I think I’m a pretty good marketing coach/consultant/trainer. I have fun with what I do and I get pretty great results with my clients.
But one job I definitely would be terrible at is being president.
Why? Well, I’m just too impatient and impetuous. I want things done now and done my way. I want overnight results. I don’t have time for consensus-building. I want action and energetic implementation.
But face it, being in government and being president can only be called one thing: BORING.
Consider this: In the history of the United States, we have only had seven presidents who had previously been business owners.
According to Time Magazine, “Surprisingly, four presidents who had successful business careers — Hoover, both Bushes, and Carter — “had the four worst records in terms of gross domestic product performance.”
Well, I can relate. Business people don’t like boring. They like things to happen fast. They like attention-getting marketing. They like to make fast decisions and stir things up.
From the Washington Monthly: “The biggest difference is that in business, everyone who surrounds you WORKS FOR YOU. You can fire them, at any time. As a business leader, you define the goals, the culture, the terms of service, everything. If people do not comply, you fire them or they leave…
“There is a particular type of personality and ego type that ends up being a charismatic business leader. These people are usually the last people who you would want to put in charge of a democratic process…”
Can you imagine business leaders such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk running for president? Great in business, but simply not boring enough to succeed in politics.
No, because working in government is an agonizingly slow and boring process.
Consider the following: In Philadelphia, in the hot summer of 1787, 38 delegates got together and hammered out the articles of the US Constitution over a three-month period. The final draft was assembled in about four days. And it has endured for 233 years.
Brilliant stuff, right? But to me, the thought of 38 people writing a document over a three-month period is mind-numbingly boring. And no air conditioning!
And government has been boring ever since.
Building consensus… Boring!
Listening to opposing views… Boring!
Mountains of paperwork… Boring!
Endless meetings and briefings… Boring!
Honest disagreements on policy… Boring!
Committee hearings… Boring!
Long Speeches… Boring!
Yes, as hard as it is to wrap my head around this, good government is arguably the most boring invention of all time. People getting together and working things out in a respectful, patient way is as boring as it gets.
Boring is not a lot of fun. And to do the work of government successfully takes ridiculously committed people who are willing to endure that never-ending boredom to come up with policies and laws that will serve the best interests of the majority of citizens.
Great lawmakers, senators, congresspeople, and presidents are willing to endure the boredom to get the job done.
And I salute them for that! I promise you it is not work I could do for one single minute.
But as an American citizen, I also play my part in this government. I am one of the people who have the privilege of voting for our lawmakers. My vote counts to choose those lawmakers who will get boring government positions and do the best they can to make this country a better place.
Yes, some of them will do a better job than others. And this is why we have elections every few years. (By the way, can you imagine a more boring job than counting ballots?)
By Tuesday morning, almost two-thirds of the votes have already been cast in this election. The chances are good you’ve already voted or made up your mind to vote a certain way later today.
I ask you to consider voting, not for the most exciting candidates, but for the most boring (and competent) candidates. You know, the ones who will put their heads down and plod through all that boring stuff and just get the job done.
I could use a little boring right about now!
Note: This article was inspired by an article written by Mark Manson. “Government is Best which Governs Boring.” Subscribe to him here.
Cartoon: Phil Hands
In the writing of this piece, I did my best not to denigrate or demean anyone. If this offended you in any way, you might need a little boredom in your life. :–)