Trust: A Limited Time Offer
Without trust, we have nothing.
I was recently reminded of this “philosophy” this month. Nothing eventful occurred to me to personally trigger the resurgence of such a powerful thought. No, I was actually reminded of it while reading a book that was laden with broken promises and continuous abuse of trust throughout the career–in particular on the business front, of one of my favorite music artists.
None of the experiences recounted are an anomaly in the music, let alone entertainment industries. Otherwise, the tale of the highly successful artist that encounters bankruptcy at least once, sometimes at the height of their success, would not be so common. Those tales used to be more perplexing to audiences, how can an artist go platinum or gold, sell out amphitheaters and stadiums, win GRAMMYs, etc. and yet still end up bankrupt?
I won’t get into that here, but long story short “trust” plays a big role–typically a primary role as to why this occurs.
Many a time, most of these artists have been taken advantage of financially by “professionals” that they entrusted with career-defining and wealth-management responsibilities. Everything from accountants to managers to tax advisors and personal assistants. Money and power really test the integrity and the moral compass of a person.
More fail than pass the test when they are met with the opportunity to exercise power or access larger sums of money that will bring them special treatment or a change in lifestyle. Making no difference to them that their newfound perks are stemming from borrowed success.
Yet, transfer of trust is not reserved for the entertainment industry and not every story ends in negative financial impact nor bridges burned.
I recall in the middle of 2020, as we found ourselves in the throes of the pandemic, my father out-of-the-blue saying to me, “Don’t eat food prepared by strangers.”
Great fatherly advice perhaps if I was 5 years-old. Well, to be fair, it's true that no one can never be too careful, but...
My reaction? I started laughing. Then eventually answered,
“Dad, that’s all I do most of the time! You do it too!!!”
I wish I could say that I cook each and every one of my own meals, but let’s not lie…I order UberEats or dine out just as much as the rest of you.
Just the other day, I had the thought of "I wish my bank would do a ‘2022 Wrapped’ like Spotify does,” so that they could confirm what percentage of my income I spent on food or gas, etc. Banks and credit cards, get on that. I don’t want to install yet another third-party app like Mint to break it down for me. I keep my own budget, but it’d be nice to see an end of year wrap-up. Please and thank you.
Ok, focus, Siria. Less product enhancement ideas and more of back to the subject.
Alright, back to this conversation with my father. After, I pointed out that all day long I am putting my trust in people that I do not know to not: undercook my food, poison my food, spit in my food, follow proper sanitary procedures when preparing my food, deliver the right meal to me, and lastly implement whatever special requests I provided at the time of ordering. That last one is often wishful thinking.
This year, I especially trusted multiple strangers in the greatest trust fall of all, that of saving my life. Medical professionals fall into that category of those that we often need to trust in the most. We have to trust that they know what they are doing and that they’ll do what’s right for you.
I love the people who say they don't trust anyone. Their photo may as well be on the cover of a book titled, "How to Master Trust Falls Like a Pro."
The truth is that we each perform “trust falls” all day, everyday in a multitude of ways. No one is exempt. You can’t live life (or a whole life I guess) without trust, yes you can be a born skeptic, but at the end of the day, you are left with no choice but to trust.
A few more examples:
We get into our cars and pull out into traffic trusting that none of the other drivers on the road are driving impaired or under any substances.
We do our jobs every day and trust that we’ll receive our pay on payday.
We put our money in financial institutions and trust that we’ll be able to access it any time we’d like.
We sign-up for and pay the monthly fees for subscription services trusting that our logins will work and that we’ll be able to access their product and i.e. “Netflix and chill” anytime we want.
We trust that the gasoline we put in our car has not been diluted nor tampered with and that it will not damage our car.
We trust that the products we ingest (such as supplements and vitamins), apply topically (skincare), or don (clothing) do not include ingredients or materials that would be toxic to our bodies.
We trust that the person we hired or our own colleagues will show up to work each day and perform their role’s duties.
To take it one step further we, for the most part, put our trust in our fellow humans that they will not cause us harm in any way as we all go about our lives each and every day.
So as you can see, trust is very important and it is true that without it we have nothing.
In conversations I have had with friends, we have discussed relationships and the question of would you stay with or take back someone who cheated on your relationship. My answer has always remained no, regardless of the circumstances I could not. Trust really is everything and once that is gone, the relationship is done.
To put it into perspective, I trust strangers all day long without a second thought, so if I can’t trust someone I care about then the relationship may as well not exist as I now trust complete strangers more than I trust you. That crack in the foundation is irreparable.
In social circles, If I can’t trust you, you are not my friend. You are my acquaintance.
In business, if I can’t trust your expertise, you will not be managing anything of mine.
Exercising discernment and having self-respect/knowing your self-worth are your own secret weapons. This does not mean that you must go through daily life each day questioning every little thing, or making your own life miserable by letting paranoia overtake your life.
No, thankfully most people are doing what’s expected and we can exercise trust in them to execute what we need without issue.
The purpose of this written piece surged forth more from my own gratitude in our ability as humans to trust and to remind anyone else who needs it of how important this something that we take for granted each and every day is. And just as we trust in others each and every day, we also most importantly must trust ourselves.
Without trust, we have nothing.