Vail Daily column: When the world has gone mad |

Vail Daily column: When the world has gone mad

Do you remember the Billy Joel song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”? Billy Joel takes us musically through a history lesson as he shares everything from Harry Truman to heavy metal, the cola wars and many things in between, including Woodstock, punk rock, Watergate, AIDS, crack and terror on the airlines.

The chorus goes like this: “We didn’t start the fire/ It was always burning/ Since the world’s been turning/ We didn’t start the fire/ No we didn’t light it/But we tried to fight it.”

‘No we didn’t light it’

As I have overheard many times over the past several months, “The world has gone mad.” I have even caught myself thinking it or saying it as I watch or read the news. Billy Joel could probably rewrite the lyrics to the song to include everything from ISIS, the three-ring circus of a presidential race, ebbs and flows of social media opinions, rants and debates, immigration, ranchers taking over federal buildings, drug addictions at epidemic proportions, celebrity break-ups and hooks-ups, weekly professional athlete antics and arrests, and the list goes on.

Have you found yourself thinking or saying, “The world has gone mad?” If so, just remember, “We didn’t start the fire/ It was always burning/ Since the world’s been turning/ We didn’t start the fire/ No we didn’t light it/ But we tried to fight it.”

‘but we tried to fight it’

There are so many things we can do to fight it — many things we can do locally that may have an impact globally. Those ideas are for another column or email exchange, as right now the focus of this column is on what we can do for ourselves when we find ourselves reeling from the feeling of the world going mad.

First we should try and remember that, “It was always burning, Since the world’s been turning.” And generation after generation has survived. Secondly, we need to stay true to our belief system and not become caught up in the attempts of others to influence our belief systems. And lastly, at least for today, we need to live with hope. Not false hope or empty promises of hope and change, but the kind of hope that fuels our everyday attitudes, the kind of hope that drives encouragement to make changes or to be a difference- maker and the hope that the next thing we hear and see on the news will be one thing we can build upon in our own personal lives and for our families.

We didn’t start the fire, but somebody did. It has been burning since the world’s been turning, and it will always be burning in some way. No we didn’t light it — not most of us anyway — the majority of the world is still good. But we do try to fight it, and we do that through a commitment to our belief systems through our positive actions and by living with hope.

How about you? How are you dealing with a world that has gone mad? Are you caught up in the madness or are you a believer of hope? Either way I would love to hear all about it at And when we stay committed to our belief system, action and hope, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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