Category Archives: authentic marketing

Can Giving a Gift Land You in Debt?

GiftThe custom of gift-giving is one that is missing in the United States, even as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. Why? Gift-giving in other cultures does not stem from a capitalistic commercialism, but rather from the spiritual interaction between a gift giver and a recipient. It has less to do with what you give, and more to do with how you give and to whom you give. It is a practice of cultivating a generosity of spirit that includes rightful action to a community.

Dana

In Buddhist philosophy, dana was the spiritual practice of giving that helped to reduce the imperfection of greed in a person and improve their karmic score. Hindus give dana and have very elaborate rituals over what type of gifts will produce what type of karmic benefits. Give a gift of sesame seed to a temple and you get a karmic bonus of fertility. Beyond giving a gift, the recipient also has certain obligations. They must respect the act of the giving as a sacred act, just as the recipient offers it in that same attitude. If the gift is not respected, it is said to lead to the downfall of both the giver and the recipient. Also, giving certain types of gifts actually boomerang on you karmically, rather than raising your karmic score.

It is also suggested that you should not give gifts to people who are not in your spiritual lineage. Some traditions say certain people can only receive gifts. I’ve even heard of other teachings where women must always give, but never take. In Hindu gift-giving one should try to seek out Brahmins to gift as the act is considered “rightful giving” and reaps many spiritual benefits, unlike giving to someone who uses the gift but returns no spiritual teachings to a community. Obviously, I’m not here to argue over whether these traditions are correct or not. I am just suggesting that the act of giving is intrinsic to spiritual wealth, but it comes with some responsibilities. It also has to do with why so many people land into debt.

Generosity

There are supposedly five stages in the Buddist practice of dana. In the conditional giving stage, you give something because you expect something in return. That is not considered bad, but merely somewhat ignorant. You are expected to do this practice until you can give without expecting anything in return. In America, this amounts to our ideal of “earning one’s wage” or even a fair business transaction. It is tied into our beliefs about integrity and work. We expect that everything we work at will yield some result. However, that’s just not realistic. There are plenty of hard workers that never get the fruits of their labor, for various reasons. I am not about to dump more on them to suggest that they have bad karma either. There are plenty of people who give of their time and efforts working for companies that destroy our environment, steal from people with usurious interest rates, and generally have unethical business practices. And, they make a fortune at it while they’re doing it. I’m not going to suggest they are due bad karma either for doing it. For one thing, this type of teaching has no effect on people who willfully sow bad seeds and it does nothing to help those that have sown good seed, but failed to reap a harvest. Thus, for me at least, gift-giving is not about bettering my karmic odds at all.

Maybe I’m a Miser

I admit that I have no patience for a consumerist Christmas, whether it is giving out tons of presents or sending out Christmas cards. The earth is not going to jump up and down for joy because several forests were decimated over the practice of giving out Christmas cards. I don’t like the unspoken obligation that stems from our puritanical roots that when you get a gift, you’re supposed to give one in return. For one thing, some families have no understanding that the annual Christmas-giving frenzy is a horror for single individuals, with or without children. One family of four (a couple and two children) can give one present of high worth to one individual, but the expectation is that that individual should give back four presents of similar worth each because “the kids are too little to give.” This is despite the economic inequality of that family earning twice as much as the individual that is now responsible for four “gifts” of similar value. In a commercial and “equitable” way of looking at things, the gift recipient is a miser for not giving gifts to everyone on Christmas of similar worth. In a spiritual sense, the GIVER is the one committing a sin against the sacred act of gift-giving. Regardless, that gift-giving act then becomes something that puts both people in debt. The kindest thing one can do then is to opt out of this madness.

Proper Gift-Giving

Do I know what the proper way is to give a gift or receive one? I really don’t think our American culture has an inkling about that. It is something we need to learn from Asian or other similar gift-giving cultures. I know that I have plenty to learn in this area. For one, I have learned over the years that it is not proper to give for altruistic reasons alone. One MUST consider how the gift will be used and who is getting it. I suppose that’s rather judgmental of me, but I consider a gift given to a stranger of far more value than one given to someone who will feel obligated to return something to me. I consider my time at work a gift and that means that sometimes I don’t give as freely in some projects that I consider will produce a negative community result or uphold ideals that will bring down the company or harm others – despite them being framed in altruistic terms. On the other hand, sometimes I give way more than is expected because I know it will be of benefit to others, even when it is framed in commercial terms. In this respect, I do not believe giving one’s life in a fruitless war is appropriate gift-giving unless it is to defend a nation’s peoples. Similarly, some people who work in companies that are unethical are there to plant good seeds in a field full of thorns. You really can’t tell the wheat from the tares until it’s time for the harvest. You might think that an individual or company that gives lots of money to a specific cause is generous and altruistic, but later you find out that they are trying to “greenwash” themselves to fool buyers into trusting their brand. They may give with the right hand a little and take back way more with the left hand – causing tremendous damage to the community all for the sake of hidden greed.

