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A psychologist reveals the one factor that makes a con artist decide to scam you

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It doesn't matter if someone's brilliant and worldly or stupid and naive — everyone's susceptible to con artists.

In her book "The Confidence Game," writer and psychologist Maria Konnikova dissects the psychology of the con, and she finds that while everyone is potential prey, there are signals the ideal victim gives off.

"There's one thing in particular that makes anyone, intelligent or not, a good victim," she told Business Insider. "And that isn't a personality trait. It's not a demographic trait. It's a situational kind of thing: Where are you at this point in your life? People who are going through life transitions become more emotionally vulnerable and con artists can spot that."

These can be negative: The victim can be experiencing the sadness of a divorce, getting fired, or the death of a loved one. These can be positive: The victim can be experiencing the joy of a new marriage, a job promotion, or the birth of a child. What's common among all these is that they are periods of upheaval.

Con artists, as predators, love to pounce on these opportunities of emotional vulnerability.

During these periods, "we become a little bit uncomfortable because humans don't really like uncertainty and ambiguity," Konnikova said. "We like things to kind of be meaningful. Everyone really wants black and white answers. It's really hard to deal with when everything is kind of shifting around you."

"Con artists can spot that and they can take advantage of it because what they sell is meaning and certainty. They're going to tell you the story that makes sense, that actually makes you say, 'Ok, now I have something that makes sense in this particular moment in my life.'"

Konnikova explained that, unfortunately, it's incredibly difficult to tell when you're getting scammed. The best advice she can give is to try to look at yourself in the third person, to counsel yourself as you would a friend.

If you're feeling emotionally vulnerable, due to either a high or a low, it's best to be aware of opportunities that come your way during this time. If you placed your friend in your shoes and observed yourself, would you say, "Maybe this might not be the best idea?"

"And if that would be your advice to someone else, then maybe you should take it yourself," Konnikova said.

SEE ALSO: Here's how good con artists are able to trick you every time

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By | 2016-03-28T10:07:11-05:00 March 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Gwyneth Paltrow reveals the hardest part of starting her own company

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is undoubtedly extremely successful. (She can justify a a $200 smoothie!)

But even though her trademark organic lifestyle is easy to mock, Paltrow's Goop business has become one of the premiere lifestyle businesses — and that's no laughing matter.

However, Paltrow has faced adversity in her rise to the top.

Her biggest struggle? That she's a woman.

The Cut's Dayna Evans caught a sound byte highlighting these tribulations at Marie Claire's Power Trip conference in San Francisco. 

"I think it’s really challenging being a woman in business, period. I think that we face an uphill battle just when we walk in. I think it’s just a fact of life," she reportedly said.

"I think people really like you how they know you, and I think it’s challenging for a woman to kind of shift her shape and especially to do something that’s provocative," she added.

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By | 2016-03-28T10:23:23-05:00 March 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Google experiment reveals the single most important quality for teamwork

Larry Page

It's common wisdom that most modern workplaces rely on teamwork, but some teams are simply better than others.

In recent years, Google set out to build the "perfect team," as Charles Duhigg writes in The New York Times Magazine this weekend.

The tech behemoth launched a venture in 2012 called Project Aristotle, which gathered data by analyzing many studies and actually observing the way people interacted in a group, according to The New York Times.

Down the line Project Aristotle landed on the most fundamental component that ultimately makes a team successful: psychological safety.

Psychological safety enables employees to be comfortable opening up to their colleagues and taking risks.

The New York Times points to a study written by Amy Edmondson in 1999 which discusses the term. She writes that it's a "shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking." Additionally, it's "a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up."

In other words, that could mean feeling comfortable telling your boss that someone in your family is sick, or revealing what's truly bugging you outside — and inside — of the office.

The Times points to an example of one mid-level manager who confided in his employees that he had Stage 4 cancer. The team — which originally didn't work particularly well together — then continued to open up to each other about their own personal issues, and ultimately felt more comfortable discussing a survey about how the team worked together.

From The Times:

What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency.

Read the full article here.

 

 

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