Article published on May 5 2023


Mon succès est votre succès


Naivety is not a static concept. What may seem like naivety to some people may seem like kindness to others, or among other things, optimism, good faith, and innocence.

But maybe you feel as if you have a tendency to be naive in life and you fear that it will cause you problems?

You don't want to become distrustful or pessimistic, but you can't carry on as you are, because it hurts you.

·         Maybe you are naive about relationships in the blind belief that they will magically work out or do you fall in love in the blink of an eye?

·         Maybe you find it hard to read others and always think the best of them no matter what.

·         Maybe you tend to think that things in life are just sunshine and rainbows, when the world, unfortunately, doesn't quite work that way.

·         Maybe you have even been scammed in the past.

Either way, your naivety has gotten you in trouble, and you want to become a little more knowledgeable and more informed in the face of adversity in the world, without losing that wonderful optimism and innocence you have now.

Here are some tips to help you say goodbye to gullibility and educate yourself a little more, without disillusioning you.

1.     Think before you speak or act: if you think you're naive, your problem may be that you don't stop to think before you speak or act.


You say the first thing that comes to mind or follow your instinctive reaction without taking a moment to really think about the situation.


So, the first thing to do is to consciously slow things down and take some time to think before you say or do anything.


It's easier said than done so start with a day. A day when we make it our duty to take a moment to reflect and look at the issue from another point of view before reacting to any situation.

Then a week. If you keep forcing yourself to take that time and think first, sooner or later, that will become your default reaction.

2.     Don't be afraid to sit on the fence: the fence is underrated. In our modern world, you're often expected to choose sides from the start, and if you sit on the fence, you're seen as weak or indecisive.


3.     Be overly cautious: if you tend to be naive, then to solve a particular problem, you will have to deliberately behave too cautiously.

4.     Be more present: naivety can often result from having your head in the clouds and not really paying attention to what is happening here and now. So, make sure you try to be more present in your day-to-day life.


5.     Listen attentively: being a good listener is a trait to develop, but it can also be a great way to learn about a new person without revealing too much about yourself.


Ask them questions and show them genuine interest, rather than wanting to share details about your life right away.


6.     Do research: well-informed and conscious people can, of course, remain naive.


But their knowledge of the world makes them less likely to take things at face value. So, try to educate yourself on the things you don't understand.

·         If you're financially naive, read up on what you need to know or even consider taking a course.

·         If you have been the victim of a scam, always make sure to confirm things directly with the company or institution involved before acting. For example, if you have received a pseudo-email from your bank that you are suspicious of.

·         If your problem is being naive in your relationships, examine the psychology behind why people act a certain way.

·         Whenever you are unsure of something, go and research before making a decision. Life is a long lesson, and the more you learn, the more realistic and practical you will become.

7.     Keep Trusting Others: whatever you do, don't start blaming yourself for having a confident nature. Trust is a beautiful thing.

To be less naive is not to distrust people. It's about not making decisions quickly. It is a question of thinking well and reading situations between the lines.

That doesn't mean you can't trust the people around you and keep looking for the good in them. Assuming someone is trustworthy, until proven otherwise should always be your default reaction, and that doesn't mean you're naive.

Of course, there are many people in the world who are bad, but the vast majority of human beings are essentially good.

8.     Learn to recognize when someone is being dishonest: if you often get tricked by liars, learn to spot the most common signs of being lied to.

Most human beings are naturally confident until something happens to change that. As a general rule, and especially if we are honest with ourselves, it is in our nature to believe what others tell us, especially our loved ones.

The most cynical would say that's gullible, but there's nothing wrong with trust being your default setting.

Although we should trust people, and most people are inherently trustworthy, we will all encounter a serial liar at some point in our lives.

Being able to spot one can save you from serious disappointment whether in a personal situation or in a work environment.

We all tell white lies every day, whether for practical reasons or because no one really needs to know.

It can even be about making the other person, feel better about themselves, although this has been proven to be more of a feminine trait, whereas men are more likely to lie to feel better.

While it's a good policy to try to be honest as often as possible, being completely honest can sometimes end up hurting people's feelings or causing problems.

However, it's when bigger lies start in an important relationship, whether it's with a partner, close friend, or family member, that things can start to fall apart quite quickly.

Lies can also be a big problem in business situations and professional environments.

We're normally pretty good at naturally spotting the signs of lying, but we put those instincts aside and convince ourselves we've been wrong.

If you're worried that someone is trying to cheat on you, here are some signs you can watch for that will confirm they're not being honest with you:

a.   They begin to fidget: when we lie, we get nervous, no matter how many times a day we do it.

Nervous energy can be detected when someone plays with their hair, fidgets with their feet, taps their fingers on the table, or suddenly moves in their chair. This is because he subconsciously prepares to run away in case their lies are discovered.

b.   They repeat themselves: a great way to tell if someone is telling lies is for the liar to repeat what they've already said while adding a lot more detail than you asked for. In his desperation to prove to you that he is telling the truth, he will go too far.

A good test is to stay quiet longer than usual to see if he keeps talking. Thus, long silences will make it uncomfortable.

Your silence will make them think you don't believe them, so they'll try harder to convince you.

Repeating what he has already said is a sign that he is trying to fill the time while he is trying to update his lie in his head or just embellish his story further.     

c.     They are incoherent: all that chatter they do. If they keep changing details about their story, that's your clue.

