See You At The Top

One of the most popular motivational speakers of the past few decades was a man named Zig Ziglar. His first book, “See You At The Top” was based on his motivational speeches he used to give and they come packed with plenty of stories and guidelines for achieving success.

Basically this book is a manual that teaches you how to be successful in whatever you wish to do. The main reason why so many people are not successful is never about their skills, talents, education, or luck. Most people are not successful because they’ve never taken the time to define for themselves what it means to be a success.

For too many people, success means lots of money, fame, and power, yet it’s so easy to see celebrities with millions of dollars committing suicide or simply losing their money over time. Top athletes earn millions during their careers, yet many of them are broke by the end of their careers. Money, fame, and power occur because you are successful. They are not goals in themselves.

As Zig Ziglar explains in his book, the first step to becoming successful is having a goal, whatever that goal might be. Everyone will have different goals that may achieve different financial rewards, and that’s fine. The important point is to have a definite goal to aim for.

It’s not enough to want a lot of money. You have can achieve that in a million different ways from selling toilet paper to investing in real estate to inventing something new. Don’t focus on the rewards of success. Focus on your goal.

Without a goal, even the most talented person has no direction and with no direction, you’ll wind up going nowhere despite your talent, skill, or luck. You absolutely need to define a goal that you want to achieve regardless of what others think or want for you. Define a goal for yourself and you’ll be far ahead of most people.

Once you know what goal you want to achieve (and you can always choose another goal once you achieve your first one), then you can focus your energy towards achieving that goal, even i f you can only spend a little time pursuing that goal each day. The important point is to keep moving steadily towards that goal.

So the two steps to real success are:

  • Define a goal
  • Work towards achieving that goal

Success is within the reach of everyone. Some people will naturally have a harder time than others achieving their goals based on their goals and their circumstances, but you absolutely need a goal to give you a direction and then you need to work on achieving that goal day by day.

Zig Ziglar says the path to success is simple. Help enough people reach their goals and they’ll help you reach your own goals. Achieving any goal is a lot easier with the help of other people.

There are plenty of motivational books on the market and more arriving everyday, but if you want to read an easy, folksy type of motivational books, “See You At The Top” is one of the best that you can’t go wrong reading and referencing time and time again.

As a side note, Zig Ziglar may have been one of the most popular and influential motivational speakers when he was alive, yet in his book, he talks about how he started as a lousy salesman who did a poor job selling. That means if he could start out as a below average person and achieve success, then his ideas that worked for him will likely work for everyone else as well.

“See You At The Top” should be on everyone’s bookshelf. As Zig Ziglar once said, motivational books aren’t meant to be read once and set aside, but meant to be read again and again. Just as you bathe or shower regularly because getting clean doesn’t work just once, so you should constantly read and be inspired by motivational books, tapes, and seminars time and time again.

Read “See You At The Top” and see if it doesn’t give you hope and guidance for achieving the dreams in your life.

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man

There’s a saying that you can’t cheat an honest man. That’s because an honest man won’t fall for con games but dishonest people will, and that’s exactly how con artists fleece unsuspecting victims.

A con game typically offers a victim something enticing for nothing. Once the victim wants this bait, then the con artist springs the trap and forces the victim to put up some money to get the bait. Sometimes the upfront money is large and sometimes it’s small, but it almost always forces the victim to pay first.

Then the victim never gets the bait and because the victim tried to cheat, he or she can’t go to the police to report the con and get the con artist in trouble.

If you want to avoid getting cheated, the best solution is to stop hoping for easy money. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Another way to avoid con games is to understand how they work. “The Big Con” is a fascinating book that explains how con artists scammed people during the Depression. Not only did con artists work alone or in small groups, but they also worked in massive groups where they created phony businesses filed with shills.

When the con artist would introduce the victim into this phony business, they would think it was legitimate since they couldn’t imagine so many con artists working together just to fleece a single victim, but that’s exactly what con artists did.

