If there's one popular clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚© that is dangerous to believe, it's this one.
"If it's too good to be true, it probably is."
Actually, I can even live with that phrase literally. But most people take it to say "If it's too good to be true then it DEFINITELY is."
That's dangerous because it programs the mind to disbelieve things that are wonderful. This is too good - forget about it. There must be a catch.
I just got back from the casino on the Queen Mary 2, which made me think about this subject. I went in, sat down at a slot machine, and made $8 in about five minutes. I didn't get lucky - it was a beatable slot machine. Eight dollars is peanuts, but focus on the fact that this slot machine is actually beatable.
Too good to be true?
A few years back I was doing a workshop in Vegas with Mystery. Before the workshop a bunch of us were hanging out in the Hard Rock Casino. A friend of a friend asked me what I did.
"Gambling, mostly. Some workshops with Mystery, too."
"I'm a professional gambler too."
"Oh yeah? What do you play?"
Probably poker. That's the only way to really make money in casinos these days.
Too good to be true? I was skeptical.
"If you promise not to tell anyone, I'll show you how."
For the next couple of hours he took me around from casino to casino, showing me which machines could be beaten and how to do it. I was totally blown away - I had no idea that any slot machines could be beaten.
It was a little too time consuming and brick-and-mortar specific for me to get into it, but now whenever I'm on a cruise ship or in a casino I check for the machines. They usually make me a few dollars every time I play them. Not a fortune, but enough to make a hundred or so for free every cruise.
If they had $1 or $5 denominations, of course, that could become more serious money.
Anyway, my whole gambling thing was another example. I remember one friend who I tried to teach it to. Brilliant guy, but very much into the "follow the herd" mindset. Good grades. Good college. Internship. Law school. BMW. Lawyer job.
I don't hold that against him in any way, by the way. He's an awesome guy who is really happy with what he's doing and does it excellently. That's all that ever matters - period.
No matter how much I told him about the money in gambling, he never once believed it. To demonstrate once I took his credit card, signed him up for a casino, did my thing, and made him $400 in half an hour. In two weeks they sent him the check for it.
"Thanks. I won't do it again, though. They took too long to pay. They're obviously making money off the interest."
WHAT? We had deposited $1000 from a CREDIT CARD (not his money) and he made 40% in two weeks. Is it possible that the casino could somehow make 40% in two weeks? No way - if they could they would just do that and forget the casino business.
But he couldn't accept that it could be real. It was too good to be true.
For a while I was making a lot of money with it. More than he would later make as a lawyer. I bought a house, two Mercedes, and a bunch of other junk I didn't need.
I would hear that he would complain to people about how much money my (middle class) parents were giving me and how I abused their generosity. The truth is that I had cut myself off a long time prior, but he couldn't see that. Too good to be true.
What about pickup? How many people read about it and then discard it instantly?
Oh, you mean that I can actually change my "luck" and get the girls I pine after? Nah, that sounds too good to be true. I'll go sit in the corner in the bar with my friends instead.
If I were in charge of the vault of idioms, I'd change that one to this:
"If it seems too good to be true, drop everything and check it out."
Not as catchy, but a lot more accurate and useful. If you want for truly amazing and incredible things to happen to you, consider taking advantage of things that seem too good to be true instead of running away from them with blinders on.