There is a graphic novel that came out in 1988 called Batman: The Killing Joke.
The basic plot is that The Joker tries to prove to Batman that everyone, if pushed to a certain point is insane and will lose their moral center.
It shows how the Joker’s origin involved him having a somewhat normal life before a series of awful things happened to him on the same day that resulted in him becoming the Joker (similar to how Batman was created by the events of a single day).
You should definitely check it out at some point even if you’re not a comic fan, its a very deep story.
The relevance to today’s dispatch comes from a single line where The Joker tells Batman
“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”
That line has always stuck with me since I first read it in about 2003.
Shortly after that I had an experience where I was washing my car at a DIY car wash and a guy approached me and asked me for a few dollars to buy some food, I’ve always assumed he was homeless… but, and I am not a religious man, but I have often wondered if instead of a homeless guy that he was some sort of angel sent here to teach me this lesson.
At first I was annoyed since I felt obligated to help but didn’t have much money to my name at that point. But for whatever reason that quote came to my mind at that very moment and it occurred to me that I wasn’t that different than this guy… that I was one bad day away from having to ask a stranger for a few dollars to buy some food.
So I gave him the little bit of money I had and wished him well.
From that day on that has been my approach to everything in my life and how I push myself to always improve because if all it takes is one bad day for me to lose everything, I have to make sure that bad day has to be as bad as possible for it to get to that point.
You see no matter how much money you have, you can always lose it all overnight. You could lose your job, your bank account could get hacked, your cash could get stolen, the blockchain could stop working, the financial system could explode, the government could force your businesses to close etc… that’s why it is important to be as diversified as you safely can be.
No matter how much power or influence you have, you could lose it all over night. Your company could collapse, the platform you built your influence on could close or stop working, you could get voted out of office, forced to resign, or be impeached etc… that’s why you need to have as much influence as you can in as many places as you can.
No matter how many people love or care about you, you could lose them overnight. They could just leave for various reasons, or they might pass on etc… that’s why its important to let the people you love know as often and as loudly as possible, and to care for many others as you possibly can.
No matter how healthy you are you could have still get in an accident, or have an unknown condition harm or kill you, or you could catch a virus etc… that’s why it is important to take your health as seriously as you possibly can.
No matter what you have or what you’ve achieved it is all impermanent, and it can all go away in just one bad day.
Now I know that might sound a little bleak but its really not.
You see in the graphic novel The Joker kidnaps and tortures Commissioner Gordon in an attempt to break him and make him lose his way and his moral code the way The Joker and Batman have… and it doesn’t work.
He comes out of it, traumatized, but with his sanity in tact and tells Batman (who had been contemplating killing The Joker) to bring The Joker down the right way to show him that “our way works”.
So that is who we need to be, Commissioner Gordon.
You see he had built up his strength of character to the point that even being tortured wasn’t a bad enough day for him to lose everything.
That needs to be your goal every day, to become the real world Commissioner Gordon.
You need to wake up every day and think “What can I do today to make sure that the bad day that could ruin everything for me is as bad as it can possibly be before it does?”
Then you need to do it.
Improve your financial situation. Improve your power and influence. Improve your circle of people and let them know how you feel. Improve your health. Improve as many things as you can as much as you can every single day.
Don’t be The Joker, don’t even be Batman, and don’t let yourself become the guy that had to ask me for help just to buy lunch. Be Commissioner Gordon who when faced with a bad day that would break most people instead comes out the other side still in tact and ready to get back to making the world better.