While “The Big Con” explains how con artists fleeced victims, “The Sting” is a movie that shows how they actually did it. Based on “The Big Con,” “The Sting” tells the story of a small time con artist who accidentally steals money from a mob money runner. Now the mob boss is trying to find and kill him.

The mob boss sends hit men to kill the con artist but they only wind up killing the con artist’s partner instead. Now the con artist wants to get back at the mob boss by fleecing him through something known as the big con.

The big con involves creating a fake business such as a race horse betting parlor and convincing the victim that there’s a way to cheat the betting parlor.

If you have never seen con artists at work, watch “The Sting” and then read “The Big Con.” You’ll be amazed at the audacity of con artists and learn how they think and trick their victims. Once you understand how con artists work, you’ll be better equipped to recognize con games that may try to fleece you one day.

Con artists will always exist and one day, you’re going to run into one. To avoid becoming a victim, learn about con artists now. Education is the best solution to keeping your money. Being honest is the second best solution, so together with education, honesty and education will keep con artists away from stealing your money.

Think and Grow Rich

One of the greatest self-help books of all time is  Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” While most people want success, they often don’t clarify exactly what they want. If you don’t know what you want, chances are you’ll never get it.

This is the reason why so many people go through life wanting happiness but not knowing what that really means. Because they don’t have a clear goal of what will bring them happiness, they simply live day to day, looking for any opportunities that might bring them happiness. That essentially means choosing short-term goals at the expense and complete absence of long-term goals.

Imagine if you wanted to drive out of Los Angeles. If you had no goal, you might simply take whatever road looks best at the moment, and turn at every intersection depending on what’s easiest. After a week, where do you think you’ll be? At a place that will make you happy? Probably not. Yet that’s exactly how most people go through life without a goal or a direction.

In “Think and Grow Rich,” the first key is to define exactly what you want. Most people say they want more money, but they never define how they want to earn that money. It’s one thing to hope for more money through winning the lottery, but it’s another to actively work to make that extra money.

There are a million different ways to make money. If you constantly choose what you think is easiest or most profitable, you’ll always be looking fo a better opportunity somewhere else. That means the second you think of something better, you’ll drop your plans today to chase something else tomorrow. The moment tomorrow’s plan doesn’t look as good as a newer idea, you’ll drop tomorrow’s plan in favor of something even newer.

“Think and Grow Rich” emphasizes that you not only need a goal to give you direction, but you also need the desire to achieve that goal. Most people don’t define a goal. Those who do define a goal often don’t have the desire to do the work to achieve that goal. They simply want the rewards of that goal without the work, and that’s a recipe for failure every time.

“Think and Grow Rich” is a remarkable book that can help you identify the goal you ant to achieve and help you understand that the only way you’l ever achieve a worthwhile goal is through desire.

Any goal is fine as long as you have a burning desire to achieve that goal. Strip away a burning desire and all you have are goals that you’ll never achieve because the first obstacle that pops up will discourage you into trying something else.

Goals and desire. Those two simple keys are what you need to achieve any success in your life. If more people would only read and re-read “Think and Grow Rich,” they might find their greatest dreams are within reach after all.

“1984” And Its Warning to Us Today

George Orwell wrote his novel, “1984” shortly after the end of World War Two, 1948 to be exact (which is why he reversed the last two numbers of the date to come up with 1984).

The reason why everyone needs to read this book at least once is to learn how totalitarianism works. It doesn’t work solely by force but through the acceptance of the masses that believe the lies the government promotes.

The basic story behind “1984” is that there are three nations constantly at war with each other: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Not surprisingly, Oceania promotes peace with one of these nations while promoting war against the other nation. However, Oceania constantly changes which other nation is an ally and which other nation is an enemy. One moment Oceania citizens are told Eastasia is the enemy and the next they’re told that Eastasia has always been an ally. By constantly changing the nature of the enemy, Oceania keeps its citizens constantly at war, fighting an enemy in a perpetual war.

