By Chris Slater

I remember exactly where I was on Jan. 20, 2009. It was the first day of the spring semester at Concord University, during my fifth year of college. It was also the inauguration of the nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama. It was such a happy feeling that day; the mood was so upbeat. My girlfriend and I walked hand-in-hand around campus enjoying the moment. Televisions in every building were airing the festivities live as they happened. To paraphrase a fellow student’s MySpace status I saw that day: Things just felt… fresh.

Let’s fast forward to eight years later, and where I happened to be on Jan. 20, 2017. I’m sitting at a diner in Luray, Virginia with a friend. She and I are staring at our cheeseburgers so that we won’t have to look at the live inauguration on the two televisions in the room. I had just finished covering a protest rally, and quoted the police chief as saying he had been a little worried about all of the counter protesters carrying guns. What’s the opposite of fresh? That’s how the day felt.

donald-trump-picturesWhat did we learn from this last election? Did the right person win? I think that’s a rhetorical question. Did the most qualified person win? I think even the most ardent Trump supporter will admit that he was the least qualified. That was part of his charm. Or, whatever that quality he has is called.

Did the election tell us that the electoral college is bad? In what may shock some of my contemporaries, I will admit that I do see both some pros and cons of the electoral college system. Now, the big con — figuratively, and possibly literally — got elected as a result of the electoral college. But, imagine that we actually had two or three legit, qualified candidates who weren’t offensive train wrecks running. An electoral college system wouldn’t be horrible then.

While Trump is in office, we can try and gleam some insight and wisdom from him. The healthiest president in history couldn’t be a total idiot and get elected to the highest office in the country. Right?

There are actually a few life lessons that we can learn from Trump. If you ignore the comments about African countries and the allegations from several different women against him, he has a few admirable qualities that we should all try to emulate.

Be assertive

Trump didn’t become a billionaire, a reality show star, and president of these United States of America by being a pushover. If you want people to notice you, you need to have an alpha mentality. Find a nicer way of doing it than Trump did; don’t belittle people with nasty nicknames or mock the physically handicapped.

Take chances

In the course of acquiring those billions, Trump lost a lot of money. Airlines, race horses, an arena football team, and a university are just a number of failed entrepreneurial endeavors from Trump. He took a chance on those and failed. But, he took a chance on becoming president and look where we’re at now. Don’t look too hard, though, as it hurts to think about it.

Don’t dwell on mistakes

If you’re running for president as a Republican and mock one of the most-beloved Republicans for being a prisoner of war, that’s a pretty big mistake. If you’re caught on tape commenting that you’re allowed to sexually assault women because you’re famous, that’s a pretty big mistake. But, what did Trump do? He didn’t let it stop him. A verbal faux pas here and there shouldn’t be enough to make you quit following your dreams. Just, try not to refer to all Mexicans as rapists.

Stroke your ego

You need to know the importance of yourself. If you made a good deal, there’s no problem with letting people know. If you made the greatest deal in the history of America, that’s something to talk about as well. There is a difference between being positive and knowing your own self worth and being an obnoxious blowhard. Walk that line closely, but don’t cross it.

Create your own style

If you like the way you look, don’t worry about what others think. If you haven’t noticed, the president has a fairly ridiculous hairstyle. He has enough money to get a decent haircut, but he refuses. Why? Because it’s his look. He doesn’t care, and neither should you.

Million dollar loan

I can not stress enough how important it is to get a loan of $1 million from your family upon graduating college (and some say the loan was much higher). Donald Trump would not be the man he became today without that cash from his father. I’ve noticed that an easy $1 million you don’t have to work for really makes your dreams much easier to attain.

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Do you have any other tips for success from our president? Leave them in the comments section. Any other thoughts? Let me know here, over at Facebook, send me a tweet, or hit up the email (chris.slater@wvgazettemail.com).