For instance, the IMF has been accused of giving loans to struggling countries only to later use those loans to bankrupt and take over an area. This trickles down to farmers losing needed credit to farm their lands and losing a heritage that might have been in their family for generations. The bank takes the lands and it is not even worked or harvested. It is used to amass wealth and control territory and gain political power by buying politicians. That same land may end up being “gifted” to people in support of the corrupt political system as a thank you for their support. This is a prime example of gift-giving at its worst and the giver and the recipient land both in debt. Ultimately, I think that if we figure out the proper attitude towards gift-giving we may be able to heal what is wrong with our capitalistic system. After all, how many experts have said for years that we are headed for a “gift economy”? Yet, we still have no idea what the proper way is to give and take in a responsible fashion that does not harm others and creates abundance for the community.

How a Person of Integrity Gives a Gift

These five are a person of integrity’s gifts. Which five? A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others. – http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.148.than.html

*This is the first part in a series I am going to be doing on gift-giving and the gift economy.

Can We Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell?

24World-Renowned Speakers Come Together for the 7 Graces Telesummit

In February 2008, at the start of the global economic recession, Lynn Serafinn’s television blew up. Six months after she made the decision not to replace it, as she watched everyone around her become more and more stressed about their finances, she suddenly realised she shared none of their anxieties. In fact, she realised her spending had gone down, and that her financial situation had actually improved. She began to wonder if there was a connection between this and the fact that she was no longer consuming a daily dose of the nightly news and television advertising.

It was then that Lynn started asking the question, “Is marketing making us ILL?” And by marketing, she included anything that was in the business of “selling ideas,” including politics and the nightly news.

This began a two-year journey for Lynn, as she researched and wrote her new book, The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell. She wanted to discover the unspoken marketing mechanisms that were making our society, our economy and our environment ill. But most of all, she wanted to discover how we human beings could create a new paradigm for marketing, business and living that could heal both humanity and the planet.

And now, Lynn’s ground-breaking book The 7 Graces of Marketing is finally coming to Amazon and all major retailers on December 13th, 2011.

To celebrate the launch of The 7 Graces of Marketing, an illustrious panel of 24 of the world’s leading minds are coming together to discuss how we can bring back ethics and values into business and marketing, so we can start the change the world together at:

The 7 Graces of Marketing Telesummit

A FREE 7-Part Online Happening!

December 6th-9th, 2011

Register FR*EE at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/free-telesummit

Over the course of four days, you will hear seven dynamic 90-minute discussions on the “7 Deadly Sins” of marketing and their corresponding “7 Graces” from Lynn’s book:

  • Part 1: Disconnection vs. Connection
  • Part 2: Persuasion vs. Inspiration
  • Part 3: Invasion vs. Invitation
  • Part 4: Distraction vs. Directness
  • Part 5: Deception vs. Transparency
  • Part 6: Deception vs. Transparency
  • Part 7: Competition vs. Collaboration

And take a look at this fabulous panel of guest speakers:

1. Joe Vitale – world-renowned media guest; appeared in the film The Secret; bestselling author of The Attractor Factor and dozens more

2. Greg S. Reid – Film maker, speaker, bestselling author of Think and Grow Rich: Three Feet from Gold and many others

3. Eric Pearl – World renowned energy healer, Founder of The Reconnection; author of  The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself

4. Dan Hollings – mobile marketing expert; the brains behind the marketing campaign for the film The Secret

5. Pamela Slim – Award-winning author of Escape From Cubicle Nation; speaker; media expert

6. Liz Goodgold – Branding expert, author of Red Fire Branding and DUH! Marketing

7. Allison Maslan – Life and Business Mentor; founder of 9 successful businesses; bestselling author of Blast Off!

8. Suzanne Falter-Barnes – Business and Marketing coach; Co-founder of The Spiritual Marketing Quest

9. Tad Hargrave – Founder of Marketing for Hippies

10. Richard S. Gallagher – Communications skills expert; bestselling author of What to Say to a Porcupine and How to Tell Anyone Anything

