Why do some people have cult followings?

44 replies
Some gurus seems to have a rabid fanbase.
It gets to the point where golden calves are seldom questioned and just mentioning the guru's name alone is supposed to be a valid argument.

In some large banks, there's a little bit of this also in the culture. People usually get very excited about meeting the C-suite for some reason.

MLM is a lot like this also I find.

I've noticed society is willing to give celebrities a pass more often then some random person. (In the words of an acquaintance:"A celebrity in jail? That would be weird")

it is pretty strange how social status alone could sway people.
Most people will forgo wealth and health just for a little bit of recognition within their community.

Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?
#cult #followings #people
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    Because they are rich, *******s, and most people cannot comprehend the rich part.

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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    Allow me to recommend a subscription to, 'Psychology Today.' While you'll get many opinions, here - you'll come up woefully short on facts.

    Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    Some gurus seems to have a rabid fanbase.
    It gets to the point where golden calves are seldom questioned and just mentioning the guru's name alone is supposed to be a valid argument.

    In some large banks, there's a little bit of this also in the culture. People usually get very excited about meeting the C-suite for some reason.

    MLM is a lot like this also I find.

    I've noticed society is willing to give celebrities a pass more often then some random person. (In the words of an acquaintance:"A celebrity in jail? That would be weird")

    it is pretty strange how social status alone could sway people.
    Most people will forgo wealth and health just for a little bit of recognition within their community.

    Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?



    Go to Youtube and watch a few of them (gurus) at work, they stick to the same old scheme. They generalize a problem and promise a solution.

    Watch a few Tony Robbins videos, he's good at working the crowd. Sad stories but there's light at the end of the tunnel, BTW I have a new book for sale.

    Everyone has problems so when you generalize a problem, it appeals to the masses, "Oh shit, I also have a problem. - Everyone that ever existed".

    A good guru can also read the crowd. Watch the TV show The Mentalist, the character Patrick Jane was good at reading people. There's really people out there that can do this (read peoples reactions). Really any good sales person can do this (read people). I had a cousin in Florida that could read/manipulate people, the guy could talk you out of anything and you would leave like he did you a favor.

    It's not about whether the person/guru actually has money or not because they usually start out with nothing though money/wealth is a sign of success for most people in the crowd. Enter, fake it or make it. Really it's just a small part of the role.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    Admins, you should move this back where this was originally posted...

    this is not off-topic. Everyone in marketing have met the "true believer" type at least once in their career. He pops up often enough that it's worth dissecting how he thinks.

    The asides are relevant because it's not like people stop being people whenever they step inside the marketing field.
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  • Profile picture of the author JoeStalin
    This is pretty simple. Two things:

    1) Internet marketing is one of the very few real growth and opportunity areas left which is available to most of us low-capital peons/commoners.

    Combined with ...

    2) Any personality who can make that dream of independent wealth seem plausible and highly available to a group or community will be perceived as a mini-messiah.

    The cult followings are due to those two elements in concert. Wishful thinking and Walter Mitty dreams meet the person who says "yes, you can" and especially the ones who make it seem simple.

    Then you get into the people who pose for pictures with Dan Kennedy at marketing events because they feel it blesses their success chances.

    The group behavior is seen throughout internet marketing, copywriting, and every other fad AND non-fad opportunity niche.
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  • Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    Some gurus seems to have a rabid fanbase.
    It gets to the point where golden calves are seldom questioned and just mentioning the guru's name alone is supposed to be a valid argument.

    In some large banks, there's a little bit of this also in the culture. People usually get very excited about meeting the C-suite for some reason.

    MLM is a lot like this also I find.

    I've noticed society is willing to give celebrities a pass more often then some random person. (In the words of an acquaintance:"A celebrity in jail? That would be weird")

    it is pretty strange how social status alone could sway people.
    Most people will forgo wealth and health just for a little bit of recognition within their community.

    Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?
    It's not so much the Guru, it's the consumer. It's human nature to want to be led, to have someone to look to for advice...and to see a celebrity and fantasize about being like them.

    CEOs are celebrities.
    MLM leaders are celebrities
    Authors are celebrities (The value of getting a book written)
    Politicians are celebrities.
    And Info sellers, speakers, and gurus are celebrities.

    The vast majority of us think that these people know something we don't, have secret knowledge, live an important life (more important than ours), and we are Awed by them.

    So we will buy anything they sell, so we can claim a connection to them....we defend them, because they are the leader of our tribe......And we keep thinking they are brilliant, because we have to believe that someone has all the answers. And peer pressure keeps us from asking hard questions.

    But....gurus are only impressive if you don't know them very well.. And that's why most gurus make the fatal mistake of befriending their followers, and then the followers see that these people are as flawed, petty, and ignorant as they are. And then the follower has to find a new place to plug their umbilical cord.

