Trust, but verify was a signature phrase adopted and made famous by U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Reagan frequently used it when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. Reagan rightly presented it as a translation of the Russian proverb“doveryai, no proveryai” (Russian: Доверяй, но проверяй).
This phrase seems to fit in with one of my other favorite adages: “Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me” — because if you’ve been burned by a person, situation, event, etc. in the past, it would make sense not to make the same mistake twice.
Trusting becomes harder to do once one has been burnt the first time, so it makes perfect sense to “Trust, but Verify” on second and later times until trust is restored (and perhaps even after that.)
Do you think this also applies to an opposite situation where trust starts out low?
Consider the case where one is learning to trust their own instincts (after an abusive relationship or situation) where the “Verify” could strengthen and hasten the process of building trust. In this case, the phrase “Trust, and Verify” would apply.
Let me give you an example from my life: I spent literally years suppressing and overriding my intuition because of a verbally abusive relationship whereby I was told that my intuition and perceptions were usually wrong. In time, my intuition waned as I learned to suppress my opinions and sharing of perceptions (why bother to express an opinion if it’s only going to be shot down anyways?)
Today, I’m learning to trust my intuition and perceptions – and finding that they are correct! In the process of this rediscovery of lost talents, doubt still enters the picture – but when I trust the intuitive process AND verify that it gives a correct result – the process of trusting on future occasions becomes quicker and stronger.
What do you think?
Trust, but Verify seems to work well when your trust is already high but you want to make sure another is worthy of such trust (as in learning from experience).
Trust, and Verify seems to work as effectively when trust starts out low and you want to strengthen it (by verifying that your intuition to trust is valid).
Coming from different directions with respect to trust – these adages offer different (but equally positive) results when applied to trust aspects of our lives. Would they work for you?
Have a great weekend!