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.



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