trusting the invisible visibly

 

trusting the invisible visibly

When we place our trust, is it with something or someone?

This is ‘Tilt’. Essentially you stand looking out the window on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. Then the windows tilt outwards. 30 degrees. You are then suspended, lying on a glass window, ninety four floors up.

As I queued to experience this, I was noticing my need to trust someone or something.

I looked at the mechanisms. The four hydraulic pistons that lowered the side of the building outwards. The size of the bolts. The seals on the glass. The steel framework of girders. The computer the operator used. I couldn’t see it, but I wondered about the software on that computer. I know only too well that this is often the weakest point.

Then I considered the operator himself. Could he be trusted? Was he experienced? I considered the designers. Surely they knew what they were doing? This was specialist. Then I considered the people who might have granted permission for this. The safety experts. I considered those who had tested it. Were they thorough? I looked at my potential fellow ‘riders’. They looked sensible.

Then I noticed I turned to rationality. It has been here a while and must have lowered many thousands of people. The safety testing and fail safe mechanisms must be all encompassing. Like a lift, this surely is designed with so many precautions? Glass and steel are used in applications requiring more stress and pressure than this.

Then I turned to irrational logic. Those kids are doing it. If they can, surely I can. Hang on though, those two people in front are overweight, and I’m going on with seven other adults. That’s more weight, what if it’s too much?  I ‘reasoned’ it couldn’t have failed, because I would have read about the eight people falling to their deaths.

By now my waiting time had been consumed by my trust exploration and I was up next.

I loved it.

So who or what was I needing to trust? I couldn’t tell if the mechanisms were sound as I’m not an expert. I would never meet the people involved in designing, testing or installing this.

Maybe I just needed to trust myself? Like I do every day I cross the road, or choose what I eat? Like I do when I choose everything I do and who I do it with?

The need to trust, is tangible in us. Yet trust itself, so intangible.

the mystery of trust

panama-485x302

Recent media frenzy about well known people and their financial affairs seems to carry with it a cloak of significance way beyond a few thousand pounds of tax liability.  This isn’t really about David Cameron’s tax return or Gianni Infantino’s true knowledge, this is about a deeper, more intangible thing.  A thing which carries great weight, even though we can’t see it, hear it or touch it … trust.

Trust in our institutions has been declining.  The Edelman Trust Barometer evidences this. Trust in government, organisations, leaders has in some cases recovered recently after years of decline.  Buy, as the Dutch say…

Trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback

Hard to win, easy to lose.

Yet in much of our lives we show huge trust. We happily buy on the internet from organisations we know little about, who often have no physical presence. Sometimes we make those choices based on ratings from other consumers, who we’ve never met, will never know, without awareness for their context… yet we trust their reviews. We book rooms on AirBNB. Rooms in people’s houses. Happy to stay with a complete stranger often on the basis of a few positive comments from previous guests. All on the face of it, significant leaps of faith and dripping in this thing called trust.

In some contexts it’s so important. We like to be trusted and to show trust. Sometimes trust is so easy to gain, yet often easy to lose, and hard to re-gain.

We seek it like an elixir.
We value and covet it like gold.
It unlocks so much, like a magic key.
And we can feel so incensed, so emotive, when we feel trust has been betrayed or lost.

Strange that something so hard to define, so intangible, is so real?

emotional replenishment

emotions shopping

I need to shop for food today. Saturday isn’t a normal shopping day for us – too many people in the aisles. The aimless people.

Anyhow, it occurred to me, what if I could shop for emotions? What would be on my list? What do I want more of and what do I have enough of in the cupboard?

Do I want more joy? More caring? More trust? More serenity? Do I need a little more sadness? A big pot of empathy? Do I need to refill my anger? Maybe I would like to take some lonely back to the shop?

Am I baking a relationship cake and need some extra courage? Some more selfishness, a little daring, some strong, rather than medium, fun? A big box of compassion perhaps, a soupcon of adventurousness and a large tin of hurt? Plus a garnish of warmth?

