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The Ratchet Effect

Trust BarometerA few years ago, I built a kind of Rube Goldberg invention that I call my “Trust Barometer.” It has a ratchet with a handle and a crank so that I can wind up a weight suspended by a string and I have a scale showing how much trust is in a relationship.

Trust is similar to a bank account we have with people. There is a balance of trust at any point in time, and we can make deposits that increase the balance, or we can make withdrawals that reduce the balance.

Of course, the idea is to keep the balance as high as possible, and then we will enjoy the benefits of high trust with that person.

The barometer works well to illustrate an important principle. Trust is usually gained in small steps like the individual clicks of a ratchet, so over time we build up trust with…

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