11. Ward Vandorpe – International marketer; Founder of Expert Marketeer

12. Misa Hopkins – Consultant, author of The Root of All Healing; Spiritual Director of the New Dream Foundation

13. Barbara Altemus – Producer of The Calling; author of The Gift of Pain

14. Andrea Conway – Attraction Marketing Coach, marketing executive

15. Renee Baribeau – “The Practical Shaman;” Director of Desert Holistic Network

16. Renee Duran – Graphic designer; web developer; former advertising art/creative director; designed the book cover of The 7 Graces of Marketing

17. Michael Drew – Book marketer; speaker; Founder of Promote a Book

18. Jeffrey Van Dyk – Business and Marketing Coach; Co-founder of The Spiritual Marketing Quest 1

19. Chris Arnold – Award-winning creative innovator; expert in ethical marketing; author of Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer

20. Kate Osborne – PR at Solarus Foundation; resident author for More To Life Magazine; former editor of Kindred Spirit Magazine

21. Tanya Paluso – Empowerment mentor; community leader; Leader of Tribal Truths

22. Shelagh Jones – marketer and Founder of Spiritus Spiritual Marketing Directory

23. Paula Tarrant – Transformation and Transition Coach; Founder of Inspired Women Work

24. And, of course, Lynn Serafinn, author of The 7 Graces of Marketing

This special 7-part telesummit is Lynn’s FREE gift to you, to celebrate the launch of her book, which is coming Tuesday December 13th, 2011.

Register at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/free-telesummit

During the broadcast, Lynn be telling you how you can receive a complete library of beautiful free gifts, kindly offered by dozens of her friends and colleagues, when you buy The 7 Graces of Marketing in paperback or Kindle from Amazon on December 13th. AND when you buy the book on the day of the launch, Lynn will also give you the complete set of MP3 downloads—that’s 10 hours of content-rich audio from 24 international thought leaders—absolutely free. And as a special gift, Lynn is also offering a full 1-year membership to her new 7 Graces Global Community starting in 2012, where you will be invited to hear exclusive interviews with thought leaders throughout the year, so we can all work together to shift the paradigm of business and marketing. If you can’t make the live event, do register anyway, because Lynn will send you the links to listen to the audio playback. This is a topic that is so needed in this transitional point in our history, this event promises to be THE online event of 2011. I hope you will join us online on December 6th-9th.

Again, the link to register free is http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/free-telesummit

Holding to Divine Perfection in all Things

skywalkIn a Buddhist sense, all attachments are bad, in a marketing sense once someone creates a habit that brings them back to you again and again, that’s good.  My struggle has always been having good habits that generate bad results.  It’s like when you love something too much, it sets you up for disappointment.  There’s no way something good can always be great as all things change and are temporary, another great Buddhist tidbit to remember when good things fall apart. Does that mean that I shouldn’t cultivate good things in my life, though? Does it mean that all our struggle for progress is an illusion that is utterly meaningless in the grand scheme of things? Sometimes it feels that way, especially when you pour your heart and soul into something that ultimately fails to return the investment.

Holding to the Inner Perfection

What I’ve slowly come to realize is that this life is imperfect. All of physical reality is flawed, in a sense. It came out of the Great Source and descended into physicality.  It holds the blueprint of perfection, but humankind’s actions in the world have made it an imperfect creation.  And, yet, if you meditate on it and stare into all things deeply, there within it is the Divine. The perfect Divine is in all things. It’s quite a paradox how imperfection can reside alongside perfection. The interesting thing is we get to choose what we see when we look at something.  When we choose to look with eyes of love, we see perfection, and we actually bring that creation forward into the Divine blueprint in the outer reality again as it responds to that vibration of love.

