FUNDAMENTALS of WORLD DOMINATION
Total World Domination = Epic Fail
// Let’s face it: Total world domination never works.
(OK, you’re probably confused. Maybe you’re wondering if you’re actually reading the right book. You probably read the title and picked it up thinking world domination sounded like a pretty good idea, but then you opened it up and—what the … ?—the title of the first part seems to contradict the title of the book! Yes, I am tricksy. What were you expecting? This ain’t no textbook. We need to understand each other before we go any further: I operate in one way and one way only—always in your face, but on your side. Copy? OK, so, let’s clear the air. You are asking, “Josh, are you actually contradicting the title of your book in the first paragraph?” Yes, I am. Onward …)
When I was just a little boy wonder, there was this cartoon called Animaniacs. You probably don’t remember it, but the show featured a recurring segment called “Pinky and the Brain” about two genetically enhanced lab mice: Pinky, an idiot, and Brain, a diabolical genius much like yourself. Every episode began with these two lines of dialogue:
Pinky: Gee, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky: Try to take over the world!
And try they did. Using all manner of cunning schemes and high-tech absurdities, Brain—with often disastrous “help” from Pinky—would mastermind a plan for total world domination.
It wasn’t just “Pinky and the Brain.” Every show I grew up on, from Care Bears (did I just admit to watching Care Bears?) to Masters of the Universe (much more manly) to Transformers, had a villain trying to subjugate the other characters. (Confession: I don’t even know what “subjugate” means, but my book editor told me not to talk down to teens and to challenge them with big words. Well, I have challenged myself and failed. I am crying right now.) These villains went by names like Professor Coldheart, Skeletor, Megatron, and Monty Burns. They often emitted evil, cackling laughs. They nearly all had henchmen, and sometimes they had mustaches … which stirred up jealousy in me due to my complete inability to grow facial hair, even to this day. Tear.
Fast-forward to today: Dark wizard Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters terrorize humanity in the Harry Potter series; the merciless Volturi cause trouble for Bella in the Twilight saga; and, after all these years, Decepticon overlord Megatron is still bent on destroying Earth and everyone on it. All of these villains—and every villain from our books to the big screen—are after the same thing: Absolute power, complete control, and total world domination.
But power-hungry villains aren’t just the stuff of fiction. In fact, the villain’s quest for world domination is a classic case of art imitating life. When I was in school, the only homework my foster parents could ever force my ADD brain to focus on was history, particularly the stories about real-world dudes who built vast empires—like the Egyptian pharaohs, Xerxes I, and countless other emperors, kings, queens, warlords, generals, and dictators. Let me tell you, actual history is really just a big soap opera of crazy people trying to take over the world. But here’s what I discovered. These historical figures—from Hitler to Napoléon to Genghis Khan to Alexander the Great—all had one thing in common:
(Actually, they had a lot in common—egos the size of Texas, an insatiable thirst for power and wealth, a common serial killer’s disregard for human life—but I’m talking about besides that.)
None of them ever succeeded. That’s right, not one.
Sure, they had people running scared for a while, and some of these guys conquered huge chunks of territory. But no matter how big their army, how prosperous their economy, how abundant their resources, how advanced their technology, how brilliant their devious plan, or how epically bushy their facial hair (I’m looking at you, Genghis) … they could never quite pull it off. Their empires always crumbled.
To this day, no one has been able to take over the entire world—not in cartoons, not in books, not in movies, and definitely not in history!
// Yet the villains keep trying
Despite the dismal track record of ambitious tyrants who’ve tried and died before them, modern-day villains remain fascinated by and fixated on their personal quests for world domination. Ancient rulers tried to conquer the world in search of mythical items like the fountain of youth, gold (btw, what’s with all those gold-bar infomercials on TV after 2 A.M.?), or ultimate glory. But these days, it’s usually about political power, natural resources, weapons, and cold hard cash. It seems that everyone is looking for that magical force or item that will allow them to control everyone else or give them a leg up in the race of world domination.
Fortunately, the vast majority of these selfish and destructive individuals won’t become rulers of nations or commanders of armies. But, something you need to understand is that it doesn’t take an army, a giant moon-laser, or a mustache to try to control others’ lives.
