What was the first ever non-fiction book or video you came across in your adulthood? I am sure for majority of you, it would be ‘self help’.
Life isn’t easy – from fulfilling your basic needs to living that life you always dream of, nothing comes served on a platter. You often turn to the already successful to learn the ‘secret’ and apply it to your own life. Then there are self help gurus who are there to help, so you choose one whom you find the most relatable and start consuming their content – books, blogs and videos. And just when you start feeling that you finally have the roadmap to end all your problems and start implementing their advice, you start feeling stuck.
Most of their advice that seems practical on paper is either too generalized to make an impact on your issues or they are so specific that it is hard to believe that they will work for you too. Eventually you find yourself in a vicious loop that offer you nothing but guilt and anxiety. And then one day, when you are throwing that book away because it is telling you to do the same things you have heard of at least a thousand times before, you realize that life wasn’t that bad when you were far away from this shit. No wonder you hate self help!
Why Self Help Content Doesn’t Help
Although they claim to help you, but sooner or later you find out all they wanted was to sell you stuff. Now you are miserable and broke because your ‘investment’ yielded zero returns. And it completely makes sense – why would anyone help you for free if they are not getting anything out of it?
Another thing they ‘fail’ to tell you is that one key doesn’t fit all locks .Something that worked for one successful entrepreneur won’t work for every single person on the planet. Not everybody is looking to be Elon Musk or Brad Pitt, we already have those! All you want is to be a better version of yourself without changing who you truly are. Who wants to be an impostor, right?
Generalized and Oversimplified
Their advice often looks something like this:
- Identify a problem
- Offer a solution
- Monetize your solution
- Voila! You’re a millionaire!
You would have these follow-up questions:
- How do I identify the exact problems I have a solution to?
- Who do I offer the solution to? People are not coming to me with their problems.
- How do I monetize the solution to petty problems that everybody can find a solution to? Should I also start selling useless self help content like those ‘gurus’?
Ask these questions and you will hear the same reply – YOU have to figure these out.
Wow, all those big promises and this is what you leave me with? It’s like you go to someone with a problem, they explain the problem back to you and then ask you to figure out a solution. Anybody would hate self help after such an experience.
The Solution: Look for Action and Not Advice
Instead of looking at your own problems from a philosophical and psychological point of view, which are not completely useless by the way, it is better if you seek an action plan.
When you are about to pay someone to help you help yourself, make sure their advice is tailored to your needs and not the masses. Clearly, that bestselling book is not what you are looking for. Instead you need a step by step guide on how to get from point A to point B.
The next logical thing would be to make sure the person or entity who gets paid can be held accountable. If you are not getting the results, make sure you get all your money back if not wasted time.
And lastly, don’t let them be infallible.
Remember that pseudoscience based book called ‘The Secret‘ that claimed your thoughts become your reality? And when they don’t, the blame goes on you for not believing your thoughts. Don’t fall for that shit!