The Teacher/Con Artist

7 pages of commentary
typical Con Artist quotes

Essence: The Teacher

If you take a look at some people, they always seem to be "standing tall," stretching upward, even when sitting. The head is elevated. There is a certain noticeable *calm poise* about them. They come across as "superior." There may be something about them that is "spectacular." They are known for their intelligence. They are smart, and this superior intelligence shows up; it calls one's attention if one is practicing mindfulness. In any gathering, small or large, this will be the "superstar."

They become highly educated, and get impressive credentials. They have discernment and creative imagination. They are good at finding ingenious ideas for things, clever angles, inventions. They think and plan and come up with good ideas by imagining all the possibilities. This essential type represents "the intellectual" in the human spectrum of qualities.

"I know the answer!" "I know all about it." "I understand it." "Let me tell you what I know about it." "What *I* think is . . ." And they can teach because they know so much.

All of us have some of this in our make-up. We are all "smart," to a certain extent. We can teach others what we know. We learned how to speak and understand our language and how to read. We can all express our thoughts. We each have an intellect. Teachers excel in using the language. They are articulate, and their vocabularies may be quite sophisticated, as is the conceptual thinking that they do with words in their brilliant minds. Yet all of us have a measure of this in our make-up. All of us can think, and have smart thoughts.

The essence of the Teacher is in their extra excellence and greatness. By practice, their superior qualities become honed and refined over the years. In their working lives, they are "in practice" to excel in their professional field. They can claim to be "Number 1." Living in their essence alone, they can enjoy a life of brilliant achievements with honors and acclaim. They can become famous, or well-known for their greatness--at least in their own city, or their small group. They are looked up to, because they rise high. They are "good talkers," persuasive, convincing. Their promises are trusted. Some may become politicians, expert consultants, or lawyers; others, leaders, or "stars" in a great variety of fields. They may become teachers, and writers, and speech-givers.

When you see these men and women in any gathering, they are standing tall and cool. You notice their poise. There is often a small crowd around them, paying attention to what they say. They are *interesting*, above all. They can attract a "following" at the drop of a hat. Teachers are well-informed and informative. They always have something intelligent to say, on any subject. They are great story tellers. We like their style. And they love to show others their style. Their image says, "Follow me, and be great."

Among Teachers are found the intellectual geniuses. This is a good person to turn to for ideas for advantage, as mentors, consultants, "spin-doctors." Sly as a fox, you can count on them for outsmarting the opposition. This is a good person to write your speech for you, or to speak in your behalf. They "compose." This is the person that invents the technology that projects are built around. Chances are it was a Teacher that thought up the business or institution where you work, as well as your job description. They "write the script." They come up with the name, and the message. These are the "idea-men," the "idea-women." They discovered advertising.

Teachers are proud of high quality work, their own and that of their students or followers. This is the expert, who can do it impressively, and show others how it is done. This is the "magician," who performs wonders by reaching for the stars. Others are baffled because they haven't thought it through as far.

They are authoritative, the only people who can confirm your best ideas, and give you meaningful credit where it's due because they truly understand your brilliance. Their discernment helps them in being finders of rare and high-quality items. The Teacher finds the answers. As a detective, they solve the mysterious puzzles. They get their best work done while experiencing the emotion of solitude. That is, they work very well alone. They seek solitude for this, which is why it is "always lonely at the top."

Through solitary work at endless research, and through the perfection of techniques that their intellect has mastered, their lives can come to spectacular performances and even--for some--superstardom. They are confident, brilliant, and able to inspire confidence in their superior knowledge.

Personality: The Con-Artist

As with all these types, some who have the strengths and qualities described above may take these Teacher attributes too far. Being brilliant, they may become shrewd, calculating, and deceptive. Being impressive and persuasive, they may take advantage of other people by lying to them and leading them on. In any gathering, Con Artists always have to be "the smartest person in the room." They will do everything they can to make it seem that way--no matter what the occasion. They live for "their image." Mindfulness can spot this rather easily.

Stuck on their intellectual abilities, Con Artists may become cold, and aloof, acting as if they are better than other people. They believe it's true. They rise above others, and actually look down upon them. They arch their eyebrows. Often, their nose can be seen a little "in the air" to "look down" as best they can. They are clever, and slyly patient when their manipulations are in play. "I can wait and watch for it a long time." They are always smugly *confident* they will win in the end--which gives rise to the expression "confidence man," "confidence woman").