Maybe I’m about to change role and I need to stock up on thrilled, thoughtful and excited, buy a refill pack of embarrassed, but also purchase some ashamed and not good enough seasoning?

Or maybe I’m being forced to change role and need some hope, a little vindictiveness and a splash of inadequate, to go with the large supply I have at home of feeling used?

What would be on your emotions shopping list?

when we would do well to be the beach

What is is

When you go to the beach, you walk on the pebbles. You see some pebbles are rounded, polished, worn smooth in the rub of nature. You see some are sharp, jagged, fractured in the storm of collision. Some pebbles carry history in fossilised form. Some are small. Some large. Some brown. Some grey. Some multicoloured. And you observe this and you allow it.

When you go to the beach, you see the sea. Water crashes in foam, surging for freedom. Water retreats in liquid fellowship. Foams, retreats, foams, retreats, foams, retreats in enduring rhythm. And you see this and you understand. And you accept the way that it is.

And in all of this, you don’t get emotional about it. You appreciate the beach. The pebbles. The sea.

What is, is.

But when you meet other human beings, you lose all that.
You say “he’s too this” and “I’m too that”.
You say “if only she wasn’t…” and “I should be…”.
You say “They are different” and “I am not enough”.

Judgement comes in.

Maybe we should see people as the sea and the pebbles, and appreciate them as they are.

What is, is.

Inspired by Ram Dass

 

what is your psychological contract of self?

psychological_contract self
Psychological contracts are often referred to in the context of the employer and the employee – what is the expectation, commitment of both?

It sometimes explores qualities of trust, honesty, respect, fairness, compassion. It will often cover the visible expectations and agreements, such as pay, hours, work, training, but more usefully might look under the waterline, beneath the visible iceberg, so to speak. Here might be give and take, inputs and outputs, responsibilities and rewards which are less clearly in play. Concepts such as control, power, innovation, recognition, commitment, respect, loyalty, tolerance and much much more.

At a meeting the other day we were discussing psychological contracts. We were to be a team, so the question posed was, ‘How did we want to be with each other?’

We were to discuss what we were looking for from other members of the team, what we were seeking from the team leader and what we would bring to the team. What our commitments would be in terms of contribution and what we were seeking in return.

As I reflected, I wondered how I could even begin to answer this, as my thoughts and feelings were initially directed inwards, at me. I wondered what my psychological contract with myself was?

Did I respect myself? Did I have compassion for myself? Did I have faith in myself? Was I in control of myself? Did I fully trust myself? Did I appreciate my own being? Did I own my own power?

What are my perceptions of myself, what do I believe about myself?

How am I getting in my own way, either unaware of, or maybe breaking, my own psychological contract even before I entered the room. Surely this is where I should start before considering any team working agreements?

What is my psychological contract of self?

hold out your umbrella and act randomly

Random acts of kindness
It is world random acts of kindness day on November 13th. It seems as though we need a day for everything these days. Maybe we could try it without a special day?

There was a story the other week about two guys who spend their time topping up expired car park tickets using their own money. They spend £60 of their own money each week.

Doing something kind for someone makes you feel good.

But it seems there’s a science to it.

Scientists have long known that the hormone oxytocin plays essential physiological roles during birth and lactation with mother and baby bonding. Animal studies have shown that oxytocin can influence behavior too, prompting voles to cuddle up with their mates, for example, or to clean and comfort their pups. Now a raft of new research in humans suggests that oxytocin underlies the twin emotional pillars of civilized life, our capacity to feel empathy and trust.

I held my umbrella over someone’s head whilst the drizzle fell earlier today.
Random.
Kind, I thought.
Appreciated.

So give it a go. Don’t wait for the official day, do something randomly kind now. Get a shot of warmth. Hormonally dose up on your oxytocin.