Monday, May 16, 2011
Trust and Worldviews
Trust is one of those words one sees a lot these days. Whole books have been written about how to achieve it. The power of two social media networks – Twitter and Facebook – are supposedly built upon it. Corporate mission and values statements usually have one reference to it.
The demand for trust is high, possibly because the supply is so short. In today’s world, we don’t trust business, politicians, Wall Street, the news media, news pundits and commentators, elected officials, school boards, teachers, unions, organized religion, disorganized religion, universities, the health care industry, doctors, tort attorneys, movie stars and the President’s birth certificate, to mention only a few, unless they happen to agree with our own perspectives. It seems, however, we do trust a small circle of people in our networks of friends and colleagues, especially the ones whose opinions we share.
That’s the common denominator – we trust the people and institutions whose worldview we share. We don’t trust those with whom we disagree. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll find that the concerns we have about trusting others is actually a result of living in a me-centered world. And I’m as guilty of this as the next person.
I trust you if you agree with me. And I’ll believe just about anything you say if we share the same worldview.
I had an email exchange with a person who was tweeting on Twitter absolutely unbelievable things about the company I work for. After pointing out how what she was saying was wrong (and giving her references), I asked her where she got her information. A friend told her, she said, a friend she trusted. The fact that the woman who was tweeting this was a Christian, who actually had a full-time ministry for helping Christian women gain wisdom, somehow made this worse.
I have friend in Chicago named David whom I met years ago when he edited a newsletter. We’d talk on the phone, see each other at conferences, and exchange emails on a fairly regular basis. We now follow each other on Twitter and we have each other’s blog listed in our blogrolls. Politically and religiously, we are night and day. We are about as different as you could imagine – we could be the poster children for blue states and red states. We do not in any sense share the same worldview. And yet I have tremendous regard for his writing, his thinking, and his often brutal honesty. I love how much he adores his family (yes, even liberals love their children). He’s utterly fearless in expressing his opinions.
I inherently trust him. Why? For some the same reasons Guy Kawasaki talks about in Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. David trusts others. He’s a mensch – a real human being. He’s completely open about his own interests, beliefs and biases. He helps and encourages others (including me). He’s knowledgeable and competent.
And I’m blessed to count him as a friend.
Over at The High Calling, we’ve been reading Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment. This week’s discussion is on chapter 3 – “How to Achieve Trustworthiness” – and chapter 4 – “How to Prepare.” To see other posts based on this week’s readings, please visit the site.