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Vail Daily column: Spin the thread

Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

I’m not quite sure how he got into the house. The first time I spotted him (I’m not even sure if it’s a him), he was nestled into one of the upper corners of a window. He looked like a wolf spider to me … not that I have any business trying to identify spiders. I work well with spreadsheets. I’m usually pressed for time, nearly all the time, and stopping my morning routine to chase a spider down that wasn’t hurting anybody was not on the docket.

Well, about a week later I walk into the bathroom and do one of those crazy dances that people do when they walk into a spider’s web. There’s a comedian out there that talks about seeing people walk into spider’s webs from a distance. I can only imagine how completely crazy I would have looked to a casual observer as I yelled and batted my hands across my own face.

The positive outcome of this experience, however, is that it started me thinking about spider’s silk. Apparently, some spiders produce silk that has the same tensile strength of a high quality alloy steel. Tensile strength refers to the material’s ability to be stretched or pulled before breaking. Essentially, pound for pound, the tensile strength of spider’s silk is about half that of Kevlar, but with a great deal more flexibility. The applications would be endless, and from what I can read, it looks like science is working on it.

I’m not a scientist though, and in my never-ending quest to find meaning in the most obscure of places, I started to think about what might resemble spider’s silk in our own lives.

It seems, to the casual observer, that the entire business world is built around a lack of trust. We have checks and balances in nearly every organization with which we interact. There are security cameras in grocery stores for goodness sake. Organizations now have technology to scan employee emails. GPS location technology on phones allows us to keep track of everyone’s movements. There’s a market for GPS blocking, so we now can purchase tools and technology that will mitigate others’ abilities to check up on us.

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At home, we worry when the doorbell rings. I remember the time when a knock on the door was a pleasant occurrence. Now, I find myself wondering whether or not to hit the deck or grab a shotgun. When did we stop feeling comfortable answering our own front doors?

On the other side of the spectrum though, we all seem to have relationships that work extremely well. Maybe it’s a spouse, a friend or a business partner. Most people have at least one person that they trust at a very high level. In these relationships, we see incredible successes. We see that when trust is present, we can do amazing things together.

The spider’s silk of humanity is this very thin, nearly invisible strand of trust that can connect us to other people. Sometimes, we don’t even see that it is being spun between us. I’m convinced though that we can consciously spin this thread with others.

Trust, both in business and in our personal relationships, doesn’t happen overnight. Just because it’s not instantaneous though, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we can’t consciously spin it through our own efforts. We sometimes think that trust just happens. Though a spider’s web seems to instantaneously appear in the corner of our house, it is the result of a conscious effort throughout a period of time. Along that same line of thought, we are the only ones that create constraints to the time taken or the depth of trust achieved with other people.

When people are connected by this thin but extremely strong thread of trust, there is nearly no limit to what they can accomplish. Each of us has a special set of skills and talents that enables us to be resources for others. We have threads formed with other people that can allow even more threads to be formed when we bring others into our circles.

Through consciously forming these threads on a daily basis, we can create connections and pools of resources that could not be achieved otherwise.

The only question you really have to ask yourself is, what do you want to accomplish? After that, you just need to identify if you are willing to go out and spin the thread.

Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.


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