Granted, none of us has incredible memories, but if there are glaring inconsistencies in their story and it keeps changing and evolving, then you can be sure they're not being honest with you.

d.     They cover vulnerable parts of the body: as you probably know, lying can make you feel exposed and vulnerable.

The feeling that you might be attacked may cause you to cover your head, neck, or abdomen to protect yourself. You might also see them covering their mouths, ashamed of their words and trying to cut off communication.

e.     Body language and words don't match: he's telling you a sad story, yet he's smiling and cheerful, so you'll notice their body language is on high alert. Your alarm bells should ring immediately!

It is very easy to lie with words, but only the liar will be able to remain aware of their body language as they can emit signals that correspond to their lying.

f.   Breathing changes: when we lie, our body reacts. Our heart rate and blood flow change, which means we breathe more heavily.

Obviously, if your interlocutor has just walked up a flight of stairs, that's not an indicator you can rely on, but if he's sitting on the couch or behind his desk and his breathing changes, you have reason to suspect him.

g.  They do not make eye contact: some people are terrible with eye contact, but if someone who is usually happy to look you straight in the eye suddenly avoids your gaze, they may be lying between their teeth.

On the other hand, if he's making too much eye contact or more eye contact than he normally would, it could be a deliberate and quite aggressive attempt to convince you that he's being completely honest with you.

h.  They are looking for an escape: there is more to their eyes than just whether or not they are looking directly at you.

For example, people's eyes will look in a certain direction when they lie, but unfortunately it can be up and right, or down and right.

You need to know their typical eye pattern before you can identify the situation. So, you'll probably only notice it in people you know well.

Normally it doesn't matter what they are looking at, except if they are looking at the door it is a sign that, even if they are unaware of it, they are checking their escape route if they need to.

No one in their right mind really likes to lie or feels comfortable doing so, so their subconscious is looking for the fastest way out of the conversation.

i.   They are getting ready to flee: it's not just their eyes that will give you a clue. Their whole body will likely be tilted towards the door, and if they're standing, you might notice them slowly and gradually moving towards it.

If they were relaxed when you started talking to them and become tense when a certain topic is brought up, or if they tense up as soon as they see you, this is also a sign that they subconsciously prefer really to be somewhere else, and their bodies are about to flee.

j.   They have an aggressive behavior: if someone is getting angry or confronting you, that's a sign to take note of.

If someone starts behaving aggressively without provocation, their unconscious defense mechanisms are kicking in.

Always remember to look at the big picture.

Not all these signs will be true for everyone you meet depending on the circumstances.

If it's someone close to you, use what you know about their normal character before deciding whether you think they're lying or not.

If it's someone you're not that close to, be sure to consider the context.

For example, psychopaths don't get nervous when they lie because they won't show that they really feel guilty for the lies they tell.

Ultimately, just as you instinctively act in certain ways when lying, you are also able to instinctively pick up on signs in others.

Listen to your intuition and you can rarely go wrong.

9.     Listen to your instincts: even if you tend to be naive, gullible, or innocent, there's probably often a feeling deep inside that tells you something's wrong.


Rather than just putting it aside, it's important for you to check out that feeling and think about where it is coming from.


Don't be afraid to let your instincts guide you from time to time. It might not always be right, but it's there for a reason.


10.  Be open to meeting new people: your naivety may be due to the fact that you have led a rather sheltered life, surrounded by many people who think exactly the same way as you.


If this is your case, you should be open to making friends with people from different backgrounds or cultures.


If you don't live in a very diverse community, it may be more difficult, but the internet can be a great way to mingle with people, different from you.

And if you live in a multicultural place with people from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds and with different beliefs, then take advantage of that and be open to making friends with those who don't look like you, don't speak or don't think like you.

11.  Go ahead and find out about life: naivety is often a trait of people who lack life experience. If you don't experience the world firsthand, it's inevitable that you'll be a little gullible or innocent.


Normally people become less naive with age, but you can help yourself by simply saying, yes to life.


Try new things, volunteer to help those less fortunate than you, and learn about new cultures.

Learn about the history and realities and injustices of the society you live in, look at things from the perspective of others, and embrace all things in life whether good or bad, so that you can have a perspective on life.

Here we all need to remember Pierre Adrien Decourcelle comment, « Naivety is the sister of innocence and the cousin of stupidity. »

Find out more about « Discovering yourself as to better understand others » with My Success Is Your Success. The book through questions, quotes and reflections provides the necessary elements to explore all about motivation so to shape your success and help those around you do the same. Remember that success is all about team efforts!

Mon succès est votre succès

This book is the result of forty years of experience acquired with local and international organizations and companies and during consultancy, change management, transition and marketing services.

This 404-page personal development book was published by WebTech Publishing and is available online in English, North American French and European versions. For more information and to view the flip book, visit webtechPublishing.

About the Author

In addition to writing, Germain Decelles acts as Change Management Strategist. He has over 40 years of business and consultation experience with local and international markets, including sectors such as retail trade, distribution, information technology and communications, transportation, manufacturing, financial services, and government organizations.

Other publications: ISO Pour Tous – Le manuel d’information ISO – Le guide de préparation ISO – La gestion du changement en affaires – La gestion de projet d’affaires – Le changement POUR TOUS Change your future, now! – Mon succès est votre succès.

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Germain Decelles, o.s.j.

WebTech Management et Publication Incorpored

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