Believe Them

Georges van Hoegaerden
Georges van Hoegaerden
Founder, Author, and Managing Director of methodEVA.

Maya Angelou’s statement of “you should believe people when they first show themselves to you” is amazingly accurate. Most people are caught off guard at the beginning of relationships when they express themselves freely and operate according to who they truly are.

The Big Mac

My heart first sank when my past girlfriend asked me to buy her a Mac within two weeks of hanging out. On the off chance she did not yearn for a MacDonald’s Big Mac, I questioned the timing of the Apple laptop she wanted instead.

Of course, I could have bought her a Mac without blinking an eye, but why do independent and powerful women today continue to rely on a man to grease their skids? Is it because they are feigning their independence? And why are they asking for things before the trust in the love story or life story is established? Why are they selling themselves out, is the question that begs for answers? Why do they disrespect themselves?

At the beginning of a relationship, the aforementioned request for a Mac rang the alarm bells of her guiding compass. The never-ending ring of those bells justified my reluctant responses and growing irritation. I wanted to bring her into my fold as I believe in the well-tuned dependence derived from complementary skillsets, not feigned independence, as the basis for relationships where both partners’ contributions yield a better life.

Her brooding for an affluent lifestyle, her interest in material possessions and status, and her wondering eyes all became prime reasons for me to promote the opposite and pinch my purse. For I, not materialism, should have been the main object of her desire.

I am saddened she has learned so little about the essence of a meaningful life. Now, she is about to repeat her prior New York City success rate and will soon be reminded how her life, as in the movie “Pretty Woman” with Richard Gere, will unfold like Julia Roberts’ character.

It is not hard to predict the future for people who repeat the past.

The Big Deal

Budding entrepreneurs conduct themselves with equal honesty when they first pitch an investment opportunity. Setting up the conference call, the entrepreneur I agreed to investigate could not get the zoom invitation to work, using a camera lens smudged with dirt that turned his face into a mothball, and disconnected numerous times.

Then, during our call, he could not handle being interrupted from his presentation “script” that failed to get to the point. He went as far as to complain to me why I did not let him finish. I have little patience for unverifiable assumptions confirmed by testimonials of supposed experts who have never built a business.

I explained that my efforts to set him straight is the generous patience he’d be hard-pressed to expect from run-of-the-mill venture capitalists. They will simply bail out of the meeting with a simple and unexplained thank you. Do not expect to be coddled when you attempt to raise money.

This entrepreneur’s disheveled, dirty, and discombobulated behaviors do not build investor confidence in the fine “motor skills” required to pull off an outstanding entrepreneurial feat. He, too, had exposed himself before the relationship got off the ground.


Falling in love with a person or a business proposition murks the memory of how people first showed themselves to you. With conflict initially denied and subsequently multiplied, the damage incurred by engaging with these false positives ought not to be underestimated.

Maya Angelou was so right. Believe how people first show themselves to you and cut your losses early. For conflict ignored is conflict multiplied.

The sign of an intelligent nation is its willingness and ability to reinvent itself, upstream. Let’s inspire the world with new rigors of excellence we first and successfully apply to ourselves.

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