Well today I didn’t see that coming. Honestly I thought it was terrifying enough that Trump had become 50% of the presidential candidates with a shot at the United States Presidency. It’s not even because he had been sexist, racist and xenophobic. In Australia we have had heads of state that share similar sentiments, we regularly hear about people wanting to ‘Stop the Boats’ here, which is our equivalent of wanting to build a wall I suppose.
The problem for me was that he just wasn’t good enough. Hardly presidential, completely uninformed, unprepared, easily upset. A name calling, impatient and at time childish fully grown man, with a very wonky grasp on facts ranging from mistruths to outright lies on a scale that boggled my mind coming from a man that is making speeches in public and running for the office termed ‘leader of the free world’.
Then, today, Donald Trump won.
Upon reflection, I can see how this has come to pass. Taking a look around at the kinds of things I see every day it’s not hard to see how often we laud and support and let Trump-like things in our own society.
We have become a society that applauds average. We applaud fraud. We applaud small doses of even criminal activity, depending on who does it. No longer is it important to BE an expert, you simply have to SAY you are an expert. People attend university less to acquire knowledge, and more to acquire ‘a piece of paper’. You can be paid simply for what your Instagram looks like, rather than the things you are doing. We have business coaches that don’t know how to run businesses promising 7-figure profits, fitness experts promising expedited results to get a certain body type, everything quicker, easier, simpler. People often want to hear your ‘pitch’ they don’t want to know what you are up to.
We are forgetting the art of mastery. We are spending so much time and energy looking like something, that we are forgetting to actually BE that something.
We now have the biggest scale outcome possible from this environment where substance no longer matters. Truth no longer matters. Hype matters. Saying things matters, even if they aren’t true. Pitch matters. We are electing slogans and not actions. The time you have put into actually developing yourself doesn’t matter.
It is the same environment that allows equal amounts of media coverage to climate change denial as it does for the actual facts that human-induced climate change is really happening, right now. Expertise counts less now than it ever did. with volume counting for more than truth. The loudest voice in the room wins, not the person who is actually speaking truth.
Trump has pitched the world’s biggest and best, ‘Get Rich Quick’ scheme to millions of disaffected Americans, and they have responded according to the environment they are accustomed to. Like all good ‘Quick’ schemes, it is low on the details, and high on emotion and ‘Huge, Tremendous’ claims… believe me.
We are chasing celebrity, appearances and a façade of success and happiness over intelligence and integrity in every other aspect of our lives, so now I can see how we have ended up with a President of the USA that ticks those boxes. Who can offer us a body in a two week challenge, six figure incomes within a month and who can fix our country in ten simple steps that will be enacted within a week of taking office?
Forget the fact that science, evidence and truth will all indicate that these things are impossible, the fact is we buy these pitches every, single, day. It was only a matter of time before the will and actions of the people filtered up to their representatives.
As long as we make celebrities out of actors and athletes who’s behaviour would make us cringe, as long as the only barrier to entry into claiming to be an expert in a certain field is the number of characters you are allowed to use in an Instagram bio, and as long as we keep failing to demand the best out of ourselves and others, the leadership of countries that stand for nothing, will continue to represent the people.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, be better, demand better and as always, Just Be Nice.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports