Lockdown Day 349 – 11 March 2021 – Trust

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TRUST – it fascinates me!

“Trust must be earned.”

Although I agree with this statement, I also think we are often endowed by a huge degree of trust without working for it. And we endow other people with a huge degree of trust. Sometimes it is because of their position in society or their occupation or profession, like doctors. Sometimes because we know somebody whom we trust who refers them. Sometimes it is because we like them. Or perhaps they have a “trustworthy face.”

What is trust?

Can we define trust? Or can we just describe elements of trust?

  • It is a belief in the truth of something or somebody, or the reliability or strength (a rope will hold me and not break) of somebody or something;
  • It is a confident expectation (I expect the rope will not break);
  • It is something given for us to care for (in my work my clients trust me to do my best for them);
  • Because I am trusted, I have the liability of trust – I must return the trust I received, like a trustee.
  • Did I miss something?

In general trust develops over time and with experience. Can we say trust and confidence goes hand in hand. The more something or somebody proves that they are trustworthy, the more we will trust them. The more we trust, the more confidence we will have and the greater our reliance on that person or “something.”

In my work situation, where I start off with a brand new relationship that will hopefully last a very long time, trust has to be nurtured and cultivated. It develops like any good relationship. Every interaction strengthens the relationship and builds the trust.

Trust is invaluable. How do you put a price on trust? You cannot buy trust with money. The fact that we often get it for free, does definitely not mean that trust is cheap!

It is when trust is lost that we really understand how expensive it really is!

Lost Trust

Trust is not tangible. It is one of those things that we know, but it is difficult to define. We know when we have it, we recognize it when we see it. But defining it is not so easy.

How do we lose trust?

Trust can be lost in one fell swoop. That is when somebody just so flagrantly abuses your trust that all trust is lost immediately. Somebody shares what you told in confidence to the world. That is when you find out that what you told a professional person in confidence in Cape Town is is news in Worcester because he told his sister. End of relationship. End of trust. End of story. That should never happen and there is no excuse for this type of exploitation.

Trust can be lost over time. Small, repetitive mistakes can lead to a loss of trust.

In this case, I think, it is more what happens after the mistake than the mistake itself that causes the loss of trust. Let me share a story from my life where I think I did the right thing.

One day a client calls in a claim for a lost piece of jewelry and I discover he never had All Risk cover. Over a couple of reviews of his policy, I just did not notice it. Even though I explained the need for specified all risk for more expensive items!  I made a mistake and the client had no claim.

I make an appointment with the client, explain the situation and offer to pay the claim as if he had All Risk cover, but not on a specified basis, as he always declined that. Fortunately it was an affordable amount.

Fast forward a few years. I add a vehicle for the client and the salesman lies about the immobilizer in the vehicle. Murphy arranges somebody that steals the vehicle, The insurance repudiates the claim due to the fact that there is no immobilizer as stated on the schedule. In this case I can proof that the salesman lied to me, but that is not going to help the client. So we fight to get the claim paid. One day when discussion the process and logic with the client, I say if the insurer refuses to pay, based on our arguments, then we will go to the Ombud who will in all probability rule in the clients favour. And the client says:  “Mr Maritz, are you saying I must take YOU to the Ombud? Because I will never do that.”  The claim was paid two days later without going to the Ombud. He is still my client.

My points are:

  1.  It is how I handled a mistake that deepened the trust. If I tried to find excuses, the trust would be eroded and lost.
  2. There is no way to put a financial value to the trust that I receive from this client.
  3. This kind of trust is something to be cherished.

I use one example, but I am sure you will have many stories how trust was lost or bolstered and I will love to hear them. Share in the comments below, please.

“Once lost, trust can never be restored to where it was.”

Since I do not like absolute statements, I have a problem with this statement. Generally it is true, though, and one would do well to preserve and nurture any trust. It is much easier to get the trust than it is to try and restore it.

There is a certain amount of truth in this, or am I being negative? Perhaps the problem is that when trust is broken, we do not go back and there is no opportunity to rebuild the trust?

Let me share two stories in this regard.

