I was on vacation in a rural area of Michigan, when the country elected Donald Trump to be the next president.
Due to a lack of connectivity, I was able to escape most of the hype surrounding the election and the ensuing chaos around our country.
That turned out to be very valuable!
It gave me distance and time to process the fact that Trump will be our next president without be tainted by media, social media, and other people’s opinions.
In fact, I was reading The Greats on Leadership by Jocelyn Davis (which I highly recommend!) on the Wednesday after the election and one section helped me think of Trump in a new way.
Given that our country still seems to need help coming to terms with his election, I thought I would share it here.
Frankly, during the LONG election process, I would not have labelled Trump a visionary. Sure he kept saying “Let’s make America great again!” but it sounded like political rhetoric to me, with no real meat on those bones.
Then I read the section in the book on lessons for visionaries. It said:
Wait for a desperate problem to emerge
Demonstrate exceptional resilience
Be willing to be judged a fool
Doesn’t that sound like Trump?
“People will turn to a visionary only when they are in a huge predicament for which they have tried all the standard solutions and none has worked.” Americans seem VERY tired of the same politicians and political games. We are desperate.
Gandhi said “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, and then you win.” This describes Trump’s campaign perfectly. The fact that he persevered throughout all of it is a testament to his resilience. He proved that he could adjust his approach to suit each situation, each milestone, each set-back and keep going.
And here is the sentence from the book that changed everything for me. “History overflows with examples of leaders whom we now call inspired but who were called idiots by their contemporaries.”
Wow. “Idiot” is the exact word that I kept calling Trump whenever I heard one of his extreme views blasted all over the news. Reading that word in a book on historical perspectives on modern leadership made me take a serious pause. And then I read this:
“It seems we cannot tell the difference between genius and folly without benefit of history’s scorecard, which means that even true geniuses are, in their day, just as likely to be mocked as admired, and that vindication for your vision may come only in the distant future, if it ever comes at all.”
Maybe we Americans owe President-Elect Trump the benefit of the doubt. The irrefutable fact is that he WILL be our 45th president. No amount of demonstrations or violence is going to change that. So maybe we have to change our response. Exercise our “response ability” as I blogged about last week.
If you hear a person say one thing, but then do another, what do you believe? It’s an evolutionary trait to believe the action, not the words.
We’ve heard a lot of words from Trump.
I, for one, am going to let go of my former opinions of him and form new ones based on his actions now that he is elected. I’m going to let history’s scorecard label him a genius…or not.
What do you think? It was a very divisive election, can Trump’s vision for America unite us under his presidency?
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Ban shredded cheese! Make America Grate Again!