Looking back on it now, I think the event that inspired me the most was my crucifixion. From an early age, I was taught to comport myself modestly; after all, I come from humble origins, despite being the son of God. And yes, it’s true I was reared in a manger, although I prefer to think of it as a temporary dwelling and part of my earthly abode. I was fortunate to have the parents I did, two warm and generous souls—somewhat rare in Judea—as well as all of the opportunities I did, including a baptism by John and a visit from the archangel Gabriel. These have been positive additions to my life, which has mostly centered on teaching.
In terms of my strengths, I’ve undoubtedly learned to tackle adversity, as anyone would in espousing a message of change. As I explain in my Activities Section, I was repeatedly arrested, stripped, flogged, and mocked while being chained to a cross and crowned with thorns. These were unpleasant experiences, but, as I’ve always told my associates, true courage requires determination, even in the face of adversity. As Drew Barrymore once said, “I’m not insecure. But I’ve been humbled, and that makes you grateful for every day that you have.” I think Drew has really done a lot with her life, especially since Boys on the Side.
In terms of what I hope to gain from the Columbia EMBA Program, I’m looking forward to augmenting my skillset and reshaping my outlook on life. Indeed, from day one, I’ve been telling others to turn the other cheek, which has its merits in ethics, yes, but not necessarily in business. For example, I foresaw my own betrayal and execution but did little to forestall them, seeking instead to offer God’s grace. Yet part of what I hope to gain from Columbia is the chance to seize opportunity as it comes and employ a more dominant strategy. As Warren Buffett, ’51, once remarked, “chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” I also support his efforts to rewrite the tax code.
In any case, I don’t mean to dwell on asides, and I’d like to emphasize that Columbia really is the best place for me. Lord knows that Harlem has engendered many other prophets, including Tupac Shakur and Keith Sweat, and I’m looking forward to meeting Bill Clinton, with whom I already correspond. Finally, I hope to engage in productive, inter-ecumenical dialogue with Manhattan’s Jewish community. I hold no misgivings against them, despite what their ancestors did, and I would be grateful for any recommendations about where I could get decent Thai.