In Blog, Personal Development

An open letter to anyone who considers themselves a leader:

Have you ever witnessed an injustice so unfair that you felt compelled to stand up and yell, “FOUL!!!”

Perhaps someone else got the credit for work you’d done. Perhaps you witnessed racial discrimination.

Yesterday, a close friend accused two of my mentors of being charlatans based on speculation they had read on the internet.

The conversation went down like this:

ME: “Seeing as you’re in Bali, maybe you can connect with Roger” (one of my mentors who lives in Bali)

HER: “Yeah… lots of scams going on with him…and there’s also a huge money scandal with Werner…” (another one of my mentors).

And what followed was a stupid power struggle with me defending my mentors and her defending her point of view saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…”

Without Roger’s mentorship, I would never have learned how to create a business that expresses my natural gifts. Without Werner’s watchful gaze, I’d never have learned about the power of integrity, discipline, compassion and systems.

I’m scared to think of where I’d be today were it not for the influence of the hundreds of hours these two men invested in my life – certainly not living my dream life running my business (as I am) from a beach on a Caribbean island.

So, I felt defensive and indignant that my friend would blindly believe something she read on the internet over my extensive first hand experience with these two great men.

The fact is, Roger has been accused of scamming people.

In 2009, one of Roger’s businesses went belly up, so its clients (including me – who paid $15,000 for a service) never got what they paid for. Later, a disgruntled ex-employee of this business decided to get revenge for being fired by slandering Roger all over the internet under numerous aliases.

As a result, if you google Roger’s name (and blindly believe what you read online), then you’ll be fooled into thinking he is a Class A charlatan.

In Roger’s defense, do you know of ANY successful entrepreneur who has never failed in business?

I don’t.

I once read that the average millionaire fails at 17 business business ventures before he becomes a millionaire.

So Roger’s business failed. People lost money. Big fucking deal.

Does that make him a scammer? Not in my books.

And what about Werner’s money scandal?

He was accused of tax fraud by the IRS 30 years ago. He sued the IRS, won the case and was exonerated. The IRS later admitted an error on their part.

Of course, the first part made headline news and the last part didn’t  so his reputation was already ruined in the public eye.

He sold his business (and his life’s work) so that his association with it wouldn’t negatively impact the important work his business is doing helping people.

And with the advent of the internet and Google’s algorithms controlling which websites make page 1 of the search results, Werner’s legacy is sill littered with misinformation, as evidenced by my friend reporting a 30+ year old scandal like it happened yesterday.

My point is this:

Don’t condemn others based on gossip you’ve heard or read on the internet…

“Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.” — Albert Einstein

Sometimes, where there’s smoke, there is fire…

And sometimes, where there’s smoke, there is just another person armed with a biased or misinformed opinion.

And sometimes, that person has a webpage that Google likes.

Charlatans – Crucify them!

I once heard John DeMartini (one of the greatest philosophers currently alive IMO) say, “If you’re not being crucified, you’re not on purpose…”

It seems that every mentor who made a positive impact on my life has been accused of being a charlatan at one point or another.

So why is it that so many great men and women get rocks hurled at them and dragged off the pedestals that we erect for them? They can’t all be charlatans, can they?

Perhaps because their greatness (assuming they are the real deal) can either inspire us or expose the truth of our mediocrity…

…and nobody likes admitting that they may be living in mediocrity. Being mediocre requires no backbone, no commitment, no honor, no courage, no integrity and no self-leadership…

…and so it’s just easier to cut the tall poppy down.

I suspect that there is another reason why great leaders get crucified.

The minute you stand up for something you believe, you polarize yourself.

When you do that, you invite the criticism of people who are polarized to the opposite side of your cause.

And the greater the difference you are making, the louder they will shout from the rooftops.

While critics and naysayers have their place, don’t let their opinions influence your stand.

Instead, think for yourself.

Follow your heart.

And remember… if you’re not being crucified, then you’re probably not on purpose.


P.S. I’d greatly appreciate it if you left me a comment below.