    As a species we have evolved to thrive in groups...with a leader. Even if we have to invent the group...invent the leader out of whoever is available, even if it's an imaginary one ....invent the common enemy, even if they are imaginary.

    I've been in three cults in my life. A church, a Kung Fu school, and a marketing Guru group. Cults give our lives meaning.

    Anything to protect us from the burden of thinking...seeing our lives objectively.
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    • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      It's not so much the Guru, it's the consumer. It's human nature to want to be led, to have someone to look to for advice...and to see a celebrity and fantasize about being like them.

      CEOs are celebrities.
      MLM leaders are celebrities
      Authors are celebrities (The value of getting a book written)
      Politicians are celebrities.
      And Info sellers, speakers, and gurus are celebrities.

      The vast majority of us think that these people know something we don't, have secret knowledge, live an important life (more important than ours), and we are Awed by them.

      So we will buy anything they sell, so we can claim a connection to them....we defend them, because they are the leader of our tribe......And we keep thinking they are brilliant, because we have to believe that someone has all the answers. And peer pressure keeps us from asking hard questions.

      But....gurus are only impressive if you don't know them very well.. And that's why most gurus make the fatal mistake of befriending their followers, and then the followers see that these people are as flawed, petty, and ignorant as they are. And then the follower has to find a new place to plug their umbilical cord.

      As a species we have evolved to thrive in groups...with a leader. Even if we have to invent the group...invent the leader out of whoever is available, even if it's an imaginary one ....invent the common enemy, even if they are imaginary.

      I've been in three cults in my life. A church, a Kung Fu school, and a marketing Guru group. Cults give our lives meaning.

      Anything to protect us from the burden of thinking...seeing our lives objectively.
      Yes Master
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    • Profile picture of the author JoeStalin
      But....gurus are only impressive if you don't know them very well.. And that's why most gurus make the fatal mistake of befriending their followers, and then the followers see that these people are as flawed, petty, and ignorant as they are. And then the follower has to find a new place to plug their umbilical cord.
      An extremely astute observation. Two things. One is that the public platform tends to attract narcissists who eat up the attention and who perpetuate their own hero worship. So the guru often is FAR less than a better than average follower of theirs. Secondly, the REAL experts at this game such as Dan Kennedy and Perry Marshall are unreachable at a personal level. They know this deconstruction of their image would happen. So the unreachability is further evidence that they're "Gods".
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  • Now a days people are rich enough
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  • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
    I must admit I have no idea at all why so many people worship me.
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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

      I must admit I have no idea at all why so many people worship me.
      Funny. I was going to post that yesterday, but an abundance of humility prevented me from doing so.

      Just one more reason why people worship the ground I walk on. And to think that some people actually believe there is no such thing as perfection.

      Again, funny.

      Thank you.
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      • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        Funny. I was going to post that yesterday, but an abundance of humility prevented me from doing so.
        Pfffttt!!! No-one on here is ever going to believe that you have, or will ever "suffer" from an abundance, or even a microscopic trace of humility. Including you.
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

          Pfffttt!!! No-one on here is ever going to believe that you have, or will ever "suffer" from an abundance, or even a microscopic trace of humility. Including you.
          How about a smidgen?

          There's something to be said for possessing a healthy ego. :-)

          P.S. This is where you say, "True - but yours isn't healthy." lol
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          • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
            Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

            There's something to be said for possessing a healthy ego.
            Egos?

            I repeat, pfffttt!!! Mine's bigger than yours.
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            • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
              Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

              Egos?

              I repeat, pfffttt!!! Mine's bigger than yours.
              Really? Let's see your hands!

              Additionally, your post proves my point. Yours may be bigger, but mine is 'healthier.' :-)
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            • Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

              Egos?

              I repeat, pfffttt!!! Mine's bigger than yours.
              Lots of people say Pffttt!!!, but can you prove it?
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              • Profile picture of the author socialentry
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                Lots of people say Pffttt!!!, but can you prove it?
                I don't know whether or not in America lots of people say pfffft!!!!!

                but in your case, it is more like prrrrrrrttttt!!!!!
                (usually in crowded elevators)
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              • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                Lots of people say Pffttt!!!, but can you prove it?
                Pfffttt!!!
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      • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        Funny. I was going to post that yesterday, but an abundance of humility prevented me from doing so.

        Just one more reason why people worship the ground I walk on. And to think that some people actually believe there is no such thing as perfection.

        Again, funny.

        Thank you.
        People have only recently worshiped the ground you walk on since you bought a time share in that Bethlehem Synagog.
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by lanfear63 View Post

          People have only recently worshiped the ground you walk on since you bought a time share in that Bethlehem Synagog.
          I am completely agog to hear your explanation for misspelling synagogue. (See what I did there)?
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          • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
            Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

            I am completely agog to hear your explanation for misspelling synagogue. (See what I did there)?
            When I wrote it I had a headache and my "Temples" were throbbing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Banned
    Why do some people have cult followings?

