New Perspective on What Trust Is

It is not my intention to discuss what trust is without which we have no bonding between us. My intention is to suggest a modified version of understanding what trust is. We still lack a clear definition to understand what trust is. This includes self-trust.

Recently ALAN CULLER published a post-titled BUILDING OR REBUILDING TRUST in which he offered an equation for understanding trust.

T = (I X C)/ R

T is for Trust, C for Credibility, and R for R for Risk. That is

Trust = (Intimacy X Credibility)/ Risk

Alan Culler defined these factors pertaining to trust as follows

  • Intimacy– how well do the parties know each other? Most important for trust is knowledge of intentions, judgment, and decision-making. This will lead partway to predictability.
  • Credibility– is the other partway to predictability. Credibility may come from credentials, but what degrees you have are a thin veneer of credibility. Mostly, credibility comes from demonstrated competence.
  • Risk – the trust between the parties is dependent on the risk involved in trusting. Because risk is in the denominator of the formula, the greater the risk the harder it is to trust.

The above equation reminded me of the formulae I use to define trust

Trust = (Reliability) X Credibility) / I

Where I involve the risk of saying, I did rather than we did. The more we use “I” the less trust we shall have.

You shall notice that I wrote in bold letters in the definition of Intimacy. This is for a reason that I explain below.

Charlotte Wittenkamp wrote a timely and relevant comment on my post IS IT BETTER TO PLAN OR BE SPONTANEOUS.

She commented, “The common factor for me in the two stories you shared, Ali, was that donors probably are touched by the selflessness of the children. They intuitively catch that the child does not have a plan to better something for itself – it is all about the cause.

This is the contrast to all the good work that is done to support college applications, get positive press, gain access to important people, get a tax deductionall the other thought-driven deeds that don’t light a fire because the intent is mixed.

You notice that Charlotte emphasized intentions as Alan did in defining intimacy. Charlotte also added intuition because this leads to more trust. Combing intuition and intent gives intuitional intent.

To improve our understanding of what trust is we need to cater for intuitional intent (II). The more II we do what we do the more trust we shall gain and the less the risk of losing trust shall be.

To combine the two equations above I suggest the modified trust equation as below

Trust = (Intuitional Intent X Credibility)/ Risk

This way we formulate a better understanding of what trust is.

Your feedback is warmly welcome.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Interesting analysis. Unfortunately, equations have never been my forte! I will express myself in another way.
    I think that trust is the social glue of the human being. If it did not exist, we would be in a constant state of alert, imagining being injured at the first opportunity. We need to trust to live in balance. However, no one can guarantee us that by following our intuition we will make the right decision. Nevertheless, an equally important effect will be obtained: acting in accordance with one’s essence, values, emotions and evaluations obtained in accordance with one’s previous experiences. We will take a step towards proper inner balance.
    Everything learned, felt, internalized, thought or expressed creates a fund of unique and particular wisdom that defines us. In our essence intuition is a mental capital that we use every day almost without realizing it.
    I think intuition can provide useful indications in general for choosing, and trusting is a choice.

    • Reading your profound comment, Aldo I find myself asking a question.

      Is intuition related to values? If the values are sublime would intuition be sublime too? Is the opposite true?

      If values and intuition are in alignment great things could happen

  2. Hi Brother Ali
    A great enlargement of the analysis of Trust and thanks for the reference.
    Trust = (Reliability) X Credibility) / I -where the I vs. We is in the denominator expands the formula from a joint roadmap for rebuilding to an improvement analysis and feedback device to be used on oneself or others.

    With your revised Trust Formula Trust = (Intuitional Intent X Credibility)/ Risk, my only concern is that intuitional intent might mislead the user. Intuition is important in evaluating someone else, but I believe intuition should be confirmed or disproven through discsion.

    Our intentions are vitaly important, but they are invvisible to others until we discuss them.

    If our behavior is ambiguous stating our intention may clarify and avoid misinterpretation.

    However if our behavior is contrary to our stated intention others will rely on what we do rather than what we say we intend.
    Thanks for this continued discussion.

    • Love your comment brother Alan Culler

      Take the general statement what is in it for me

      Thinking about it is about intention and intuition combined towards me pole. The two can reinforce each other positively or negatively.

      SURELY one has to verify both.