We are Learning that Life is Not Like a TV show

Donald Trump came to national attention through a TV show. On that show, he was the boss, promoting and firing interns in split second decisions. He looked powerful.

The Trump campaign was largely based on the idea that Trump would bring the same decisive mentality to Washington, to “drain the swamp”. And a significantly large number of voters bought into this story. Indeed, some bought into so much that they believe now that Trump should simply ignore the recent court orders that stayed application of his immigration and refugee bans! Talk about drinking the kool aid!

There is a problem with this, however, and it is a rather obvious one. Life is not like a TV show. Indeed, it is not like a video game. It is not even like an action movie. What is the difference? That is a question worth pondering.

In a TV show, one can see very quickly whether the decisions that are made are effective, the feedback on them is clear and immediate. Moreover, you get the impression that decisions about what to do, do not bias the results. This is called a “kind environment”. The story line is formulaic. It is comfortable. Thus, for example, Sherlock Holmes was always right and Watson always wrong about interpreting evidence … because that was the author’s formula.

Fasten your seatbelts — if you haven’t noticed, life is not a kind environment. Therefore, the process we use to make decisions should not assume that the  context is formulaic. And contrary to what George W. Bush said that he did, we should not just follow our “gut” or instincts.  Instead we need to think and act strategically. Failing to think and act strategically in less than kind settings is a disaster waiting to happen.

So here is the odd reality. Donald Trump sits in the White House each day, learning that his formulaic approach to decision making — one that he promised to use as president — doesn’t work. And yet he cannot admit this to the public. He has to hide it and pretend that all is ok. He just has to get tougher!

This will not end well. Certainly not for us, who are doomed to live in reality rather than a reality TV show.  And I do not think it will end well for Trump. The disjoint between his fantasy world and reality just might drive him bonkers … err …  if he has not already crossed that line.

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