President Donald J. Shrek

Re: “How to Find a Good Leader”,  November 3, 2018, Peggy Noonan)

For those of you (Trump Haters and Never Trumpers) still angry and confused by the election of Donald Trump, perhaps you would be enlightened by the animated movie, “Shrek”.

Shrek as President.jpg

Shrek is an ogre who lives in a swamp. He is crude, smelly, rude and uses ear wax for candles. He likes his life just the way it is. Because the cowardly prince, Lord Farquaad, has confiscated his property—Shrek has to bargain to get his swamp back.  The deal is that Shrek must rescue the Princess Fiona who is under the spell of an evil witch from a remote castle guarded by a fire breathing dragon. He dons a helmet and sets off with his donkey to rescue the princess.

Shrek and Donkey locate the castle, cross a rickety bridge over burning lava, and find the princess. Fiona is anxiously waiting for a gallant hero, but Shrek is not gallant, shakes her roughly and simply says Lets go! Fiona who was expecting something more, protests-- I am awaiting  a knight so bold as to rescue me. Should this not be a wonderful romantic moment?  You should sweep me off my feet and take me down a rope to your valiant steed!  You could recite an epic poem, or ballad…..

She continues to complain upon hearing the dragon roar:  You didn’t slay the dragon?  But this isn’t right! You were meant to charge in, sword drawn, banner flying.  That’s what all the other knights did.

Shrek, sarcastically:  Yeah, right before they burst into flames.  (Think all other Republican Congresses and Presidents!)

After a harrowing escape from the dragon and crossing the lava, Fiona insists that Shrek remove his helmet so that may share “true love’s first kiss”.  Reluctantly, he takes off the helmet. A shocked Fiona exclaims, You’re…an ogre!

Shrek replies: Oh, you were expecting Prince Charming?

Fiona:  Well, yes, actually.  This is all wrong.   You are not supposed to be an ogre. 

And so, this the lesson of Donald J. Trump.   Sometimes we don’t always get the leader that we expected or imagined.  The hero who is brave enough, bold enough and persistent enough to save the day--or the country—may not meet the highest standards of probity, eloquence and political correctness.

Or, you can refuse to be rescued by an ogre.  You can return to your lofty tower prison and wonder why your country was lost to socialism, mob violence and poverty.  You will compromise with the dragon and the evil witch as you “work together to get things done”.   There you will sit, waiting, growing old and demented, softly humming:  Someday my prince will come, someday I will find the one…….   

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Post was jointly conceived and written with my wife, Martha.

For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and 
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“They’re Stupid!”

Where have you heard that lately? People are saying that Mr. Trump’s “they’re stupid” mantra has turned political correctness on its head. But, he may be on to something. A friend of mine reminded me of Carlo Maria Cipolla’s study of human stupidity which he reported in an essay titled The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity. Cipolla identified five fundamental laws of stupidity:

  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

You ignore Cipolla’s five laws at your peril, especially #5.

As a business owner and executive, I didn’t use the word stupid, but like any good executive or manager, I understood the dangers stupid people presented.

My team at Juris, Inc. called them “unconscious incompetents.” They are people who are not yet competent for the position they are in and do not know they are incompetent. Few people, including the President of the United States, go into a position fully competent on day one. Conscious incompetent people know their limitations and compensate. They seek advice, take advantage of training opportunities, they self study, etc. — all in an effort to learn and gain experience that increases their level of competency. The process from incompetent to competent is explained by the authority triangle in my book The Language of Excellence.

The unconscious incompetent without hesitation makes decisions for which they are not qualified. As employees they expose an organization to undue risk and thus when identified they are driven out—terminated. The risk to society of unconscious incompetent political figures and bureaucrats is even greater, and unfortunately, they are seldom driven out, and prior to Mr. Trump, there was often no attempt to identify them. Who are unconscious incompetents: “They are the dangerous people—Trump’s “STUPID!” people.”

Now....consider this. Do you think Mr. Trump is ready, fully competent, for the job of President of the United States? If not, do you think he knows that? ...And if he doesn’t, wouldn’t that make him, I don’t know... “STUPID!”

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For signed copies of The Language of Excellence and other books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to Ebook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBooks Store and
Published by I-65 North, Inc.