One’s credibility can be destroyed at any time with just a single deed or word, but building it requires continual effort over days and months: it can never be completed once and for all. Never dream that one day you can gain the trust of others without doing something. If this point sinks in, you will realize how foolish it is to fail to take care about what you routinely say and do and yet still want to establish your credibility. Furthermore, credibility is earned by solid actions, and not by empty words. Empty talk may sound touching and authentic, and, at its best, may even win momentary attention, but the listeners will then follow up by observing your actions. If your words are found to be insincere, people will become alerted and doubtful. And once your dishonesty has been found out time and again, they will simply turn a deaf ear to you, to say nothing of having trust in you. With this point in mind, you will see that empty words or perfunctory actions achieve nothing in building one’s credibility. In sum, credibility is earned by one’s reliable actions over a long period of time. If one makes constant effort to act as he says, or in other words, commits himself to his promises and assertions, it is a matter of course that people will put their trust in him: there is no need to pretend to be trustworthy or brag about one’s own honesty. Credibility must be tested by time and fact, it is far from being a mere façade or something to which one pays lip service.
The same is also true of the credibility of a government in the eyes of its people. A clean government spares no effort to work in the interests of the country; it never abuses its power and never exploits its people for the benefit of cliques or factions; it stays clear of extravagance and corruption. When these principles of governance are compromised, it only makes its own people sad and its enemies happy; when they are carried out in concrete ways and have proven to be effective, people are willing to place their trust in a government even though it remains low-key in public rhetoric. Government officials may talk glibly about good governance, but empty words will only annoy their listeners. Words alone do not do the job. This era seems to be one in which people are prone to complain about others, but to my mind, it is preferable to exercise self-examination. One’s enemies need not be feared; oneself and one’s fellow citizens are all one need worry about. Credibility is built by actions and must be tested by time, all witnessed by the public. If this can be attained, one’s enemies, ferocious and crafty as they are, will find no success with their tricks.