The goal is simple. As long as people are afraid of an outside enemy, they’ll clamor for safety and that safety can only come through the loss of individual freedom to help root out traitors and saboteurs within Oceania. The only problem is that the definition of a traitor is just as slippery as the nature of the enemy as Oceania constantly changes its definition for who a traitor is.

The parallels with today’s world remains frightening no matter what time period you choose to focus on. During World War Two, China was considered an ally of America and Japan was considered an enemy. After World War Two, Japan was considered an ally of America and China was considered an enemy.

In today’s world, most Americans have conveniently forgotten a time when Saddam Hussein and Iraq were once allies against America’s fight with Iran. Then Saddam Hussein and Iraq suddenly became the enemy despite any evidence tot he contrary.

“1984” defined the notion of doublethink where people can hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously and believe both are equally correct. This was easily highlighted when KellyAnne Conway defended Sean Spicer’s depiction of Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd as “alternative facts.” In other words, there are multiple “facts” that are equally correct so if you just choose the “facts” you prefer, then you can support any position you wish.

Irony, contradiction, and blatant deception is the hallmark of Oceania’s government in “1984,” yet it’s little different from our own government today. The Spanish-American War, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War were all based on a lie by the American government.

The Spanish-American war started because Americans thought the Spanish had blown up the USS Maine battleship. (It turned out to be a boiler explosion.)

The Vietnam War started because Americans were told the North Vietnamese attacked American ships. (They didn’t, which the CIA later admitted.)

The Iraq War started because Americans thought Saddam Hussein and Iraq were involved in the 9/11 attacks. (They weren’t, and Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction either.)

In “1984,” citizens are kept focused on an imaginary enemy by constantly hating them. By channeling the fury of citizens against an imaginary enemy, the government can keep people’s anger focused on supporting their goals rather than fighting for freedom and civil rights. Sound familiar in today’s world where imaginary threats from terrorists justifies enormous expenditures of time and resources guarding against low probability risks instead of fixing actual problems?

If you believe everything your government tells you, chances are good you’re not thinking. Just read newspapers from other countries and you’ll see wildly different interpretations of “facts” regarding international incidents. There re always multiple sides to the same story, but if you simply believe what you hear and read from one side, you’ll never know the other side. The less you know, the easier it will be to control your thoughts, and as “1984” points out, the more you can control a person’s thoughts, the more you can control their actions.

The world of “1984” has been alive for centuries long before George Orwell wrote his novel, and will likely be relevant centuries later. If you believe that all governments tell the truth, play fair, and strive to justice, then you won’t want to read a book like “1984.”

However, if you’re willing to accept the thought that your government may not be telling the truth, that they may have a reason to suppress freedom and individual thought, then you may find “1984” interesting after all.

If you refuse to read “1984,” then you’re likely afraid of having your own perception of the world shattered. People uncertain of their own beliefs are often the most vocal in defending them. If you’re that type of person, then a book like “1984” will simply convince you that traitors really do exist in this country and we need to resort to more draconian measures to root them out and protect this country from outside enemies.

If you’re the type of person who likes to think, then “1984” can help you see how national governments really work, and no government is completely innocent, even your own.

Read the book “1984” and skip the movies that were made from the novel. The movies often follow the book well but the message behind “1984” is better presented in novel from rather than in movie form.

Skip the movie. Read the book. “1984” isn’t a novel about a future that may happen. It’s a novel about a future that already exists.

The Power of Broke

Most people think that it takes money to make money. Therefore they believe they can’t make money until they first get some money. Because they don’t have money, they falsely believe they can never make money. Therefore they simply do nothing.

That’s why Daymond John’s book, “The Power of Broke” is so interesting. Unlike some people who were born in wealth or upper class households, Daymond John grew up in a rough neighborhood with only a single mother to guide him. He didn’t have money, yet he managed to hustle his way to making money. HIs secret? He didn’t rely on money. He relied on working and being creative.