Why We Love Beauty

There are some social ideals that resonate with Divine perfection.  Beauty is one such ideal. I will admit I didn’t realize it until I started researching a particular demographic on Facebook for marketing purposes by putting up a matching profile. I couldn’t put up a picture of myself because it didn’t match the demographic I was researching, so I went online and found a  picture of a model in that ethnic group and then added it.  Since I’m not particularly beautiful on the outside, I was really surprised to come back a few months later to see what had happened.  There were numerous requests for friendship from total strangers, both male and female.  There were tons of sexual comments too. Despite the fact that I wasn’t even online for months on that profile, people flocked to it and interacted with it like I was really this person even if I appeared to be a deaf-mute online.  It was quite an education.  Now, you might think that just proves our society is highly superficial, but I would suggest it goes deeper. I would suggest the ideal of beauty is as close to physical perfection that resonates with our desire to connect back to the Divine in life.  We’re just expressing it imperfectly.  It’s these sorts of things we need to look at and demand their perfection again. I really think it means the salvation of our society to look again and see the Divine in all things. To find those things that have been corrupted, dust them off, and in our mind’s eye view the perfect expression of that thing as it should appear in our reality. By doing so, we attract others into the same vision and they literally take the ball and run off with it!

Great Job Perks for WAHMs

Cooper Comes To Work With DaddyIf you’ve been debating whether to start working at home, wahms (work-at-home moms) can tell you there really are some definite perks to doing so. Of the millions of women returning to the work force, due to their spouses being unemployed, the ones that become wahms end up getting some really great perks. When you include them in your wealth equation, you may find that they are really quite priceless.

Why I Like To Work From Home Freelancing

  • No commute – No gas costs and no traffic to deal with! Whether gas goes to $5/gallon or not, it’s not going to cut into your monthly budget.
  • Less food and clothing expenses – While many wahms like to work in their pjs, I’m not one of them. I like to get up early, dress smartly, and have a cup of coffee – made at home. That simple act leads me to at least a $5 savings at Starbucks, every day.
  • Flexible hours – This is really the prime motivation most people, especially moms, go into work at home businesses.  Need to pick up the kids at 2:30 pm? Okay. You’re the boss, just schedule your work around it.
  • No daycare costs – Why pay someone else to watch your kid or do afterschool camp when they can just be home? It’s hard to do when you have multiple kids, but one or two can be fit in with a work at home opportunity.
  • Schedule errands away from crowds – Shopping can be done during the week, away from crowds. Appointments scheduled outside of rush hour. You can easily save four to five hours a day in your schedule by working at home. Two hours for commute back and forth to office and another three waiting around the post office, the checkout and bank lines.
  • Feel the seasons – When you work for corporate, you don’t get to really enjoy the seasons. You’re stuck inside, in an artificial environment, and it affects your moods and your health. Work at home and enjoy the luxury of taking a bath at mid-day during summer or working by the fireplace in the winter.
  • Healthier for you – You are less stressed and more easily take care of your needs. This can lead to a healthier you, especially if you include regular exercise in your schedule at home.
  • Find greater work/life balance – Since you get to schedule your own jobs, you get greater work/life balance.  With that comes a deeper appreciation of life and work.
  • It’s easier to market yourself – You don’t have to meet people in person to do work at home marketing. You can just join social networks and job boards and meet as many new, fascinating, and fun people as you like! This can widen your network very quickly!
  • Your future is as big as you make it – You’re not limited in your role as a wahm. You can make your career as big or as little as you need it to be. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and definitely gives you life skills that can improve your performance, even if you finally decide to go back and work for someone else!

Anyone else out there finding the perks too good to be true? Let me know what you like about working from home!

Why Big Business Will NEVER Get Social Media

Excursion TrainWhy don’t they just throw up their hands and give up? Honestly, if the Horizon Realty fiasco (Can a tweet cost you $50k? Maybe, if you get sued like this woman: http://bit.ly/4A60v (via @ColonelTribune)) is any indication, big business will never get social media. They’re still working on the old assumption that a market is profitable only when it’s controllable, but social media is something quite different. It is open source technology in action where people are the code that connects and creates a new reality, no matter what input or large infrastructure is already in place.

It’s Kind Of Funny To Watch…

I admit it, I was immensely amused by Horizon Realty’s online debacle. Who wasn’t? A big company sues a little Twitterer with at most 20 followers for an off-the-cuff remark about some moldy apartments.  What’s in the suit? A claim for $50,000 dollars in damages for one tweet with an exposure of 20 people on an inactive account, no less.  Regardless of whether the defendant “started it” as Horizon Realty suggest by wanting to sue over the issue first, the point is that social media is about the dissemination of information, whether accurate or not.  You can’t target one Twitterer in the hopes of controlling information on the Internet, it has a tendency to highlight these offensive attempts as “censorship” and they get widespread attention by way of “The Streisand Effect.”  What would have led to 20 people being told now has become a case of instant Twitter stardom with Horizon Realty placing number four on trending topics on July 28, 2009. Unfortunately, what they got with that stardom is permanent association with the company’s spokesman’s quote: “We’re a sue first, ask questions later type of organization.”

