When Doing Good Enables Evil

Earlier today, I encountered a story that infuriated me.

It seems that a couple teamed up with a homeless guy to basically scam people out of a whole lot of money. Those are the allegations, at least. If true, then these people have betrayed a great deal of trust. They’ll also make it harder for people to do good in the future.

After all, the question on everyone’s mind will be whether this is legit or another scam.

For me, though, I feel a slightly more personal betrayal, despite never having spoken with any of the three alleged to have committed this act.

You see, I wrote about this touching story and, in the process, probably helped them scam some people.

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How To ‘Change Your Stars’

One of my family favorite movies is A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger. It’s completely…something. I mean, modern pop culture references in a medieval movie shouldn’t work, but it does

However, the overall theme of the movie is about whether or not a man can “change his stars.” After all, you have a commoner who wants to become a knight, something forbidden.

What does that have to do with anything?

Well, yesterday, I did something I kind of despise. I told people to change their lives if they don’t like it, but I really didn’t offer up a whole lot of actionable advice.

I offered up a platitude and put the onus on you, but all I offered was some vague comments about grabbing opportunities.

While I’m not a fan of trying to tell you how to live your life, I also have to understand that not everyone has a clue as to how to even begin to “change their stars.”

Today, I’m going to try and fix that.

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Stop Complaining About Your Life, Change It

Like way too many people, I spend far more time on social media than is good for me. I pop over for a quick look and I end up being sucked into a vortex.

One thing I see a lot of, though, are people who are bitching about their life. They’re complaining about how they have a crappy job or a horrible life. They post about their failings, their lack of income, their…any number of things, and guess what?

Nothing changes.

But what do you expect when all you really do is complain?

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Gut Checks And Other Critters

Over the weekend, I watched a little something on Netflix about the Special Operations Executive, or SOE. This was a group that led to the U.S. created the OSS, which is the predecessor to the CIA.

The show was a unique blend of documentary and reality television. It took modern folks, dressed them in 1940s clothing and then put them through the training of an SOE agent.

During the show, there was an exercise where the agents had to travel across a rather cold lake. One of the participants, however, had a phobia of open water. She was terrified. The thought had her shaking, she was petrified of going across that lake.

She went anyway.

As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think about her courage–and that was real

But it also made me think about how I probably need to find opportunities to introduce more gut checks into my life.

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Confessions Of A Peacetime Veteran

I’m a Navy veteran and today is Veteran’s Day.

I don’t mention this to fish for “Thank you for your service” comments. I don’t actually want them. No offense, mind you, but you might understand why in a bit.

No, I say this because it’s a day that actually makes me very uncomfortable.

You see, while I’m a veteran, I served during peacetime. I served at a time when the Twin Towers still stood tall but after the specter of the Soviets had gone away.

We’d already kicked the crap out of Iraq before I signed on the dotted line, though my National Service Medal stems from Desert Storm. I served during our missions in Somalia–in particular, Blackhawk Down–and operations in Bosnia, but I wasn’t there for any of it.

And honestly, Veteran’s Day makes me feel very odd.

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Wealth Is Power, And That’s Not A Bad Thing

Something that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while is the idea of wealth. In particular, the accumulation of wealth for the sake of accumulating wealth.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of words spilled over the topic, and most of it seems to be pretty negative. We hear that money is the root of all evil, that greed is bad, that any desire to have more than what you need betrays your lack of moral character.

But honestly, I’ve never bought that.

Instead, I see wealth as power. While it has also been said that power corrupts, that’s not necessarily true either. Power is just attractive to the corruptible. Wealth is no different. Sure, we can find plenty of rich jackasses, they’re jackasses for reason that have little to do with wealth and the power that’s associated with it.

No, wealth is power, but it’s power that you can also use for good in your life and the life of others.

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The Shattered Reality Of Our Modern Age

I don’t really know what’s wrong with the world anymore.

I mean, I’m someone who looks at the world on a daily basis. I take in all the insanity and try to boil it down for human consumption. My entire job revolves around comprehending what is taking place at a given moment and to try to figure out just why that is.

The problem, though, is that I look at a glimpse of the world and can figure it out from there, but our world is broken. Horribly, horribly broken.

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