    Prolly cos if EVRYONE got cult followings, whole frickin' pointa cults would be toast.
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    Originally Posted by Cignitech Web Design View Post

    Now a days people are rich enough
    Especially the broke ones?

    Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

    I must admit I have no idea at all why so many people worship me.
    Probably because of the ball of string in your back pocket?

    PS give it time, this gag takes time, but you will figure it out, honest to Goodieness!
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    Some gurus seems to have a rabid fanbase.
    It gets to the point where golden calves are seldom questioned and just mentioning the guru's name alone is supposed to be a valid argument.

    In some large banks, there's a little bit of this also in the culture. People usually get very excited about meeting the C-suite for some reason.

    MLM is a lot like this also I find.

    I've noticed society is willing to give celebrities a pass more often then some random person. (In the words of an acquaintance:"A celebrity in jail? That would be weird")

    it is pretty strange how social status alone could sway people.
    Most people will forgo wealth and health just for a little bit of recognition within their community.

    Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?
    Many need to be 'nannied', through unconscious insecurity stemming from the absence of knowledge of who they truly are or what their purpose is, in reach of the ultimate meaning.

    Refusal of that longing breeds revolt by way of the delusion of the ego which strives to establish that itself is the ultimate meaning, or by way of projection, for panoramic clarity ...the next person.

    In the same manner, inner dislike of oneself is cast upon the perceivable next. Hatred and idolization are neighboring traits.

    All needs and all insecurities are passed to third party.

    Freedom derives from the realization that the next is no different from the perceiver.

    As much as that may be deep, it's important to find yourself, grow yourself and use others only in a light sense of inspiration and I'm sure the function of life is to learn from the 7.4 billion perspectives. Banking in one or a few however, is self-condemnation.

    It is the idolizers who are 'in jail'.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi S,

    Love.

    Folks love what folks do, and the love spreads, from one person, to 2 like-minded people, and as the individual persists doing what they do, their rabid minions aka fans aka cult following grows.

    In truth, it may be love, a genuine feeling of harmony of whatever, which I guess is less of a cult thing....or in other cases, it is an obsession, beyond admiration, that fuels the wildfire effect, that helps fuel the growth of a cult following.

    People have interests. If they find someone within their field of interest, whom they admire, they follow the individual.

    Those who shine brightest in their niche - or darkest, according to their niche - get cult followings.

    One note; if you have 1 follower, you have a following. From then on out, either you keep being of service and persist in helping people, for years, and the following grows, or you move along another path, but keep doing what you're doing, and if you are build a known rep in some area, the following grows too.

    Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      One note; if you have 1 follower, you have a following.
      No. If you have one follower you have a stalker!
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      • Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        No. If you have one follower you have a stalker!
        You wish you had a stalker.
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          You wish you had a stalker.
          Actually, I wish I could find a way to get rid of you.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    Some gurus seems to have a rabid fanbase.
    It gets to the point where golden calves are seldom questioned and just mentioning the guru's name alone is supposed to be a valid argument.

    In some large banks, there's a little bit of this also in the culture. People usually get very excited about meeting the C-suite for some reason.

    MLM is a lot like this also I find.

    I've noticed society is willing to give celebrities a pass more often then some random person. (In the words of an acquaintance:"A celebrity in jail? That would be weird")

    it is pretty strange how social status alone could sway people.
    Most people will forgo wealth and health just for a little bit of recognition within their community.

    Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?
    First Socialentry, you ask a good question. To give you a real answer would take far too much time. But I'll give you the "Cliff Notes" version and a referral, OK?

    Get your hands on a copy of Blair Warren's FORBIDDEN KEYS. He put this course together after his study of cults. It is very good stuff. But Blair is better known for his ONE SENTENCE persuasion...which gives you a quick answer to your questions:

    People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures,
    allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their
    enemies.


    And here is a link to Blair's free pdf. NO affiliation.

    http://www.actionplan.com/pdf/BlairWarren.pdf

    Thanks for asking your question.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
      Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

      First Socialentry, you ask a good question. To give you a real answer would take far too much time. But I'll give you the "Cliff Notes" version and a referral, OK?

      Get your hands on a copy of Blair Warren's FORBIDDEN KEYS. He put this course together after his study of cults. It is very good stuff. But Blair is better known for his ONE SENTENCE persuasion...which gives you a quick answer to your questions:

      People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures,
      allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their
      enemies.


      And here is a link to Blair's free pdf. NO affiliation.

      http://www.actionplan.com/pdf/BlairWarren.pdf

      Thanks for asking your question.

      GordonJ
      And rock the roof off!