His theory is that if you have money, you’ll likely spend it in ways that mask your real problem. The analogy he uses is this. Suppose a man buys the most expensive sports car around, showers women with jewelry and gifts, dresses in the most expensive clothes around, and lives in an expensive home. Undoubtedly, he’ll attract women.

The problem is if those women are only attracted by his wealth, they likely won’t be truly in love with him as a person. Thus wealth can attract the wrong types of people if you want a loving relationship.

The same holds true for making money. If you borrow lots of money, chances are good you’ll spend it on fancy decorations and retail store space. Then you’ll open up a store, only to find out you don’t know much about selling, you’re selling products people don’t want to buy, or that you’re simply impressing people but not optimizing your business to make a profit.

That means there’s a good chance you’ll simply waste your money trying to impress the wrong people who won’t be your loyal and steady customers.

Instead, it’s far better to start small, start broke. This forces you to find out what works before you spend money. Once you know what works, you can grow your business gradually without much risk. It’s far better to figure out your business needs changing when you’ve invested a little money into it rather than a lot. That’s the power of broke.

So being broke should never be an obstacle to getting rich or running your own business. Being broke is actually an advantage because it forces you to be creative and not rely on money to solve your problems for you because they won’t. The sooner you realize that spending money can be wasteful and actually counter-productive, the better off you’ll be.

“The Power of Broke” teaches you that lack of money is never an excuse not to do anything. Being broke makes you realize that creativity and persistence beats wasteful spending every time.

How to Achieve Goals

There’s a reason most people never achieve their dreams. The main reason is because they don’t have a clear idea what they want. Ask most people what they ant and they’ll give vague goals like “I want to be rich” or “I want to be happy.”

The problem with these types of abstract goals is that they aren’t specific. What does it mean to be rich? What kind of life would you ant to be happy? Each person’s idea of being rich or happy is different.

In the book “Mind Hacking,” author Sir John Hargrave suggests ways to change your life by changing the way you think. It’s far too easy to coast through life on inertia, and then forty years goes by and you suddenly wonder what happened. While it’s better to wake up later than never, it’s also better to wake up now than later.

The “Mind Hacking,” book offers one interesting technique to change your life as related by Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip:

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic empire, is one of the most successful cartoonists of our time. In addition to being published in thousands of newspapers worldwide, Dilbert has been spun off into several bestselling books, an animated series, and hundreds of Dilbert-themed toys and games.

But at one time, Scott Adams was just another midlevel office drone in a large, bureaucratic organization, just like Dilbert. Adams had always dreamed of becoming a cartoonist: from an early age, he adored Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, and felt that drawing such a strip would one day be his career. As an adult, however, he found himself working a “number of humiliating and low-paying jobs” in northern California. He was continually looking for a way out, so he could make his cartooning dream a reality.

A friend told him about a repetition technique, where you write down your positive mental loop, fifteen times each day. His friend claimed that it worked for her. “The thing that caught my attention,” he related, “is that the process doesn’t require any faith or positive thinking to work.” Just the act of writing down your loop, she claimed, was enough to make it happen. In the spirit of self-experimentation, and figuring that he had nothing to lose but time, Adams gave it a try.

His first attempt was the straightforward:

I, Scott Adams, will become rich.

In his books The Dilbert Future and How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, he tells the story of making two ridiculously lucky stock picks that came to him out of the blue that year.95 Both were long shots, and both ended up being among the top market stories that year. He sold both stocks immediately, so he wasn’t rich, but the odds of an amateur picking two red-hot winners seemed unlikely.

He was less skeptical of the technique, but still not quite a believer. He decided to try the technique on another goal: getting an MBA from University of California at Berkeley. He had already taken the GMAT test that’s required for MBA applications, and scored in the 77th percentile: not good enough for UC Berkeley. So he began writing down this positive loop, fifteen times each day:

I, Scott Adams, will score in the 94th percentile on the GMAT.

