Why is self-trust important now?

If you were asked to describe yourself, how would you answer?

First, many people may answer about their attributes, such as their age, hometown, or family structure. Others may answer about the community they belong to, such as the company they work for or the title they hold. Some may introduce what they have done in the past, while others may tell about their personality.

None of these are wrong.

On the other hand, if we describe various characteristics in words, do we really describe ourselves?Although they are elements about ourselves, we may not feel as if we are expressing the whole of ourselves or the root of who we are. If breaking down and explaining various characteristics does not make us who we are, how can we capture the “true self”?

The relationship between individuals and organizations will change

In the background of the theme of “True Self,” there is a trend of the times that the relationship between individuals and organizations is changing drastically.

From the Showa era (1926–1989) to the Heisei era ( 1989–2019), the mainstream thought was that the individual belongs to the organization. In a Venn diagram, the individual is completely contained within the framework of the organization.

However, in the future, instead of having an organization and the individual being completely contained within that organization, I believe that it will become more common for individuals to work in a way that combines multiple organizations, projects, and jobs. In a Venn diagram, the circle of individuals and the circle of organizations are lined up side by side on equal terms, with some areas of overlap and some areas of non-overlap.

In an age when titles mean less and less, what should we trust?

In such an environment, titles themselves become less and less meaningful. Being the “General Manager of Company XX” does not mean much once you leave the company. What you can do with your experience as the general manager of Company XX becomes more and more important.

Furthermore, as we become part of multiple organizations and industries, we realize that our reputation in one area is not valid in other areas. Even if we get good grades in school, the grades themselves do not mean much in business. Even if we have a good reputation in one company or industry, we may not be recognized as valuable at all when we go outside.

Titles and evaluations are “other people’s judgments” of us within a particular community. If we rely on what others think of us, we may find ourselves doing well in some situations but not in others. Or, we may be able to act like ourselves in situations where we are evaluated by others, but not in other situations where we are not evaluated by others.

This is not to say that other people’s evaluations have no value. There may be situations where we can work together more smoothly if we are evaluated by others. However, if we rely only on the evaluations of others, there are many things that can go wrong.

In times like these, it is the “true self” that becomes the foundation. From now on, the strongest people will be those who can trust themselves, not what others think of them. Trust in oneself is called self-trust.

I was originally a person with weak self-trust

The reason why I place so much importance on the theme of self-trust is because I am aware that I myself was a person with weak self-trust. Even now, if you ask me if I have enough self-trust, the naked truth is that I do not have enough self-trust in some aspects, but since I started to meta-cognize my own self-trust, I feel that my self-trust is gradually getting thicker.

It was a comment from a friend that made me realize that my self-trust was weak. I have dinner once or twice a year with my friend Mr. K, who I have played tennis with since our college days and who works at a law firm. We talk about a wide range of topics, from business to our children’s education, and Mr. K, with his rich life experience, always offers new perspectives and suggestions.

When we were having dinner together at a delicious Italian restaurant, the topic of conversation was “self-trust and self-credit.” I would like to explain the meaning and difference between these two words in a future article, but I quickly realized that Mr. K said, “Bunshiro, you have self credit, but you have less self trust.”

Incidentally, Mr. K and I are on good terms with each other about anything, so there was never any talk about how saying such things to each other would make us feel uncomfortable or ruin our relationship, and I am still grateful that my friend had a word with me.

This may sound arrogant, but until then, my sense was that I had a sense of self-efficacy in the sense of “I can do it if I try,” but I had confused that with a high level of self-trust. Mr. K recognized this and made me aware of it with the above comment.

My sense of self was one of self-credit, backed up by past experiences, and not self-trust, which is unconditional trust in oneself. I knew that I was in a state of self-credit, but not self-trust.

If I am in a situation where I feel I can do something, I don’t have any problems. However, when I encountered situations where I didn’t think I could do it, I had a sense that I had lost my place to return to, and this feeling repeatedly manifested itself in negative words and actions.

I think one of the manifestations of this was the loneliness of the president that I created myself, as I wrote in my previous article. In addition, there were many situations where I lost my place to return to when I was confronted not with business issues, but with organizational and human relations issues, where my previous life experience, experience from my consulting days, and logical and analytical approach did not work.

It was then that I began to ask myself questions. What is self-trust? Is it inborn? Is it acquired? If it’s acquired, how can I improve my self-trust?

In the chapters beginning with this article, I would like to focus on the theme of “ self-trust,” which is becoming more and more important in the future, and which was also my own question.

Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)

・As the relationship between the individual and the organization changes, what do you think will be important to you?

・What episodes or stories come to your mind when you hear the word “self-trust”?

Bunshiro Ochiai

Founder and CEO of a training company, Alue | MS in Particle Physics. | BCG | Questing “What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?”