All Wars Are Pointless (except this one)

Have you seen this?

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The US military budget is higher than the nine other biggest military budgets in the world.

And spending is increasing.

But why?

They already have a great military.

Why keep spending money on it?

Basic dog psychology.

If you’ve seen the movie Point Break (1991) you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

If not, let me explain.

Johnny Utah is an FBI agent. He knows he has to arrest Bodhi but their friendship is getting in the way. Plus, Bodhi and his crew have Tyler, Johnny’s girl, locked up. There’s always the girl.

Bodhi and his crew dress up and rob banks wearing ex-president masks. They take guns in and dance around on the counters but never hurt anyone.

They’re in and out of the bank in 90-seconds.

Now Johnny has to help with the next robbery. If he doesn’t, Tyler’s dead.

Johnny isn’t having any of it. He’s torn. Between upholding the law and going along with it to save Tyler.

Bodhi can sense it. He’s seen it before. And knows what happens when people are in two minds.

‘All I’m asking for is 90-seconds of your time Johnny, that’s it.’

‘You see, it’s basic dog psychology,’ says Bodhi, ‘if you scare them and get them peeing down their leg, they submit. And if you project weakness, you draw aggression, that’s how people get hurt.’

‘You see, fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true,’ Bodhi continues.

‘So it’s simple, you project strength to avoid conflict.’

‘Peace through superior firepower!’ Roach chimes in.

Then they go rob the bank. But things don’t go according to plan. They never touch the vault. But this time they did.

Bodhi hesitated. One of his friends gets shot. And the other shoots a cop.

Not a good time.

Enough spoilers.

How does this relate back to the US military?

It’s the same as why nightclub bouncers are often big, scary looking dudes.

If you’re a scrawny 21-year-old, you don’t think twice about taking on the bouncer. You stick to your business to yourself and enjoy the night. Otherwise, you get your ass handed to you on the way out of the club.

The US military maintains their strength and power by doing exactly that. They keep the peace by being the big, scary looking nightclub bouncer of the world.

Is this the right way to go about things? I don’t know.

But it seems to be working. Despite what you see on the news, the world is in a good place compared to the past.

Any history book will tell you this.

‘Okay Daniel, how does all this matter to someone in their twenties?’

Alright, alright.

A lot happens in the twenties. I’d know. I’m 25.

  • You come of age.

  • You finish college.

  • You get that job.

  • You get married.

  • You go to that place.

  • You start making more decisions on your own.

A lot of great things. But it can be tough.

  • You think you know everything. But you don’t.

  • You take that job. But it wasn’t what you really wanted.

  • You’re not really that good at anything.

  • The relationship you’re in is toxic but you stay there anyway because you don’t think you’ll find anyone else.

  • The friends you had from school are into their own things.

  • Everyone you see online seems 10x happier than you.

Hold on. Weren’t the twenties supposed to be the golden years?

‘These are the best years of your life!’ You hear people say.

‘If these are supposed to be the best? And everything sucks,’ you think, ‘then what’s next?’

Aghhhhhh.

Alright. Alright.

We can fix this.

Scroll back up and reread what our friend Bodhi said.

Got it?

The line I’m talking about is, ‘You see, fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.’

Remember what happened when Bodhi hesitated? He went for the vault when they never go for the vault. Then everything went to shit. His worst fears came true.

You hesitate about the things you want to do because of fear.

You want to learn to dance but you’re scared of what people will think.

You’ve got a dozen blog posts thought of but never share them because ‘who am I to say these things?’

You want to quit your job and go on a freelancing adventure around the world. But having no steady income? Yikes.

Some big fears.

Some smaller.

Like walking up to that girl on the street. ‘Hi.’

Whatever they are. It’s all the same.

Hesitations snowball. And eventually, you’re under an avalanche of your own worst fears.

The next time you get that feeling. You know the one. Bugs in your stomach. A little hollowness in the front of your head.

Don’t let it take over.

‘If you project weakness, you draw aggression, that’s how people get hurt.’

Take the same quote and face it inward.

‘When I project weakness, I’m aggressive on myself, that’s when I feel hurt.’

The US spend big to always be prepared. Prepared for war.

But the real war is in the mind.

The war between you and the you on the other side of fear.

All the others are pointless.

Fear is like the ocean. You can’t control it.

But you can learn to surf.

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This post originally appeared on Quora as an answer to ‘What should you not waste time on in your twenties?’

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