In the weeks leading up to the test, he bought GMAT study books, and took plenty of practice tests. Each time he scored at about the 77th percentile. Still, he patiently wrote down his positive loop, over and over, fifteen times each day.

The day of the test came. He took the test, feeling that he had scored about the same. He kept up the repetition technique as he waited for the GMAT test scores to arrive in the mail.

Finally, the test results came. He took the envelope out of the mailbox, opened it, and looked at the box he had pictured in his mind so many times before. He scored in exactly the 94th percentile.

Adams recounts:

That evening, I sat in a chair with the GMAT results next to me, alternately staring at the wall and then staring at the ninety-four. I kept expecting it to change. It didn’t. And that night I knew that nothing would ever be the same for me. Everything I thought I knew about how the Universe was wired was wrong.

After earning his MBA, still working his day job, he began repeating a new loop. Each morning, before he left for work, he would get up at 4:00 a.m. to draw what would eventually become Dilbert. He also began to write this positive loop, fifteen times each day:

I, Scott Adams, will become a syndicated cartoonist.

Despite a number of setbacks and rejections, and through a series of unlikely coincidences and lucky breaks, he eventually became a syndicated cartoonist. In fact, he’s arguably the most syndicated cartoonist alive today: Dilbert is published in 2,000 newspapers worldwide, in 65 countries and 25 languages.

With his analytical mind, Adams tried to reverse-engineer why this technique works in his books,and in various posts to his blog.

While he called his experiences with the repetition technique “fascinating and puzzling,” as well as “wonderful and inexplicable,” he also was careful not to attribute them to “voodoo or magic.” Instead, he theorized about a logical explanation, even acknowledging that it might be nothing more than “selective memory” (perhaps he tried the repetition technique multiple times, but only remembered his successes).

Adams points to research done by the psychiatrist Richard Wiseman, in which he studied people who described themselves as “lucky.” It turns out they didn’t have any special powers, except for one: they were more likely to notice opportunities. As Adams puts it, “Optimistic people’s field of perception is literally greater.” If you are methodically repeating your goals each day, you are more likely to notice the people and situations that can help you achieve those goals, as they present themselves.

In my experience, this is absolutely true. When you repeat your goals daily, you set your expectations accordingly, and you begin viewing situations in a different light. If you’re repeating your goal of losing weight, and someone invites you to a kickboxing class, you see it as an opportunity, not another way to embarrass yourself. If you’re repeating your goal of becoming an entrepreneur, and they’re going through layoffs at your day job, you might see it as an opportunity to take the severance package and strike out on your own.

Adams also points out that repeatedly writing things down takes effort. Because you are investing time and energy in this small goal, you are committing yourself to investing time and energy in your larger goal. It is a way of kickstarting your mind into achieving your dreams, a kind of mental bootstrapping.

“My favorite explanation … also has the least evidence to support it,” Adams concludes, “i.e., none.” In this explanation, reality is so mind-bogglingly complex, that our minds simply deliver a “highly simplified illusion that we treat as facts.” In this model of reality, the constant repetition of our goals may be a “lever” that we use to create some natural chain of cause and effect, but not a chain we are capable of understanding. So when the results come, by what appears to be luck or coincidence, it is simply by natural laws that are not yet fully understood. “While this view is unlikely to be correct,” he admits, “it has the advantage of being totally cool to think about.” (It is also similar to the ideas of Plato and The Matrix: a deeper reality lies behind this one.)

In the end, Adams’s repetition technique is one of the easiest self-experiments you can try: it’s totally free, and you have nothing to lose but your time. “Here’s a good test of your personality,” Adams concludes, in response to the skeptics. “If all of your friends told you that they win money on the slot machines whenever they stick their fingers in their own ears, would you try it? Or would you assume that since there is no obvious reason it could work, it’s not worth the effort?”

Why would this repetition method work? Here’s one reason. By clarifying what you want out of life, you’ll be more likely to spot opportunities to achieve that goal. If you aren’t clear about what you want, opportunities will pass by and you won’t even recognize them.

