Trust But Verify

Sage ReddyHappiness, Health, Wealth

“I want to buy your snow tires. They are perfect for me. I just don’t have the money to pay you right now. Can I pay you at the end of the month?” the buyer informs us on the phone. What do you say to that?

Most normal people would say, “Sorry, call me when you have the money.”

I, being less than normal, respond with, “I’ll think about it.” The woman is responding to our Craigslist ad. She’s poor and desperate. Her tires are about to go out on her. Without wheels she won’t be able to get to work. Without work, she won’t be able to put food on her family’s table.

What would you do?

My head says, “Wait for the right buyer, someone who’ll pay you right away. Don’t trust a stranger. That would be foolish!” My heart says, “Here’s a good person, living hand-to-mouth, and she’s struggling to make ends meet. Are you going to be cold and callous? Or are you going to have some heart?”

What would you do?

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

When it comes to selling these darn snow tires, my wife and I are caught between a rock and hard place. In other words, we’re torn between our heads and our hearts, each pulling us in different directions. Who should we go with? Who should we believe? Who’s right?

“What if you don’t keep your word?” I ask her.

“I’m a good Christian. I will keep my word,” she says.

Great, but her eyes don’t seem so sure. I’ve been burnt before when I trusted strangers and don’t care for a repeat performance, thank you very much. What if she runs off with our tires and we never see her again? Who’s got the time to track her down and resolve the issue? What if she has good intentions, but won’t be able to keep her word? What does my gut say? You know, gut instincts.

Instincts are great. Problem with instincts is we often mistake raw emotions for genuine instincts. I trust my instincts, but what if I’m not currently in touch with ’em?

What would you do in a situation like this?

I’ll tell you what we do: we go with our hearts, but decide to use our heads as well (just in case).

First, we ask for and obtain the title to her car. (I can’t imagine it’s worth much.) Second, we ask for and obtain a post-dated check. (The woman insists that she wants to pay in cash at the end of the month, however. Hmmm.) In any case, she’s profusely thankful. Then, with gratitude writ all over face, she loads up the tires in her friend’s truck and drives off. If we never see her again, I’m OK with that. She’ll have to answer to her own conscience.

End of the month arrives. It’s a moment of reckoning. Will she or won’t she? I’m about to find out if I’ve made a complete fool of myself.

The Moment Of Reckoning

But what do you know? She shows up at our door in her friend’s truck, comes in and forks over the money. Not all of it, but most of it. With tired eyes she then asks if we would trust her to pay the rest of the amount (about $15) next month.

“Of course,” Becca and I respond in unison. I’m looking forward to returning her post-dated check and car title next month.

The gratitude on her face? Priceless. My faith in humanity? High as ever.

Both in your business and personal dealings, you’ll frequently be torn between your head and your heart. When you do, you don’t have to take sides. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Both your head and your heart can win.

Contrary to popular belief, the “heart” is not just about feelings and emotions. Metaphysically speaking, your heart is really the part of you that transcends both intellect and emotion. Your heart knows–if you listen to it.

But just because your heart knows it all doesn’t mean your head is useless. Your heart’s message is only as good as your ability to listen to it. If you can’t listen to your heart (or don’t know how), you’ll mistake your emotions for your heart. That’s precisely where your head comes in.

As a symbol of intellect, your head is like your watchdog. It is your sentinel of cool reason in a sea of wild emotions. Give it a chance, and your head will always lookout for you.

Trust your heart, but always use your head to verify.

In short, “trust but verify.” Which also happens to a signature phrase adopted and made famous by U.S. president Ronald Reagan.

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