When I ran to the President, it hit my head

It’s less than what it does, running for president. And it should concern us that all our leaders are subject to it.


In early 2019, while I was still in the campaign, Zach Graumann, my company manager, said to me, “We need to cut your hair differently. And improve your clothes. ”

I said, “Nobody cares about my appearance. Bernie seems to be a scientist from ‘Back Forward.’ The point is, people just know what I’m standing for, and they don’t care about my hair. ”

Zach shook his head and said, “That’s not true. Old Bernie. You are young. People care if you’re wearing an odd button or a suit that doesn’t look really cool. I’m going to set you up with a hairdresser and tailor. ”

I went with it. I was used to wearing makeup for a television appearance that I used to wear all day. The most annoying thing was to use the hair product again after taking a twenty-year break from it. Apparently, the “hair spray” was modified to make “wax wax” at one point, which seemed to be an improvement from my old Studio Line gel from L’Oreal.

Imagine learning to bathe yourself in your mid-40s. People talk about running for office or running for president as an act of leadership. I’m not sure about that. I really think that in many ways running for president requires character that can make you a terrible leader.

When I was the CEO of Manhattan Prep, a test prep company, I often taught classes or did events without identifying myself as the CEO. In that case, it would have been better for the company if people hadn’t thought of me as anything other than just an instructor. The more I had, the less I was about the company.

In my experience, if you see a CEO running a professional, that person’s company could be headed for trouble. The energy used to burn your image can always be better used to fix your people, solve problems, remove barriers, develop practices, communicate with customers, select vendors, recruit team members and work on new projects. With Manhattan Prep, it’s really important to do a good job for each student. The most powerful growth driver would be a satisfied student telling a friend, “Hey, this company has done a good job, you should try them out.” This is how most businesses work: If you do a good job and make people happy, then the business grows.

In the political context of the president it was the opposite. The task was simply to find care. You would be looking for a printer almost anytime. Interviewing and printing – or an in-depth experience of a person hoping to attract a captor – was a chore. When I was not on the way, I would get up on the exact day and go to the television studio for the first thing in the morning, go to the office to get some digital recordings, do a number of interviews and head to the fundraising party. that night.

In the presidential campaign you make the first major hall. But then as the campaign grows, it increases the population rapidly, often people doing the same work for another campaign. It used to be that I would show up at a New York office or event in New Hampshire and meet someone, only to be told, “This person is now working for you as a field coordinator / digital navigation expert / development team / new job.” When running my company on my own, I made sure to interview any person we work for at all levels, because hiring seemed to be one of the most important aspects of management.

In politics, it just so happens, you are not the CEO as you are a product.

The first time I appeared in public I was surprised. I was in a convenience store with one of my sons in March 2019. A 20-year-old hipster boy said to me, “Hey, are you Andrew Yang?”

“Yes, yes, I am.”

“I am your biggest supporter. Keep up.”

“Thank you.”

This was especially shocking to me because I was wearing jeans and a hoodie. The fact that people knew me outside of my campaign blazer uniform and shirt off shocked me. What I liked was that a young woman came to me and said, “Are you Andrew Yang? No, no, you are not, ”she walked away.

Things started to change over the course of 2019 as my public image grew larger. After raising only $ 642,081 through all 2018, our campaign raised $ 1.7 million in the first quarter, $ 2.8 million in the second quarter, $ 10 million in the third quarter, and generated $ 16.5 million in the fourth quarter. I remember in the fourth quarter we picked up half of Bernie’s lift, and I ran around shouting, “We’re half Bernie!” We had come a long way since a year ago. On New Year’s Eve 2018 we had a fundraising party in New York that had lost money. Someone asked for their money back. It’s not a good party.

Our media coverage had grown exponentially in line with our fundraising efforts. We had just finished learning from podcasts to television. Originally it was a political drama show like “The Daily Show” or “Patriot Law by Hasan Minhaj” or “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Now it was “The Late Show by Stephen Colbert,” “The View” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers. And finally he was Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy and I compared the notes to playing Ted Cruz in basketball, because Ted had just received a challenge from me before he thought better of it, and Kimmel had played with him, too. Stephen Colbert joked that I went from “regular boyfriend Andrew Yang” to “popular guy Andrew Yang.” In many cases I have attended a demonstration more than once – such as “The Opinion” – and for the first time in my life, interviewers have disputed it. There was an undercurrent of “Who are you heck are you?” But the second time there was more openness and even warmth.

