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Do No Harm


Techniques > How to > How Can I Get People to Trust Me? > Do No Harm

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Whatever you do, think about the person you want to trust you and never do things that will hurt them, physically, socially, emotionally or any other way.

Do not harm to things they care about, such as the environment.

Also do not harm other people, especially those that the person you want to trust you cares about.


A person does not criticize others in public as this would hurt the social standing of those people.

A person avoids extra-marital relationships as they know this would hurt their family.  


When people talk of trust, they often discuss reliability and honesty. These are clear and measurable elements of performance. Less clear but more real to the truster is how they feel. And if they feel bad about what you have done or said they will of course trust you less to make them feel good in the future. It is no coincidence that a key part of the doctor's oath is to 'do no harm'.

Much of what we do is for ourselves. We have needs and goals that we seek to fulfil, and in reaching for these we may upset or harm others. Sometimes this is deliberate as we compete with them for limited reward. Sometimes it is accidental as our focus on success excludes attention to other people. But whatever the intent, the result is likely to ba a significant loss in trust.

So whatever you are doing, always keep thinking 'How might this harm or upset other people?' Look for ways to achieve what you seek without harming others, in particular those whose trust you need. Even when you think you do not need trust, consider both your values about not harming others and the potential for the other person to take revenge. Also think about who is watching or who may find out what you did. Your reputation, on which trust is based, comes from everything others believe you did.

Sometimes harm is inevitable. To help one person may be to hurt another. Sometimes it is a zero sum game, where one person's gain is another person's loss. Sometimes it is such a complex situation you cannot help but cause problems for others whichever way you move. Because in the end you have to act. You have to live your life and do your best. And in doing so a philosophy of minimizing harm will do wonders for the trust you gain from others.

See also


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