Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's Wrong with America?

What's wrong with America? It's a pretty loaded question with an equally set of loaded answers.

In my book, "Zentrepreneurism", I talk about the fact that America's drugs are "Celebrities", and the "Relentless Pursuit of Success". If success is equated with the pursuit of the American Dream, whatever that is, the subsequent rewards follow. However, it should not be surprising to know that to fail in one's pursuit has an equally harmful effect. There are more Americans today failing in their pursuit of the American dream than ever before. If, the message given to all new arrivals, is that America is a country where everything is possible, and nothing is impossible. To fail then in business or in life, is the ultimate loss of all dignity and self respect.

Whether it's the killer at Virginia Tech or the killers at Columbine, they all weave a common thread, and that thread is one of perceiving to fail at life, especially life in America. Their profiles have an eery similarity, and it's one of absolute anger towards the rich and successful.

So how does one change a belief system that has been ingrained in the minds of it's citizens since the first immigrants came to Ellis Island. Well, you can't , you can only hope that this new generation, the ones that are not accepting the way things used to be and are, but are believing in a new set of values, where it's more important to climb the "consciousness ladder" rather than the corporate ladder. Where wealth of an individual is not measured by money, success and power, but what they contribute to the good of mankind.

Compassion and "telling the truth" have become more important than pay cheques to employees. Holding employers, government, your loved ones, and the people you do business with accountable is quickly becoming the only way to survive. Americans are hungry for the truth, they are hungry for answers, and they are hungry for hope. Whether they know it or not, the killers have become the "wake up" call for America to look at it's ugly underbelly and the failure of an entire system that has gone terribly wrong. Drugs, Violence, Gangs, Guns and Crime is the guaranteed hangover of anger, frustration, depression, and rejection.

So what can you do, well start by believing in something else. First of all know that it is government that should be afraid of us, not us afraid of the government . Start by not accepting that lying everyday is okay, whether it's the President or your spouse. Start believing in something other than celebrities and sports figures. Start believing in just YOU.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone on television or magazines, including Jenny Craig, Donald Trump or Martha Stewart. They are only people who have gotten you to believe that without them you can't quite measure up to losing weight, making money or even cooking. Stop "feeding" their dream. By fulfilling their dreams and ego driven motives, you actually "short change" yourself, because you will never quite be like them. But hey, why would you want to be any way.

Just be YOU for a while, hang out with yourself, turn off Dr. Phil and Oprah, meditate, start a movement , the YOU movement, BE YOU , and just so you know.. there is only YOU, God had a reason for making us each the way we are. Stop listening to other people's success stories, they either make you feel awful because you have'nt made it , or you feel so motivated that you will do anything to be just like them, and after all if they made it why can't you. Here's a clue, you can't be like them, because they are THEM, and YOU ARE YOU. Have you got it...good.. now go out and tell everyone you meet that you accept them for exactly who they are . Let's try that for a while and see if it works, if not it simply means that America hasn't learned it's lesson yet. God knows what's next! Well actually, he or she does!

A blatant plug: Zentrepreneurism can be purchased at

Virginia Tech- A Different Perspective


By Abelardo de la Peña, VP, Consumer Strategist, Latino Markets

The effects of last week's Virginia Tech massacre continue to reverberate, with issues of school security, mental health, videogame violence and more being discussed and debated. It's become an international tragedy, not only because of the sheer magnitude of the atrocity, but also because of the diverse range of nationalities of the victims — Americans, Indonesians, Romanians, Canadians, Vietnamese and Indians.

Spanish-language media — Univisión, Telemundo, daily newspapers and websites — are extensively following the calamity and ongoing developments, with special emphasis on the victims of Latin American ancestry. Their coverage also brings focus to the many manifestations of fear, safety, compassion, spirituality, empowerment and community, universal values brought to a fever pitch by the terrible event.

Although Virginia Tech's Latino student population is relatively small — 503 undergraduates out of 21,937 ( 4.07) — campus organizations including Circulo Hispano , Latino Link and Lambda Sigma Upsilon provide Latino students opportunities to socialize, network, and make the most of the school’s academic excellence, lively campus life and diverse but close-knit student body.

It's impossible to know whether the gunman drew any distinction between the victim's cultural backgrounds. It's doubtful he did. Paradoxically, neither have the grieving students, families, residents of Blackburg, VA, or global sympathizers. In their sorrow and struggle for normalcy, they are all Hokies.