Trust yourself. Trust others. Trust that your world has been designed to help you get exactly you need (not what you want).
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need”
The Rolling Stones
Ultimately, there are only two kinds of people: those-who-trust and those-who-don’t.
Those-who-trust have found an empowering answer to life’s most important question: Am I living in a friendly or hostile world?
“Friendly” means that you believe your world is designed to help you get what you need. It means that you believe you’re designed to get what you need, even when you don’t. It means that you believe others are motivated to give you what you need, even when they don’t. It means that you begin every day believing it will go your way, even when it doesn’t. It means you begin every task knowing you will succeed, even when you don’t.
“Friendly” means that when you don’t get what you want, you know you’ve just received what you need. Yup, let me repeat that: when you don’t get what you want, you know you’ve just received what you need. It means that you know nothing ever happens that wasn’t supposed to happen. It means that you know there’s a powerful lesson in every experience. It means that you accept the rightness of what has just happened. And it means that you accept responsibility for what happens next.
If you don’t trust that your life is evolving just the way it should, part of you will always be holding back or pushing back. Resistance and resentment will become part of your DNA. You will not be able to throw yourself fully into any endeavor. Part of you will always be asking the fatal question: should I really be doing this?
Of all the challenges I can offer you, this one may be the most thought-provoking: how do you trust yourself and the resources around you to come through for you when you find yourself in dreadful circumstances? Think about this challenge because you know it’s going to happen, just like it’s happened so many times in the past.
Remember, wherever you are is where you’re destined to be because that’s where you are. So be there and be there fully. If you’re engaged in an action, engage fully or disengage fully. Don’t kind-of or sort-of engage. Ambivalent execution is the hallmark of mediocrity. It’s also the norm. You know why? Because it’s easier to doubt than it is to trust. It’s easier to focus on the perils of what-could-go-wrong than it is on the possibilities-of-doing-it-right.
Think of the people around you who epitomize success. What’s their signature attribute? Is it not a willingness to trust? Is it not a bias to action? Is it not enthusiasm for their cause? And, are they not the kind of people who are constantly evoking criticism from the people around them? That’s right, the more successful you become, the more negative chatter you generate around you. People who are crazy enough to believe that it can be done will always encounter ridicule from those who don’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating Polly-anna-rism. I’m not suggesting that you march naively where angels fear to tread. I’m simply requesting you, even if it’s just for the course of this book, to assume that life is always catering to your needs – whether you understand it at the time or not.
Think about it: what would the impact on your psyche be if you always saw everything that happens to you as a way of getting what you need? What would happen if you always looked for the reason why you’ve received just what you need – whether you’ve just been through a pleasurable or a painful experience? How much would you learn? How much would you grow? How much more happiness would you experience? How much more would you be able to help others?
What’s the opposite of seeing everything that happens to you as a way of getting what you need? It’s extreme vulnerability to anxiety, fear, depression and despair. It’s not having a mental filter to screen out the pessimism, trauma, disasters and perversions that expose themselves to us every day. It’s the lack of a personal philosophy that neutralizes negativity. It’s not having a lifeline to hold on to when the storm breaks.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Life hurts. Love hurts. Losing hurts. Leaving hurts. Pain is real. That’s the point. Until the pain is great enough, we don’t heed it. What’s more, no matter how impeccable you are, there’s more pain on the way. The greater the pain, the greater the lesson. We can choose to become better or we can allow ourselves to become bitter. Trust-in-the-lesson makes Pain our teacher not our tormentor.
Here’s a very personal question: Think about the last time lightning struck. Think about your most recent profound crisis. What got you through it? Who got you through it? Are you proud of yourself today because of how you acted then?
Inspiring others on the Cusp-of-Change means that you’re at your best when things are at their worst. It means that when everyone is waiting to see what happens next, you’re making things happen. It means that while others are frozen, you’re fired up. It means that you understand life is one test after another – tests not just of character and skill, but of understanding how you’ve just been given what you need.
Life can only be lived forwards, but it can only be understood backwards. Have you noticed how hindsight clarifies everything? Even the most bizarre experiences leave a benign legacy if you review them through the correct lens.
Here’s one final insight on trust: do you drive a car? If your answer is yes, everyday you put your lives and the lives of your passengers in the hands of strangers. Think about it: every time you drive on a two lane road, you trust the driver coming towards you to stay on his side of the road. You trust him not to fall asleep or lose concentration as he talks on his cell phone or argues with his spouse. You trust him even though you know how easy it would be for him to veer just a few feet to the left or the right. You know that if this were to occur, it could mean death, mutilation and pain for you and whoever else is with you. You trust him not because you want to but because you have to. So if you’re prepared to trust a stranger with your life, why would you not trust yourself? Why would you not trust the world around you? Why would you not trust people who have already proven they’re worthy of your trust? Makes you think doesn’t it?
Trust is the glue that holds our worlds together. Without it, everything falls apart. Think about something you don’t trust. Think about someone who you don’t trust. Think about all the negativity, doubt and worry that accompany your thoughts around these things or people. Think about how scared you are to commit your time, effort or resources to them. Now think about those things you trust implicitly. Think about the people you trust implicitly. Focus on those things. Focus on those people. Become one of them. That’s my mantra: act in such a way that others can always trust me to come through for them.
So what do you trust? Who do you trust? Have you ever thought about trust-worthiness? Try it. The very act of listing the things and people you trust will strengthen your trust. Here are my top ten, plus one, list of trust-worthy things and people:
I trust the fairness of Canada – its people, systems and government.
I trust the superiority of the American Free Enterprise System.
I trust myself to do the right thing in a crisis.
I trust my body to respond to the care and conditioning I provide it.
I trust my family to love me unconditionally: my wife – Hilary, my three children – Anthony, Carla and Dani, and my two dogs – Toby and Jasmine
I trust my partners at Environics to continue to support, inspire and coach me.
I trust everyone with whom I work to treat me the way they want me to treat them.
I trust that the good guys always win in the end.
I trust my Higher Power to keep astounding me with new truths, lessons and wisdom.
I trust life to keep introducing me to people who will befriend me and empower me to be all that I can and choose to be.