By constantly thinking about what you want, you’ll steer your life towards not only spotting opportunities that will help you achieve that goal, but also take action everyday to make that goal a reality.

If your goal is to become a cartoonist like Scott Adams, then one action you’ll eventually need to take is to start drawing cartoons. Far too many people have a dream and do nothing to achieve it. By constantly writing down your goal, you’ll remind yourself to take action daily to work towards that goal.

Every positive action towards your goal will help, much more than not doing anything at all.

So try this repetition technique. You literally have nothing to lose.

How to Get a Job in Today’s World

Many people, old and young, wonder how to get a job in today’s world. The answer is simple, but here’s where most people get it wrong. People think if you get a college degree, you’ll magically get a job after you graduate.

The truth is that a college degree is expensive and time-consuming to achieve. That immediately puts many people in debt. Even worse, a college degree by itself does not guarantee any job whatsoever. There are people working at Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Burger King who have college degrees, doing jobs that aren’t using their college degrees at all.

If getting a college degree isn’t a sure path to success, then what is? In the book “Dream Differently,” the author, Dr. Vince M. Bertram suggests that people need to first decide what they want and then decide how they’ll get what they want.

Right now, people do things backwards. They determine what they’re good at in school and what their interests are, then they pursue those interests. What they should really be doing is deciding what they want to do and then figure out what they need to learn to get what they want.

“Dream Differently” gives a story about a high school student who was horrible at math. Yet he liked the idea of being an engineer, working in the aerospace industry. Even though he was bad at math, he simply worked harder to get passing grades. Then he became an engineer.

If he had done things the normal way, he would have assumed since he’s bad at math, he can’t be an engineer and thus can’t do what he really wants to do.

The truth is that anyone can do anything they want to do. The sad part is that most people never figure out what they want to do in the first place. So instead of choosing a goal and then aiming for it, they drift through life and choose whatever looks easy at the moment. That’s a sure-fire formula for choosing the wrong career and getting stuck in it for the next few decades of your life.

People who do this wake up forty years later and wonder where their lives went. If you want random chance and luck to define your life, it’s much simpler to simply buy lottery tickets every week and hope for success. Maybe you’ll be lucky but chances are good you’ll simply be broke for the rest of your life, waiting for luck to define your life instead of defining it for yourself.

Don’t let random chance and luck define your life. Define it yourself. That means deciding what you want and then working towards that goal. Don’t look at what you’re good at and go in that direction unless that is the direction you want to go.

“Dream Differently” also emphasizes that it doesn’t matter what college you go to or how much you spend. When people graduate from college, they’re no different than thousands of other people who also graduate with a college degree. The huge problem with college is that it teaches knowledge but fails to teach vital skills needed to work.

For example, someone may graduate as an engineer, but part of being an engineer may involve writing reports. Someone else may graduate with a liberal arts degree, but they’ll still need to know how to use a computer. Colleges too often funnel people into narrow specialities that creates people unable to do other types of tasks.

That’s why so many companies complain that college graduates are not prepared for working. College graduates may know how to solve problems, but they lack basic communication skills (writing and public speaking), they lack business sense (how to manage their own finances), and they lack computer skills (to use the tools needed on a job).

  • Communication skills involve writing and speaking. If you can’t write clearly, you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage in any job. Engineering and science graduates often lack basic writing skills, which handicaps them from any job.
  • Business skills involve knowing how to manage money, both your own and a company’s finances. When you understand how a business works, you can better understand how your role in a company can help that company’s business thrive. If you can’t help a business make money, it doesn’t matter how much you know form college.
  • Computer skills involve knowing how to take advantage of computers of all types to be more productive in your job. Liberal arts majors often shy away from technology, not realizing that computers can help them do research and write in addition to performing basic tasks on the job like printing reports or designing presentations.

If you want to be a success, decide what you want to do, then figure out what skills you need to develop to do what you want to do. Finally, make sure you develop a basic competence in communication, business, and computer skills.

