My Beef with Self-help BS

August 17th, 2010
People ask me all the time: what’s your problem with self-help.
They ask:
What’s wrong with helping people?  Even if they ARE frauds, they aren’t hurting people. They’re  helping people.

Well, it’s about time I answered this (rather than my usual answer of ‘helping, my a$#).
First of all, I have no problem with people trying to make their lives better or feel better about themselves.  In fact, a lot of people who come to self-help are desperate people looking for answers.  And  desperate people are a breeding ground for D-bag scammers.

The self-help market is a huge market now that encompasses a lot of different areas.  And some of these areas invite the worst kind of douchebags.  There are two areas where I have a BIG problem with self-help:

  • health
  • wealth

I have a problem with health because a lot of “alternative” medicine is dangerous.  I always hear about how “Big Pharma” or something or another is preventing natural cures from coming out.

Here’s my take:

1. If there were natural cures, we’d have seen them by now.
2. People live longer NOW rather than hundreds of years ago because of modern medicine.

I’ve seen ads by some of these “natural” people railing against:

  • vaccines
  • pharmaceutical drugs
  • surgery
  • cancer treatment

These things save lives and people live longer than ever because of them.  Are they perfect? No.  But exploiting people’s fears of these things just to make money is wrong.  Telling someone to to stop taking things that helps them live longer is like saying you want them to die. And I think it’s wrong to want someone to die.

A friend of mine used to inspect health of claims like “silver water” and a whole bunch of other stuff that claimed to cure everything.

What did he find?

All frauds.  They never worked and the people putting out these products disappeared once the jig was up.

So, yeah, I’ve got a big problem with the “health” side of self-help.

And now we come to the “wealth” side of self-help.

If someone told me he could teach me how to become rich, I would expect a class on how to invest money or something.  But a lot of these “wealth” products are nothing more than a high-priced something or another that teaches you the “mindset” of being a millionaire.

The mindset?

What the hell is that?  Yes, your views on money are important and it’s a good idea to develop different financial goals, but do you really think you need to think a certain way to become a millionaire?

The only book I’ve read about real millionaires is “The Millionaire Next Door.” It said that millionaires”

  • are frugal
  • buy used American cars
  • live below their means

Wait.  What was that? Frugal? Live below your means?

How come all those Hypnotic/Harmonic/Hydroponic Wealth guys don’t teach that kind of stuff?

Is it because frugal people don’t spend their money on their overpriced crap?

So, yeah, I’ve got a problem with people dangling some pipe dream of wealth in front of people and then calling it “personal development” or mixing it with New Age spirituality to make people’s greed seem like a virtue.

Sorry, but I don’t think greed is a virtue.  And I don’t think greed is spiritual.  Greed is greed–pure and simple.  And I think people who teach otherwise are at best misguided and at worst a criminal.

So, there you have it.  That’s my beef. I think exposing the crap out there can make way for things that actually help.

Isn’t it time that personal development moves from this idea that you’re entitled to be wealthy to something more like, I don’t know, teaching you to be a better person to yourself and others?

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