“Untrustworthy people cannot succeed.”
That's because if a person lacks trustworthiness, no one would want to interact with them, let alone be friends with them, hire them, or do business with them.
Alan Zimmerman said,
"Trust is a must or your relationships will bust."
To that, I might add, "If your relationships bust, your happiness will rust."
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Many people misunderstand trustworthiness to simply mean honesty, but someone who is bluntly honest would ruin their relationships. So how can we be trustworthy then? Trustworthiness actually requires four things:
1: Good Faith
Good faith is about wanting the best for the other person. For example, you hope your doctor is giving you a medicine because it is the best medicine for you, not because the doctor can make extra money by selling you that medicine. We only trust people if we believe they have our best intentions at heart, not their own selfish intentions. As Theodore Roosevelt said,
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Integrity is about doing the right thing even when the matter is small and no one is watching. For example, if someone breaks a small promise, can you trust them to keep a big promise? If you see someone is lazy and careless when no one important is watching, can you trust them to do important jobs?
Integrity is also about walking your talk. For example, if you tell someone "I love you", do your daily actions and calendar prove your words? If we say one thing but do another, how can anyone trust us? Actions speak louder than words.
Carefulness is about doing all things, especially the small things, with conscientiousness. If someone often makes mistakes in small tasks, how can you trust them with big tasks? As the common adage goes,
"How you do anything is how you do everything."
Humility is about acknowledging and taking responsibility for one's mistakes. No one is perfect, and we're all going to make mistakes in life. If a person is arrogant, won't listen to criticism, and can't admit their mistakes, how can you trust them with important tasks?
This past week, I was talking with my niece, and I told her it is important to sleep before 11:00PM because 11:00PM to 3:00AM is the most important sleep time according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. She then asked me what time I sleep. I told her usually around 10:30PM.
She said, "Oh wow you sleep so early!"
I replied, "Well if I tell YOU to sleep before 11:00PM, then of course I would sleep before 11:00PM! Otherwise you wouldn't trust me."
She replied, "Huh, but isn't common for people to say one thing and do another? Like my mom tells me to not play on my phone but then she is playing on her phone shortly after."
I told her, "Well, just because it is common does not mean it is right. Most people were not taught to take their words seriously, but today I taught you, so make sure if you say something, you actually do it!"
Upon reflection, I didn't walk my talk either in the past. It was only after I learned what trustworthiness actually entails from the book Guide to Happy Life that I started working on my good faith, integrity, carefulness, and humility.
Although we might look around and see lots of examples of people not being trustworthy, we must realize that they aren't purposefully trying to be bad, they were just never taught. The most helpful thing we can do is to set a good example with our behavior and to teach them when the situation is appropriate.
Even though I have learned about trustworthiness, I still make mistakes and sometimes forget to do what I said I would do. Trustworthiness is something we have to continually work on and maintain, but the reward (great relationships and support from others) is most worth it.
Which of the four aspects of trustworthiness do you need to improve?