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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/24/16

The Mental Health Danger of Supporting Hillary's Can't-Do-Ism

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Imagine a pop psychology guru whose message was "You can't do it, and that's okay" or "settle for less, that's all you're going to get." Or how about, "set your dreams and goals low, then you won't be disappointed," or, "Be afraid, it'll keep you from getting in trouble."
He'd be a guru for losers. But I'd guess that there would be people who are so beaten down in life, or depressed or damaged they might actually embrace the message, hoping it would diminish their pain.
But you know I'm talking about Hillary's messaging, saying Bernie Sanders' visions are unrealistic, calling him a dreamer, a guy who believes in unicorns.
Though I'm not a licensed clinical psychologist, I do have a history in the founding of the field of positive psychology, and my belief is that big dreams, big visions are important, that they give us goals to shoot for, raise our hopes and raise the expectations of what our leaders can accomplish.
On the other hand, imagine a parent who tells her children that they will fail, that they shouldn't expect to be able to accomplish much in life, that they can't accomplish the hopes and dreams they share with her. What kind of a parent would she be? The word monster comes to mind, or pathetic. My Mom always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. I grew to be someone who wouldn't take can't do for an answer. When people told me something couldn't be done I would write THEM off, not my dreams and goals.
But I can imagine some people thinking something along the lines, "It's a tough, brutal world. Telling my child to be pragmatic and reducing expectations is a way to diminish her pain and disappointment."
I've tried to raise my kids, now adults, to believe that they can do whatever they work hard at. Creating self confidence and inner strength, the ability to self sooth and to feel safe is an integral part of good parenting. Telling children they can't and shouldn't try is a sure way to create damaged children with impaired self esteem and lack of courage to seek great, bold goals.
It is dangerous and literally un-American for a leader to preach can't-do-ism, to campaign on a message that the guy with big dreams is a unicorn believing fool. But worse, I believe that when people embrace that message, even as adults, it can change them, can make them weaker, more tentative, can steal their self confidence, their courage, their ability to face challenges.
Those core inner resources-- courage, confidence, ability to face challenges, are essential for bringing one's optimal self to a loving relationship, to trying out new experiences, to dealing with adversity.
It is bizarre and desperate that any candidate would embrace rejection of boldness, rejection of having the courage to envision great change, especially when the changes disparaged are already in existence in most other first world nations. That makes the can't-do-ism even more onerous, with clear success so visible in countries with less resources and wealth.
Bottom line, I believe that people who embrace Hillary's message are setting themselves up to be at risk. They are embracing a message and value system that diminishes them, that lowers horizons and treats hope and vision as dysfunction.
I suspect that some people are more susceptible to this kind message-- people who have been abused, depressed people, people raised by narcissists, people whose parents failed to give them all the nurturing needed for the development of healthy attachment, people who have experienced repeated losses. But those people don't need to have their fears, timidity or depression reinforced. That is atrocious leadership.
I'm not saying that all Hillary supporters fit this profile. But all who embrace her can't-do-ism message are, potentially at risk for diminishing the way they face and embrace life. You ARE what you value, you become the person you admire and emulate. That makes full embrace of Hillary's message something that could potentially be dangerous to your self esteem and capacities to face challenges, even to love.
Joe Biden, in response to Hillary's messaging, says, "I don't think any Democrat's ever won saying, 'We can't think that big." I haven't been talking about winning. I'm talking about living a full life. The idea of the president of the United States bringing such a message to the White House is disturbing. It's almost the opposite of crazy Donald's "make America great again," more like, "make America a little bit less mediocre," or "let's try to incrementally fix our problems a little bit."
Really, what kind of person buys such tripe? I'll tell you. Someone who is setting up the rest of their life to be less than it could be. It's sad.
One last thought. Hillary's, "if you propose bold visions, you believe in unicorns approach" is the antithesis of visionary. Progressives, almost by definition, are visionaries, embracing visions for a better future. Attacking progressive visions, especially ones that already exist in most first world countries, is the antithesis of being progressive. Hillary is no progressive. She is, based on her words, the enemy of progressive ideas and visions.
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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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