By Reino Gevers
trump__clintonIts official: Donald Trump has been chosen as the 45th U.S. president, like it or not. Here in Europe and elsewhere in the world most people woke up to the news with absolute disbelief and shock.  Only about five per cent of Germans would have voted for him, according to one opinion poll.

A lot of sincere, honest and good people I know in the U.S. have voted for Trump. I see a lot of similarity to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. Defying all the pollsters and predictions from political analysts, a lot of people out there are very angry and frustrated with the political establishment. It appears that a large percentage of the Trump and the Brexit voters can be found  among blue collar workers, people who have lost their jobs in once booming manufacturing industries and who are not getting by financially in new badly paid services jobs or dont have a job at all.

When societies undergo tumultuous changes, where all the old values certainties start crumbling, toxic emotions are triggered. Where fear reigns, the demagogue appealing to basic survival instincts, has easy play.

Trump is promising to make America great again and to double economic growth. Disappointment is inevitable. I remember very well the euphoria after Barack Obama was chosen as the first black American president. Did it change the lives of the ordinary working family in the U.S. or the rest of the world? And a Trump presidency won’t be working miracles either. Nor would a Hillary Clinton have worked wonders for that matter.

Its an illusion that a government,  a president, an employer, a parent or anyone else out there can make you a happier, healthier and a more contented person. Unfortunately politics is massively fuelling this deception and creating a culture of entitlement.  My take on this is that the world has become far too complex for any one government or leader to make a difference. We need a major cultural change of attitude.

Whether you become a happier, more successful, healthier and contented person is a result of the personal choices you make. And  the first step is taking over responsibility for everything that happens in your life:

  • We cannot control external events but we do control our reaction to them.
  • We do have a choice of what people we surround ourselves with. Who are your friends? Are they upbeat, positive or have a preominantly negative outlook on life? We become the sum of the five people we surround ourselves most with.
  • What do you feed your mind and body with?
  • What are your five most cherished values and who is the person you know who emanates them the most?

Life is a learning curve and we cannot delegate resonsibility to others.  I love that famous quote from John F. Kennedy at his inaugural speech on January 20th 1961: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Reino Gevers – Mentoring for Leaders and Achievers