Default Setting: Distrust or Trust?

Unless you’re a completely self-sustainable hermit living a remote life in the mountains, chances are you’re going to have to deal with at least one other human being on a daily basis. So when you meet that new person, ask yourself: Is my default setting to trust this person, or not to trust this person?

Coming from a place of distrust is completely understandable. After all, most of our elementary education is firmly established on the principle of distrust between teacher and student. The teacher assigns the students homework from the textbook, the students do the homework, and then are required to perform a series of educational exercises to prove they didn’t lie, and they actually did what was asked of them. While there’s plenty of arguments to be said about the inner workings of the child psyche in relation to learning, there’s also little denying the classroom atmosphere has widely become one of competition, rather than willful, truthful engagement.

It’s also understandable to carry a general distrust for people in their professional capacities. Doctor’s frequently recommend getting a second opinion about an unfavorable diagnosis. Every touchdown in the NFL is reviewed. Bank safe deposit boxes require two keys. To distrust is to prolong your feeling of safety.

What if we trusted people before we met them? What if we erred on the side of belief, rather than disbelief? Would we grow differently as a result of how we interact with people and what we learn from them?

Trust, like love, is an internal emotion that we don’t truly comprehend until it’s been broken by something outside ourselves. And only once it’s been broken, do we understand how valuable of a commodity it is in the first place. But we can’t forget that the only reason Gold and the American dollar and Bitcoin hold immense wealth (right now) is because there is a general trust in their respective value. After all, if you’re stranded on a deserted island, you have a brick of gold and the other guy has a cheeseburger, who’s richer? And where’s the trust?

The truth is, despite all the easily identifiable negativity in the world right now, I truly believe that people generally default to trusting others, just as our general default setting should be to be honest with others. It’s only when you lose your bearings on truth, when you lose the ability to trust others, will you’ll find yourself starting or ending sentences with the words, “believe me.”


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