Trust

Re-looking at the basics

A question pops up in the head…when we say “I do not trust people” what do we really mean?

Is it the people we do not trust or is it the opinions of the people that we do not trust?

Inherently quality of trusting was by birth. Let us try and look at it stepwise.

Think about it. When we were trying to learn how to walk, most of us would have taken our first steps when either our mother or father, whose faces would have been relatively unknown at that time, were calling us. We would have trusted those relatively unknown faces calling us and learned to walk.

When our siblings/one of our relatives were teaching us how to ride a bicycle and would have said I will help you balance by holding the bicycle from behind, we would have paddled hard trusting their word and eventually learn how to ride a bicycle.

In the next step when we went to school we would have just trusted a strange looking person in our life “teacher”, with our future and learned everything that they taught. In fact come to think of it when we first went to class and were introduced to that person as our teacher we would have also trusted another stranger — the person introducing.

Till this period of our life we can very well make an excuse that we didn’t know better and hence we trusted what was told to us. Let us say it was not a conscious decision that we made. Fair enough can’t argue with that.

Now comes the interesting part. When we slowly started growing up, we all met with unfamiliar people who were neither related to us nor were they introduced to be our teachers and obviously we were not stupid enough to believe anyone blindly called “friends”. By now I am laughing at myself when about 20mins back I made a really stupid statement saying I do not trust people.

Coming back to friends they were total strangers when they met us but as we met them more and spent more time with them, we essentially trusted them with our life, our dirty secrets, our opinions, our plans, basically absolutely everything. Let me not end it here, let me go ahead and say that we all had atleast one, out of those friends who wasn’t approved by either our parents or our teachers or both. But we trusted them and while we try and think why would have we done this we would not have a clear cut answer or reasoning to it.

Let us go a step further and let reality hit us further. After parents, siblings, relatives, teachers and friends stage of our life is over we said we would start working and now we are assuming that we have further matured and are relatively closer to worldly reality. We move on to a new phase, the most critical stage of starting our Work life. Remember work life is that phase of life that defines everything in our life. How we fair here is going to decide the course of our life. This is one of the most critical stage of our life and any decisions taken during this phase has an impact on not just us but also on people around us or rather the people who rely on us. This is where we come across another strange person in our life who would probably know a lot about us and who we would know very little about, someone who we call a “Mentor”. Now for most of the people I know Mentor is the SPOC — Single Point of Contact to seek all the advice and guidance related to take all career decisions like what job to pursue, whether to stay or not to stay in a particular job and the currently the hottest one being, should one take a plunge into being an entrepreneur. We more than often trust the advice of our Mentor and use it as one of the most critical pillars of the decision that we take. Hence again we trust that someone we barely know without much of a logical reason except the success that they carry and we are fascinated by it.

Let me give another and the last but the rudest reality shock. Once we are settled in life with a few job changes, decent salary and have visited atleast 2–3 countries, the logical flow to our life is to get married. In India where we live 70% of the marriages are arranged marriages, this in itself is much of shock — anyway that is a separate topic in itself. Coming back to the topic of being married, let us break it down into steps. There will be one common person that will introduce us and our families to a completely unknown person in our life. This unknown person after 2–3 meetings is someone we are going to be in a relationship with, for 30 years to death. This is the person who we are going to trust with everything in our life, our family, our good times, our bad times, our secrets, etc. Wow, this someone that you are going to trust your whole life with is someone who you did not know 6 months ago and if luck is by your side let us increase the same to maybe 12 months.

Some might argue what about people who had a Love marriage where they have known the person for years. Well this one too is no exception. Let me give my perspective, where did you meet this person? School, college, work, friend’s party, etc. let it be any place. You spend time with them…they understood you better than anyone else or they match your wave length or they are reliable. It doesn’t matter, remember when you met them they were total strangers with a capital S. Again like in the case of friends you spent time with them and started trusting them with your life eventually to take that nice or an absolute idiotic punt of getting married to them but believe me you still would not be able to assign a clear cut reasoning as to why you trust this person with your life.