The first story is about my previous Hilux. One morning it refused to start and I had the mechanic in who towed it away. Filters and pumps and battery were replaced. Next day a friend and I sleep in the mountain and when we come back, Hilux will not start, again. Eventually we get it going and on my way back I stop at the garage and accuse them that the battery is a dud. I get a new battery.

That evening we sleep at Beaver Lac. Sunday the Hilux needs the farm bakkie to help it start. Monday the starter is overhauled and the problem is solved.

It took me a very long time to get into that Hilux without some tension about whether it will start or not. My trust was affected.

Over time, confidence was rebuilt. I know where the problem originated and the problem was fixed. And, yet, if I have to be honest, I had doubts to the day I sold it. We were never completely the same again!

The second story comes from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephan Covey relates the story of the married couple who came to him and said they attend meetings and seminars out of town regularly for their work. There is always tension when one partner is away for such a meeting and doubts about faithfulness (another aspect of trust!).

Then it transpired that they were married before and divorced their previous spouses because they met at a seminar, fell in love, had an affair and eventually got married.

In this story, they were apparently able to overcome their doubts and restore trust.

Which leads me to this aspect:

Do we Trust ourselves?

A person who does not trust themselves can never really trust anyone else.
De Retz

When I was a minister many people trusted me with their deepest and often darkest secrets. They trusted me to give them answers – I am not sure that trust was deserved, because I do not trust myself to have the answers! But I also learnt that sometimes all that is needed, is that somebody listens and understands. Mostly it is all that is needed. Coming up with solutions and pat answers is seldom required or helpful, if ever.

More importantly, the trust these people (and many other people still) endow me with is that I will keep their secrets. I will not talk about it or, heaven forbid, post it on social media. Fortunately, I trust myself with that 100%!

This self-trust thing could lead to two problems:

  1. Because you trust yourself to do something, you easily trust other people to do the same – and they may not be trustworthy. Many people fall into that trap. Unfortunately, nobody goes around with a notice on their foreheads: “Do not trust me!”  Perhaps that is why we get caught in all kinds of scams!
  2.  Because we do not trust ourselves to do something, we also do not trust other people in that regard.

The above might not be true in all cases, but it is something to consider!

                  Honesty is key in getting and keeping trust
                           Lies and dishonesty destroys trust

Can we say that self-trust and self-confidence goes hand in hand? If I trust myself to be able to handle a situation, I will approach it with much more confidence! Seems trust and confidence go hand in hand.

Self-trust follows the same process as trusting anybody else. Perhaps we just let ourselves down more often than we do other people? That could be why we are encouraged to have an “accountability partner” if we want achieve new goals. Why is it that so often we are more accountable towards others than ourselves?

Do you trust the process?

This post originated when I said to my wife: “I’ve got two thumbs and I must remember it.” Read the story here.

A year ago I was a bit disappointed when I did not get the business I worked quite hard for. And it was big business. Since one of the managers expected me to advise them on what NOT to insure so that they could save on premium, and I refused to expose myself and the company to that, I did not get the business. That is also why I was not not too disappointed about not getting the business.

Less than a year later, there are problems at the company. A change of leadership. And a claim repudiated.

Best of all: I am not part of the drama! I have two thumbs!

When I lay in bed thinking about this, I started wondering why I battle to trust the process? Time and again I have experienced this “I have two thumbs philosophy” in my life.

Why then do I so often get upset when things do not go according to plan? Why do I fight setbacks? Why am I disappointed when I work on something and do not get the business? Why am I upset when I feel thwarted? Why do I not trust that the process always works? Why do I only trust the “two thumbs” principle when I learn how the trip turned out badly afterwards?

More importantly, will I trust the process even if the trip ended on a positive note and I was not part of it?

To trust the process brings peace and calm. It makes life simpler. It does not mean that you do not have to try and work. It just means that you have to trust that there is a Higher Power, whatever that is for you, who is looking out for you. It is the peace that you can know: I tried my best, and whatever happens now, is in my best interest. Even if it does not feel that way now.

I am left with two questions that I am thinking about:

  1. Is it because of a self-trust issue that I have issues to trust the process?
  2. What do I have to do to increase my process-trust.

I would love to hear your ideas about this. Please leave your comments below.

“I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest” 

Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer


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