A topic requested for me to blather a bit about….. here goes….
Have you ever trusted someone and gotten “burned?” Have you ever failed to trust someone and missed significant opportunities as a result? The practical issues to extend trust are: how do you know when to trust somebody? How can you extend trust to people in ways that create rich rewards without taking inordinate risk? That sounds self-surviving… but I think you “get” what I am talking about….both sides benefit, etc….
When you are dealing with trust, it seems there are two extremes. On one end of the spectrum, people don’t trust enough. They are suspicious. They hold things close to the chest. Often, the only people they really trust are themselves. On the other end, people who are too trusting. They are totally gullible. They believe anyone, trust everyone. They have a simplistic, naïve view of the world and they don’t even really think about the need to protect themselves. You do know – right???? That the answer is certainly in the middle…. In balance…
Extending trust can bring great results. It also creates the possibility of significant risk. The decision to trust or not to trust is always an issue of managing risk and return. So how do you hit the “sweet spot” (the middle)???? How do you extend trust in a way that maximizes the dividends and minimizes the risk? I know I am using business terms… but I need to have it clinical for a moment so it can be looked at logically.
Life is filled with risk. The objective is not to avoid risk. In the first place, you can’t; and in the second place, you wouldn’t want to because risk taking is an essential part of life. Instead, the objective is to manage risk wisely – to extend trust in a way that will avoid the “taxes” and create the greatest “dividends” over time.
Learning how to extend smart trust is a function of two things… your propensity to trust and your analysis. “Propensity to trust” is primarily a matter of the heart. (Now I know I have lost some of you, but….) It is the tendency, inclination or predisposition to believe that people are worthy of trust and a desire to extend it to them freely. “Analysis” is primarily a matter of the mind. It is the ability to analyze, evaluate, theorize, consider implications and possibilities and come up with logical decisions and solutions.
As you think about these two factors – “propensity to trust” and ‘analysis”…how would you rate yourself on each? Do you typically tend to trust people easily or do you tend to be suspicious and hold things close? Do you tend to analyze, theorize and ponder over things… or do you give problems your cursory attention and then move on?
While extending trust to other people always brings with it some risk, the often greater risk that is frequently ignored is what happens when the other person don’t extend trust to others. These folks usually incur much larger “taxes” than they think… and they often lose the “dividends” that flow from extending trust to others. Sadly, their suspicion sometimes even helps produce the very behaviors they fear and are paranoid about, which further validates their suspicion. By treating people as if they can’t be trusted, they help to create a collusive, downward cycle of distrust. And this is one reason why not trusting people is often the greatest risk of all… far more risky than trusting in the first place.
Being smart with trust doesn’t mean that you extend trust to everyone. Based on the circumstances, your judgment may be to not extend trust or to extend only a limited measure of your trust. In extending trust, the general guideline is to extend trust conditionally to those who are earning it and abundantly to those who have already done so.
Ok, this was written sorta with tongue in cheek… using big business words…. So you don’t get bored with regular psycho-babble…. Trust has varying degrees…. Start out small…. If you are like me, you’ve had your trust abused…. So, instead of never trusting again, this time let’s use our heads plus our hearts….
I am trusting there will be some coffee waiting for me now…. Oh, my…. my trust is being rewarded by…. Slurp, slurp… yum, yum and an awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… wonderful stuff.