How to become the ultimate gen Z cult leader: A playful guide

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Aug 20, 2023 at 06:01 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you have recently watched the new Netflix documentary How to Become a Cult Leader, you will know that the series breaks down what it takes to run a cult, based on six of the most notorious cults of all time. Every episode examines a different pseudo-religious leader, their troubling past, and the fundamentals of how they built and ‘led’ their followers. Charles Manson, the leader of the Manson Family, can teach you how to start a cult; Jim Jones, the founder of the Peoples Temple, can teach you how to expand your flock—not that we’d advise you to go down the same path they did…

Now, fast-forward to our tumultuous present, where chaos and disillusionment are served on the daily. It’s precisely in this era that the spotlight beckons for a new kind of leadership to take centre stage—the gen Z cult leader. As the Netflix docuseries sheds light on the (highly controversial) classics, we’re now stepping into a new script.

Ah, the allure of cult leadership! The power, the influence, the ability to shape minds like clay and convince them that wearing mismatched socks on Tuesdays is the ultimate path to enlightenment. It’s all about taking the basics from history’s cult icons and giving them a trendy gen Z twist. So buckle up, because we’re here to show you how to become the next big thing in cult leadership:

1. Establish your aesthetic

In the age of Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, appearances are everything. Before you even utter a word about your enlightening philosophy, make sure you’ve got your aesthetic game on point. Dress in vintage thrift store finds, mix up patterns that shouldn’t go together, and toss in some neon accessories for good measure. Remember, if your cult doesn’t look good on social media, does it even exist?

2. Craft Your #Enlightened hashtags

Speaking of social media, every gen Z cult leader knows that a movement without hashtags is like a day without WiFi—simply unthinkable. Develop a set of catchy, enigmatic hashtags that are just cryptic enough to make potential followers scratch their heads in curiosity. #SocksOnTuesdaysForEternalBliss, anyone?

3. Opt for trendy mind control techniques

Traditional mind control techniques? Pfft, those are as outdated as dial-up internet. Our generation craves innovation, so tap into the power of meme magic, ASMR-triggered revelations, healing practice, and subliminal messages hidden in TikTok dance routines. We also won’t say no to a special retreat, where transformative journeys, chanting, mantras, healing for our chakras, and swaying to the beat of consciousness alongside the ultimate icon—aka, you—are on the cards.

4. Experiential recruitment

Gone are the days of stuffy recruitment speeches. Gen Z crave something beyond the ordinary. And guess what? You could be the master of delivering those mind-bending encounters. Now, picture this: holographic meditations led by the hottest celebrities of the moment. As the lights dim and the holograms flicker to life, your recruits will find themselves on a journey of introspection they never knew they needed.

But the adventure doesn’t have to end there. Engage them in interactive debates that explore the profound questions underlying our existence. These debates will spark intellectual fires while blurring the line between reality and the tantalising unknown.

And the best part? Your recruits won’t even realise they’ve become part of your movement until it’s too late. They’ll be so captivated, so enchanted by the experiences, that your cult will seamlessly weave its way into their lives. It’s like slipping into a parallel reality where enlightenment and excitement coexist. So, get ready to reshape the cult game with your next-level, experiential approach.

5. Put sustainability and ethical consumption at the forefront of your cult

Looking to establish a genuine connection with the world of social dynamics? Ensure that your cult is in harmony with sustainable principles and ethical consumption. Spread the message of reusable straws, plant-based eating habits, and fashion crafted from upcycled materials. After all, contributing to the betterment of the planet gains a whole new level of appeal when it’s a shared endeavour.

6. Collaborate with celebrities and influencers

Why settle for mere followers when you can have influencers? Collaborate with gen Z’s favourite social media stars to spread your message far and wide. Imagine Kylie Jenner dropping hints about your cult during her latest makeup tutorial. Just remember to keep it subtle; nobody wants a sponsored post that’s too in-your-face.

7. The FOMO factor

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the fuel that powers our social lives. Harness this potent energy by hosting exclusive events and secret gatherings. In a world where trends change at the speed of light and attention spans are shorter than a Vine video—RIP—becoming the ultimate gen Z cult leader takes a special blend of charisma and creativity.

So, as you venture forth to navigate the labyrinth of spirituality, community, and trend-setting wizardry, remember this: whether it’s the Santa cult, the Lana cult, the SpongeBob popsicle cult, or the yet-to-be-named Miley Cyrus movement, the gen Z zeitgeist awaits your captivating leadership. Now, go forth and cultivate your own flock of devoted followers, weaving a narrative that’s part satire, part wisdom, and entirely your own.

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