Trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal lives, and in my corporate conference presentations (whether in-person or live-streaming), I help my clients explore how trust impacts their lives by looking at three lenses of trust – the confidence and control required for Self-Trust; the courage and collaboration required to Trust Others; and the character, competence and consistency required to Earn Others’ Trust.
In this post I want to explore some resources you, me and most of us can draw on that can help us build and maintain Self-Trust – especially when times are tough.
An Inescapable Truth About Life
For those of us who can or care to remember, the late former prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser famously said “Live wasn’t meant to be easy.”
In fact, Fraser was paraphrasing a more complete (and positive) quote of George Bernard Shaw which was, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy my child, but take courage: it can be delightful.”
So, life is not meant to always be easy, but with courage and intention it can be pretty special most of the time.
Following this theme, in M. Scott Peck’s classic book, The Road Less Travelled he begins with “Life is difficult.”
However, Peck also wrote what I believe to be one of the wisest pieces of advice that is perfect for the situation we find ourselves in with this global pandemic. He wrote:
“Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
This is what I refer to as an inescapable truth – once we realise and accept that life is not easy … it gets easier.
The not so easy part of that of course is, ‘accepting’ that life is not easy.
I have been doing a lot of research lately on what science tells us about how we can deal with the tough stuff in our lives and move toward being the best version of ourselves.
Realising that none of us are perfect, most of us, if we do decide to be the best version of ourselves, and accepting that life is not easy, have within us some natural resources that cost nothing and that we have ultimate control over.
The following are five powerful evidence-based resources to help you thrive and be the best version of yourself in tough times:
1. Values – one of the main problems or obstacles I hear from my clients and friends is how hard it is to keep focused and how easy it is to get distracted. However, the evidence is clear that being clear about your personal values is one of the most important elements of living a flourishing life.
2. Gratitude – being grateful for what we have in our lives. Not just the materialistic things, more importantly being grateful for the relationships we have in our lives. Gratitude is also about not focusing on what we do not have.
3. Hope – this is beyond positive thinking. Hope is drawing on realistic optimism and recognising and accepting that life is not easy, that things do and will go wrong, but believing that there is more ‘good’ in life than there is ‘bad’.
4. Relationships – this is about being mindfully present when we are with others, by being clear on our intentions (what we want for others, not what we want from them) and by wanting to make life better for others in some way.
Adopting this practical altruistic approach to life (by focusing on what we want for others and not what we want from them) ignites the power of reciprocity … when we give out positivity, in the main we will receive positivity back.
5. Vitality – it is easy, in winter to turn our minds to comfort food (mine are salted caramel chocolate and slow cooked curries) and lounging around to keep warm. However, keeping our mind and body energised means we need to feed it with healthy food, continue learning and exercising appropriately.
You, me, and most of us have these five powerful evidence-based resources within us right now, and especially in difficult times, tapping into them can help us build and maintain Self-Trust and to be the best and authentic versions of ourselves.