“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.” – Le Corbusier
As we wake up realizing we’re at the end of this stage of our democratic process and as we prepare to move on to whatever comes next, I have a couple thoughts on the pictorial side of things.
1. Emotions trump all.
The human brain works on many levels. At bottom, your brain-stem responds to simple sensory inputs with immediate “fight or flight” reactions. Next up the chain, your limbic brain triggers emotional responses to what you perceive: happiness, sadness, fear, lust, hatred, and joy. At the top, your massive neocortex enables you to pause, take a breath, analyze your reactions and emotions, think them through, and then make informed decisions based on evidence, experience, reason, insight, and wisdom.
At the beginning of the race, I expected to use my neocortex. During the first debate, I struggled to rise above the limbic level. By the end, I was all brain stem. At moments we saw attempts to rise to rationality, but real “thinking” never had a chance this time around.
The lesson: when you look like you’re losing, ring the amygdala. It works every time.
2. Window seats look out, aisle seats look in.
I noticed an interesting aspect of the voting map. It reminded me of the seating chart when I buy a plane ticket. For the most part, those states with “window seats” voted blue and those on the aisles voted red. The people in the window seats like to look outward and see the world beyond the plane. Those in the aisles prefer to watch the movie. It is two different mindsets: seeing the outside world as an opportunity to be seized, or seeing the outside world as a threat to be avoided.
I fly a lot. Virgin America is my favorite airline. They play a little jingle just before takeoff. It’s called “We’re all in this together.” It reminds you that even though you might not like the person sitting next to you, you still need to be civil and clean up after yourself because, well, we’re all on this plane until it lands.
I like the sentiment. I hope the whole nation can live up to it. I might not agree with you, but you know what? I still prefer the window.
3. Life under a megaboss won’t be the fun some people seem to expect.
This is my most personal concern about this election. I find it unsettling how much Donald Trump admires Russian President Vladimir Putin. Not many people know this, but I lived in Russia for seven years. From 1990 to 1997, I lived and worked in Moscow. It’s a long story, but the key is that I had the opportunity to move to the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war, and I took it. I was able to build a successful advertising business in Moscow. I learned to speak Russian and made many friends, learning important lessons every step of the way. At the end, I sold my business for traveling cash, and moved back to the US.
But you know what matters most? I saw every day what it is like to live in a place where the boss alone is the boss, and what he says goes, without debate. In hindsight, I was afraid every single day I lived there. If you are a success, toe the party line, and don’t make waves, you’ll be fine. But if you choose to think different, express yourself, and raise your head for something the boss doesn’t like, be careful. The boss will take your head off.
Let’s remember; we’re all in this together. We’re all Americans, and we got here by being open, not closed. This is America. Not Russia.
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Excerpted from Draw to Win by Dan Roam with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Dan Roam, 2016.