Trump’s Presidency Proves Why Self Reliance is Key

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.

The broader implications of Trump’s “tap” tweet

President Trump’s most recent claim accuses his predecessor of tapping his phones at Trump Tower weeks before the 2016 election. By itself, that’s a bad enough charge to levy at one’s political opponent without sufficient evidence. But it’s worth looking at Mr. Trump’s motivations more closely.

A recent Breitbart piece is generally accepted as the origin of the president’s tweet, which adheres to Mr. Trump’s trend of consuming a significant portion of his news from alternative sources. The president’s motivations are, per usual, shrouded in a muddled fog of rushed secrecy. It has been postured by some that this accusation is a deflection to distract from the scrutiny the Trump administration has received for possible ties to Russia. Trump’s camp insists the tap actually happened, though they have failed to compile any compelling evidence. Though, if Trump Tower was indeed tapped, it could have been for reasons that are well within the legal realm. At this point, Trump is either trying to beat the feds to the punch and cast doubt on the tap’s legality, there was no tap and he believed a phony tabloid, or he willingly lobbed a serious accusation at Mr. Obama with the intention to rile his base into a frenzy, renewing a vitriolic response to his adversaries while potentially hiding the aforementioned Russian ties in the process. The truth will not likely be kind to the recent White House tenant.

But it’s the second possibility that is the most nefarious. If President Trump truly believes this crock, it’s likely that his chief strategist, Steve Bannon (a man whose beliefs could have seriously adverse implications on policy), has at least a little sway over him. At best Trump is intentionally citing the kind of fringe outlets that deny the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place. At worst, he’s fallen prey to the manipulative work of conspiracy theorists.

Occam’s razor suggests that it’s more likely that the president is trying to divert attention from something else or a legal tap was warranted. But that doesn’t make the other possibilities any less unsettling.

-JG