Most everyone knows the premise of a “walked into a bar” joke.

The basic syntax is:

_______ and _______ walk into a bar . . . presumably, to have a drink, and then BAM something weird, ironic or unexpected happens.

The audience response is usually:

a) a pained groan

b) an eye-rolling harrr-de-harrr

c) the sound of a lone cricket chirping in the corner

Trust is a riddle that can feel as sticky and risky as a tavern floor. You don’t need much light to know that the 2-Second Rule for dropped food should never apply in a dive bar. And, after all you’ve been through with this trust thing, you might feel like trust is a joke — a cruel, running joke.

Maybe you’ve started to consider or believe that betrayal, harm, disappointment, humiliation, and devastation are your “just rewards” for trusting another person. You might be so blistered by trust that you’ve even thrown yourself on top of the pile, because after all, you don’t even know if you trust yourself anymore.

And yet . . . you want to trust — and in many ways, feel as though you must.

Which means, in order to do so, you must set yourself up for all of the above if you want to satisfy this seemingly self-destructive instinct that is necessary, at least at some level, to survive.

On the flip-side . . .

Plop-plop-fizz-fizz oh, what a relief it is to realize you are dealing with a person that is trustworthy.

Trust is a form of currency. Are you gambling or investing?

The more you trust, the more you are investing, and the more you are hoping it will provide valuable returns like esteem, comfort, safety, belonging and being trusted in return. Ohhhh, but you can’t really begin to feel that relief until you feel safe. Until you feel safe, won’t feel comfortable, and until you feel comfortable, you won’t feel like you belong . . . to a family, a group of friends, as a team member or co-worker.

You also want to trust the people you hire or buy from in the same ways and the reality is, it’s a gamble. Its not realistic to establish trust until you witness and experience the elements that build and sustain trust. Without experiencing a person (or a company) that is willing to consistently deliver on certain things, trust doesn’t develop. Betting on people or companies (which are just people) without knowing their intentions?

Welcome to Vegas, baby.

If you’re like me, you really value being trusted, precisely because you know how valuable trust is when you offer it to another person. If you value being trusted, you’re also aware that with the honor of trust comes the responsibility of honoring it in return . . .

. . . unless you’re a Trust Swindler.

There would be no reason for me to write this article if everyone agreed with the idea of honoring trust. To some, it is simply a means to an end — and honor ain’t got nothing to do with it. Everyone who has made it beyond third grade knows the basic value of trust and a few methods of gaining it from others.

Notice that I didn’t say “earn” trust from others. I said, gaining.

Charles Manson was a master at gaining the trust of young hippie girls. Politicians know trust = vote = their elected power position. Shady used car salesmen, sketchy construction contractors, and even lawyers of the dirt-bag variety usually have a very well-developed and reliable schtick of scripted and well polished go-to lines they deliver on auto-pilot. They often use profession specific jargon that can be angled and bolstered to subtly highlight your ignorance.

You’ve met these people.

Full of canned answers full of non-committal semantics, when delivered in full orchestration, can produce a usable amount of trust for them. Their investment is minimal while they work you over to gain the minimum amount of trust required to get your “yes” on the dotted line. Unfortunately, we’ve all been tried by Trust Swindlers, and the best defense you have is is to trust yourself.

Trust yourself enough to stay tuned-in, stay aware, and stay willing to respond to your inner voice — the one that is always looking out for you — because you do know what’s true when you see it, hear it, witness it, or feel it.

Your Inner Voice is a precision instrument. Factory Installed.

Before I sign off, let me circle back to that bar joke. Truth and Trust walk into a bar . . . and as it turns out, there is no joke, but there is a punchline. You know why?

Because Truth and Trust would never intentionally walk into a dank, dark, shady joint where people often go to pretend not to know.

This article is an excerpt from the 2018 book, Truthfairy Field Guide: No Guru Required

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