To say that the first few months of Trump’s presidency has been a crazy roller coaster ride would be a dramatic understatement. To be candid, I personally don’t agree with many of Trump’s policy positions (climate change, immigration, healthcare etc). While all the topics and issues have been well documented and discussed in the news and media, I was hoping to offer a different perspective on what my two key takeaways are.
There’s Too Much of a Focus on the President
In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduced a profound concept between the Circle of Concern vs the Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern refers to things that you worry about but have no direct impact over, while the Circle of Influence are things you directly control. He argues that the most successful people focus their time and energy in the Circle of Influence and less on items in the Circle of Concern. I will argue that we have collectively spent way too much time focusing on Trump (Issues of Concern) and much less time on things we can control (Issues of Influence).
To apply this concept to reality, if you are deeply concerned about climate change, Elon Musk is a perfect example of moving an issue from Circle of Concern into Circle of Influence. Instead of being concerned about climate change and waiting for the government to solve the problem, he took matters into his own hands and created Tesla and Solar City. For us regular people, we can directly control things like driving less, buying more fuel efficient cars, using solar energy in our homes etc. While these things may seem small, they are actionable items that will have a big impact in aggregate. It certainly will have a bigger net impact than blaming Trump on social media will ever have.
There’s Too Much of a Focus on the Government
The entitlement question is one that I have always been conflicted over. I fundamentally believe people should have a safety net and the economic resources to try and better themselves. At the same time, there is no free lunch in this world. By relying on the government to provide these entitlements, people are “giving away” some of their freedom and self-sufficiency to bureaucrats in Washington.
I view it akin to living in your parent’s basement vs living out on your own. As long as you rely on your parents for financial support, they will always have power and influence over you. Your parents have the option to kick you out of the house, even if you think they never would/should. I would argue that it is far better to be self-reliant and live out on your own.
If you apply this logic to the healthcare debate, the government is essentially taking away an entitlement (ie kicking you out of the house), and many people are being left out in the cold. In the healthcare situation, the government literally has more control over some people’s lives than they do, which is a huge problem we need to avoid. Instead of talking about insurance coverage, we should be focusing on driving the price of treatment and prescription drugs down so they are more affordable for everyone.
Ultimately, a Trump Presidency has taught me one key thing. The best way to combat Trump and future people like him is to try to minimize their influence on your day to day life. The more self-reliant we can be, the less we worry about what’s going on in Washington.