to why they would, especially if it doesn't seem to be benefiting them. This creates something of a mental conflict.

Many people have learnt not to trust from past, bad experiences and once that distrust is engrained, it's hard to break free from it. These days, something else that's engrained is that benefit equals money. So when someone doesn't seem to be benefiting from something monetarily, we often assume there is no benefit to them and that they must be up to something insidious. Yet sometimes when someone offers something that seems to good to be true, it isn't. If you look deeper or ask, there may well be some other way that the offered deal or gift benefits them.

A work colleague of my husband once told him how he got any almost new, £20,000 car for just £200. He saw the advert in the newspaper and felt sure it was a typo or that there was something wrong with the car, but phoned up anyway. The lady selling it told him it was no typo and there was nothing wrong with the car. The reason she was selling it so cheaply was because she had an ulterior motive. She and her husband had split up and she had to sell his things, with the money to be split 50/50. As you may have guessed, it wasn't an amicable split, so she was making sure he go as little benefit as possible from the sale, while following the demands of the courts.

In this case, the woman offering the “too good to be true” deal wasn't exactly doing it out of the goodness of her own heart, but there are people out there who genuinely do nice things because they can and want to.

It makes you wonder, just how many opportunities you might have missed out on because it seemed too good to be true. Perhaps we need to pay a bit more heed to the saying, “he who dares, wins.” After all, aren't we on a site that pays you for the privilege of reading, writing and commenting.


This is my response to the @ecotrain question of the week.

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