Showing 21 comments
  • jennifer

    I love this!!!!!! (I know I’m not crucifying you by saying so, but I do!!!) And, it showed up just in time!!! Thank you 🙂

  • Simon


    I’ve watched you and others grow over the last few years.

    A lack of transparency / integrity has cost money / time and relationships,
    and Karma is not always as clean as we’d like.

    Worse is that social proof doesn’t equal = true

    Sometimes people don’t have the eyes to see or ears to hear.

    Even worse is that people are not always ready to clean up fully the past.

    Who do you question?
    What do you question?
    How do you know what truth is?
    Especially in a world where you can’t trust the “data”

    • Bruce Muzik

      Simon, IMO, the only truth is my truth. Truth is subjective and can never be absolute.

      Which means the only person you can trust is you…

      And when you begin trusting you, your world reflects your trust by presenting you with trustworthy others.

  • Crystal

    Your usual lovely balance between personal and principle; passion and objectivity..
    Walt Whitman says “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes”
    Seems some of those multitudes, or aspects, seem to reach wholeness through experiences, while others remain small, less than, needy until they have their time.
    Years ago, my best friend and I used to endlessly discuss the difficulties of falling in love with spiritual men, hahaha! What an education for us; trying to “reconcile the god and the man”; divine one moment and utterly reactive the next. I think I did my fair share of roasting the poor guys!
    Now, beginning to teach students myself, its very funny being on the other side. For a while I felt confused and exposed.
    I had to find that I could still be authentic with others on their processes, even though my growth continued to present as many challenges as ever, elsewhere in my life. It was finding the courage required to step from deep intimacy of my own journey and to translate it and take action in sharing the fruits of all that journeying with other people. It is scary. It is a huge shift. It is an act of service.
    But I feel deeply that you’re right; leaders create change and change is never easy; you are always going to affect way more people than the few who are drawn to your truth in loving willingness. I am glad I have enough of a sense of irony to enjoy deeply the roasts coming my way.. It will be an affirmation indeed. With loving thanks for your profound work. Crystal

    • Bruce Muzik

      “the difficulties of falling in love with spiritual men…”

      Personally, I read that as “the difficulties of falling in love with new-agey spiritual wimps who wouldn’t recognize a spiritual woman if she slapped them in the face”

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      • Crystal

        Thanks for the vote of confidence for all spiritual women, but that doesn’t say much for our taste, now not does it?!Those men, struggled as valiantly as any other seeker, and are now some of the cornerstones of the spiritual community of this city; just took a while to get there 🙂

        • Bruce Muzik

          You’re right Crystal. We attract that which we deny within ourselves.

          Women denying their femininity will attract men in touch with femininity and denying their masculinity (not effeminate men, BTW).

          If you want a trustable, reliable, conscious man, the first place is to look within and where you’re not expressing your feminine fullness in the world.

          Read “Dear Love” by David Deida for more explanation.

          Thanks for sharing.

  • Maree

    Its not you that your friend is maligning, its your mentor. Your mentor needs to make right his past. There is no harm in failing but there is harm in failing others financially.

    • Bruce Muzik

      I’m with you Maree… and in reality it can me tricky…

      Imagine you were the CEO of a business with thousands of clients and your business went bust due to circumstances you never foresaw…

      Thousands of people were left having lost their money. How would you make it right for ALL those people if your business didn’t have the money to do so…

      Would you be willing to mortgage your house and have your family go without food, just to appease the anger of your investors?

      Would you be willing to invest 20 years of your life working to pay back money to people you had never met?

      It’s tricky…

      When you invest money in a business, you’re taking a risk and the risk is that you lose your money.

      I’m not saying “He’s not responsible”. I’m just pointing out that it’s easy to point fingers from the comfort of your armchair. In the trenches, its another story.

  • Mark Berger

    Great article thanks Bruce 🙂

    John DeMartini told me that when he gets standing ovations after a presentation, he figures that half the people are standing because he moved them profoundly and the other half are standing because thay don’t want to look stupid by staying seated! Even though they think he sucked…

    Since then I have stopped trying to please everyone and focused on speaking my truth regardless of the fact that some in the audience will just not get it. They never will! The results for both me and my business have been phenomenal.

