Deborah Hill Cone
Deborah Hill Cone is a Herald columnist

Deborah Hill Cone: Life lessons from Donald Trump

Maybe Trump's got something going for him after all.

In the interests of not being such a drip, I have decided I could take some pointers from Donald Trump. He has fingers like yams and is an alarming bigot, but in keeping with my earnestly held position that we can learn something from everyone, maybe he could teach me a thing or two.

How to lose my overdeveloped fawn response

If someone is mean or disapproves of me, I try even harder to win them over - charm, grovel, ingratiate, send them a gift basket. Screw that. (If you can imagine Percy from Blackadder backing out of the throne room bent double and doing flourishes, insert that image here.) Would Donald Trump assume a submissive posture? Hell no.

How to get rid of imposter syndrome

I'm trying to write a book. I have never written a book before and fear it will be ego-shrivelling drivel. Would that put off Donald Trump? No way.

He doesn't let a lack of experience discourage him from doing anything. "As far as preparing for the debates, I am who I am. I don't know. I've never debated before. I'm not a debater ... I have no idea how I'll do. Maybe I'll do terribly. Maybe I'll do great."

How to dispel doubt

As I've got older there are fewer things of which I am certain. I used to repeat this consoling Robert Hughes quote: "The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize." But where has that got me? I don't have a private jet, or a tower named after me.

How to think you're hot

Donald Trump has ridiculous hair, inelegant digits and looks like a dry lipped borderline albino pensioner. But he seems to think he is pretty sexy. Donald Trump does not suffer undue anxiety about where he may be falling short of some unrealistic ideal self. Donald Trump is a self-liker; he supplies his own self-approval. Be like Donald Trump, kids. In this regard, anyway.

How to not overthink

Whatever we are doing, whenever our minds start thinking we are missing out on life, we must remember just to get back to living. Donald Trump might not do yoga or meditate, but he does seem to be good at not thinking. He certainly doesn't appear to ruminate and dwell endlessly on his failings like some other people I could mention not far from here.

How to accept unfortunate reversals of fortune

One of his companies was placed in bankruptcy less than two years ago and an analysis of his business career by the Economist described his performance as mediocre. But does that seem to bother him? Nah. He embraces heroic failure. New findings released by Public Policy Polling found that Trump is more unpopular than lice and Canadian rock band Nickelback. Does this bother him? Doubt it.

You don't have to believe great things will definitely happen, but you just have to believe there is a possibility they might.

How to not go "Oops!"

When criticised, my automatic tendency is to identify with the person criticising me and provide hot snacks (see point one). I say sorry a lot. Donald Trump doesn't. He repeats bold statements over and over even when criticised or given the opportunity to recant, what is known as "doubling down". I must screenprint "Explaining is Losing" on a T-shirt.

How to be hopeful

Two years ago no one would have thought Donald Trump would have won the Republican nomination. Here is one Republican senator on Trump 2015: "He's a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot." And this same senator, Lindsey Graham again, in 2016: "We talked about national security and told some jokes. Trump's very cordial, he's a funny guy." The takeout: you don't have to believe great things will definitely happen, but you just have to believe there is a possibility they might.

How to stop identifying with other people

It rained really, really hard last night. I couldn't sleep and kept thinking about people who were sleeping rough, how cold and wet they must be. Would Donald Trump suffer in this way? Nosirree. Donald Trump sleeps fine.

How to get in first

Donald Trump is a genius at heuristics, which is a fancy term for playground name-calling. He defines his opponents quickly before they can attack him: low-energy Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney who walks like a penguin. This makes it hard for other people to define him. That's handy.

How to unfold your own myth

Donald Trump believes you can be anything you want. In some ways it does not really matter whether this is true or not. Voltaire said "illusion is the first of all pleasures". But dissatisfaction resides in the contrast between one's own illusions and reality. Donald Trump is able to maintain his illusions; he is under the impression that people can fairy dust their way out of miserable circumstances.

Sadly, despite these useful lessons from the Glamorous Dreamworld of Donald Trump, I think I would prefer to live in reality.

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