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How to Guarantee a Life of Misery

“[If you want to guarantee a life of misery], be unreliable. Do not faithfully do what you have engaged to do.  If you will only master this one habit you will more than counterbalance the combined effect of all your virtues, howsoever great. If you like being distrusted and excluded from the best human contribution and company, this prescription is for you. Master this one habit and you can always play the role of the hare in the fable, except that instead of being outrun by one fine turtle you will be outrun by hordes and hordes of mediocre turtles and even by some mediocre turtles on crutches.”

This is an excerpt from Charlie Munger’s Commencement Speech originally delivered to the Harvard Business School on June 13, 1986. *

Are you reliable? Do you trust YOU?

How are you at keeping commitments to yourself? Can you rely on yourself to deliver? When it comes to resolutions, goals, intentions, building new habits and breaking old ones, do you usually deliver for yourself? The unfortunate reality is, we quite often work harder to keep our commitments to others than we do to ourselves. 

When we break promises to ourselves it results in low self-trust. This has a ripple effect and triggers an echoing cycle. First, it’s damaging to our relationship with ourselves. Given that trust is the foundation of every solid relationship, without self-trust, our self-relationship is fractured, becomes dysfunctional and cannot thrive. Secondly, if we can’t trust ourselves, we start to mistrust others as well. But don't worry, there's good news coming.

In Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, he explores the foundational role that self-trust plays in building and sustaining all types of relationships. Central to self-trust is the concept of credibility and integrity. Covey says, “A person has integrity when there is no gap between intent and behavior…when he or she is whole, seamless, the same—inside and out. I call this 'congruence.' And it is congruence, that will ultimately create credibility and trust (with others and ourselves).”

No gap between intent and behavior. Wow - that is a (really) big ask. This requires more than a simple attitude adjustment. Where do I begin? How can I restore faith in myself? How can I prove to myself that I can make changes, embrace new habits, and deliver on commitments to myself and others? One of the trust myths Covey debunks in his book is that “once trust is broken it can never be restored”. He reassures us that the data clearly proves otherwise. Although it’s difficult, in most cases broken trust can be restored. Even trust with ourselves.

Build Trust with Yourself

Enter Atomic Habits and 1% changes. Small changes that add up to BIG changes over time. Consider these thoughts from Atomic Habits author James Clear,

 “All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

Consider this:

Your 1st workout will feel strained but your 100th will feel strong.

Your 1st public speaking opportunity will not be masterful but your 50th will be exceptional.

The 1st time you smile when you're scared will not come easy but the 100th time it will happen without you even noticing it.

The 1st time you deliver radically candid feedback will feel awkward but the 50th time will give you energy.

Questions to ponder:

  • How am I doing on the self-trust front? What can I count on me to deliver for me? In what areas is my self-trust lower than I’d like it to be?
  • How may my self-trust be impacting how much I trust others?
  • What beliefs hold me back from instituting the changes I’d like to make in my habits/life?
  • What one small change(s) to my habits would make a BIG difference for me?
  • How am I getting in my own way when it comes to enacting new habits?
  • What are some ways I could work on building/restoring trust with myself and others



Peter Reek 
Founder and CEO

Peter founded Smart Savvy as a response to a gap in the recruitment industry. As a leader, entrepreneur, and specialist in group moderation and facilitation, Peter brings an experienced, people-first perspective. He passionately believes that in work and life, People are the Plan™.

Smart, Savvy +AssociatesSmart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached

Peter Reek

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