don’t believe everything you see and hear

Trust is important…

Much more than most of us realize. Think about it for a second.

How do we choose what movie to watch? What car to buy? What to invest in? Who to ask for advice?

Trust is the single theme that rings true to the answer of each of these questions.

We often choose movies based on reviews by people we trust. We buy cars that we can trust to be able to get us from A to B (in style no less). We invest in companies we feel we can trust. And we seek advice from those people we trust (and like).

Unfortunately trust can be also be misplaced.

Many times over the past decade, I have found myself on the losing side of trust.

Partners, associates, advisers and even friends who I have trusted, have let me down. It hurt…a lot. But the truth is I only have myself to blame.

I’m a trusting kind of guy.

I like to take people at their word (which as you probably already know is often a mistake). Out in the real world, we need to get things in writing, just in case.

I let myself get hurt by trusting too easily and paid the price.

But I learnt. I changed. I’ve gotten tougher on myself and those whom I trust.

As a result, I’ve made new friends and cut ties with others. And guess what? It feels like a weight off my shoulders.I feel so much better because I have managed to surround myself with good people. People I can trust. People I like and, maybe most important of all, people I respect.

Thinking about trust the other day, I sat down and wrote the following list of things people place their trust in which doesn’t always work out:

  • Politicians
  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Parents
  • Friends
  • Facebook
  • Business partners
  • Financial advisors
  • The majority
  • Our memory
  • Our eyes

Let’s start at the top.

Politicians seem to have an incredible ability to promise to do so much before being elected and then go on to do so little in office. And yet, we continue to fall for the same promises over and over again. Last I checked don’t politicians work for the people? Seems to me that a few (not all) politicians have an uncanny knack for helping themselves first…way too much…and far too often.

Teachers, we know, are not perfect. When in doubt, google it. In my experience, I have found that the best teachers are those willing to admit they don’t know everything. The best thing about the world today is we have access to the greatest teachers all over the world via the Internet in the form of YouTube videos, PDFs, audio programs and books.

In my book, iSucceed, I touch on the importance of judging the source of our information. Seek out the best in their professions to learn from and you’ll be glad you did.

Doctors, like teachers, are mere mortals and like teachers they make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with seeking a second, or third opinion. I am reminded of the movie, Lorenzo’s Oil, in which two parents refused to accept the diagnoses of numerous doctors regarding their son’s rare disease. It truly was an inspiring movie and one that has stayed with me ever since. It reminds me to never accept “It can’t be done.”

Parents are some of the greatest teachers of life and human nature because they have years of experience over us. I love what Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Friends are those people we turn to the most in times of need. Unfortunately, most friends tell us what we want to hear, not what we really need to hear. It’s a rare thing if you have a friend who is willing to tell it to you straight, out of love. But the greatest thing a friend can do for us is simply being there for us when we need them.

FB may be a great place for gathering information, but we can’t trust everything we see and read on the Internet so do some due diligence before simply accepting what you see online as gospel.

Business partners. Nearly every expert I have read has their own story of woe from working with a less than honorable person. Business is not friendship, clear parameters must be set and rules enforced. Trust can only go so far and business will test the limits of your ability to trust others and them in you.

Be VERY careful who you entrust your money to. That goes for financial advisors as much as it does for business partners as well as teachers.

Speaking of money, it’s important to remember that the majority nearly always gets it wrong. This is especially true in the stock market where 90% of people end up losing money. That’s the majority, you want to be in the 10% that succeeds so be willing to go against the current.

Our memory is actually a poor storage unit for our greatest ideas, inspiration and stories. Why? First, we forget and second we get distracted due to a sensory overload in today’s high speed world, so get things out of your head and onto paper. It’s incredible just how much smarter we’d all be by simply doing this one activity.

And lastly, our eyes. Too often we judge with our eyes. We make snap judgments when we look at others, but looks can be deceiving. It’s ok to make assumptions about people, but don’t make the mistake of assuming you know who people are without talking to them.

Personally, I like to make a game out of it. Pretending I’m Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out the clues other people are giving me and then see how close my guess was to reality.

Remember, magicians make a fortune out of knowing that our eyes can be deceived and it’s easier than you might think (speaking as an amateur magician) if you know what you’re doing.

The point is that things aren’t always what they seem.

People do lie. Mistakes do happen. Experts fail us. Even our own eyes can deceive us.

Now I said that to scare you, but the truth is there are far more good in the world. There are sources we can, and should, trust.

We just need to seek them out.

I thank you for trusting in me.

Adrian Shepherd

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