Do this and you’ll go a long way to separating yourself from the masses who fail to understand their purpose in life. There’s never any guarantee you’ll succeed, but if you fail to do anything, you’ll definitely guarantee you’ll never succeed at everything.

The Nature of Good and Evil

Anthony Burgess’s doctor once told him he had an incurable brain tumor with less than a year left to live. Wanting to support his wife financially even after he was gone, he decided to write novels, thinking the royalties would provide his wife with an income. Within the next twelve months, he wrote five novels and one of them was his most famous called “A Clockwork Orange.”

The title comes from a British term “As queer as a clockwork orange.” Anthony Burgess used that term to describe something mechanical that appears to be organic, and that became the basis of his novel’s theme.

In “A Clockwork Orange,” the question is whether a man can be good if you force him to be good. If you force him to be good, does he cease to be a man any more without freedom of choice? If a man chooses evil, he still exhibits freedom of choice but at what cost to himself and the rest of society?

Ultimately, there can be no good alone without evil because people will make mistakes and be tempted to do evil. Yet they can only be good by deliberately choosing to be good. The stereotypical idea of heaven involves a paradise, but how can that paradise even exist unless people no longer have freedom of choice? If they no longer have freedom of choice, how can that be a paradise?

This inherent contradiction explains why good and evil must always exist in the same world simultaneously. “A Clockwork Orange” is both a great book and a movie, but there are subtle differences.

The book originally had 21 chapters divided into three sections because 21 represents the official age where most societies assume someone is legally a man. Yet the American edition of the book omitted the final chapter and the movie was based on the American edition.

The missing final chapter has been restored in most versions of the book, but check before buying a copy. The missing 21st chapter shows how the hero finally decides to choose good over evil, but its conclusion seems forced and contrived.

On the other hand, the movie version ends with the vague conclusion of whether the hero really accepts good or will return back to evil. It’s a more interesting though inconclusive ending.

The movie trims and alters some of the novel’s story so it’s similar but visually compelling. Anthony Burgess reportedly didn’t like the movie version but the movie still seems fresh even today.

By reading or watching “A Clockwork Orange,” you can better understand the nature of good and evil. One cannot exist without the other and people must freely choose between the two. Since some will always choose evil, evil will always exist. The only truly good people are those who choose to be good and resist evil, and those are rare indeed.

“A Clockwork Orange” will definitely make you think, and that’s the type of book and movie we need more than ever.

When Young People Teach Adults How to Be Grown Up

For decades, massacres from gun violence has been killing Americans of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds throughout America. Despite so many gun-related deaths, so-called adults in Congress mostly twiddle their thumbs and do nothing. Sadly, the idea of adults doing nothing is nothing new.

During World War Two, Hitler invaded Denmark and gave the King of Denmark an ultimatum. Either surrender peacefully or risk attack. To save his people, the King of Denmark chose to surrender peacefully to the Germans and allow them to take over Denmark. Under orders from the Danish king, the Danish military laid down their arms and refused to fight.

Appalled at the lack of a backbone to stand up to the Nazi aggressors, a group of boys, aged 12 to 19, refused to allow the indignity of foreign troops taking over their country. These boys formed a resistance group called the Churchill Club, named after Winston Churchill, England’s prime minister, who refused to surrender to Adolf Hitler.

The boys of the Churchill Club sabotaged Nazi trucks, stole weapons, and even lit a train on fire containing German airplane parts. Although all the boys were caught, their actions stirred the adults of Denmark into action, who quickly formed their own resistance groups to fight back against the Nazis.

What’s sad is that it took teenage boys to help Denmark finally decide to fight back against the Nazi invaders. Until then, the Danish police, military, and politicians were content to do absolutely nothing. Given a choice between doing what’s right and being humbled into submission, it’s astonishing how many so-called adults will accept submission instead of fighting for what they want.

