Now What? Some Thoughts After the Presidential Election


The people have voted, and we now have a new president-elect in the United States. Half the country is elated and the other half is shocked, dismayed and disillusioned. Whichever side you were on in this presidential election, let me suggest a few things to consider on how we move forward.

1. You Still Determine the Quality of Your Life

Being 72 years old and having lived through 13 elections since I was old enough to vote, I have continually seen people believe that whoever they elected as president would dramatically change the quality of their life. But it hardly ever happens. The truth is that whoever is in the White House rarely significantly changes the quality of your life. Certainly, they can affect some of the conditions within which you operate, but they do not ultimately determine the quality of your life. You are responsible for that.

Sure there have been incremental changes over time in terms of civil rights, social security, and medical care, but generally, the things that really matter about the quality of your life lie outside the influence of the government.

2. Apply the Success Principles to Your Work and Life

I once read a book called Prince Charming Is Not Coming that made the point that most people give their power away to someone else, hoping that person will rescue them from their circumstances and dramatically improve the quality of their life. It is the fodder for all the romance novels that sell millions of copies. It allows you to live in a fantasy world, hoping that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy will somehow make it all better without you having to do the work of creating your own success.

As you know, I teach the formula E+R=O: Events + your Response equals the Outcomes you get in life.

Whether you are happy or despondent, today is the result of the story you are telling yourself right now. It is your thoughts about the event, not the event itself, that determines how you feel, and it is only your actions in response to the event that will determine the quality of your future. So whatever your feelings and concerns are right now, the main thing for you to do is to apply the success principles to your work and life.

Focus on the vision you have for your family, your career, your company or nonprofit organization, and your local community, visualize and affirm the results you want, believe you can create it, and then work with your team, your mastermind group, and your accountability partner to make it happen. Simply sitting around celebrating or sitting around feeling bad will not get it done.

3. We All Ultimately, Want the Same Things

I saw a wonderful ad from Pedigree dog food that aired during the election coverage last night. It showed a woman wearing a Hillary tee shirt with a golden retriever that she pretended was a lost dog wandering around among Trump supporters waiting in line to get into a Trump rally pretending to look for the owner of the dog. Later she did the same thing wearing a Trump tee shirt wandering around a gathering of Hillary supporters. When the people on both sides began bonding over the dog, they acknowledged their common humanity and shared values, and as one woman stated, “If you talk person to person, you realize you care about each other.”

So, while we all have our political differences, most of us ultimately want the same thing: a safe environment for our kids and families, access to education and affordable medical care, a decent job, freedom of expression, mutual respect, a sense of belonging, and the right to pursue our dreams.

And even though we may disagree on the best way to achieve those things, we now acknowledge that most people, and there are some exceptions, are good and decent people, who are doing the best they can with the awareness and skills they have to create a life that works for them and the people they care about.

4. Create Win-Win Solutions for All People

I think this election has taught us that, as a nation, a lot of people’s needs and concerns have not been heard by the people in Washington and by many in the media. Hillary Clinton on the left and Donald Trump on the right have made us aware that more people than many have realized have felt left out, ignored and disenfranchised.

And while I still believe that our own personal lives are primarily our own responsibility, if we are to create in reality the country we all were taught America is when we studied civics and social studies in school, we have to start deeply listening to each other, and work to create win-win solutions that take into consideration the needs of ALL the people, not just the people who look and think like us.

5. Keep Joyfully Pursuing Your Dreams

As many of you know, I have defined my life purpose as “to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy in harmony with the highest good of all concerned.”

In harmony with the highest good of all concerned means that in all our actions, we need to quit seeing others who don’t agree with us as the enemy or as people who don’t matter. They simply represent a set of human experiences and a point of view that needs to be sincerely listened to and deeply considered. We need to look beneath the surface of their different position and see what deeper unmet human needs they represent. We need to seek understanding and practice compassion.

So I encourage you to keep joyfully pursuing your dreams, believe it is possible to achieve them, while at the same time sincerely caring about and taking into consideration how all your actions and non-actions impact others and the environment.

6. We All Need to Come Together to do Our Best Work

Finally, for those of you who were supporting Hillary and are perhaps feeling sad, scared, hopeless and depressed, remember that it is okay to grieve. Psychologists agree that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Last night, you probably couldn’t believe what happened, and now many of you are angry and/or depressed. Make sure to give yourself permission to feel all your feelings, but also remember that you must eventually accept what is simply because it is, and then move on with your life.

None of us ever knows for sure what the future will bring. It may be better or worse than you currently imagine, but it is important to remember that you always have a choice about how you react to it. As the work of Byron Katie has taught us, it is not the event, but our thoughts that it shouldn’t be the way that it is, that creates our suffering. And as we have learned from the work of Esther and Jerry Hicks, the best way out of suffering is to think a better feeling-thought—a thought that makes you feel better.

As we always must do after an election in America, we all need to come together and do our best to work together to create the best solutions we can to the problems and challenges that face us. I believe that if we act together we have the power and the ability to do that.  

