The Difference Between Belief, Faith and Trust
June 2, 2015 Leave a comment
I believe… the differences between Belief, Faith and Trust holds great insight about how you and I act in our professional business lives and in our personal lives. This also includes how we manage difficult conversations and how we interpret information, are motivated and how we mentor others.
Unfortunately many of us treat belief, faith and trust as the same thing even though there are significant differences; this puts everyone at a disadvantage when we communicate. So, lets take a quick look at the difference between belief, faith and trust.
What Is Belief?
Everyone’s beliefs can be different. Beliefs can be something a person feels/perceives is true – even if we have to ignore proof our belief is incorrect. For example, Global Warming. Another common example is who we believe the best candidate in a political race is. In both of these examples our beliefs are largely supported by personal and perhaps even selfish reasons. So, beliefs have 2 options. They can be:
- Absolute and proven (we know water is made of 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen molecule).
- A matter of personal and/or professional opinion (Union employment talks).
In addition, the more firmly convinced we become of our belief, the more confidant we may grow and the less we’ll listen to other options. Therefore, when we is closed we often don’t leave room for discussion or flexibility. The safety of the TITANIC is a good example of a belief that lead to overconfidence. Politics between countries offer us many such examples. Because beliefs are often a matter of personal experience, perspective and judgement as much as they may be of fact, they often change slowly – over time as we gather more information (knowledge) and experience.
Is Faith The Same As Trust?
Faith and trust are often confused and/or used interchangeably but they do have different meanings. What Is Faith?
- Faith is often thought of as a spiritual concept. Faith is a devotion or loyalty where belief is important but proof may be less quantifiable. Religions are good examples of faith – or anywhere where a leap of optimism (faith), is required. Faith is something we ‘HAVE’…
What Is Trust?
- Trust is often thought of in the context of relationships. Tangible proof is important. Being able to anticipate how another person will act is an example of trust (often because you have proof this is how they’ve acted in the past). Trust is something we ‘DO’…
Faith and Trust are supported by our beliefs… even if those beliefs are not logically supported… or even untrue. Trust / faith is broken only if a persons belief is broken… or trust / faith can be strengthened if belief deepens. Note: Trust is perhaps more fragile than faith. If trust is broken, it takes a long time to build it back.
Example 1 (Belief is supported): In business – if you and I are working on a project for the first time, do I have trust (not faith), you will be honourable and truthful? Yes, if I believe you are also focused on the organizations values and best interest – even though my only proof may be that you are employed. But one-on-one experience can change my beliefs quickly and therefore trust. The best approach for a successful project and working relationship would be to confirm objectives and values… therefore our beliefs and trust.
Example 2 (Belief is untrue): In a Ponzi scheme I believe you are truthful and you will give me a high ROI with low risk. My belief gives me trust that you will deliver results. But, in a Ponzi scheme this truth is a lie / the belief is unfounded and trust is eventually compromised.
When we consider what people believe, have faith in and trust we can understand each other.
Whether we are speaking of belief, faith or trust, we will always be at our best if you and I support our conversations with an open mind and non-judegement… allowing ourselves to listen to each other and consider options based on mutually agreed objectives.
Our personal lives and our workspaces will always benefit.
Happy communicating and learning.
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Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.
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