With recent news of President Donald Trump wanting to pardon boxing legend Muhammad Ali for his conviction for draft dodging (which was already vacated by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1971!!!), it put in my mind the recipe for world leaders (or even domestic politicians) to “deal with” Trump, and his unpredictable nature.
One of Ali’s most famous boasts during his boxing days was that he would “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.”
What Ali was trying to impress upon the audience was that he would move so fast and gracefully that his opponent wouldn’t be able to land a hit on him, and that Ali, in turn, would “sting like a bee,” hit his opponent with the hurt in their confusion.
It’s that latter part that people “across the table” need to do to Trump. Ignore the floating like a butterfly. It’s important that Trump CAN see you…slug him right in the proverbial mouth.
I learned this years ago dealing with bullies. Being the nerdy kid I was (but having the benefit of being a large nerdy kid), I came to realize that if someone is trying to get the best of you through classic bullying tactics, trying to intimidate you, trying to bulldoze you, the only way to end it is to “swat them hard.”
A recollection: Back in the days when I was a salesperson at Circuit City (yeah, I know) in Decatur, Illinois, there was another salesperson in another department that tried to bully people out of “her area,” would harass them for stealing “her customers,” and just overall make things unpleasant for anyone she thought she could push around.
Me being the generally polite, laid-back guy I am, normally ignored her. But one day she tried really laying into me, and trying to get me to give her credit on one of my sales I “stole from her.” Having had enough, I told her that she gets nothing, to get back to her department, and when she tried the “you can’t talk to me like that” bit, I told her “I’ll talk to you any damned way I please, now get out.” That’s the really short version of it, at least.
I felt bad, in a way. I always hate losing my cool (especially since I have so little of it to lose). However, from that day on, guess who had a new “best friend.” For the rest of the time I worked there, this same person was just buddy-buddy with me, would do anything I asked or would help with anything I needed help with, and just otherwise did a complete 180 from how she used to be.
I’ve had a couple opportunities to play that same move on other bullies since, and every time it works the same way. They bully you, you have enough, you “sting them like a bee,” they become your new best friend.
So how do you make this work with Trump? Easy. In conversation, give him the same treatment he gives others. Touch on every insecurity (and they’re myriad) he has. Call him “Donny.” Rag on how he’s spent his life playing with “daddy’s money.” Don’t back down, even for a second. If he has businesses where you are, start having health or building inspectors start showing up all the time. Things like that.
Because once you sting him hard, once you cross lines that he thinks only he can cross, he’ll be your new best friend. He’ll do anything you ask. He’ll give you anything you want.
Schmoozing him only works when you have something he wants. But right now, all any of his “opponents” have to offer him is politics. He doesn’t want politics. Heck, I don’t even think he actually wants to be president. So that’s out.
That leaves one option that nobody seems to have taken on…hit him hard. You’ll only need to do it once.
Because as the only other boxer with (almost) as many memorable quotes as Ali once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”