Lessons You Can Learn from Barrack Obama
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”- Barrack Obama
Barrack Obama entered US history and the white house as something special, something that hadn’t been seen before in the history of the free world. He was elected not based on his experience, nor for his role as leader of a party or a movement. He had not been a governor or a general. He did not become president by the accident of his predecessor’s death in office.
Obama was elected only on the basis of himself, his exuberant persona, and his message. He showed the people of the United States the true power of justice, cooperation, and equality.
In October 2009, the Nobel Prize committee awarded him its most prestigious honor, the Peace Prize, before he’d had time to accomplish much at all. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future” the prize citation declared. A Nobel Peace Prize just for being himself.
This might not have been his most impressive feat yet; Obama took over the administration in a complete economic meltdown. He signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid the most severe downturn since the Great Depression. As of October 2016, the economy had added 15.5 million new jobs since early 2010 and set a record with seventy-three straight months of private-sector job growth. The unemployment rate, which hit a sustained peak of about 10 percent in 2009, had dropped to 4.6 percent as of November 2016.
Under his guidance and leadership, the US also eliminated Osama Bin Laden. In 2011, he ordered the Special Forces raid of the secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed, and a bunch of al-Qaeda documents was retained.
Over the course of his presidency and now as the days of The Donald are ending, I can’t help but think about the lessons we can learn from Barrack Obama.
1. Failing publicly can be liberating.
Obama said that the people who know him say he did not change much during his presidency, and “I’m happy about that.” Obama said that rather than starting to believe his own hype, “I actually found I became humbler the longer I was in office.” He also became less fearful. He said that as president of the United States, you make a mistake every day, everyone has seen you fail, and “large portions of the country think you’re an idiot.” But he said it was “a liberating feeling” when you realize it’s okay, you’re still here, and you have the chance to do some good. As time went on, he said he got rid of some of those anxieties. People who come out as the most genuinely vulnerable on social media and other platforms grow almost exponentially, the news and gossip tabloids have made all of us develop trust issues and those of us who trust the public and come out with their anxieties and insecurities often become fan favorites and it also helps them cater their own issues in a more calming way.
2. Out communicate your competition.
In 2008, Obama was awarded Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age. His policies were online and as they evolved, they were updated by email and text. He had an online call tool that helped supporters make millions of calls from personal computers. During his administration, Obama kept talking on multiple channels including video, network news, talk shows, personal appearances, webcams — you name it, he tried all of them. An incredible commitment to communicating in the media his audience uses, even over-communicating, is an Obama trademark.
Do you just send emails, or just meet with people, to forward your agenda? Knowing your own preference in communication style is important. Obama demonstrates knowing your audiences’ styles may even be more so.
3. Become Dependable
Some people love their drama, drama, drama. But for career success — and long life — there’s nothing like good old dependability.
“You’re becoming a bore,” Barack Obama’s roommate chided him during his student days at Columbia University. For a guy used to being in the cool crowd, it was a “scathing indictment,” the president recalls in his memoir Dreams from My Father — but he admits there was some truth to it. By then, he writes, he was concentrating on his studies, running 3 miles a day, fasting on Sundays. And no more getting high. All in all, his was becoming a rather predictable, disciplined life.
“Boring” might not be the first adjective that comes to mind to describe our president, but it was “Dependable Obama” who assured the nation with his steady composure and won the White House.
4. Commit to Something Bigger
When giving a commencement speech at Arizona State University in 2009, Obama explained the disadvantages of taking the me-first approach. He stated that it led politicians, Wall Street investors, and other people to ruin by focusing on short-term gains. In contrast, leaders, businesses, and institutions that have stood the test of time focused on something bigger, like their community, their country, or their customers. He also believed that it is difficult to succeed in any endeavor unless there is a good team providing the needed support. He stated that he got to where he was because of the support he received early on in his life from his mother and grandparents.
Obama was an exceptional leader and a dazzling orator. He inspired millions of people from different classes, races, and beliefs. He believes that sustained actions can mean something, especially if people apply it to their passions. Last but not the least, one thing that I realized after researching for this article is that if Obama can do it anyone of us can, let his story inspire you and push you towards excellence.