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Are you Skeptical?

How to Ensure you're Not Manipulated by Anyone

Your Approach to Life

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Skeptic Man being skeptical
Is there an alternative approach to life to being gullible or being cynical? Yes! Ask yourself if an idea, or their suggestions, are plausible. When you don't know, be skeptical, become a skeptic.

There's a lot of misunderstanding about skeptics and cynics as well as the gullible. Although many don't comprehend the enormous differences between the three approaches, they are similar yet strikingly different.

When you know the answer is yes, then the cynic and the skeptic and the gullible all say yes. When you know the answer is no, you say no, again the same for all three. It's only when you do not know the answer that you choose a different response.

The Skeptical Approach

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What happens when faced with new information, or a possible new direction or course of action? Since you don't know anything about it, as a cynic you say no. When gullible, you'll hope for the best and say yes.

But skeptics don't pretend to know when they don't. You recognize the crucial difference between authentic knowing and just knowing about. You reserve judgement rather than automatically accepting it, or rejecting it out of hand. You know you don't know enough to choose yes or no, and you're content to say: I don't know yet.

Then you investigate the issue, checking it out until you have enough information to make a decision. The secret of success is to come to a tentative opinion, since complete knowledge about all aspects of any matter, along with discovering the context of everyone and everything involved, is time-consuming if not impossible in practice.

You keep investigating until you have an answer which fits the facts. Now you have an initial tentative decision which remains valid until more facts mean your opinion needs updating.

Of course, this also means you can improve your life by investigating any beliefs you have already adopted, and checking out the validity of their consequences. Be skeptical about their plausibility! A good place to start is with your beliefs about governments and politicians. Are they really here to help you?

Should Taxpayers Bail Out Banks in Trouble?

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Being skeptical about the path a politician recommends is a great place to start. Many politicians maintain it's essential that the taxpayers - that's you - should bail out banks and companies in trouble (think Goldman Sachs, AIG, Fannie Mae, TARP, Chrysler, etc. ... ).

You'll change your life when you understand this is just one egregious example of the economically illiterate, if not deliberately misleading information most politicians feed to their long-suffering tax-payers.

When a company, no matter how large, gets it wrong,
the secret of success is to ask why should the taxpayer - YOU - have to pay for their mistakes?
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The Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupting in Iceland
Iceland's voters refused to bail out their troubled banks which did, of course, cause some short-term problems.

Yet just three years later, the unemployment rate has fallen and
Iceland's economy is growing. Many other countries - such as Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain - have followed the bail-out path recommended by their politicians, and their problems simply continue. Julie Kozack, IMF mission chief for Iceland, admits: "For a country whose entire financial system collapsed, Iceland is doing remarkably well.*"

Why Rush into an Immediate Decision?

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Why be hurried into making an immediate decision. If a cynic feels pressure to answer in a hurry, he'll self sabotage by saying no rather than: Maybe, I don't know yet. The gullible also can be pressured into making a decision hastily, and saying yes rather than reserving judgement.

In the grey area when you don't yet know, both the cynic and the gullible stop investigating any further. They may later reverse their decision because it doesn't feel right, but that's generally an emotional decision, rather than a
thoughtful approach to life.

As a skeptic,
your secret of success is to say maybe when the answer is neither yes nor no. You're not in a hurry to give an answer, since you don't want to pre-judge the situation. Since you don't know yet, your rational position is maybe yes, and maybe no. You keep investigating until your position has solidified and you do have an answer. Until you are sure, you're a definite maybe!

When you are not entirely sure, you generally benefit by sitting on the fence as you continue to check it out. Sleeping on any decision overnight - or for several nights - is usually very helpful...

Food for Thought

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"The skeptic (is not he) who doubts, but he who investigates or researches, as opposed to he who asserts
and thinks that he has found."

- Miguel de Unamuno, 1864-1936, Spanish philosopher, essayist, novelist, poet, and playwright

"This I know - that I know nothing."

Plato (424 – 348 BC) Greek philosopher, mathematician,
founder of the first institution of higher learning in the Western world

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