You can see their hands "steepling" (interlaced with each other) when they know they have played a winning hand. Whether interlaced hands are held in the lap, on the table, high above the head, or under the table, this gesture always means: "I'm on top of it." "I hold the winning hand." Sometimes they brush the side of their nose with the knuckle of a forefinger--"I'm pretty neat, aren't I?" this gesture means. (You can always catch on to the meanings of these gestures if you mindfully contemplate the context in which they are done.)

What their game is all about is playing for admiration. They are name-droppers, they court flattery, and have big promises of the great things they are *going to do*. "Believe in me." They love to show off, and brag. They take you by the hand and lead you to see trophies, vacation pictures, art objects, etc. "This is how great I am." And when admiration is gained, they are smart enough to find a way to take advantage of it. The "wheels are always turning up there" in those big brains. They've always got their angle and their plans. Their motto might be that there's some advantage to be taken in every situtation. It might only be to get gratuitous admiration, or for fooling people to see if it can be done. They lie and take advantage of others "to keep in practice." Although all of the types tell their characteristic lies, the Con Artist is *the specialist* in the art of lying, itself.

They may lead people on, slyly including others in their schemes, by the use of the first-person plural: "We can . . ." "Let's . . ." "Shall we?" Watch out when you hear a Con Artist say "we." You can sit back and watch them in a conversation: always waiting for opportunities to persuade. They want to look smart to the others that are there. This is "the salesman," "the saleswoman." They have a smooth sales talk: "What you'll get will be . . ." They are slick. "Let me . . ." They tell others they will "save" them. They have a "smooth line." "Let me take you away from all this." (Rubbing their hands together.) They always have a very convincing story.

The advice that they give others is always designed to further their own hidden agendas first. They have no loyalty. Acting as advisor to one person, they throw in with that person's opponents when they discover there is more profit for them there. (They might even do this to their friends.) They do all this with an air of complete innocence. They can be *absolutely shameless*. Shamelessness is a characteristic that Con Artists are known for. They seem to have no conscience, even with their closest friends.

The Con Artist thinks, "I am better than other people." They *have to* think that to relax. Sometimes this conceited attitude shows through. By rising above the others around them, they can wind up becoming lonely, which occurs when there isn't anyone to show off with any more. Because they act so superior, many others who would like to be their friends (for the sake of their authoritative intelligence and sheer interestingness) make no attempt to be, because they seem so aloof and unattainable. They seem to live "on their own level up there." What point in attempting to cultivate them from "down here?" Con Artists can be *lonely in a crowd* of admirers to whom they are showing off at large. But there's no *personalness* to it. A crowd is "impersonal." There may be no real, honest companionship for the Con Artist there that he or she can brag to when the show is over.

By rising so high (in their own mental perception), they get out of touch with other people. "How can one as great as I am be so alone?" Being "better than others" doesn't work very well when it comes to close personal company. This attitude of superiority may keep them isolated during much of their lives. They come across as cold, and they are cold, without knowing how to be different. Their pride keeps them from admitting to anyone, "I need you." They wouldn't seem superior if they revealed they had any such needs. At all costs they must maintain this "image of superiority." They don't understand how this need isolates them from others. They think that *acting superior* makes them more and more admired, whereas it begins to have the opposite effect.

Whatever anyone in the room says about anything, they will top it. They make others feel diminished in order to sell their superiority. "I'm better than you" is always the message. So they have to keep pointing out to others how they are lower than they are. They are constitutionally incapable of admitting anything negative about themselves. So they get *very little* sympathy in life this way. To be sympathized with would make them squirm. So they are very, very much alone with their troubles. They can't let themselves come across as humanly vulnerable like other people are. Whatever is happening, they always have to rise above it, and pretend their life "at the top" is perfect. Being better than others is "their thing." The stress of maintaining this difficult pose can take a toll on their youth and excitement for life. Eventually, the solitary chamber in which they have walled themself away from real human companionship begins to become evident.

Con Artists' most characteristic trait of all is taking advantage of other people. Whenever you hear them say "I think . . ." they are doing this. Listen to what they say they think, and you can catch on to the advantages they are after. They are conceited and see themselves as "the aristocrat," the connoisseur of life. "Only my life is as neat as this!" They show this off in every possible way. They will take you on a guided tour of their life, pointing out the greatness at every turn.

