The Difference Between Jordan Spieth and Donald Trump

Aspiring leaders can learn a lot from Donald Trump. Specifically, what not to do. Last week he bragged that HE was going to pass the biggest tax cut in history. Not “my administration”, not “Congressional leaders and me”, “ME“. At the same time, when pressed to explain why he’s failed to pass any significant legislation so far, he has his Press Secretary blame Congress for “not doing their job”.

In contrast, listen to 24 year-old Jordan Spieth after winning his next golf tournament. Or Justin Thomas in three days in South Korea. Both consistently credit their teams for their success, starting every sentence with “We“. They credit their caddies, swing coaches, trainers, agents, and families for their success. Also note how they shift gears when they lose. “My putting wasn’t what it has been.” “I never had control of my driver.”

Two utterly opposite models of leadership. The U.S. Constitution says you have to be 35 years old to be President. If not for that, I’d say, let’s make a trade, Spieth to the Oval Office, Trump to the first tee. I mean he claims to have shot 73 last week. That news was timely, I was beginning to think he had his sense of humor surgically removed.

Monday Assorted Links

1. A Spanish-English high school proves learning in two languages can boost graduation rates.

“Muñiz Academy teachers, 65 percent of whom are Latino, strive to create an environment that celebrates their students’ heritage and allows them to embrace this piece of their identities. For some students, that fills an aching need.”

“She gives her students opportunities to discuss their cultural and linguistic insecurities openly, helping students find their place in the world as they work toward Spanish fluency. This identity support contributes to one of the more intangible benefits of the Muñiz Academy, but one that parents most appreciate.”

2. Jennifer Egan: By the Book.

My writing students often want an “improved vocabulary” or “deeper thinking” secret sauce. Egan provides it in this glorious interview excerpt:

“I’ve become hooked on audiobooks — fiction and nonfiction — so nowadays I read pretty much all the time. Only a really good book can stand up to audio, though; anything less is almost intolerable. I listen while walking, waiting for the subway, gardening, composting, cooking, and doing laundry, and with my noise-canceling headphones, I’m as tuned out as my teenage sons! I use an iPad to read books that aren’t available in physical form and for long research papers and transcripts. Then I’m usually reading a couple of physical books: nonfiction for the gym, and fiction for all other times. I like to read (and write) lying down, and despite strenuous effort I often fall asleep at some point, so what I read and write ends up becoming weirdly entwined with my dreams.”

3. Cost of contact in sports is estimated at over 600,000 injuries a year.

“. . . the television production people on the sideline walk. . . around with parabolic microphones. . . . They are catering to their audience. The audience wants to hear heads crack.”

Count me out.

4. The downside of baseball’s data revolution—long games, less action.

Baseball has never been more beset by inaction. Games this season saw an average gap of 3 minutes, 48 seconds between balls in play, an all-time high. There were more pitcher substitutions than ever, the most time between pitches on record and longer games than ever.

5. Today’s tax cuts are tomorrow’s tax increases.

“Anytime you hear a news report on the Trump ‘tax cut,’ substitute the phrase ‘tax shift.'”

6. Bob Corker says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’.

“In a 25-minute conversation, Mr. Corker, speaking carefully and purposefully, seemed to almost find cathartic satisfaction by portraying Mr. Trump in terms that most senior Republicans use only in private.”

Here’s hoping others have the courage of their convictions.

Marshmellow Eaters

An excerpt from a New York magazine profile of David Brooks.

Brooks’s favorite social-science study is known as the Marshmellow Experiment. A child is left in a room with a marshmallow for fifteen minutes. If he restrains himself from eating the marshmallow, he gets a second one. If not, he doesn’t. The test turns out to be a predictor of all kinds of habits in adult life. Children who show self-control in front of a tasty marshmallow score higher on the SAT, struggle less in stressful situations, maintain friendships better, and have fewer problems with drugs. Brooks is concerned we’ve become a nation of marshmallow eaters. We want tax cuts and more entitlements, without realizing the contradiction. We want speedy, in-and-out wars. We want a president who can fix any crisis—even an oil spill he’s not equipped to solve.

What most intrigued me about the profile was Brooks saying he doesn’t think he can change people’s minds. That type of humility is refreshing for sure, but I think he is particularly well positioned to change people’s minds.

I agree with him on marshmellow eating. The question is whether there are enough self-disciplined adults to work together to help young people learn to work today, tomorrow, and the next several days for some future reward whether that be the gratification of completing a meaningful project, living debt-free, or earning downtime?