You can best predict a person’s behavior by behavior displayed in the past. Keep the focus on behavior — not words. This is because very few people have strong integrity. By “strong integrity” I mean when a person’s words and actions almost always match. The more eloquent the words, and the more those words animate your values and beliefs, the more careful you should be to match the words to actions. People who tend to act one way in one kind of situation will, over time, tend to act the same way in future situations regardless of words or claimed ideas. Present and past behaviors are good predictors of future behaviors — absent intervention. What’s “intervention?” Intervention means a willful change in direction on the part of the person. It’s a fundamental change, not just in ideology but also in action, represented by strong and consistent integrity to the new idea. You see this sometimes in former addicts who change their whole way of thinking and living after the addiction. But it can apply in other contexts as well. Human beings are absolutely capable of this kind of change. I’m wildly optimistic about human potential. I’m not so inspired by what most humans have done up to now. There is a lack of integrity but, more than that, there’s a lack of good ideas that, when practiced consistently, would lead to happiness and success. Happiness and success are too much the exception and not enough the norm. In a way, it’s amazing that mankind has come as far as it has, with such a lack of good ideas to guide it. Only religion claims to give man ideas, and that hasn’t exactly done the job, has it? My vote is for rationality, self-interest, capitalism, romanticism, secularism, science, technology and individualism. These form the basis for MY “religion” although I won’t call it religion. These ideas have made headway throughout the ages, despite continual attack up through and including the present day. Human beings have a long way to go before they reach a consensus that these are the best ideas for living life competently and well. If, as an individual, you already have the right ideas, and live by them with integrity, then consider yourself well ahead of your time.