I’d Be Running Scared Too, Right About Now…

Big business is trying very hard to control places like Facebook, Twitter, and any type of social media that is taking the profit out of their pockets. The newspaper and magazine industry is collapsing because of the ease of information access via the Internet. Iran is having trouble squelching rebellions because of one pic tweeted across the globe of a girl named Neda. The establishment has lost control of the framework by which it tells us what it wants us to believe and how it shapes public opinion. What’s next? Are we going to demand that industry create jobs, products, and services that actually create value in society, instead of exploit it? What will happen to the profits then?

That’s Okay, They Have A Solution

And, that solution is to join up with what they can’t control, and infiltrate the new “system” so that at some point they have a handle on it. That’s why people who were previously canned for saying nasty things about their companies online are now being courted as social media gurus with an audience that can be harnessed for good publicity, not just bad. Now, they actually want people who are on Twitter and Facebook and the larger the audience, the better, even if on the surface it appears very hypocritical. They want to know how many Twitter followers you have on your resume because that’s just the type of person they want to hire, right? Once you’re on their payroll, they have control of that voice and they have a bigger share of that market to create profit, and not losses. They’re going to control the Internet, not by controlling the technology (which they clearly can’t do), but by controlling the voices that access the technology. That’s the thinking, anyways, and it’s completely misguided. They still don’t get it and they aren’t meant to get it. Social media isn’t for big business, as it stands now. It’s for the individual, and they should just get out of the way and let us do our thing before they get run over. In order for big business to truly get it, they have to revamp their companies from the bottom rung to the topmost CEO, and that’s just not going to happen by grabbing a few Twitterers or Facebook stars on their side and putting them on the payroll. Every voice is just as powerful, whether it has 1000 followers or 20 followers, as the Horizon Realty example clearly shows. That’s the concept they clearly don’t get, and that they aren’t going to get any time soon.

Is Sustainability Bad For Business?

Avocado tree and orange treeWhile I’ve been learning how to make my land to pay me by farming it, I have noticed some things that make sustainability a tough sell for business. If you look at most of the niches right now that are making money in this tough economy, you will find they are things like nurseries, grocery stores, and discount stores. If most of us learned to grow our own food, what impact would that have on business? It wouldn’t be good. It might be good for us, but maybe not so good for the stores. It makes you wonder what our economy is going to look like when all is said and done.

Fishy Minimum Prices

Has anyone else noticed that the minimum price you can get anything for these days at a store is $3? Need a tomato plant? $3. Need a small packet of nails: $3. It won’t surprise me if restaurants start charging $3 for a glass of water too. Why is this happening when it’s obvious that many of these items don’t have a $3 value? Blame the credit card companies. I think it’s because there is a surcharge on items paid for with credit cards and stores lose money if the price is less than $3 because they still have to pay the surcharge to middlemen, like the credit card companies.

Value Versus Price

In a recession, the thing that sells the most in a consumer’s mind is value. However, value is a personal perception that advertisers and stores know exactly how to manipulate. Ever see the 10 for $10 signs? Is one avocado really worth $1? In California, they are selling them 8 for $1 on the roadside stands. Are cherries really worth $5 to $8 per pound? How much does it cost to plant a cherry tree and how many pounds of fruit do you get out of that cherry tree in one year? Yes, there are cost for transporting them, but I live in an agricultural state where even cultivars for avocados that grow here exist. An avocado is not worth $1 in my mind, just because it came from California, especially if I can grow my own. Cherry trees are the same. If I look at how much it costs me to grow my own versus how much a store charges me, I am paying a mark-up of at least 100 percent on my food, and I would venture to say much, much, more. Is that really value? Why should I have to pay a minimum price because credit card companies are greedy? Is business really interested in being sustainable or being exploitative?

Check out what the Dervaes family did with their land and how you can grow an urban garden too.

