Okay the title of this post might be a little shocking. I don’t actually think all self-help gurus should die – Well, maybe just the ones who prey on people’s gullibility and use it for their own gain. Here’s what I mean…
A German Infomercial
I was in Austria last week watching a bit of late night T.V. in my hostel. When I say “watching”, I really mean I was completely confused by the German-speaking show on the television. Now as the show ended, a German infomercial came on.
How do I know it was an infomercial? Well it had the same elements like the infomercials from back home:
#1- A slick looking self-help guru talking to the camera, with pictures of his former, miserable self
#2- A video/photograph montage of his wonderful life; complete with snaps of him sitting on a fancy, tropical beach
#3- Video testimonials of recent customers who achieved their dreams all because they bought the product
#4- Camera zooms on the product that ‘changes your life.’
This infomercial made me kind of sad because I thought Americans were the only ones who were victims of this junk. But it turns out Germans/Austrians are susceptible too.
Here’s a Little Secret…
…You don’t need self-help gurus teaching you how to improve your life. In fact, listening to them is the worst thing you can do. What works(?) for them probably won’t work for YOU! The truth is most of these courses are designed with the knowledge that over 90% of the people purchasing won’t do a damn thing to take action. Then they’ll be too ashamed to ask for their money back.
Furthermore, following someone else’s blueprint teaches to not think for yourself. You’re following their blueprint for success…Not your own.
My secret to success has always been learning from my mistakes. Failure is actually a great teaching tool. You quickly learn how to not do something and this lesson is something you’ll never forget. I honestly don’t think you get this kind of information from following another person’s “success cookbook.”
Become your Own Life Guru
You don’t need another person telling you how to be happy and live your life. Traveling and running marathons makes me happy. But I’d be insane to make you believe these activities will make you a happier individual. They work for me but they probably won’t work for you.
Only YOU know what you want from life. Don’t listen to the sleazy guys in 3-piece suits telling you they have the “magical” secret to success. Usually the only magic involved is a wonderful trick where your money disappears.
Getting Information for Specific Problems
This isn’t a rant against all information or self-help products. I firmly believe in their value for both the customer and the owner. My gripe is the proliferation of the “your life sucks, mine is awesome” gimmicks I see every single day.
I love information products. I’ve probably spent over $20,000 on information in my lifetime and I’d say most of it has given me real, legitimate value. What separates the good from the bad is a simple question… “Does it solve a specific problem I’m experiencing?”
For instance, I would never buy something like the “EZ Internet Marketing Riches Accelerator Program.” But a few years back I paid $20 for a course that JUST taught the principles of writing email subject lines that get high open rates. You see the difference? One screams, ‘I’m a sleazebag who thinks you’re stupid,’ while the other provides quality information I was dying to know.
You Already Have Everything
I bet you already have everything you need to succeed. It’s human nature to feel like the “successful” people of the world know all the secrets. The truth is they usually achieved it by following a good plan and working hard. So unless somebody is offering to teach you a specific skill you don’t possess, you’re better off alone.
It’s simple economics… When there’s no demand, there’s no supply. It’s about having confidence in our ability to succeed. When we stick to our own plans, the sleazy self-help gurus of the world won’t have any customers. Then they’ll pack their bags and move to a farm somewhere…far away from decent, hardworking people.Take Action. Get Results.