I had a friend once who used to say there’s no such thing as trying, only doing. I think he picked it up from seminars he used to attend. (EST I believe they were called.) It stuck with me. I stopped saying “I tried” pretty much altogether. You either do it or you don’t do it. You either figure it out or you don’t. “I tried” is a great way to stick to old habits and fail to accomplish goals without recognizing the cause that lies within you. It’s also a way to fail to accomplish something you were tasked with that you really didn’t want to get done. That said, it’s really not my thing to preach (I hope you agree with that!) and I think there are many ways to be successful (or better yet contented), but this particular perspective is relevant right now.
As soon as I saw President Trump’s executive order saying the ban on entry from certain Muslim majority countries would begin immediately and would even apply to those in transit holding valid documents, I flagged it as extremely unusual and doomed to failure. A fundamental tenet of law that anyone in law school learns is that a law that can’t be enforced is no law at all, and there was no way to roll something like this out “immediately.” As I watched the catastrophe unfold in the days and weeks to follow, and knew it was not only foreseeable but inevitable, I thought, maybe they did it this way on purpose so they could say, “We tried to fulfill our campaign promise to stop down Muslim immigration but…”
Then, when I heard in the background behind all the noise about alienating the Mexican president by taking too hard a line, that we would build the wall first and get Mexico to pay later followed up shortly by a report that Trump would be willing to reconsider the widely criticized Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Bill of 2013 or something similar, I thought, “that didn’t last long.”
Finally, when General Flynn was appointed as National Security Advisor and promptly “put Iran on notice” only to be ousted shortly thereafter, leaving behind a Trump team that has no intention of scrapping the Iran Deal as promised during the campaign, I thought, “Well, at least he can say he tried!”
I have heard many former Trump skeptics marvel with newfound admiration at how fast and hard Trump is working to keep his campaign promises, but to me it feels like when my kids leave me a dish rack full of “washed” dishes that are still dirty–“I tried” just doesn’t cut it.
#WTWOF The proof will be in the pudding on these issues and other campaign promises.
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