“I’m working on my business and going to the gym every day, while you sit on the couch and watch Netflix.
You and I are not alike…”
It’s attitudes like this which make me question my own involvement in the self-improvement movement.
The sheer pomposity and pretentiousness that festers from a number of people dedicated to their own personal growth, lacking the self-awareness thinking that bragging about their superiority to the “average” is showing their greatness, when in reality, they are simply masking their own insecurities.
If you go on social media too much, you can read people with the template money-mindset-hustle attitude every day, and it makes me realise how messed up and corrupted the path of personal growth is, filled with people out to profit off insecurities.
Throughout my own self-improvement journey, I’ve read more than my fair sharing of ideas that tell you the “rules” to live a better life, but this can be a destructive path to take, as you become trapped in your own mortality, where nothing you achieve is good enough.
I’ve been in this game for nearly a decade, and it’s now I’m starting to get why your average person will raise an eyebrow when they see you reading any content that might be considered self-help.
At times in my growth path, I’ve had many moments of vulnerability, times I’ve been low, so I take exception to anyone who declares they promote self-improvement, at the expense of putting you down.
Get rich, get ripped, don’t be a wage slave, don’t get married, why are you watching TV? You’re going to die soon!
Making you think you are not good enough so the hack can sell you the solution is not a new concept, it’s been going on for centuries.
I like the ideas behind self-improvement, but self-improvement as an end to itself, ironically doesn’t actually cultivate development. You can feel better than everyone else because you read a book every week, but if all your consuming is platitudes and never taking any action, you’re no better than the person who sits on the couch all day eating Doritos.
Recently I watched an old episode of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, where he attended some self-improvement seminar. Attendees were asked to do cheesy group think type chanting
“Who’s going to be rich?” shouts the motivational speaker, sounding like a cross between a used car salesman and a gameshow host
“Me…!” the audience respond
“Come on…, if you REALLY want to be a success, you’re going to have shout much louder than THAT!”
As if how vocal you are at a seminar means the difference between success and failure… the group respond, almost trance like as they react to the speakers every word, now they’ve been warmed up, they are ready to move on from the free seminar, to the expensive sales funnel.
The “Mentorship programme” is called some crap like Millionaire Mindset Motivation. The viewer watching at home knows this is all bullshit, but the crowd so taken in the moment are queuing up to ensure they don’t miss out on the “opportunity”.
Watching it, there is something very 90’s about the whole thing, and you like to think we are more enlightened to not fall for the psychological tricks of some snake oil salesman, but really nothing has changed from these old seminars, except the technology to reach us has changed so we feel part of the movement.
If you’ve seen the show before, Louis line of questioning is what can be described as a sceptical innocence, he’s calling out the validity of the persons beliefs, but does it in such a way that it comes across that he is genuinely curious about their line of thinking, rather than coming across as saying you’re wrong.
“How many people who signed up for the course actually have become millionaires?”
He subtly probes.
The smarmy speaker, is slippery ready for such questions and deflects the question with a counter attack.
“You’ll never be a millionaire because you don’t believe”. Typical, even the answer comes in meaningless platitudes. I believe the modern equivalent to online critics is to simply dismiss them as “haters”.
All this makes me think, self-improvement doesn’t have to be conning the desperate, and it doesn’t have to be about looking down on the life choices of others.
Therefore, check out my Manifesto for a Better Self-Improvement Movement…
- Be part of a community supportive of ideas and ambitions.
- Don’t use the platform for blatant fronting of superiority.
- Recognise there is no right path to success, only what you define matters to you.
- Encourage a culture of critical thinking.
- Stop following guides, rules and “step by step” success plans.
- Focus on your own journey.
- Be authentic, not fake.
- Do not prey on people’s insecurities and ambitions for personal gain.
- Make sure your self-improvement journey is focused on real areas of improvement rath than abstract concepts.
In the end…
The twenty-first century offers us fantastic opportunities that have never been seen before – you can be an author, a teacher, a personal trainer, a singer, a media personality, a journalist, a business owner, and more… all without the entry criteria that has previously restricted us.
With all this knowledge, the web allows us endless resources to help in our personal growth, and even allow us to create our own “personal brand” to share your own systems for success.
This is a great opportunity to make someone’s life better! We have great power at our fingertips, but with it we also need to be responsible how we use that.
When you share your knowledge and advice online do this wisely and with care for others, your attitude can have real life implications to someone on the other side of the world!
Wishing you the best in your success.
James @Perfect Manifesto