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Are you tired of the sea of bullshit, scams, and hustles on the internet?

Be careful who you trust on the internet. Many are hypocrites and, in several cases, outright liars. Here’s how to know who’s real and who’s fake.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Then it’s time to make sure that people you list to have “The Receipts”…

​I don’t exaggerate, boast, or brag about myself.

However, when I was younger, I was guilty of stretching the truth about myself because I wanted to be more than who I was. I realized the best way to remedy this situation was to actively work on becoming someone who could be who he claimed to be.

I think all young men are guilty of deceptive self-aggrandizement to some degree. However, the internet has made it too easy to stretch the truth about who you are and what you’ve done.

Be careful who you listen to on the internet. There are a lot of people who haven’t done anything to earn the right to give the advice they constantly spout. In fact, many of them are hypocrites, contradictions, and several cases, outright liars.

Have they earned the right to give advice?

I really hate the word “guru” when used in this context, but it’s the easiest word to express what I want for this instance.

I don’t care if it’s making money online or dating; don’t listen to anyone online unless they can show you “the receipts.” The receipts are proof that they’ve done what they’re claiming you can learn from them. Even if it’s free information, beware because all information EVENTUALLY comes with a price tag.

I’m not against charging people money for information. What I am against is misrepresenting your knowledge and experience, either explicitly or implicitly. If someone can’t show you the receipts, then you have no idea if they actually paid the cost to be in the position they claim to be in.

I’ve met a lot of guys in person who I initially met online. For the most part, everyone is who they claim to be. That’s because I don’t move in a disingenuous way, so I naturally repel those who do. Ultimately, whenever someone is able to misrepresent themselves to a large number of people, it’s because others with influence either didn’t know they were lying or they did know but chose to ignore it.

This is important to keep in mind. Humans are highly susceptible to being fooled by group consensus.

So, what are some receipts?

Do they show their face online?

I used to go back and forth on this, but I’ve realized that without an identity to back the words, it’s just rhetoric.

I hate to use this old example, but someone could literally be living in their mom’s basement while preaching the value of being self-sufficient and taking responsibility. Once again, I must stress: I don’t care if you start a platitude account or a blog with rehashed life lessons, but the moment you try to extract money, I’m gonna need to see the receipts.

Does this person have a “body of work” on display?

If you can’t show me the work you’ve done, I’m not listening. I don’t care what that body of work is, but I need to see that you’ve done SOMETHING other than exist and then decide that you want to dispense advice and information about how to live.

Kids are dropping information on making money, but they’ve shown they can do it. That’s excellent. If any of these kids decided to start dropping relationship advice, I’d be less inclined to listen, but I’d AT LEAST give them the benefit of the doubt because they’ve succeeded elsewhere.

I’m not saying it’ll be valid. I’m just saying they’ve done more to convince me to listen than someone who’s done nothing and doesn’t show their face.

Can a person be independently verified?

If I can’t find anyone or anything that vouches for you being someone worth listening to, then we have a serious problem. This, once again, comes back to identity.

If there’s no way for anyone to know that you are the real deal—either by meeting you in person, talking to someone that has, or reading articles about you by an independent source—then we HAVE NO IDEA if you’re actually worth listening to.

Here’s the thing. Part of the reason we listen to people when they advise us is that they have some experience doing the thing itself. Even if they aren’t successful, they’ve at least attempted and can give us SOME information about the thing. But if we can’t confirm that this person has lived a certain way, then, for all we know, they could just be taking the information from many sources on the internet or just theorizing what they say.

Let’s imagine an extreme example: an anonymous fitness coach.

Not only do we not know if he’s fit, but we can’t even verify if he’s actually trained, people. I don’t care if a person wants to start an account or website on anything, but once money is exchanged, then I better be able to verify you.

In conclusion

When in doubt, see how easy it is to verify this person. Can you see their face? Can you communicate with people who have communicated with them in person? Can you see a body of work that shows they know what they’re talking about?

In an ideal world, you hit all these points. The people who have success will hit all three. Missing one isn’t a big deal–I know some anonymous accounts who have built an original body of work over time, and they don’t seek to extract large sums of money from it. If a person misses more than two receipts, continue interactions with them at your own risk.

Likewise, make sure you get your receipts in order as well.

Don’t miss another issue!

I’m a former heavyweight pro-boxer (13-1-1) and alcoholic (Sobriety date 12/23/13), current writer, and aspiring chess master. I was raised in the projects by a single mom and failed high school, but I eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics.

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Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.

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