They make many promises that they *never intend to keep*. "Trust me." "It's a sure thing." "I promise." (These are the "battle cries" of the Con Artists!) When the results are seen, they blame others for misunderstanding what they had really promised them. They expect others to keep on believing in them nonetheless. They tell "bald-faced lies." "The check is in the mail." If others complain, they say they haven't waited long enough, haven't had enough faith in them. They are good at talking over other peoples' heads, and excel in confusing issues with their rhetoric--"spinning," diverting attention. They always have an imaginative story to explain their way out of it. Another person may know they are being cheated, yet they go away shaking their head, not sure, after all, what to think.

Con Artists have *no shame*. Although they may sometimes put on an act to endeavor to appear deeply concerned, they are actually coldly unsympathetic within. Usually, they are above hearing about other people's problems, even if they caused them: "I've got another call." They will never give others--even family members and friends--an even break, or treat them fairly as equals. They always take their own big cut off the top, and only do favors for others when there's profit of some kind for them first--usually unknown about by the other person. They may squander many dear friends over the years, who catch them at this game one too many times, and just can't stand to be around them any more, after that point.

Con Artists *need* to look like a winner. They have to outsmart people into thinking they are a winner whenever they can. They want so much to be admired. They want to *look good*. They tell many lies solely to impress other people. When things go wrong, their chief focus is always in saving face. They have an amazing knack for getting away with it. In the extreme, they may resort to fraud, con games, taking false credit, forgery, plagiarism, impersonation. "I was a big hero in the war." All of these are functions of dishonesty--getting away with it because they see that they can, and the temptation is too much to resist.

In disputes with others, they will rise above it. "This is beneath me." "I'm too good for this." They'll give others the silent treatment. Self-elitist like royalty, they snub others and convey the idea: "Your behavior is beneath me." When they are in a bad situation, their policy is always getting away with it. They are so clever, and evasive. They cover their lies. When confronted, they give convoluted or non-responsive answers that confuse a questioner. They'll never admit anything that would make them look bad. They might even perjure themselves rather than give humiliating testimony. They may be incapable of making a "sincere apology," even when they know that they owe it--again, because it would make "their image" look bad to admit that they were wrong. (It's just their personality, and they are conditioned to do it that way.)

As good as they are at living by lies and deception, eventually they do get caught. They weave complicated stories that "others did it." They try to negotiate. "Let's make a deal." They can be corrupt. "Name your price." "What can I do for you in exchange?" Yet, if they become victims of the web of deception that they themselves have woven over the years, they may wind up exposed, facing disgrace, being thrown out, and living in obscure retirement, their brilliant legacy forever tarnished.

Please remember that--as with each of the eight types discussed here--one out of eight of us humans have this Con Artist type as our chief personality feature. One out of three of us have this as a primary personality type.

Con-Artists are "too smart by half." Eventually, their lies catch up with them. They are forced to cover lies with more lies. When it gets to be too much to believe, others begin to feel betrayed, or used. The biggest mistake that Con Artists make is even lying to and taking advantage of their own close friends and admirers. No one will rally around them after this is discovered. This may occur when they are found out by the crowd, when they have been seen through by their world, and when they are, finally, needing others' support the most to get out of the jam they are in. Once idolized, they may become a famous disgrace, seen through by everyone as shameless, and stripped of all honors. Or else, they get away with it one more time . . . until the next time they get caught.

Typical Con-Artist Quotes

I'm the greatest.
I think . . .
Let me give you some free advice.
I have something that will interest you.
It's a sure thing.
What you'll get will be worth it.
I'm so cool.
I had dinner with the King and Queen.
Some day I might introduce you to them.
Let me tell you about my adventures.
I know I promised. We'll see.
Let me think about that.
Here's the spin.
Don't look at me, I had nothing to do with that.
(Touching the chest in earnestness) Moi?
Would I lie to you???
So, who are you? You're nobody without me.
Let me tell you how neat I am.
I'm successful because I'm smarter than you.
Put your money in my hands, and I'll make you rich.
I may have a place for you.
Want a part in my picture, baby?
That won't be necessary, I'll read your resumÈ later.
I'll take care of you. You can count on that.
By the way, will you do me a favor?
Go to bed with me, and you can be here at the top with me.
Let's . . . . . (slyly speaking for both at the same time).
What we can do is . . . . .
I've got connections who will get that for you later.
Let me take you away from all this.
We'll all be rich; you're in on the deal.
Step into my cruiser. I got this for success.
Did I tell you about my plans for next year?
The check is in the mail.
Trust me.
Do I look like a person who'd lie?

Back to the Playground

©1999 Teaching Tools For Mindfulness Training