Throughout history, young people have been at the heart of change. During the Vietnam War protests, it wasn’t the parents losing their sons to the war who protested, but the young people being drafted to fight in the unpopular war.

During the recent Parkland school shooting, it wasn’t the politicians who said gun violence in our schools is unacceptable. It was the students themselves who finally stood up to protest. Meanwhile, politicians on both sides simply twiddled their thumbs and did nothing.

If you want life to change for the better, the lesson from history is to never expect such change to come from adults. Instead, look to the young for hope. While many of the young will eventually turn into grumpy, conservative, spineless adults like their parents, a handful of young people will continue fighting for what’s right.

In the book “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler,” you can read about how teenagers stood up to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. If teenage boys can do that while adults do nothing, think of what today’s teenagers can do while American adults do nothing.

Never expect adults to do anything that’s right because it’s too often easier for adults to do what’s convenient, which shows their lack of principle and morality. Always look to the young to make changes in life because far too many adults have lost their will to care for anyone other than themselves.

If you feel alienated and lost as a young person, chances are good it’s because the adults around you aren’t standing up for what’s right. By reading a book like “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler,” you can be inspired to stand up for yourself and for what’s right, which is something far too many adults in your life will never be willing to do.

How “Catch-22” Shows How to Deal with Suicide and Depression

If you’ve ever felt depressed or suicidal, chances are good you believe your life consists of nothing but equally unappealing choices. When confronted by nothing but lousy choices, it’s easy to get depressed or feel like suicide is the only option.

However, the real problem with depression or suicidal tendencies isn’t that there are no good options available to you. There are, but you just may not see them. As long as you believe no good choices exist, you won’t bother looking for them, which makes them as good as not existing in the first place. People get depressed not because their lives have no good options, but because they don’t know where to look and find better options for their lives.

When faced with a dilemma that forces you to choose between equally unappealing options, you can learn from “Catch-22,” a novel by Joseph Heller, which was also made into a movie. Given a choice, read the book because it’s far superior to the movie although the movie does visually show the insanity of war as you can see in the clip below where a commanding officer cares more about making money than the lives of his own troops.

Basically the idea behind “Catch-22” is that a bombardier during World War Two is told that he must fly a certain number of missions before he’s allowed to go home. Unfortunately every time he survives to meet the required number of missions, his commander raises the number to force him to keep flying.

As a result, he must keep flying until he eventually gets shot down and dies. As he watches his friends get shot down and die, he knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s next. That means his only choice is to keep flying until he eventually dies.

However, he does find a way out. If he can prove that he’s crazy, he can be released from flying. Of course the only way he can prove he’s crazy is to keep flying because only a crazy person would keep flying missions, knowing that he’ll eventually be shot down and die.

The moment he wants to stop flying because he’s afraid of dying, he’s obviously sane and must keep flying more missions. Because he can only get out of flying if he’s crazy but he can only prove he’s crazy by continuing to fly, he’s stuck in a dilemma known as a Catch-22.

Such a Catch-22 dilemma is what many depressed and suicidal people feel. They feel like no matter what they choose, they’re doomed to a horrible choice so the only way out is through addiction of some kind such as alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, or the ultimate escape which is suicide.

What “Catch-22” teaches is that whenever you’re confronted by a dilemma, you can always create your own, far better alternative, but you have to first believe such an alternative exists and you must then take action to pursue that better alternative.

“Catch-22” is about realizing you are always in control of your life in some form and by believing you have better options, you’ll look and find or make that better option. Then you can embrace that better option rather than feel trapped in a Catch-22 dilemma stuck between multiple unappealing choices.

So if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, take a moment to read “Catch-22.” Not only will it help you see war from a humorous point of view and the insanity behind it, but it will also show you how to escape a dilemma by making your own option, however crazy it might be.

Read “Catch-22” and skip the movie. “Catch-22” just might help you find a way to overcome depression and suicidal tendencies just by thinking about your life from another point of view.

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