The world is full of monsters with friendly faces and angels full of scars.

The world is full of monsters with friendly faces and angels full of scars.

Can you always distinguish the difference? I most certainly cannot.

I have had my moments where the friendliest of monsters have infiltrated my life and behaved with such diplomacy, grace and accord as to ensure their validity… until the day they showed their true colors. In my case, I have found the susceptibility I was most vulnerable to was sociopaths promising me a chance to fulfill my dreams and aspirations. There is something incredibly seductive about someone who has the power to make your wish come true.

After several such chapters in life, I have (finally) grown much more skeptical about such a person as to make each and every thing they share, much more subject to scrutiny than I have exercised in years gone by. This can be a double-edged sword, however, as there is a danger that you could potentially offend the one person who truly is there with validity and in the course of being far more cautious/judicious in your approach, accidentally offend them with the wrong path of questions or investigation. So it is a very fine line that must be walked in the course of engaging with such a being. The subtlety required to make those distinctions are unique to each case, so there is no specific course of action to be taken to ensure you are making the right choice.

What I can offer is that I have learned to give them just enough rope to hang themselves with. If I am suspecting that I am dealing with yet another one of these, I often will fabricate an opportunity in which I am certain that they will bite on, and allow them to work with that information. Nothing that will surface to embarrass me, should they prove to be valid, but just enough salient information that if their intentions are less than what is desired, then they will slowly start to reveal their true colors. I just had this experience (again) last month. As the situation unfolded, the true personality revealed itself. I have never shared with them that I know what they truly are. I have just gone dark in my response.

Conversely, have you ever befriended someone whom you felt was a bit questionable, but something in your heart just told you to do it anyway? Have you ever discovered that your choice in opting for this option lead you to discover someone of true magnitude? A proverbial case of the book was far greater than the book cover. Sometimes, those who have ventured further in life than others are left with scars. I would consider myself one of those. Most of the heroes whom I admire most would be equally welcome in that category. They have tried to go way beyond the norm, and that clearly can bring negative consequences when things do not go as planned, or circumstances beyond your control come crashing down upon you, for no fault of your own. How many people do you know who lost their business during covid?

People are not always whom they appear to be. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and allow them ample time to prove who they truly are. Sometimes I am rewarded, and other times, disappointed. But in either case, allowing room for their truth to speak loud and clear has proven the wisest course of action for me.

Happy Tuesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!