TRUST BEGETS TRUST

You can’t trust others unless you trust yourself. David DeSteno makes a very interesting observation, “Although it’s true that cooperation and vulnerability require two parties, no one ever said that the two parties had to be different people. To the contrary, the parties can be the same person at different times.” Trust influences practically every aspect of our life. Togetherness gives rise to trust. One of the big challenges of trust is to resolve the ‘dilemmas of trust’. Because of the dilemmas of trust, the mind constantly tries to ascertain the trustworthiness of others. Trust has inherent risks. But we also like to believe that trust is a kind of risk that is worth taking. Under vulnerable circumstances, we depend more on trust.

In the matters of trust illusions are as good as hard facts. There are trusts that are ‘calculation-based’. Calculation-based trusts calculate the value of creating and sustaining trust in a relationship relative to the costs of sustaining or severing the relationship. The ‘identification-based trust’, on the other hand, values another person’s identity as an individual. More trustworthy and sustainable relationships grow out of identification-based trust. Then there is ‘benevolence-based trust’. In this, an individual does not intentionally harm another when given an opportunity to do so. The other kind of trust is ‘competence-based’. In this, an individual believes that the other person is knowledgeable about a given subject area and, therefore, can be trusted. We shift from one mode of trust to the other, depending upon our circumstances. Competence and reliability are the two traits that determine and establish trustworthiness. One of the essential ingredients of a knowledge-based system is knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is not possible unless trust is embedded in the system.

Trust evokes a feeling of confidence. A trusted person enjoys many advantages; even his vulnerability is accepted. A person can be trusted in some contexts, but not necessarily in all the contexts.  Distrust, on the other hand, evokes a feeling of doubt and fear. The reasons of distrust could be purely imaginary. It could be due to a misplaced feeling. Such feelings unnecessarily create vulnerability. Putting all the eggs in one basket is excessive trust. A little distrust is often helpful. It can avert herd mentality. Relationship experts say, trust is valuable so far as it is appropriate to the context, and that a healthy amount of distrust can protect against the risk of exploitation. Trust needs periodic validity checks, if the trust is event-based. The continuance of event-based trusts generally depends on future events. If the trust is process-based, it is more likely to become permanent.

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