5 Skills a Criminal Can Use to Start a New Life

From CSI to Criminal Minds to documentaries about serial killers, I don’t know why I’m fascinated with crime stories. Recently, whenever I hear about criminals, I’m like, “These people are pretty smart. Why don’t they use their intelligence for something good?”

In Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacson, Jobs says that when he was a kid he didn’t respect authority and got into trouble. If not for a teacher who bribed him back into learning, he’s sure that he would have been a criminal. In this interview, Jobs says that it’s important for children to meet someone who will see the potential in them.

I wondered could it be that these criminals never met someone who believed in them, who saw their skills, and who told them that they can do better in life? If they haven’t realized their skills and potentials, let me try to make a short list of those things that I’ve observed based on TV shows and documentaries:

1. Social Behavioral Intuition

Criminals have incredible intuition when it comes to predicting what a human being will do given a certain situation. They know that if they do this, then that person will get distracted, and they’ll be able to swipe a wallet or a piece of jewelry. Instead of using this skill to harm people, they could use this to analyze market behavior and with their intuitive assessment of people, they can create a strategy that will entice people to do something like buy a product or avail of a certain service. They can work for human resources and analyze what incentives will make employees work harder. They can go into investigative work and be adequate predictors of human behavior.

2. Planning and Organizational Skills

A heist is a complicated job. This exhibits the criminal’s ability to make meticulous plans. They analyze blueprints, collect relevant data, familiarize themselves with technology, and the like. Figuring out which task to give to each person in the group requires an adequate assessment of each individual member and the skills and abilities needed by each task. If they can run a heist so smoothly and efficiently, what makes them think that they cannot run a more productive and socially-beneficial event?

3. Observation Skills

Criminals have to stalk people and observe their habits, observe the routines that people do, etc. If they use their observation skills for scientific research or for any kind of research, then maybe they can put their talents to better use.

4. Charisma Over People
If they can command a group of people to do something wrong, then they can command people to do something good. Can you imagine if Hitler used his power to solve world peace? I bet he could have.
5. Fearlessness and Subversion

Some of the greatest minds have been people who were not afraid to break the rules, and they ended up changing the world. The problem with criminals is that they subvert laws and damage people’s lives. Inventors and visionaries on the other hand, go against the rules to bring something good into the world. It might be hard to think of something that will change the world, but I think the hardest part is having enough nerve to actually challenge the world. It’s harder to be fearless than be a genius. I even think that the only reason why some people are geniuses is that they are fearless. Sometimes it’s not about talent or genius; sometimes it’s just about being brave enough to do something no one has done before.

I’m not an expert in criminology. I haven’t analyze the social inequalities that push people toward the desperation of crime. Thus, this is definitely not a comprehensive analysis of criminality. I haven’t factored in educational credentials that could limit the possibilities for these people. All I know is I’m a writer, and what I do best is re-imagine worlds and scenarios, and if criminals can re-imagine their world, then they can probably start a new life and contribute to our society.

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6 thoughts on “5 Skills a Criminal Can Use to Start a New Life

  1. HI, Ja. Rem here. I had a similar dilemma in understanding about criminal mind. Interestingly, as I reflected in my soul, I saw the word crime jumbled into the word merci, which in Latin means gift, kindness or forgiveness. It’s the same word in French for thank you. And gratitude is related to the word grace. I am always dumbfounded by the crisis of the soul that underlies the nature of crime. Yet as I comprehend this insight, I know this is the profound solution.


    1. Hello Rem! Mercy is indeed something that we should reflect about. The prison system is supposed to be rehabilitative and retributive, but sometimes we are to focused on punishing the criminal that we fail to be merciful enough to help them start a new life. Whenever I watch Criminal Minds, these criminals are usually described as people who’ve been abused before, which makes me think “Are all criminals broken people? In a way, are they victims themselves?” Of course that does not excuse their actions. Other people also experience abuse, but they don’t become criminals. They should be held liable for the choices that they made, but once they’ve served their sentences, they should be able to start a new life. Being healed enough to start anew will be the reason why they won’t go back to their old ways.


      1. Thanks for that insight, Ja. Through that perspective, I believe we are arriving on the most fundamental question of how to treat them: “Do we see them as humans, just like ourselves?” or “Do we do to them what we ought to do unto ourselves?” If the golden rule is at work here, we will definitely find extraordinary ways to help them, and in turn reduce their kind. We will have a world where no one needs to be a criminal, no one needs to harm others, and most of all, no one needs to harm themselves.


        1. I agree. I really hope that we will learn to apply the golden rule to these people. It seems really hard because they are people who have damaged other people’s lives. I guess it is more difficult to extend kindness to these people when you are a victim or you are related to a victim. I don’t know if I can even ask that of victims or their families. What I know is that we are all better off if we help these people not go back to their old ways and instead help them realize that they can contribute something good to our society. Thanks for commenting Rem! I really appreciate your feedback!


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