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Samuel Johnson – Accept Human Imperfection

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[blockquote]It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.[/blockquote] -Samuel Johnso...

[blockquote]It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.[/blockquote] -Samuel Johnson

Commentary: This is my favorite saying. We live in an uncertain world, full of risks, with imperfect people. Often to reduce the impact of being hurt in the future, a person will take an attitude to do to others before they can do it to them. Or in a lesser way, to assume other people are not trustworthy and that they always need to be watched. Of course it is true that everyone is imperfect and will eventually do stupid stuff to hurt their friends, love ones, and people they do not know. But that is life and it is better to accept this human flaw than build a wall between yourself and them.

But is trust always a good thing?

And if not, how do we know when to trust and not to trust?

Perhaps we should test people, to find out if they are trustworthy. If so, what is a good test?

And if someone fails the test, do we give up on them?

I think testing is perhaps a wise policy, but I also think testing is also problematic. How do we know if the other person understood what we what they were supposed to do? They might have a different point of view. Any test is always a matter of point of view. But maybe a test will tell you if their point of view is compatible with yours.

Another problem is that the other person might not trust you. They may be testing you at the same time you are testing them.

Maybe a better way is to trust but verify. Once again, you cannot always assume you and the other person are on the same page. You may be trusting them to do something, but they may have other ideas about what is best, and do something different, but do it in good faith.

Trust, expect disappointments, test, verify, but always be open minded about the results.

Samuel Johnson

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