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Trust is Not Just Something You Earn

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Written by on November 21, 2013

We all know the saying: "Trust is something you have to earn." And while earning trust is effective, that's not really what trust is.

Trust is a two way interaction. For one party it's about making a decision to trust someone. For the other party it's about living up to the first party's expectations... to be worthy of that trust.

And that interaction can take place at any time.

Let me give you an example. Back in 2009, the first iPad came out but only in the US. I tweeted that I really wanted it, but since I live in Europe I couldn't buy it. Two minutes later a person in the US, @joshuahays replied that if I sent him the money, he would buy it for me.

Now, at the time, I knew Josh only very sketchily. He had tweeted me a couple of times before, but I practically didn't know him. And buying the iPad + shipping + taxes would mean sending him $820 on faith alone.

Sure, he had seemed friendly enough the few times we had tweeted, and his profile painted the image of a respectable person. But when you say somebody has to earn your trust, you really mean that they have to prove it.

In other words, I had a decision to make. Could I trust him?

It only took me a couple of minutes to decide. It was a risk, but that's what trust is all about. It's an acceptance of the risk. And I sent him the $820 the iPad would cost to buy and ship.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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