Are You a Sucker?

Well, that’s not a nice way to start a blog!  But you may feel better to know that most of us are suckers — at least at one time or another.  And, it’s getting more common because we are bombarded with so many messages each day and because far too many of us have not learned to protect ourselves from the deceptive ones.

I wrote about this today over at Huffington Post.  Super PAC ads are supposedly going to steal the election in November.  Well, not if those of us using our brains have something to say about it.  Whether the Supreme Court in all it’s questionable wisdom wants to make citizens out of corporations and damage democracy in the process, does not mean we need to be left squirming like defenseless as lambs.  We can become skeptical.

We’re only suckers if we allow ourselves to become predictable.  If we fall into habits of hearing and reading information that don’t include questioning sources and challenging veracity, we become suckers.  So often in conversation we hear people react to what was said before questioning why it was said, by whom, for what reason, and what we might do to respond.  It’s so easy to become victimized in communication merely by neglecting to note that communication is like chess — every move you make limits or expands the options of the other person.  You have to make your moves count.  If you don’t pause to reflect, to consider the other person’s motives and comeback options, you’re in a pattern and you’re making yourself predictable.  As I’ve written before, once you’re predictable you’re also easily managed.

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably not a sucker.  Or if you think you are, there’s time to change.  It’s a matter of taking responsibility for your own patterns — assessing how you take in information and whether you react quickly or respond intelligently.  I’ve written at length in my books about the difference between these approaches.  There are ways to become a responsible communicator — someone who doesn’t let conversations just happen.  You learn to identify choice points in conversations, which you can read about on this site, and begin to use them to change the direction of interactions going awry.  Once you learn how to do this, you’ll do it for advertisements and other modes of persuasion that are not in your best interests.  Once you raise your level of consciousness to how others manipulate or manage you, it’s not likely to happen nearly as often.

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