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Monday, December 1, 2014

Ben Stein

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."

 Ben Stein
American Actor, Writer, Lawyer
1944 -

When I came out of college in 1971, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had some vague idea about wanting to be a writer, but I had no idea on how to go about it. Remember this long before the personal computer let alone the internet. I was typing my work on a Royal typewriter. 

The only way to find jobs was through the newspaper and there were not many jobs for want-to-be writers in central Illinois, farm country. It took me four years to find a job writing and then it was an accident. I applied for for a job as a speech writer but I heard nothing. I found out later they hired a novelist with one published novel under his belt. He spent most of this time while employed working on his second novel. Three months after I applied, I received a call from a nursing home company about a job as a writer of policy and procedures manuals. I interviewed and was hired. 

I thought I would work for a year and move on to writing somewhere else. Thirty-nine years later I still work in the nursing home industry and write in my spare time. Sometimes when we don't know where we want to go, life will decide for us. And often the decision is the correct one.

If you know what it is you want to do with your life, that is great. If you don't know, don't worry. The river of life will take you where you need to go. 

Research shows that only about 2% of Americans write goals — only 2% know what they want to do with their lives.  I was 35 years old when I first heard about the importance of goal-setting in achieving one's dreams. In college I had dreamed of being a writer but at 35 was far from my dream. I had only written about 200 poems in 15 years. I set a goal to write a poem a day for a year. That year I wrote over 400 poems.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you need to turn them into goals. Goals are dreams with deadlines.

Ben Stein was born in Washington, D.C.  He was the sone of Mildred and Herbert Stein.  His father was a writer, presidential advisor and economist.  He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and Yale with a law degree.  His legal career began as poverty lawyer and eventually became a trial lawyer.

Ben Stein in
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Stein served as a speechwriter and lawyer for President Nixon and President Ford.  Time magazine speculated in 1976 that Stein might have been Deep Throat, probably in part because Stein had been a high school classmate of Bob Woodward.  Stein has repeatedly denied the accusation.  

Stein began his film career at the age of 42 as an economics teacher in the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  He has also appeared in Seinfeld, The Mask, MacGyver, Married With Children, and Ghostbusters.  He has also written for the television industry.  

Stein has written 28 books, 7 fiction and 21 non-fiction.  His first novel, On The Brink, was co-written with his father and published in 1978.  His most recent book, How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio, was published in 2012.

Here is Ben Stein in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.