How to Spot a Fake: Reading Labels and Trusting Your Gut

While wandering the grocery store aisles last week, a certain product caught my eye. The label used words like “pasture” and “Amish,” which immediately made me think it was made using pure and/or organic ingredients.

Something in my gut told me to pick it up, so I did.

When I read the label, I quickly realized that the “pasture” they were referring to must be that of a dream, and while a free-roaming grassland this word denotes certainly exists somewhere, it has nothing to do with the product at hand.

This subject of “natural” ingredients opens up a can of worms that I certainly can’t contain here and can hardly keep up with myself. But I do know that I have to constantly be reading labels and paying attention and trying to gain more understanding to be sure that I’m consuming truly good, pure ingredients.

So what about things—or people—that don’t have an “ingredients” list? How do you spot a fake then?

Sure, there are ways…

When it comes to the service industry, we count on reviews to tell us about companies or individuals we are looking to hire. Their company profile lets us know whether or not they offer a particular thing or service we are looking for, and all of this information helps us determine what the company is made of.

Likewise, resumés act as a type of label or “ingredient” list, too. When we are in the job market, our resumé serves as a list of our experience, capabilities, and qualifications.

But these are surface-level, and they leave out a lot of very important, albeit hard to pinpoint, factors that make up a person.

For example, a resumé most certainly doesn’t tell an employer when a person is dishonest, lazy, or prone to poor judgment. It also doesn’t explain when a person is honest, resourceful, and always looking to improve themselves.

For the more hidden aspects of a person—the real ingredients—you need to pay closer attention, and you need to follow your gut.

Listen to how people speak of others and to them; this is an indication of their character.

Watch the people with whom they associate.

Ask questions and be inquisitive.

All of this gives you the opportunity to really get to know a person, which allows you to determine if they are made of ingredients you like, or ingredients you’d rather not mix into your life.

The truth is, it’s easier to spot fakes in products than in people sometimes.

I would love to say that I have never been duped into thinking a person is genuine, but that wouldn’t be true.

Although I have a reasonable amount of discernment, there are times that I have been completely bamboozled and led down the wrong path because I believed in someone I shouldn’t have. (It probably has something to do with my “rose-colored glasses” approach to life, but that’s a topic for another day.)

I’ll keep it up in the grocery store—being skeptical and reading labels—but I will also continue to look for the best in others and believe in them no matter what their “label” says.

I hope you do, too.



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