The ‘Self’ In Self-Help: Why Self-Help Gurus Cant Help You
Have you ever wondered why self-help doesn’t seem to work? Why no matter how many books you read, your life does not seem to magically get better? Maybe you’ve even asked the big question that is the subject of this post: why self-help gurus can’t help you.
I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time. I got into self-help when I was in a dark time of my life. Without a doubt, I can credit this industry massively with some of the positive changes in my life that I have experienced since then.
However, for every revelation revealed, lesson learned or philosophy expounded, I have become increasingly aware of a singular problem.
The true essence of self-help is really empowerment. Your guru, coach, teacher, book – or whatever tool you are using to better your life with – is meant to empower you to take control of your life and situation, as much as one can be in control.
Somewhere along the way, self-help lost its central essence. It stopped being about empowerment and started to become something else entirely.
It’s hard to put a name on what the industry has become now, but if you’ve ever heard a motivational speech, read an inspiring story or finished an encouraging book, then you’ll know the feeling of pure energy and will that erupts inside of you. However, this is almost always promptly diminished within a few weeks or whenever an obstacle rears its ugly head.
For a brief time, we feel like we can conquer the world and then that feeling simply vanishes. So, we go again. A new speech, book or coaching session leads to a positive feeling and then the feeling eventually fades.
So what’s really the problem?
Reliance on Self-Help Gurus
I will be the first to admit that I am a self-help junkie – though not to as great an extent as before. In my early time with self-help, I consumed books, articles, videos, speeches, workshops, courses and anything I could get my hands on by the boatload. I loved that fresh feeling of new knowledge and motivation to get out there and make my mark on the world.
I know now, however, that I was just stringing together moments of motivation, hoping that someone would just come along and fix me with the right words. Now I know that I relied too heavily on my role models and mentors.
It’s a pattern that I have seen in many others now. It is the inevitable result of self-help gurus, coaches and authors becoming more self-important.
I see an increasing number of people every day saying that they know the answer to all of your problems. This egotism now pervades the vast majority of the self-help industry and is causing irrevocable damage to it.
The truth is that no one knows the answer to all of your problems.
Though it might sound strange coming from a self-improvement blogger, self-help really sucks at the moment. It is in desperate need of some major reform. As an industry, we need to step away from self-importance and go back to our roots of empowerment.
The Problem With Motivational Speeches
When we watch a motivational video or listen to an inspiring speech, we feel amazing for a little while. However, that feeling never lasts.
It’s similar to that feeling that you get at the beginning of the year when you set yourself a brand new resolution to do X, Y or Z. That positive feeling lasts for a little while, but it eventually – and often quickly – fades.
As a result of this fading energy, you have to go back for another hit of motivation. This happens over and over again. In reality, the guru isn’t actually helping you. They may even be doing more damage than they are doing good.
Because no lasting change is being fostered or created, you have to repeat the cycle of returning to the guru for more.
So, what can be done?
Self-Empowerment vs Self-Help
As I mentioned before, I believe that returning to empowering others is the key to actually helping those who seek help. This stands in stark contrast to a self-help guru who claims that it is their way alone that can help you to overcome your problems.
I believe then when you provide someone with the tools to empower themselves, rather than creating a dependence on a tool or technique, then you give them the key to lasting change.
I remember reading an anecdote in Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within about a man that Tony treated for smoking addiction. To my knowledge, I believe he underwent hypnotherapy or something of the sort and was clean for two years until he started smoking again. When he met Tony again some time later, he argued that he had not been “fixed” properly.
That’s the problem with not empowering an individual.
I should say, before I conclude, that I believe that most self-help gurus, coaches and authors have the best intentions in mind. However, I do think that some of them may be somewhat misguided in certain respects.
There are definitely times when you may need a motivational speech in your life. Sometimes, we all need some guidance. But don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that they are the only people that can help you.
Besides, do you want to have to listen to the same old motivational speeches over and over again for the rest of your life – let’s be honest, they’re all pretty much the same.
If you’re wondering why self-help gurus can’t help you, then my advice would be to focus on your own empowerment. Embrace your personal power to change your life. Become your own motivation.
This blog was created to show you how simple it is to empower yourself and create the life of your dreams. I hope that I can inspire you to inspire yourself and take control of your life.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey to self-empowerment and improvement.
Remember, you are far more powerful than you realise.