WHAT DID YOU FAIL AT THIS WEEK? A REPRISE, by Art Smukler, author & Psychiatrist

I wish someone had asked me that when I was a child, and I had asked the same question to my children.

This is now third-hand, but who cares? Good information should be passed along. 

Fareed Zakaria, the brilliant educator and commentator, shared some details of an interview he had with Sara Blakely, the self-made billionaire developer of Spanx, a must-have underwear for women. 

Ms. Blakely attributed her success to her father. Once a week he would ask, “What did you fail at this week?”

“Daddy, why do you keep asking that? I didn’t fail at anything!” Sara said, a puzzled expression on her face.

“I want you to live up to your full potential. If you only try safe things and are afraid to fail, how can you grow and improve?”

So one day, Sara told her father about something that she tried and how miserably she failed. Her father beamed with pleasure, raised his hand and hi-fived his lovely daughter. “I’m so proud of you!” he said. “So very, very proud.”

This lesson applies to all of us, no matter how old, or how jaded we’ve become. Trying new things and risking failure to follow a dream is sure to entail periods of anguish.

Writers are especially vulnerable. Sitting alone staring at your Apple screen, as wisps of ideas make their way from the darkened recesses of your pre-conscious mind, is a unique task and leaves one vulnerable and disquieted. There are no cheerleaders or decibel-shattering student sections to urge you on when you find the right word or idea. You are a cheering section of one.

The chances of success may at times seem dim and foolish, but four times a month you get to ask yourself the question, “What have I failed at this week?”

If you try something new, something daring, by my standards, that is a raging success!

SHOULD DONALD TRUMP CHANGE HIS BRAND? by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Before Donald Trump ran for president, my naive impression of him was that he was a brilliant businessman. The Art of the Deal, was who he was. When we travelled to places that had a Trump Resort, I saw it as a place where people of means could enjoy a luxurious experience — pricey but worth the value.

Now, if someone gave me a free week at anything associated with the Trump brand, I’d refuse. His brand, in my mind, has changed from gold to feces.

What? You say. How can that have happened?

Simple. I now picture the man as Baby Huey, sitting all dressed up in his blue suit in the oval office.

With his simple-minded take on the world, and self-aggrandizing approach to governing, he has devalued a position I once held in high esteem, The Presidency of the United States. People I respect don’t impulsively tweet abusive, devaluing comments whenever the urge comes upon them.
“I’m a counter-puncher” Donald Trump says, as if that makes it all okay.

Part of being president is to set an example that children and adults can try to emulate. OMG. What if everyone took off the gloves and did and said whatever they wanted? Chaos…

I disagreed with much that both President Obama and President Bush did, but they were both respectful adults. I’d love to spend time with either of them and I have dozens of questions that I’d love to discuss and debate.

Donald Trump needs to change his brand from the impulsive pop-culture, “You’re Fired” to the sensitive, “Tell me more why you think I’m such a jerk so I can do my best to change.” The chances of that happening are less than Global Warming spontaneously going away.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks. Also, please visit Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist — mystery and romance meets psychology.