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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    why do lemmings jump off cliffs
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Banned
    Whatever asshole sold CHASM + LEAP as a dream scenario to alla them f*ckers mebbe kinda smacked on GOLD DUST.
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    there is really no 1 way of knowing.

    i think FRANK KERN is a good marketer but has a cult follwing, he has killer email marketing skills.

    plus he is funny as hell and always teaching stuff that brings in sales.

    So its all about their persona and what they bring to the table, if they can do both, and be creative and DIFFERENT from everyone else how can they not GENERATE a CULT following.
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  • Profile picture of the author umc
    Hi socialentry, I made my way over here to your thread. I did literally live my life in a cult for decades but there are some differences between a religious cult and a cult of personality like a marketing guru as far as I can tell. However, I will posit some ideas here. I'm just writing off the top of my head but let's give it a try.

    There are two types of people in religious cults, those born into it and those that are attracted to it, and I think they're held in that cult for different reasons.

    Most religious cults appeal to people that have been through trauma in their lives and that are searching for something that 1.) appeals to their desire to be good or unique or special in a positive way and 2.) gives them the road map that will take them to that desired state.

    I think that these people that actually join a cult for reasons other than being born into it are in it for reasons more similar to your "cult following" example. I'll elaborate on why those born in are in it in a minute, but I think that's different.

    So you have people that want to be special or unique. They find a person that they identify with on some level or that has something they desperately want. Maybe it's to bask in the light of a celebrity so they can feel special. Perhaps it's certainty they crave and this marketer gives them the 7 steps to a happy life and they just want that exact path to follow. They search for control in steps like that rather than accepting the randomness of life because they felt out of control at some traumatic point in their life. Ultimately the guru has some message that fills a void in those people. Those people don't feel okay in themselves so they're looking for it externally through others. The ego searches for identities to put on because the person isn't okay without putting on some sort of external mask. They can't just "be", as they are, and feel okay or even good.

    Once a person identifies with that guru or ideology it becomes very personal to them because it is filling some very personal void. So if you dare to question it they must react defensively as you're not just questioning the concept or the person that they're devoted to, you're questioning who they are because they've adopted that identity for themselves.

    I hope that makes some sense to you.

    For people that were born into a cult like myself and my wife, we were controlled from our formative years. There are two models that cults use. One is the BITE model. They control your Behavior, your access to Information, tell you what you should Think,and how you should feel (your Emotions). They keep you in a FOG through fear, obligation, and guilt. When you're isolated mentally and emotionally if not also physically, and you are scared, you are ripe for abuse, which cults thrive on. It's not unlike spousal abuse or child abuse or any other form of abuse. When it's a cult it is sometimes referred to as religious abuse.

    Let's face it, most people want to be lead. They don't want the control, or responsibility, for their own lives. They don't want to face the randomness of life and look for any measure of control to salve their anxiety about the real nature of life. They want to attach themselves to certainty. They have been damaged and scarred and people sell magic elixirs that promise to give healing, or at least escape.

    Even once my eyes started to open it took me about 7 years of working things out in just trying to get emotionally and mentally healthy enough to actually take a stand and leave. I am now shunned by everyone I ever knew, though so lucky to have made it out with my wife. You can see that there were very negative consequences. Freedom is never free, there is always a price. Most people would rather ride with someone else than to be truly free because they can't afford to pay that price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Banned
    If not for being such a jerk, I would have ten million people beating down my door, taxing my time.

    I may not be a leader but I'm damn sure not a follower. In my experience, that's all it takes.

    I've often thought about starting a religion because it would be so easy. Fortunately, I have too much respect for my self, and pride in my honesty. But it's tempting...$$$

    Whatever you do, DON'T follow me!!

    The Reverend Dr. God...err..I mean...

    Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    To answer the OP: a lot of it involves getting existing 'cult leaders' to recommend you

    Need proof of this? Go on Twitter and look for 'marking experts' - you'll quickly notice they're part of a circle that cross promotes each other

    To be fair, many industries are like this

    People are authorities by reputation
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post


    People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures,
    allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their
    enemies.

    Just ask this guy...


    And being a cult leader has it's problems...

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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Marcell
    I believe that the amount of success that a person has in an industry is directly correlated to how much value they provide.

    If these "gurus" weren't good at what they did - they wouldn't be on the top.

    I also think that personal branding plays a role in these cult like followings. Anybody and I mean anybody can become a guru if they are skilled in branding themselves.

    Knowing how to control the perception of how people view your brand is a skill that could catapult you to a "guru" status with your very own cult like following.
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  • Originally Posted by socialentry View Post


    Why? How does this work? And why does the culture between these disparate situations seem so familiar? Am I reading too much into this?
    Yep 100% stay away from any MLM total crap others will say different but hey they loose you dont
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