We started spending money to increase my support in Iowa and New Hampshire, hitting the air in all counties for a week. We spent $ 6.6 million on television advertising in Iowa and $ 3.9 million in New Hampshire alone. TV advertising was something else. The first sentence had a lot of ground images. I joked with my wife Evelyn that a voice-over announcement should go like this: “He came to this world from afar Andrew Yang – PRESIDENT 2040.”

Recording political advertising requires hours. There’s a lot of reading lines and looking at the camera. The words should be carefully measured to be 30 or 60 seconds. After finishing downloading, the manufacturer says something like “Hey, it was 28 seconds; Can you pull it off to achieve a little progress? ”Or” Above all, give yourself too much grief to take. ” Recording those commercials usually took half a day because they could record multiple ads at a time with full-time staff. And it meant a lot of time in cosmetics.

The fact that there were hundreds of campaign workers spending millions of dollars in an attempt to make you look amazing. I laughed with the digital team that they should have my pictures carved into their brains when they sleep at night.

It was enough to go to a man’s head. I had been the CEO and founder of the company, but running for office was another beast. People around me treated me like a celebrity or a product that hundreds of employees were facing sales, and everyone in my path began to treat me like I would be a presidential candidate. I’ve been getting a breakdown course in the way we handle the most powerful ones – and it was unusual.

But it was more than a rush. There is a psychological consequence of being treated in this way for months on end.

Historian Henry Adams described the force as “a kind of tumor that results in the death of the wounded.” This may seem like a hyperbole, but it has been confirmed by years of labor and field experiments. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, has been studying the power of humans over others. He places people in positions of power that are relative to each other in different places. He has always found that strength, in the long run, makes a person more prone to speed, indifference, and a lack of perception. It also leads to immorality, cheating, neglect of others, and dislike of others’ experiences.

Does this sound familiar? It turns out that energy gives you brain damage.

This even shows up in the brain scan. Sukhvinder Obhi, a neurologist at McMaster University in Ontario, recently examined the brain patterns of the most powerful and weakest in a magnetic field. He found that those with power were disabled in specific neural processes – mirroring – which lead to empathy.

I am a parent, and the one thing you find most relevant to children is that they reciprocate the action. You smile, they smile. You laugh, they laugh. Among the powerful in various lands, their desire to express what is on their minds is carved. They also lose the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Lord David Owen and Jonathan Davidson called it “hubris syndrome” – the instability of having a power stored over the years and a low problem for the leader. Its clinical manifestations include contempt for others, loss of reality, apathy and manifestations of incompetence. Unkindness is part of the package.

Perhaps the most disturbing is that in laboratory systems the authorities cannot fix this error even if they are told to try it. Participants in one study were told that their expression of anxiety was the issue and made a conscious effort to report on what happened to others. They still can’t do it. Experiment and cognition made no difference in their abilities.

Susan Fiske, Princeton’s professor of psychiatry, said the change in attitude was consistent and meant to help it work better. When you become empowered, you have less value than counting other people because you have a building code. The need for compassion is behind you.

Another quality that helped some people to adjust was to remember the time when they felt powerless. Perhaps that’s why many of our leaders seem to be reporting their low starting point, because we feel that if those events are deeply rooted enough, they can challenge their gradual presence from the handle. This could also be the reason why leaders – for example, women – who have always been in a position of power may seem to be more sensible even when they step down from power.

On the way to the campaign, I could really see how politicians would react to such growth from the momentum. You spend time with a lot of people who have churches and activities around you. Everyone asks you what you think. You work on appearance; appearance becomes your position. Compassion will be selective or even helpful. Leadership becomes a form of leadership.

The methods we choose leaders do not diminish power and reduce the capacity we need most in them. It adds up; if you are in it too much, too much damage the result may be over time.

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