Thrive Guide: Navigating Politics

This guide contains five steps that help me thrive during what many see as a tumultuous political upheaval and drama.

1. Understand Optics to Thrive

Optics; how we perceive events, not how they actually transpire. Hence we must focus on the naked truth and understand how it can be bent in order to thrive. The optics of a situation can change dramatically by propaganda and selective framing even while the truth remains constant.  My favorite example of this is, in American politics, is the Howard Dean scream.

To me, this scream was pretty innocuous at the time. In fact, given how much he was surging in polls and his organic support was growing this scream was warranted for the occasion. Up until this point, he was tracking to be the next president. The media absolutely destroyed his chances. They framed this as un-presidential and him as crazy. A rightfully passionate scream. Looking back on how this event was framed it is absolutely absurd we just elected Donald “grab her by the pussy” Trump into office.

We don’t have Wikileaks from that era, unfortunately, could we? Any salty Dems out there should put some emails in their drop box. Given how the Democrats treated 2016’s grass roots candidate Bernie Sanders to me it seems a likely a character assassination from within. Was John Kerry the forced favorite of 2004 like Hillary was in 2016? John Kerry and his behavior in getting Assange’s internet cut off leads me to believe that he is, in fact, an establishment stooge and Howard Dean, like Bernie, didn’t stand a chance against a DNC bought and paid for media echo chamber.

Much of the preceding is wild speculation. It is framing a situation with facts in a narrative that fits MY perspective. This is what pundits do all the time but they aren’t crafting their own narrative. They don’t use their perspectives, they are reading narratives off a teleprompter. This is how they can seemingly change utterly on a dime. The optics change and the people that cut the checks deliver a new narrative.

2. Upgrade Personal Memory to 10+ Years

The scream is now 12 years old but it happens to resonate with me. Maybe you have only been able to vote for 2 or 3 years now, well thankfully, the internet allows opinions and video to remain in perpetuity and with the ever changing political landscape you can watch people flip in less than a weeks time.

Van Jones, with no mea culpa about his previous statements, is now glowing about Donald Trump.

The unadulterated raw news is simply statements of fact. You aren’t going to get that on any of the cable news channels. Hell, the above Mark Dice video is Dice’s observation of Jone’s observation about Trump meeting Obama. The raw news is simply “Trump meets Obama.” These pundits make a living framing raw news and spinning narratives. Again, with an upgraded memory, you will catch them while they are framing stories in complete opposition of their previous narratives.

Don’t have a good memory and can’t bother improving it? Before taking the advice or accepting the opinion of a Mark Dice or a Van Jones do a quick youtube search for a compilation of their lies or flip flopping. Better yet, thrive by accepting none of what any pundit says and simply extract the nuggets of truth from each story and craft your own narrative.

With this in mind, crafting your own narrative becomes impossible if you follow in lock step with not just a pundit, but a politician or political party as well.

3. Don’t Merge Identity with a Political Party

By merging one’s identity with party or candidate, a loss can lead to emotional suffering. You see this all the time with sports. A person buys clothing, mugs, and bumper stickers to the point where they become a walking advertisement for “their” team.  They watch every single game and analysis until they also become a walking encyclopedia for “their” team. Subsequently when “their” team loses their investment does not pay off and they become emotionally distraught and destroy their paraphernalia. Or, sometimes they even demolish their big screen television. It was never their team, it was a team they merged their identity with. This same logic applies to people who merge their identity while supporting political candidates.

People are comparing Donald Trump winning to September 11th… no, I am not kidding.

Can De Niro Thrive in 2016?

Will Robert De Niro be able to thrive beyond 2016 with this outlook? He is an established, wealthy and very skilled actor so I am sure.  I do hope this ‘trauma’ does not affect his work and I wish him luck. I thrive because I never merge my identity with anything so I will never experience emotional trauma from any election.


This tattooed person is certainly not thriving. They took their merger of their identity and their candidate so seriously that the loss drove them to add something negative about the opposition permanently to their body. In sports, it would be a Cowboys fan getting an Eagles tattoo. Given that more than half of the US didn’t even vote and a fourth voted for Trump this man will have awkward conversations with 75% of the people he runs into in America from here until his laser removal surgery.

Thrive by adding something to your body that is positive and can’t lose or be diminished.

Although Trump is currently on a winning streak, it may not last, and those that have hitched onto the Trump Train will derail along with him if he jumps the tracks. I am hopeful for a successful draining of the swamp but I will never be a MAGA bro.

An adept analyzer of the Trump phenomenon Scott Adams momentarily decoupled from the Trump Train when the Access Hollywood tape was released. Likely from fear that he could potentially sink with the candidate. I get the sensation Adams is surfing the Trump wave more than hitching permanently to his train, as say Milo Yiannopoulos has.

If you merge your identity with something that fails, you fail. If you merge your identity with something negative, you become negative. Don’t merge it and you can sit back and enjoy the absurdity of those that do.

 4. Laugh at Otherwise Depressing Stuff

The above tattoo got quite the chuckle out of me. I envision a successful date this person goes on and when they start comparing tattoos this one ends the date. Because who gets something they hate tattooed on them?

Don’t mistake laughter for apathy. Laughter is a coping mechanism. Laughter can help you thrive in every aspect of life, not just politics. Chris Ray Gun followed number 3 in this thrive guide and didn’t merge his identity to a politician or political party this election cycle so he is able to have fun with the fallout.

Not only is Chris’ analysis on point but he accomplished it with jokes as well. Unlike comedians such as John Oliver who are currently struggling with their craft as they struggle with a faulting identity.

There were an abundance of memes and lulz to be had over the last 6 months but if you took it too seriously laughter probably angered you.

It is difficult to laugh at stuff that can potentially negatively affect us. We can thrive by removing the government’s ability to affect our lives.

5. Thrive with a Life Independent of Govt

Lastly, American politics is mostly about promises. Politicians make promises to make the internet a safe space, build a wall or put Dr. Pepper in the water fountains. The only way a politician in government can fulfill their promise to one group is if they forcibly take resources from another.

Most importantly, reject the notion that in order to thrive the government must provide things for you. Become entirely independent of it. If they take a program away, have it affect you no more than a change in the weather. Laugh when they stop repairing roads because you own a quad copter car.

The EHang 184 autonomous aerial vehicle is unveiled at the EHang booth at CES International, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. The drone is large enough to fit a human passenger. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Use public transit to get to work because you can’t afford a car? Ride a bike or walk.

Need food stamps? Learn to cook with lower cost, higher caloric and more nutrient dense foods like beans.

Need healthcare? Live healthier. Drink and smoke in moderation. Use protection during sex. Eat well and exercise.

Rough neighborhood? The police probably have a 30 minute response time anyway. So, buy a gun, rescue a dog and install security features on your house.

Are you diminutive in size? How about open carrying a pistol or maybe enroll in Brazilian Jujitsu classes.

Are your savings are depreciating because the Federal Reserve prints too much money? Maybe buy gold or Bitcoin.

Do you have a way to thrive independently I didn’t share? Please, share it below. I certainly don’t want to leave out something that could help others.

Finally, build a community of people you trust and can share resources with if times get rough. Let’s say you suffer an eviction. It is much easier to sleep on a friend’s or family member’s couch than it is to navigate the bureaucracy of government for help.

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