The problem with assuming nothing is true

We’re raised as adults to always believe nothing in life is free. No one is looking out for you and you must fight for everything you want. I’m the same way. I have an extreme sense of skepticism and I always tend to look for the hidden catch. How many of you are the same way, wondering, “what’s the catch?” Every time you hear about something exciting, something unbelievably good do you immediately look for the angle behind it?

Youthful Naïveté: Good or Bad?

My kids teach me a valuable lesson almost daily: here’s what I mean. It seems as kids we are instantly ready to believe everything and take everything at face value. Children tend to do something adults find much more difficult. Trust. Kids give trust easily and freely. They have not yet had years of experiences of disappointments and failure to jade their opinions of other people or life itself. Then somewhere along the way, either from a single traumatic event or a slow, continual fading of repeated failures we lose that ability to trust. We give up on others.

The “Free” Popsicle

My son, Samuel, with his free “Superman” popsicle.

My son, Samuel, trusts me implicitly. Even in his young, three-year-old logic he knows that I love him unconditionally. If I say I’m going to give him a popsicle, he tells me what flavor he wants. He trusts that when I say I’ll do something for him then I’ll do it. He doesn’t question me, or come with pre-conceived notions about my intention behind my actions. He simply trusts me to do what I say. If something is free, then it’s simply free.

There’s a problem with this grown-up mindset of assuming the worst, expecting failure, and being unwilling to trust others. This attitude turns us into cynics. We miss out on joy. We become focused solely on watching out for ourselves because “If I don’t do it, no one will.” But this is no way to live. My children live relatively carefree lives when compared to most adults. Adults recognize youthful innocence and even possibly wish for those times again. But we don’t do anything more about it. We lose our joy and our sense of wonder.

You only hurt yourself.

The problem with this adult attitude is simple. Nothing great will ever happen to you if you’re always expecting the worst. Yes, you will be hurt at times, you will fall down, you will be disappointed and others will fail you. But you will find joy in simple things. You will find true appreciation for a well-placed trust in another. Interestingly enough, this will make you more trustworthy to others as well. Stephen Covey says this when speaking about trust,

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

You see, sometimes there really are good things in life. Sometimes free really means free. My kids make me realize this constantly. Don’t let constant mistrust keep you from experiencing the joy and wonder of something true. Be brave in opening up your heart to trust in others. The world will be a brighter place…and a better one.

David Hurley is a frequent writer, open source enthusiast, growth marketer, and founder of Mautic, the only open source marketing automation platform. David lives in North Carolina with his wife, Erin, and their three children.

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