Want More Trust in the World? Trust More, Not Less!
I am trusting and trustworthy. I keep my commitments. I am honest and forthright. I do my best not to lie. I treat people with respect and dignity. I probably could have just pasted the Boy Scout Oath right here (which is worth reviewing periodically – click the link!). What’s more, living in a civilized, well-educated society, I have a reasonable expectation that my fellow citizens will keep a similar covenant with me and likewise, hold me accountable to my covenant with them. The really cool thing is, this ideology works (for me) almost all the time!
It would be easy to write a post about how dastardly deeds diminish trust. Life is flush with examples of how trust is betrayed, co-opted, manipulated, and transformed into skepticism, cynicism and wariness. Just about every reality show on TV has themes of trust/distrust woven into the fabric of the competition or saga du jour.
Here’s the rub: Contrary to what we see each day on TV, I don’t believe trusting less will give me an edge over my peers and help me achieve my goals. Conversely, I fervently believe that trusting more ultimately leads to greater wealth, better health, and a sense of well-being that is priceless.
Trust is in our DNA. We are wired for it right down to our double-helix. Why? Because, we are born completely defenseless and require rearing by parents or guardians far longer than any other species on earth; we have to trust in order to survive. Sadly, it is life (once we begin to fend for ourselves) that teaches us not to trust. So how do we get our trust back? How can we ensure that our efforts to trust more won’t be met with heartbreak and disappointment?
A couple of months ago I watched a compelling video about trust and trustworthiness. It was a TED talk given by Paul Zak, Ph.D, a neuro-economist at the University of Pennsylvania. Here’s the link for you to follow: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_zak_trust_morality_and_oxytocin.html. It is worth every second of the 15 minute presentation.
Prior to watching this, my thoughts about trust were probably much like yours. At face value, Trust is something that must be earned, can be easily betrayed and betrayal leaves deep scars. But when I really started digging in – I realized that I operate on a trust-first basis and this has brought me a wealth of great relationships with people from all walks of life.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve watched the video, I don’t go around and hug everyone I see but I do my best to make a physical connection with people I interact with. In person, you’ll find that I’m a shoulder-pat guy. I wasn’t even aware of it until someone pointed it out to me. It isn’t invasive, effusive or creepy. I just like that level of connectedness with people and it makes all the difference. People know I like them and trust them because they can feel it when I pat their shoulder and shake their hand (or give them a hug).
As I mentioned above, trust is a covenant. It is the often unspoken yet deeply felt acknowledgment that one’s word is one’s bond. It is knowing that you will do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, rather than what is expedient or politically favorable. It is an unwavering belief that what you say and how you act is congruent with who you are at your core. And when we go out into the world and present this aspect of ourselves openly and generously, the law of psychological reciprocity will kick in, helping build trust throughout our community, our country, and the world.
This post is a submission to the ActiveRain / Adobe EchoSign Trust Contest. I could possibly win a prize. You can find out about the contest by clicking here