I once had a great mentor tell me that I invested too much of my time and my emotional energy in politics. It was during law school, and everything then was political. At least it was for me. Politics was all-consuming.
My mentor told me to stop focusing on politics and start focusing on the difference that I wanted to make in the world. And he told me to focus on taking care of my family and giving them the life that I wanted for them. He said that I would have a bigger impact if I detached from politics.
I took his advice. I like to observe politics, but I am not emotionally invested.
Your Government Won’t Make You Happy
There are a lot of politicians competing for your attention—and your money—right now. They want you to support them and help them become President of the United States. All of these politicians talk a lot about how they are going to help you, and it all sounds pretty good.
You might even believe you will be happier if the candidate you support is elected. But you won’t be any happier or any more successful after this interminable election cycle.
Your Physiological Needs
The government isn’t going to make sure that your physiological needs are met. The government, try as it may, isn’t going to give you shelter, with food, or with health care. It may provide a social safety net in each of these areas, but if you are counting on government to take care of you, you will always have to fear not having your very basic physiological needs met.
Do you know anyone who is receiving the government’s help in these areas of whom you are jealous? Is there anyone you know who receives help with whom you would trade places?
Your Safety Needs
Your government isn’t going to keep you safe either. It can’t protect you from violence, even though it does its very best to keep the most violent people from harming others by locking them up. It also does a poor job protecting you from people who are violent because they are mentally ill.The police aren’t normally around when a crime is being committed, even though they’d love to be there to prevent you from being harmed.
Your government does the best it can with big threats, but can’t help with most of the personal threats to your physical safety.
Your Need for Love
No government is going to meet your need for love, friendship, or companionship. The need for love is just as important as the physiological needs. As far as I know, no government has ever even been designed to address these very fundamental human needs.
Do you know anyone who has had their need for love and companionship as a result of government action? The best the government can do is prevent your rights here from being infringed.
Your Desire for Success
Your government isn’t going to provide you with happiness. It isn’t going to make sure you reach your full potential, and it isn’t going to ensure that your dreams come true or that you reach your goals. Your government isn’t going to participate in your success. This is true no matter who is elected.
Do you know anyone who owes their success to their government alone? There are people who are successful in politics, and they go on to make a lot of money when they leave, but no government action creates individual success outside of politics.
At its very best, your government is going to create an environment in which you can “pursue happiness.” But you are going to have to hustle, and you are going to have to do the pursuing. This is where you should focus.