“Go ahead, make my day!”
It’s the classic line that we all know, and it comes from the 1983 film, “Sudden Impact,” starring the iconic Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry Calahan.” Now, in case you don’t remember the scene, Dirty Harry has his .44 magnum Smith & Wesson revolver pointed at a criminal who is holding a woman hostage. And what would “make Harry’s day” is to be able to shoot the man point blank, just like he shot the other perpetrators who just attempted to rob a diner.
So, what makes my day?
Well, it’s certainly not the prospect of shooting a criminal, although the world often makes one want to metaphorically (and sometimes literally) shoot one’s enemies. What does make my day is interacting with readers of The Deep Woods, and exchanging ideas on a variety of topics that matter to us all.
Today, I will do just that, by answering some recent questions I’ve received. I will also share some of the replies I received in response to the question I posed in last week’s issue requesting you tell me about your purpose. First, let’s dig into a few of your latest questions.
Question: Finn H. writes: “Jim, I’m really troubled about what’s happening in Israel, and I am horrified by the terror acts committed by Hamas. Even more disturbing is the reaction in defense of this horror by liberal students in elite colleges in America. Is there any sane light you can shed on this for me? Semper Fi, Finn.”
Answer: I, too, am horrified by the actions of Hamas; however, I am not surprised. It seems as if everyone has forgotten why we’ve had to take our shoes off in the airports for the past 20 years. The reason why is because of Islamic jihadism. You see, in secular Western societies, people don’t really believe that a person can be motivated to kill themselves and others for their metaphysical beliefs. I mean, the conflict in the Middle East has to be about oppression, poverty, land disputes, etc., right? Wrong!
The conflict is all about ideas.
Indeed, even a casual reading of the Quran, the Hadiths and cursory knowledge of the life of the Prophet Muhammad gives us the answers as to why these atrocities are happening. In those works, the prescription for holy war, conquest and jihad is arguably the central message of Muhammad and the Quran. Acts of beheadings, torture and mayhem in service of jihad isn’t a “hijacking of the religion” like so many apologists on college campuses say. The people who engage in jihad (albeit a tiny minority of Muslims), are carrying out martyrdom, and they are acting out what they think the creator of the universe has told them is the best way to get to paradise.
Hamas is a jihadist organization. If Israel suddenly laid down their arms and declared they want peace, the kind of slaughter that took place on Oct. 7 would commence on a grotesque scale that would obliterate every Jew “from the river to the sea.” Ideas have consequences, and true belief in the doctrine of jihadism is about as corrosive an idea as anyone has ever conceived. Until we face this reality, and until the West, and more importantly, the Muslim world, condemns the doctrine of jihad, we will continue to grapple with this ugly reality.
Question: T.J. writes, “Jim, I saw your performance at the FreedomFest Jam session in Memphis this year. It was a great night. Do you often perform music, and do you have a website or a YouTube channel where I can hear your original songs?”
Answer: Thanks T.J., and yes, I remember you were there at the Blues City Cafe. Super fun night! Since you asked, I do perform occasionally at some acoustic music venues in Southern California. In fact, I am planning several shows in Spring 2024, so I will give you the heads up as the dates are confirmed. I am also in the process of writing and recording a new album, and thanks to a brilliant director friend of mine, we are also planning on doing a video for one of the songs. All of this is scheduled to be completed by mid-2024, so stay tuned! And once again, thank you!
Question: Josie R. writes: “Do you think a rematch between President Biden and former President Trump is inevitable? Also, who do you think will win?”
Answer: Josie, I will keep this answer brief. Yes, I think a rematch is inevitable. As for who will win, well, given the craziness in our body politic today, I don’t think anyone can say at this point. In this matter, I will defer to the great Bob Dylan and say, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
Now, turning to the question I posed last week for you to tell me your purpose, here I got a few thoughtful responses. Allow me to share a few of my favorites right now.
Thanks for asking this question. I’ve been a subscriber of Successful Investing for several years and my father-in-law followed Dick and Doug Fabian’s investing plan.
My purpose is to help make the world a better place. I do this by living and leading with a set of values, volunteering in various local community building activities and contributing to various organizations, including my Baha’i faith. My success with investing plays an important role and I have a lot to learn.
Regards, Jan F.
Love this, Jan. And thank you for being a loyal and longtime reader of Successful Investing.
Hello Jim. Thanks for asking this really important question. Thanks to the classic Seven Habits book, I wrote out my personal mission statement many years ago. I’m now retired and my kids are on their own, so I’d simplify my purpose to helping and serving others. In your case it’s educating investors, and in my case it’s a variety of volunteer and mentoring roles. Thanks for your thoughtful question, and best wishes in pursuing your purpose!
Thanks, David A.
Thank you, David A. Helping others by volunteering and mentoring is something I look forward to doing more of in my retirement, too. And thank you for your thoughtful response.
And now for what I think is my favorite response on the purpose question:
Dear Mr. Woods,
I was about to cancel/delete your letter when I read your opening comments in this month’s email. It stopped me. I have never heard someone in your field ask that question or speak so plainly. Love it.
My purpose in life is to support those around me that require such. Often to their embarrassment or ignorance.
Supporting those around us is a beautiful purpose. Not only does it help those around us, but it helps us in the process. Yes, it isn’t always pretty or easy, especially when embarrassment or ignorance is involved, but doing good isn’t always pretty or easy. Sometimes, we have to do really hard things in a really tough world.
Oh, and thanks for not cancelling/deleting this publication. It is my goal to speak plainly, and to ask questions that others in my field don’t. That’s what I hope makes The Deep Woods unique, and I am very pleased that sentiment resonated with you.
Finally, it’s not too late to weigh in. What is your purpose? I’d love to hear more, and doing so is as simple as sending me an email.
I look forward to your response.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
When it comes to love, there is one person in the world that deserves your best. No, it’s not your wife, or husband, or mother or father, or even your favorite progeny (yes, we all have a favorite). The person who deserves your deepest love is… you.
The reason why is because a failure to love yourself means that you have let down the one person in the world who you are most responsible for, and who can have the biggest impact on your happiness, and by extension, the world’s happiness. So, when you make choices about your existence, do so with the requisite self-love needed to make your world just a little bit better.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.
In the name of the best within us,