As America’s technology sector continues to develop, we now leave people trying to figure out the digital tools required for their jobs, hobbies, and passions. No longer are people denied access to the digital ecosystem, but people are being denied the ability to problem solve, decide, and navigate their environment. The denial of access is because of a lack of education and digital readiness. In order for our collective collaboration across various online channels to speed up and deepen as a society, digital readiness needs to be an important component in individual lifestyles. What causes adults to be relatively hesitant in using digital tools? The more we trust technology, the higher our digital literacy and enjoyment around digital tools in America.

What is Trust?

I remember when I was a kid me and my friends would do trust falls with each other. A trust fall is when one individual stands straight up with their arms crossed and falls backward into a friend’s arms (unless they are an awful friend and drop them instead). This simple exercise gives us a glimpse of what trust looks like. Trust gives grounds for reliance, stability, and enjoyment. The more we trust technology, the greater enjoyment that will arise. 

“To earn trust, money and power aren’t enough; you have to show some concern for others. You can’t buy trust in the supermarket.” – Dalai Lama

Connecting with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, trust bonds us to those we appreciate most. We know trust when it’s gone, and we know trust when she is there. Your son or daughter disobeys you and they lose your trust, but love remains. When your best friend asks you for your hand in marriage, whether you say yes or no comes down to whether or not you trust them. Trust certainly has different depths; there’s a baseline trust that is necessary for traction to take place in any relationship. 

Why is Trust Important?

There are six building blocks of trust: reliability, transparency, competency, authenticity, fairness, and vulnerability. Reliability is like a 1990s Toyota Camry. The Toyota Camry is a car that you know will run forever and won’t break down. Transparency is like a room filled with windows. You can see straight through on each side and see all the happenings inside and out. Competency is like your morning cup of coffee (or tea if you’re like me). Coffee has proved repeatedly that caffeine will energize you.

 Authenticity is like your favorite aunt or uncle. They have proven to you they truly, deeply care about you as an individual and are sincere with their words. Fairness is like when your mom made you split a candy bar with your sibling. Although fairness can be hard, it makes for an even playing field for everyone involved. Vulnerability is probably the hardest part for most people to act out when building trust. Vulnerability is like your first day on a new job. Everyone knows about you as you stand in confidence even though you’re labeled as the “new guy”.

Losing trust can be destructive — not only psychologically but also financially and in terms of work and livelihood. Trust is an ongoing exchange between people and is not static. You can earn it. You can lose it. And, you can regain it. Trust is essential when using different applications and software. Technology companies do their best to practice the six building blocks of trust in order to really connect with their customers. The next time you approach a new digital tool, ask yourself, “can I trust this tool with my information, time, and money?”

How to Trust Digital Tools

Anytime a new piece of technology comes out, there is always a level of fear and distrust. In order for us to trust the digital tools, there has to be a certain level of acceptance. Technology changes our landscape. Our lives, work, and recreation all depend on technology to fuel all our desires. Digital tools are here to stay and it’s time we accept them and mold to the digital ecosystem. 

My Horrible Lunch

I remember when I was in elementary school, my mom used to make me these amazing lunches. She always put so much care into the ants on a log or ham and cheese sandwich with mustard and mayonnaise. As a young child, I wasn’t very grateful for my mother’s efforts. I would whine and complain that the lunches didn’t taste very good or weren’t what I wanted. My mother always tried to do her best to fill my needs, but it was difficult because I never knew what I wanted. 

Eventually, my friend told me he wished his mom would make lunches for him. At that moment, I recognized that my self-pity and selfishness were devaluing my lunches. My spectacular lunches didn’t taste or look good to me because my heart wasn’t in the right place. My attitude was my fault alone and not my mother’s fault. At that moment, sitting at my lunch table, I recognized my mom was putting her full effort into filling my needs. All I needed to do was recognize the value in each piece of food in my lunch, and it would look and taste so much better.

Eat Digital Tools for Lunch

Just like the lunch, my mom made for me every day, sometimes individuals need to recognize the value in each piece of a digital tool and do a heart assessment. Developers of digital tools aren’t stupid. Every piece of a digital tool takes careful consideration. Sometimes developers create poor user experiences which lead to the devaluation of their product. When approaching a new digital tool, don’t assume that the developers meant to create a poor user experience. Instead, recognize the value in every piece of a digital tool you’re experimenting with. 

If there’s an issue with a digital tool that makes your life difficult, reach out to their support team. Just like when I told my mom I didn’t like my lunches, reaching out is the first step to solving conflict. The second step to solving conflict is doing a heart check. Here are some questions to consider: Are you overlooking something? Am I in the wrong? Is there some way I can help solve this conflict on my end? Is this really a big deal? If you can successfully recognize the value in every piece of a digital tool you’re experimenting with and perform a heart check, you will eat digital tools for lunch. 

Conclusion

The more we trust technology, the higher our digital literacy and enjoyment around digital tools in America. Technology companies do their best to practice the six building blocks of trust in order to really connect with their customers. If you can successfully recognize the value in every piece of a digital tool you’re experimenting with and perform a heart check, you will eat digital tools for lunch.