Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.

Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted. – Alfred Adler

“You would like me to watch the hen house? Why yes, I am very good at looking after hens, and I would love to do that for you!” said Red the Fox.

What does that mean?
People of genius, like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie are admired or held in high esteem, both for their abilities as scientists as well as for what they actually achieved.

People of wealth, like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey are envied or looked at with covetous desire for both what they have already earned, as well as what they will likely earn in the future.

People of power, like Ivan the Terrible or Ranavalona are feared or seen through terror filled eyes because of what they have done in the past, or what (if they were alive today) they might do in the future.

People of character, the quote reminds us, are the only ones of the bunch that are trusted. Please note that the the four categories listed in the quote are not in any way mutually exclusive. Many powerful people are also wealthy (which came first?), and a few of them even have some character!

Why is being worthy of trust important?  
Trustworthy. That’s one of the Big 12 in the Boy Scout Law. And not just somewhere in there, it’s the first on the list. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. Think for a moment of the opposite, of someone who is not trustworthy. Is that someone you want to spend time with, have your kids or parents hang out with?

More importantly (or at least it is to me), how would you feel if someone thought that way about you? How would you feel if you were the one everyone thought was not trustworthy? How would that change your life? If, by some sad circumstance, you are there, what are you willing to do to shed that label and start on the journey to being considered a trustworthy person?

If you were hiring someone, such as a neighborhood kid doing yard-work or cleaning the pool, would you want them to be at least a little trustworthy? What about someone to watch your kids while you are out for a few hours? A few days? What if you ran a business, and needed  a new cashier? What if your business was much bigger and you need a VP of Finance?

Trustworthiness is an important thing to be. It is also fragile, like a glass. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to mend, and is never exactly the same. If you think about it, what in your life is worth more to you than your reputation, specifically your trustworthiness?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Lets start by having you go over just what the term trustworthy means to you and your society and culture. Every culture has it’s own definitions of what is or is not required to be considered trustworthy. It can even differ between sub-cultures, ethnic, and religious groups. Grab some paper and write all the key components of trust.

With your own personal definition, rate yourself on all the key components in the field of trustworthiness. How often is too often if you lie, or how big does the lie have to be, before you are no longer considered trustworthy? Do ‘white lies‘ count? If you want to know how many different kinds of lies there are, read the whole article!

Now look at the list of the key components of trust, and how you rank yourself. You probably did better in some areas than in others. In which aspects do you most wish to improve yourself? Put a star next to the top three (or circle, or…) and write down what specific actions you can take to improve your personal opinion of yourself.

Also take a moment and consider what you are going to need to do to help others notice that you are more trustworthy than they might have thought. How do you bring attention to yourself without making what you are doing look forced or faked for their benefit? It might not be easy, but I think it is worth the effort.

Now, let’s consider another way trust is considered. So far, you’ve focused mostly on yourself, your self-image, and helping others see the components of trust. But are your values the same as those of everyone else? What if you wanted to get a job, what are employers likely to look at, what components are they expecting to see, and how are you in those areas?

Trustworthiness. It is easy to point to when you see it, but a bit harder to describe. However, I believe it is worth the effort to become someone who is worthy of trust.

From: Twitter, @AR_Foundation
confirmed at : http://en.proverbia.net/citastema.asp?tematica=176 (second entry)
Photo by normalityrelief

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One Response to Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.

  1. Johannes Olofsson 21 May 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Reblogged this on FILOSOFISK.

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