Allen RuckerAll over the world, the nondisabled public tends to see a person in a wheelchair as one of life’s losers, the unfortunate butt of a cosmic joke. In places like Africa, you are a loser by being cursed by evil spirits or punished by the gods. In the U.S., it’s subtler. It’s that weak smile of acknowledgement you get in the elevator which means, “There but for the grace of God go I.” That person exits the elevator feeling like a winner just by encountering you!

With Donald Trump, we now live in a winning-is-everything world. Love him or hate him, the man clearly knows how to win. And there is no second prize: You win or you lose. If you are seen as an automatic loser because you are disabled, what better way to shatter that image than to win! But can you win? Can you win big? Yes, my friend, you can. You just have to know the rules.

First off, what’s holding you back? You’re too damn nice. You hide your social self-consciousness behind a wall of niceness. You’re perfectly happy to sit in the back of the room in the wheelchair section and be quiet, elated that you got in the room at all.

The go-to man when it comes to winning big is the famous 16th century Italian thinker, Niccolò Machiavelli, whose name is synonymous with cunning, guile and grabbing power. Most people have never read his famous success manual called The Prince. Here are some high points that can put you on the road to winning today!

“Politics have no relation to morals.”

Boom! There it is in a nutshell. Politics means, in this context, winning in any arena of life, especially the arena of money and a ritzy lifestyle. Stop thinking that you are a good person either because of, or in spite of, your disability. No one cares! To move up the ladder of life, you must learn the art of deception and subterfuge. Say you and Dave are up for the same promotion down at the office. Unless you act, Dave will win. It’s survival of the perceived fittest. You can defame Dave, as in, “Boy, did you smell Dave’s breath this morning? Whew! Pass the Scotch!” When specious rumors fail, just lie. “You didn’t hear it from me, but Dave is a registered pedophile. Looks like one, right?” Everyone starts shunning Dave and voila! He’s out. Don’t worry. He’ll get over it sooner or later.

“Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

People want to be deceived! By deceiving them, you are doing them a favor. For instance, stop flinching any time someone calls you a hero. Just play a damn hero! When people at a cocktail party just assume you were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, don’t correct them. Just say, “Nah, it was nothing …” They’ll feel good for days having met such a brave soul. They’ll even throw money into your Kickstarter campaign to make a movie about your life. Do you think they’re going to doubt your intentions? You’re a hero!

“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”

Appearances mean everything. Just because you are in a wheelchair, don’t go out in public in sweatpants and a Lil’ Wayne T-shirt. Overdress. Go down to Clothing Liquidators and buy an Armani knockoff for $20 and a fake Rolex for $10. Women can buy flashy costume jewelry for a pittance. The “vulgar” crowd won’t know the dif. I have a urologist who has a picture of a $300,000 Lamborghini Aventador in his office. Most patients don’t ask if he owns it. They just mumble, “Man, this guy is loaded!”

“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

Four hundred years before it showed up in every mob movie ever made, Machiavelli coined this phrase. But how can someone in a wheelchair make others fear for their lives? One, tell people about your prison record. Two, act like you’re right on the verge of going postal. You can scare people just by shouting at them. Or, if those fail, threaten to sue and hand them a card from the biggest law firm in town. Trump does this whenever someone crosses him. Most people quickly settle.

So, there you have it. Get to winning. And when you have won something big, let us know. Or just send us a picture of a new Lamborghini. We’re easily impressed.