Josh Walsh

Make Room in Your Work for Life.

Learning to Trust

How do you decide if you should trust someone?  Do you trust by default, or does someone have to earn your trust?  What factors go into that decision?

What if I told you that this way of thinking, that you can consciously decide who to trust, is one of the most damaging aspects of your professional mind?

In the book Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman explains the two mental systems that control our mind:

The subconscious mind is the part of the mind we don't directly control. It takes input in the form of experiences and observations and guides us to survive.  Our subconscious doesn't understand language, and manifests itself as feelings. 

Conversely, the conscious mind is used for analysis, reasoning language and systematic thinking.  It's who you are talking to in your inner dialog.

Furthermore, it's important to understand that the conscious mind can easily influence the subconscious mind, and eventually overpower it. 

A pathological liar will eventually believe their own lies.  At first they know they are lying.  They choose their lies consciously.  But overtime, their conscious mind overpowers their subconscious, and the truth is repressed.  They believe their own lies, and live their life out of alignment with reality.

The same is true about trust, and I have a dangerous habit that I need to work on. When I sit in front of someone that I subconsciously do not trust, I ask myself why I don't trust them.  I deconstruct my history with that person. I look to understand the intentions behind their actions.  In my head is a fictional representation of who I want them to be, and I consciously find supporting arguments to defend that position.

This is classic overthinking.  My subconscious has a much more honest understanding of that person, but my conscious mind overpowers it. Much like the pathological liar who believes his own lies, I trick myself into trusting someone I shouldn't. The truth is repressed, until reality comes crashing back.

My perception of reality will never be more true than actual reality.  To fix this bad habit I must learn to always feed my subconscious truthfully and listen more closely to my gut instinct. 

Permalink