When I speak with young people who tell me they want to go to college , but they’re not your big on reading and writing essays, I tell them when you say you want to go to college you need to understand you are actually saying, “I want to do a lot of work.”
Analogously, when you want to be the president of the United States, ostensibly the leader of the free world, understand that you are asking to be scrutinized and put under a microscope.
When you repeatedly say you’re the smartest guy in the room and you know more than anybody else, and everyone who came before you was stupid or incompetent, you really can’t ask for “slack” or “a little time to get things up and running”’ you can’t ask people to “give you a chance because you just got started”, or because you don’t have experience in this field.
Growing up, we were told, “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it”, and “Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.” Both statements admonished us to be careful about what we said and not to put ourselves in situations where we wrote a check with our mouths that our butts couldn’t cash. If I told you I could beat Lebron James or Stephen Curry one on one, but when we played, they were beating me like a drum, I couldn’t say, “Yeah, they are beating me, but they’re great NBA players, they’re pros.” I can’t use that as my excuse or my defense since I was the one who called them out, I was the one who said I was better. I can’t ask people to “Give me a break because I am not a pro”, or “ To cut me a little slack”. I was the person who made the statement, the person who “asked for something and got what I asked for.” I can’t now ask people not to scrutinize the results of my contest, not to criticize me, evaluate me or even disparage me.
I like to tell students if you are man or woman enough to say something, you should be man enough or woman enough to repeat, and you should be man enough or woman enough to accept the challenges and responsibilities your words bring. Period.
For me, a big part of maturity, of being an adult, is not reaching a certain age- hell, there are seventy year olds who behave like spoiled five year olds behave when they don’t get their way. For me, the biggest part of maturity is being able to stand up and say,”Yes, I said that”, and if what you said turns out to be wrong, the ability or capacity to say, “I was wrong.”
When you make statements like, “I am smarter than everyone else” or “ the people who preceded me were stupid or incompetent”, you are putting one hell of a target on your back and you are placing yourself in the spotlight and under the microscope, you are inviting everyone to take his/her shot at you, to question you, to evaluate you, criticize you, disagree with you, prove you wrong, ( or at least try to prove you wrong), arm chair quarterback you, and when you say you want the job of president of the United States, the “leader of the free world,”- and you get the job- you have to know that everything will be ramped up exponentially.
As adults, it is our responsibility to model the behavior we want to see in young people as well as to pass on the wisdom our lives’ experiences have afforded us, and one piece of wisdom we would do well to pass on would be the admonition to ”Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.”