Lead With Your Afflikshun

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I just got an email that started with, “As a female entrepreneur, I….” Not only would I never have guessed Laura was a woman, but I would have wasted precious minutes focusing on her proposal, credentials, and substance of her work. Instead, she wisely redirected me towards something far more valuable – her affliction. It’s one that haunts more than 50% of the world’s population! And I fear, may someday kill them. (Trust me, I Googled it.)

This really got my blood boiling about the injustices of capitalism.

The years I wasted listening to people brag about how much product they sold. The stupid little “problems” their “synthetic heart valve” allegedly solves. And nonstop news about so-called “achievements”. Athletes, constantly rubbing their…their athleticism in our faces. Those glistening, hard bodies. Rubbing. In. Our. Faces…..

I digress.

I’ve been an accomplice to a soulless system, blind to human suffering.

That system ends TODAY!

That’s right, it’s time to lead with your affliction.

I don’t want to know what your company does. I have no interest in your ability to carry a body out of a burning building. Or, how great you can sing. Start with your string of injustices.

Tell me about your dad. Did he drink? Yes? How much?

Ever have the mumps?

Was there a neighbor who gave you the creeps as a child?

Have you been scarred by gluten? I bet you have.

It’s time Capitalism rewarded the one thing that truly matters: suffering.

The more you’ve suffered, the better your life should be. We must guarantee it. I call it Universal Basic Aquality (#UBA). Sure, you might spell that with an “E”, but as an Immigrant-Entrepreneur, I know what it’s like grow up without “spelling.” This is my second language and I need you to accept your spelling privilege. The world is full of anti-spellites. Don’t bee one of them.

Yes, sorting people by gender, race, and who they sleep with is a great start. But we must do more! We must go DEEP into EVERY obstacle and affliction – real, imagined and presumed.

Even the Bible promises, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Well I say, it’s Christmas in Meekanos!! We must give it to them now!

Let’s start with your job.

Starting to excel at solar panel installation? Hand that hammer to a quadriplegic.

Are you a top Instagram model? You didn’t make those followers! Give 300,000 to Hilda, who grew up with a weird name and untreated hangnail.

Hit eight home runs this week? Don’t you think that’s an experience little people deserve? Retire now, drive home, and watch ‘Little People, Big World Series’ on TLC.

Once all qualifications are oppressions AND all oppressions are qualifications, imagine how much better cocktail parties will be!

“As a hobo realtor, I’m always there for my clients. Always. There. Sleeping. In the tub. In this sleeping bag. Waiting. For my clients.”

“As a painter from a war-torn nation, I know that painting is a form of tyranny. Paint is just Pain plus Toil.”

“As a nutritionist with an obese mother, I understand that calories are love. And I could never deprive anyone of that.”

But remember, I can’t bring #UBA to life by myself. I need your help!

First, we must identify and rank all afflictions, big and small. Weight, height, poverty, abuse, looks, moles shaped like Matlock… Let your imagination run free! Then, submit them to me below and I’ll email you the final tally.

The power to make afflictions matter is in YOUR HANDS! So hand it over to those who may not have any. (hands)

And never stop cherishing victimhood. Not until the next Stephen Hawking works construction – and the next Rhianna codes at Google.


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Because nothing improves satire more than having to explain it, here are my main points, spelled out:

  1. You undermine your own credibility when you present yourself as a hyphenated anything, especially in business. Lead with your value, not your tribal identity. It may bring you closer to others in that tribe, but it’s guaranteed to alienate you from others – those who crave substance – or others who receded to their own tribes. Some might start as lobbying groups, but over time, this new apartheid can easily take us to a point of no return.
  2. By leading with your tribal affiliation, you’re not-so-subtly proclaiming victimhood. “I’ve been wronged and you better make it right.” Do you really want to be in the room solely because of your asterisk, and not your excellence? And, have everyone else wondering the same thing?
  3. Your proclamation asserts a bizarre form of SUFFERING SUPREMACY. That your pain supersedes that of others. Don’t bet on it. While you can’t always tell by a person’s body type or melanin, everyone has struggles, pain, and obstacles. Most are invisible, silent. And many might just put your trendy, sanctioned ones to shame. So tread lightly.
  4. This new tribalism is rooted in negativity. It makes no effort to look at the other side of the ledger. No one is just a concentrated vial of oppression. Each of us has advantages, experiences, good fortune and positive relationships that usually more than make up for that single, tribal variable.
  5. Group victimhood – even when legitimate – can’t be allowed to dominate the rich tapestry of who you are – or infect what you think of others. Walk into every room, interaction, and relationship without the wheelbarrow of biases you claim hold you back. And hopefully, the other person will give you that same respect. That’s equality.
  6. The minute we replace merit with anything else, we pave the highway to Idiocracy. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for – and invest in – equal opportunity. We absolutely should. But gerrymandered equality of outcomes isn’t equality at all. It’s the illusion of helping and success – without ever addressing the underlying problem. It works like a tariff. It might preserve jobs by propping up one industry, but hurts every consumer who buys that product – and every product caught up in the trade war. The magnitude of the pain – dwarfs any benefits. Plus, the beneficiaries become zombies, sustained by a lie. They’re forced into a lifetime of consuming anyone who threatens to debunk it.

Finally, want the actual truth on how to succeed? Read THE REAL REASON YOU’RE SMART, BUT NOT RICH: THE KARDASHIAN SUCCESS SECRET

Affliction Survey

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Provocative predictions & prescriptions on where innovation, economics & culture will take us. Fearless. Funny.