What to do about the habitual starters in our lives? | Opinion

May 12, 2020 6:30 am

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the beginning of a new conference with members of the coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump updated the American people about what his administration’s ‘whole of government’ response to the global coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Daren Berringer

I’m kicking myself. I saw all the signs years ago but overlooked making the connection. The lies to paint an alternate, more favorable version of the truth. Never having the ability to commit to anything. The narcissism. The blaming of others each and every time they fail. The sales job. The lack of substance or any intellectual curiosity whatsoever. One big perpetual con job. 

And now it’s too late. 

Habitual starters such as President Donald Trump are drawn to the allure of the stage. The attention they get for having all eyes focused on them. There’s nothing wrong with people loving attention for their true accomplishments.

A good friend once told me that even Gandhi was a narcissist. But at least he was actually fighting the good fight for a worthy cause. 

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It’s this addiction we find in others that run to the spotlight to make the announcement of some grand venture, but then once it’s time for the real work to begin and the attention fades, that venture is no longer worth their time. 

Trump has started many businesses; of all kinds, non-profits, personal crusades (i.e. President Obama’s birth certificate), a so-called university, flirtations with running for office, running for office and so on. More times than not they have a common denominator: Him and failure. 

You could even examine his personal life a bit and his much drawn attention to multiple failed marriages and the very public way in which those vows were repeatedly broken. And when you read headlines that “Donald Trump masqueraded as his own publicist to brag about himself,” it’s as if his affairs were all part of his spotlight grabbing scheme as well. 

It’s carried over into the most powerful position in the world. Numerous political science studies have been done on models of administration with names like “hub-and-spoke” and “spokes on a wheel” and “pyramid” are often used to describe how a President runs their term in office. And now, with the countless examples of our habitual starter in chief, we find ourselves a new model which can best be described as “Ooh, a shiny object.”

Look no further than how the White House daily briefings over COVID-19 have been handled. First, Vice President Pence headed them up. 

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Then Trump realizes how much media attention they were getting, inserts himself. Once he realizes that there is real work involved, has absolutely no clue what he is doing, and the vehicle he is riding no longer serves the purpose of fueling his ego.

The cancelling of the coronavirus task force and then stating it will live on. The tell-tell signs once again emerged. The lashing out. The lies. Everyone else is wrong. The quitting. The not quitting. The distraction. Blame others. 

So to the reader, I’ll stop kicking myself if you do, too. Because now that we recognize people like President Trump for who they truly are, it’s like anything else in life.

We learn from it and grow. We thrive. We find opportunities to do more than just counter the instability, but coalesce around the principle that we’re going to enrich the lives of others as well. And we see it through. 

The habitual starters will unfortunately hold a perpetual presence in our lives. They don’t go away. We can accept that. But what we don’t have to accept is the amount of attentiveness they require in order to function. We’ll never win that battle. They always come back for more. 

Our simplistic habit of bettering ourselves and those around us will forever play a key role in how we overcome those in the vainglorious silo.

Daren Berringer is a national Democratic Party political strategist and media consultant based in Pennsylvania. 

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