Would-be villains are still out to dominate other people’s worlds every day, and I’m not just talking about national security or terrorist threats. Lean in for this one:
Your world is under attack by an assortment of villains right here and right now.
I’m serious! Through manipulation and physical strength or through passive-aggressiveness and psychological warfare, there are villains in your life today trying to control your world for their own gain.
Let me be clear to make sure you heard me. The villains are real and they are coming for you. But if you don’t believe me, this book isn’t going to make any sense to you and you’re not going to last.
In fact, there may be villains among us right now, even reading this book. Are you a villain? Are you? Huh? Don’t look away from the page—I’m not kidding, here. Think about it, you DID pick up a book called The Teen’s Guide to World Domination! YOU might actually be a villain trying to control others’ lives for your own gain. But let’s be honest, I don’t entirely blame you: World domination does have a certain appeal, doesn’t it? Even to noble citizens like us.
Sure, people like you and me probably don’t really aspire to overthrow governments or create secret lairs guarded by sharks with lasers on their heads in order to bring small nations to their knees while our merciless conquest is broadcast live on CNN with Larry King (the emperor of suspenders). In my experience, most people don’t want to do that. Most people aren’t psychotic megalomaniacs. (Ooh … “megalomaniac”! How’s that for challenging teens? I think it means either a crazy person or something about breeding giant LEGO blocks; I heard it on a random AM radio station and it seemed to work here.)
The idea of getting other people to do what we want … well, that sounds kinda fancy, doesn’t it? But trust me, controlling other people isn’t fancy. It’s awful, and you and I both know your grandmother would be ashamed of you if she knew you were doing this.
Beneath the surface, grandiose (how do you like them apples, editor?) plans to dominate the world are usually about something far less impressive. Often, it’s because we want something and we’re not willing to play nice to get it. We don’t feel good about who we are, so, to get what we want, we have to knock someone else down. We don’t feel powerful, so we find someone weaker to control. That’s what happened with Napoléon and Hitler. And take a look at Kim Jong Il from North Korea! That dude is 5?3?; talk about a complex! He just got extremely good at controlling people and started wearing platform shoes to appear more manly. (I must say that I understand his pain, being just 5?8? myself; I often refer to myself as a “man-boy.”) But whether you are short or tall, taking advantage of those weaker than you is just plain wrong.
Bottom line: The traditional quest for total world domination NEVER succeeds, it USUALLY stems from ugly motives, and ALWAYS, without a doubt, hurts other people.
It’s time to recognize that the quest for total world domination isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s time to choose a new battle, set a new goal. Instead of trying to conquer a small country or even just conquering your own high school classroom, let’s leave everyone else alone for a while and focus on something else, something that is actually doable!
Here’s the thing: There’s a bigger, more important challenge out there and we’ve all overlooked it. Any coward can try to control someone else’s life, but it takes a hero to face the biggest challenge of them all: Dominating your own world.
Turns out that all the villainous people throughout history aren’t just evil or crazy; ultimately, they were all cowards. They didn’t have the guts to take on the challenge of dominating their own world, so instead they focused on playing dirty so they could control others. But controlling others is nothing compared to the challenge of dominating your own life.
In fact, most people can’t do it. They fold. They give up. They say they’re interested, but at the first sign of struggle, they bail. Why? Because anything worth doing is always going to be hard. Think about anything in your life that has been epic. Was it easy? NO, but was it worth it? Of course! And this will be, too. Trust me.
So, here’s my question: Are you willing to dominate your own world?
If you can’t answer “yes,” just shut the book, eBay it, and use the money to buy yourself an assortment of suckers because that’s what you are, a sucker, and that’s the way you’re choosing to live your life. I hope you like the flavor.
If, however, you are one of the few, one of the heroes—if you’re a true revolutionary, someone with an underground resistance mentality—then now is the time. Now is the time to stop trying to dominate the whole world and start trying to dominate your own.
That’s where we’re headed. That’s what this book is all about.
So, who’s with me? If you’re not with me, take another lick of your sucker and shut the book. But if you’re in, turn the page.
Excerpted from The Teen’s Guide to World Domination by Josh Shipp.
Copyright © 2010 by Hey Josh, LLC.
Published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.