Real Friends Don’t Let Frenemies In Their Friends Lists

bad peopleIn some metaphysical circles, it’s suggested that we never really see anyone’s true self, we only see a reflection of our own projections of what we believe someone else is like. That’s because the experiencer will always alter the experience, and we tend to do that quite well when it comes to other people. So, can I really suggest that some people are authentic and others are not? Is one person a good friend and another isn’t? Are some people toxic while others are not? Or are they all pieces of myself that I refuse to accept because they mirror back to me things I don’t like about myself?

It’s probably all of the above. No matter whether someone considers it judgmental or not, or unspiritual, we all have to eventually decide: Does this friendship enhance my life or detract from it? Is this a real friend or a frenemy? So, whether enemies are a part of us or not, connected through All That Is, it doesn’t mean we have to have tea with them or add them to our friends list.

Besides The Point When You’re A Single Parent

However, for a single parent who is always living life a little on edge, there sometimes comes a time when I have to demote or annul a friendship that becomes too impractical to continue supporting. At that point, it really is irrelevant to me whether I can turn the situation around just by emanating some mysterious energy of self-acceptance. At that point, I realize the situation is toxic, whether I contributed to it or not, and for the sake of my sanity, this person has to disappear from my life. If they can’t be bothered to see it my way for an instant, and change their offending behavior, I can’t be bothered to hang around for another instant either. Cold? Yes. Uncompassionate? I would argue that I am being compassionate to self first, and being kind to self too. If I can’t deal with someone and they continue to mess up my life, they eventually end up persona non grata, and I am quite quick to make sure they remain completely out of my sphere of influence. Why? Because I have my own household to take care of first, and then, if the energy is there, then I might attempt to support others. So, I have to be careful whom I choose to support so that I can continue to give, rather than be used up like a soiled nose tissue and be worthless to my child, myself, and others. If at that point, I get no support back and that person becomes a drain on my resources, I have to cut them loose, as painful as that may be for them.

If you’ve ever met a single parent, you will find that most of us just do not have the patience, the resources, or the willingness to dwaddle over situations that are bringing us down. They get immediately taken care of and the offending element is immediately removed. That’s what we do to survive for the sake of our children. So, some people think that’s callous, never having been single parents. That the world deserves a bleeding heart, regardless of other people’s actions. In a dream world, that would work, but when someone else’s needs take the food out of your own children’s mouths because they wear you down with their constant demands, that’s when the parent will almost always pick the child’s needs above some outside friend. And, out they go!

Virtual Friendships

I’ve noticed something really nice about Facebook. I’ve noticed I can remove friends and it won’t notify them. One day they’re my friend, and the next they’re off my list and I don’t have to hear another peep out of them. Or, if I just want to demote them because they want to spam my newsfeed with marketing gimmicks, I can go down to the newsfeed options and choose to “hear less” about this so called friend. They’re never advised that you are simply ignoring them. Because it’s so virtual, they can continue to send out whatever they want and you never have to actually contact them again. So, recently I terminated an obvious marketer on my friends list. He was beginning to send more so called friends to me, other marketers! That’s what I think anyways. I wondered whether I should reject a person based on that alone, but you know, one bad apple spoils the barrel, as cliche as that is. Pretty soon, they’ll be harvesting my friends list and sending out invitations for friendships to them who will see me listed as a mutual friend and will accept it on that basis. So, I feel I have an obligation to make sure I don’t pass along these bad apples to other people.

Can I Get One Of These Gizmos In Real Life?

Now, if someone would just create the a real “virtual” me for daily life so that when the old boyfriend calls even after you’ve dumped him, or the friend who just needs one more favor bumps into you, or the professional people (who insist they’re really your friends when they just want another sale) phone, my virtual me can give them everything they want without me really being there and I can be metaphysically in the right too! They have their universe where I get used up like an old hankie and I have mine, where I support myself by valuing my own self-worth and leaving. After all, it’s not really me they’re interested in. It’s some response or reaction that I’m too stupid to realize that I don’t want to engage in. That’s what they’re looking for.

All I know is that I really don’t think your wealth has anything to do with the number of friends you have, but the quality of friends that you have. I know people with many friends who are quite poor, in my estimation, because they are people I would never bother to associate with because they only hang around to bring you down or take something from you. They are so common now that there is even a term for them now in modern lexicon: frenemies. Please, please, please, if you have one on your friends list, get rid of them. The frenemy of your friend is our next frenemy too. How do you think I hooked up with that marketer in the first place?