After writing more than 1,000 words, being an Analyst, I am trying to find a pattern. As an analyst there is no coincidence or there is nothing that has no explanation.

Parents/Siblings/Relatives — First faces we saw, faces that we saw constantly, time spent, comfort that we have

Teacher — faces that we saw constantly, time spent, things we learned

Friends — faces that we saw constantly, time spent, comfort we developed

Mentor — Success that backs them, time spent, comfort we developed

Girl friend/Wife — face that we will see for 30 years to death, time spent, and comfort we developed

My Sister keeps saying that I have become too cynical/skeptical but after thinking for a day and a half I now understand why. I think I have started looking at all things in not an optimistic or a pessimistic way but as it is, in its harshly realistic way. I say this because after a deep analysis of the instances above I believe I found the only thing common in all this, and believe me I will explain why, is “Convenience”

Why convenience? Ok let us start with a few questions. How many parent child relations have you seen are completely screwed? How many teacher student relation have you seen are screwed? Most interesting there are going to be ample of friends that you would have let go and also advised people not to trust them when somebody would have asked for a reference. Same thing for the Mentor all of us at one point or the other regretted a career decision that we would have taken when things do not go exactly as planned and then to suit ourselves we would have laid the blame on Mentor. After which our attitude becomes clear as in we will only listen or probably not even consult when we are taking a decision. Lastly girlfriend/wife, don’t need to say much here. We have enough broken relationships and failed marriages with examples of either the man or the woman in relationship would have cheated and for the two, forget about trust, they cannot even look at each other’s faces.

Now the theory, well it is much easier to figure out the common in the second set of examples. Convenience, as long as all is going good and as per plan that we have in our little and fickle minds that keep us satisfied, we listen to people, we love those people, we trust those people. The moment things do not go according to what we thought in our tiny little brains everything goes upside down.

While writing these views I tried discussing it with a few people. One of the questions that I came across more than often was…while all this is ok what about situations in which you trust someone just because you have no reason to not trust them eg. There is a guy who I trust when it comes to buying stocks and even when sometimes I make a loss I do not lose trust in him, I read the reviews on the travel website and if there are lot of people who have given good reviews I trust their opinion and try to explore such place, etc.

Well let me tell you these situations are no different and the same explanation applies to this situation as well. In either of the two cases which I gave as an example the basis of trusting is Convenience. How? Let me explain in both the cases the point is you want to do something, you are not confident enough or you do not have enough knowledge about the same thing, at the same time you have someone around, whether known or unknown, who has better knowledge or experience than you about the thing you want to do, Incase of Stock Market you trust the person’s advice simply because you have figured out that the advice got has a probability of let us say 80% to be right and you are good with it. Hence you do not invest more time and energy in doing the research yourself and just follow the advice and name it as trust. As here you were aware consciously or subconsciously about the probability of success and failure you don’t lose trust in the other person. Essentially same explanation that I came up with as in the case of mentor except that when you are aware of the probability of success/failure you are just better prepared. But believe me this will change too, as long as the advice does not affect you it will be all fine, when the probability that you have in mind for the success and failure hits the bottom you will again end up losing trust and forget about trust like in the case of friends you will even end up not recommending anyone to trust that person. Your perspective shall change.

Summing it all up I think I have explained my point of view well in terms of

a) While we say we trust the person — we don’t really mean that, instead we mean that we trust the person’s opinion/Advice

b) While we trust the Person’s opinion/advice — The actual reality is that we just listen to this only to suit ourselves and get that push on what we really want to do. We do it simply out of CONVINIENCE and nothing else.

In daily life there are a lot of basic words that we just use without realizing what it really means to us or whether the same conveys what we really want to convey. This is one of the first articles that I am trying to write, intention being let us really understand what we do and what we mean and let us face this shroud reality (I was tempted to use the word TRUTH — but that is the next topic I am preparing to write on) that most of the things we say or do consciously or subconsciously are for our CONVININECE AND NOTHING ELSE. Hope the article gets you thinking. To end this long drawn analysis let me just say, this is a point of view; it may be rude, skeptical, cynical or unacceptable but TRUST me it is worth giving a thought to.