Do you want to learn how you can apply the Success Principles in all areas of your life? Click here to download the first two chapters of my best-selling book, The Success Principles.



You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

  • dan

    Jack, I see where you are coming from and have been through elections similar to this one before. I can't control events beyond my control.

    Still, after watching how vile Mr. Trump was in questioning President Obama's legitimacy and birth certificate for years, I have a hard time recognizing his legitimacy. His party obstructed Obama at every turn, shutting down the government, refusing to consider his supreme court nominee, and voting down his health care plan, and refusing to have an honest debate about just about everything. The well has been poisoned. How do you clean it up again?

    I am positive that had Hillary Clinton won, half of America would be obstructing everything that she did, so maybe it's a good thing she lost.

    How do we get past these feelings of unfairness? Shouldn't life be a little fair and make a tiny bit of sense? Americans should come together after an election, but they don't anymore.

    I have a choice on how to react and I am pissed! I plan on dedicating myself to doing all of the things I wish America was doing. Someday, hopefully in my lifetime, America will come around...

    • -Howard Davis

      I agree, Trump has no business representing the UNITED states; It isn't as simple as we (Hillary) didn't win. Based on the rhetoric coming from trump rallies, their vision is anything but united or inclusive; constant invoking of 2nd amendment rights, religious freedom to persecute others and put women in jail for seeking reproductive rights over their own bodies. Let's start rebuilding now; After all we are the majority who seek freedom for all who live in this country

  • Hilda

    Jack, love this article! Well said and I believe that this is exactly what people need to hear and apply to themselves rather than try to change something that's already happened and you can't change the past! All you can do is move forward, work together like you said as 1 nation, 1 country!!! Also, as you said as well it's upsetting if whatever party you voted for did not get elected, but staying positive and keep focused on your goals and dreams really shouldn't make a difference! Law of attraction! You get what you give in return! And as you say: Events + your Response equals the Outcomes YOU get in life! Thank you Jack for what you do!!!

    • Exactly, Hilda. When we realize we can not change the past, we are able to look to the future and focus on shaping the outcome that we will be happy with. Not everything will go the way we hoped for or planned, but our response will shape the outcome that we experience.

  • Timeka Williams

    Donald Trump won because of the Law of Attraction. He received the most attention and whether positive or negative, thoughts become things. It's important to coexist in this country in a peaceful manner with all people and we can first start by thinking positively. Donald Trump has a hard road ahead just as any leader of this country has had. Hope that Donald Trump has good success as God wants for our life. Don't get distracted by what really doesn't matter like what candidate was the better of the two, but focus on moving ahead in a more successful direction because there is strength in numbers. Make your citizenship count and personally do whatever you can do as an individual to make this country a better place.

    • That is an excellent observation, Timeka. The Law of Attraction is absolutely in action and will shape to our thoughts both in a positive light and negative light. This is why we must be careful with how we use this power. Stay positive and hopeful that President Trump will be successful and will open his heart to the concerns of Americans. His success is truly our success. Keep up the great work spreading your positive message, Timeka!

  • mitaky

    Of all the points number five really brought smile in my face! Now is the time to remember our dreams, nourish them, share them and never give up on them. We must liberate our heart-mind from all negativities and follow whatever makes us alive and joyful. I am thinking of starting a conversation on good citizenship that is based on generosity, wisdom and compassion for all living beings. The five mindful trainings for an upright global citizen and happy humanity are cultivating: 1) Respect for life; abstain from harming and killing 2) respect for land, property and commons; abstain from taking what is not given 3) respect for another's body; abstain from sexual & sensual misconduct 4) respect for true speech; abstain from false, harsh, divisive and idle (gossip) speech 5) respect for mindful consumption; abstain from drug and intoxicants that makes one heedless and destructive. All emphasize non-harm, foster trust, safety and security, care for each other, and cultivation of our sky-like open heart-mind so we can evolve and fly.

    • Well said, Mitaky. That is a great conversation to start!

  • RoadieToadie

    I'm not so sure this article would have been written had Hillary won.

  • Lorraine

    Thank you Jack, always fun to read something well written and upbeat. You keep us always looking for ways to improve situations instead of looking at someone else to blame or for someone else to pave the way. Figure it out everyone. So thank you once Jack for all you do as a citizen, and in my eyes, a world leader. We need more like you...

    • Thank you, Lorraine! When we take complete ownership of our lives, we benefit greatly and the world around us benefits greatly. Sending positive thoughts!

  • C Nelson

    If Trump was a women he would have been kicked out in a second. If Hillary was a man she would have Won. Sad but true 🙂 Jack always enjoy you.....and all your books 🙂

  • Klemen

    You're awesome Jack, love you 🙂

    • Thank you, Klemen! Sending positive thoughts your way!

  • Mark Green

    We should continue each day working towards our goals and continue to apply principles that are universal and proven. I will continue to improve the quality of my life and remove the limiting beliefs planted when I was young. Thanks for helping us keep focus Jack.