    All of the world’s truly great teachers have been vilified and even crucified…

    Enjoy da Island Mon!


  • Dale

    Nice one mate, it continues to amaze me how often people side with the bad story over the good story with no evidence of either. Just look how much people love posting stories on facebook that make out that facebook is doing something bad. Its even funny in this case because the people posting about facebook still really want to use facebook despite abusing it. I try and educate people to the facts where I can.

  • Tui

    I am in the middle of a very funny situation right now, coincidentally in Bali, where my mentor and her mentor are having some communication issues and I am trying to keep the peace!! It is a HUGE lesson in how everyone has a valid perspective and equally true, but not always compatible, truths!!

  • john

    Hey love ya love what you do. Just about the Albert Einstine quote. ” Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance ” Sounds to me like he ment thats the biggest form of ignorance in the world going on at the time. not literaly. Hey i diddnt even finnish ninth grade…. so your probly right. i was just thinking there must be far mor ignorant things to do in this world like kill, rape children??? or accuse somone of eating the last cookie before you check the bottom of the cookie jar? hummm albert. What did you really mean when you said that? lol sounds like im a weirdo kinda i know but actually think about it? Just my opinon is that “besides this whole comment is way off your point you were making” I think albert ment it was the highest form of ignorance like through history. alllll that time of accousing people falsely. ok if you havent allready deleted this post you can now. dont get the wrong idea about this please. i love your positive attitude. you uplift me. some of the stuff i read in my e-mail from you. i am greatfull for you being on earth. peace. john

  • Karen Phillips

    Bruce, I always appreciate your point of view. You are not afraid to question whether something I think is accurate or is “a story” I’ve told myself. You’ve always encouraged investigation of the facts, and in following that advice, I have been humbled a time or two by the knowledge that what I thought was just the story I was telling myself, not accurate at all. Keep on keepin’ on! Your work is so important. Love to you.

  • Wayne Bruyns

    Good Day,Bruce.

    I have attended so many seminars etc and have yet to find my flow, I remember you advising us to turn the boat around and flow with the river,after 7 years of frustration one becomes disillusioned and tends to blame everyone else,Guru’s etc instead of taking ownership, it’s easier to play the blame game instead of realising that you still have challenges within yourself to conquer!

  • Daniel Browne

    Love this post Bruce and can totally get it. There are 3 sides to every story.

    When I was studying Kabbalah one of the things really stood out for me was the definition of gossip as the spiritual equivalent of bloodshed because the damage it creates can have such a lasting impact on the subject’s wellbeing and livelihood We can definitely see this with Roger and Werner

    I find gossip such an insidious thing because even when you are conscious, it can taint your thinking and you have to be quite vigilant in making sure you don’t buy into it

    • Bruce Muzik

      That’s a great distinction Daniel. I’ll remember that. Damn, it’s good to hear from you again, man.

  • Michael Sciaraffa

    Hi Bruce … Very beautifully put.. Which I resonate with being a guru myself… This happens all the time !! And at different stages for a reason !

    As much as clever spiritual advanced we may think we are … There is so much more going on in our outer guidance system …

    We may have heard of the inner guidance .. Which is powerful and .. It’s only less than 5 % ,.. 95%!!. is happening outside of us .. How crazy is that !

    In this instant , what I am saying is that accusations, challenges , obstacles are all part of the individual perfect Devine plan to strengthen parts of us we are not aware of …which I k ow you know ..

    That’s why we all needs gurus we can trust on an individual basis …. It’s like our individual soul guru ..

    Spiritual education is needed to take people to higher level of conscious aware ness…

    Keep us the great work Brucie Baby !!

  • John

    “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    I get hung up on this one a lot. I understand many of life’s lessons and theories and can quite easily explain them to anyone. Living them is a different story altogether which, I think, is why many people mistrust gurus; “they can sure talk the talk but can they walk the walk?”

    However, the better I get a walking the talk the easier it is to spot the crock (of shit)! As you said earlier, you have to know your own truth.

    BTW, your TED talk on honesty brought me here – great stuff!

    • Bruce Muzik

      And John, the best teachers are the ones who can do and can teach.

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