Is “Trust, but Verify” the same as “Trust, and Verify”?

29 Jun

The phrase “Trust, but Verify” hails from the days of Ronald Reagan and applies well to many situations in everyday life. According to WikiPedia:

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!




2 Responses to “Is “Trust, but Verify” the same as “Trust, and Verify”?”

  1. Bill Ravensberg Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Hi Carol … Happy Canada Day, eh! Yeah, I’m a day early but I expect to be doing other things tomorrow.

    So, I thought I would verify your Canadian status. So, are you still a Canadian, eh? Or, are you a dual citizen? Or, more likely a world citizen with all your travels!

    Anyway, I think that both sayings are really saying the same thing. Both require verifying after trusting. In both cases, we want to trust (and believe). It’s just that if we don’t know already, we want to confirm – especially if it seems unbelievable.

    Have a great July 4th on Monday!



    • Carol Dekkers Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm #


      Thanks and Happy Canada Day, eh!

      I’m a CanAmerican – dual citizen of Canada and the US. But I would love to relocate to work and live in Europe in the coming months. If you hear or know of anyone or any company looking for an excellent PMP certified project management training professional who is an expert in ISO standards and software metrics (me!) please let me know.

      I’m selling my house and need a fresh, new start – and can work and live almost anywhere. Anyone got ideas?



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