“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.” — Donald Trump
Responding to Obstacles and Misforturne
No matter what the obstacle, Donald Trump never gets off message – “I am the best candidate for president,” he says, with the insinuation that “anyone who questions me is an idiot.”
Minor details such as his apparent fabrications of the truth, insults hurled at opponents and journalists, contradictions of earlier positions he took, don’t bother him in the least. Because Mr. Trump radiates such self-assurance, we are inclined to believe him and overlook his seemingly half-baked statements.
We may choose to respond to setbacks like Donald Trump and bombastically claim we have been unfairly treated and misunderstood.
For most of us, however, misfortune gives us pause for thought. Contrary to Mr. Trump, we may respond to setbacks with a sigh and a smile. We could take the attitude that we may have lost a battle, but at least we come away with our self- respect intact and maybe we learned something along the way.
The Rental Car Epiphany
Last week I rented a car to take my wife and two boys to Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving break. As we drove out of my driveway, I discovered that the car had no cruise control. I decided to exchange to car for one with cruise control. While waiting at the counter I heard a commotion at another car company at the other end of the room.
A customer was yelling at the two desk attendants.
“I already told him!” I heard the man scream while flailing his arms at one of the attendants.
I couldn’t hear all that was said, but obviously the man was dissatisfied and he was in full-rant mode. It was like watching Mount St. Helens explode.
I am not going to take this bulldozer approach, even if they never switch my car, I thought.
“This car I got didn’t have cruise control. If I could, I’d like to switch it for one that does. Sorry, I didn’t check that before I left,” I said to the attendant.
“I’ll look and see if we have one available with cruise,” he said.
“Thank you. I appreciate that.”
“No problem. Have a good trip.”
Without bursting one blood vessel, I was able to get a car with cruise control and have a fun trip to LA.
In fairness to the guy who blew his top, he was probably already having a bad day, even before the rental car meltdown. We’ve all been there. We have days where if one more person tries to take advantage of us, it pushes us over the edge, like Billy Jack.
I try to avoid that explosive situation by keeping in mind my long-term goals.
In the back of my mind, my objective is to make friends with the counter attendant, and beyond that, to win them over to my way of thinking with friendliness and reason. I believe that life is inherently fair and if I calmly explain the problem, the attendant will see the light.
To see it from the attendant’s position, nine times out of ten, the staff person is only following the company policy.
As Abraham Lincoln said,
“A drop of honey that catches one’s heart, when once gained, you will find little trouble in convincing their judgement of the justice of your cause.”
Lincoln’s approach seems a bit more practical to me than Donald Trump’s.
These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.
Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “How Abe Lincoln Used Stories.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.