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Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

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Postby lavezzi » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:18 pm

publicduende wrote:religions have been wise (cunning? realistic?) enough to say that those who exercise the qualities of a good believer will have their rewards in the next life. Not this one..


its now seen as common sense to people in the west that experiencing death is indisinct from going into deep sleep and never waking up. most put this out of their minds as its occurence is something perceived as being in the distant future, however it has definitely had a very strong effect on the cultural mentality in modern times. nihlism, hedonism, hopelessness, superficiality etc. all the stuff one can sense so much now, would they still be so prevalent if genuine beleif in god was still part and parcel of our culture?

im sure many of us saw the inspirational video of the guy with no arms and legs who remained upbeat in attitude, of course it turns out hes a fanatical christian. it really ponders the question of who is worse off; the person without limbs but with god, or the person with limbs but without god?

survival instincts are what run life on earth, and modern humans are definitely not excempt from this. repressed fear of death certainly runs the western way of life. if there was no potential for our death there would be no fear. but of course there is this potential and the resulting fear manifests itself as desire in a search for meaning; to cling to whatever one can for security. this tendency in the secular world is channeled into all sorts of things which are ultimately meaningless other than in their distractive value. this certainly does seem a gloomy picture but its the reality many people today are living.
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Postby Winston » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:01 pm

I don't think a book can change your life physically. But it can change your perspective, help encourage you, motivate you, and give you coping strategies for stress and obstacles. It certainly does provide emotional solace.

But whether a book's advice and strategies work or not depends on your situation, what you do, what you are seeking, your capabilities and the obstacles against you.

The problem with books is that they make too many blanket statements, and they seem to only tackle the simplest problems such as family quarrels, making enough money to pay bills, etc. They don't address the problems that we talk about.

You are right though banano. Usually older single women are into the self-improvement new age stuff. The kind of women who are past their prime and cant attract good men anymore and have no stable partner. But needless to say, i dont see the new age self-help stuff making any difference in their lives. All it seems to do is feed their ego that they are special, etc. All of which is delusional.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Winston » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:47 am

I dont understand the logic and basis of the self-help/self-improvement industry in America. I mean, if im kind, caring, honest and a good guy, and i have good communication skills and am friendly and sociable, then WHY THE HELL do i need to change myself or improve myself in order to have a good social or dating life?!?! Whats the logic of that? How am I at fault or deficient that i need "self-improvement"? Sounds like a con and scam to blame victims rather than a toxic, unnatural, dysfunctional, disconnected society.

Also, how come i dont need self-improvement or confidence to have a normal social and dating life in Russia, Europe or China? The self improvement gurus such as Dr. Wayne Dyer or Tony Robbins NEVER have an answer for that. Neither do mainstream Americans.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Zambales » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:25 am

Ironically the best self-help advice is free.

Don't give any of your money to these vultures.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Winston » Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:57 am

Hi all, me and Darrell Johnston just had our friendly podcast debate about HA vs the conventional self help movement. Darrell posts on our Facebook group and is a critic of our claims. You can listen to it here. Its about 90 min.

http://www.happierabroad.com/podcasts/darrell-johnston-debate.mp3
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Winston » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:29 am

Here are some great points from Ethan_sg (my Singaporean freethinker friend who lives in China) about why the self-improvement industry is INCOMPLETE without Happier Abroad:

"@Winston the phrase 'self help' is too broadly used. By the broadest definition, everything we do in life would be a form of 'self help' such as even eating food and drinking water , or getting enough sleep to stay healthy - life is a perpetual process of self help by that very definition. So by that very broad definition, there is nothing to be debated, because unless an individual is masochistic or suicidal, each and everything he does in life can be considered a form of 'self help'

Now there is also nothing wrong with a man striving to improve his looks, health, fitness, confidence levels, language abilities, developing interest and hobbies etc. These I suppose may also rightfully be considered forms of 'self improvements' and there is pretty much nothing wrong with them.

Now where there is a problem with self help is when it gets in the way of achieving bigger and important goals. For example when you're living in an environment as toxic as the Anglosphere, your number one priority should be to get out of it, not to try to make the best of it and then end up staying on for the rest of your life. Both moving abroad or making the best of life in the Anglosphere can be seen as ways of 'self help' or 'self improvement' - so which should you choose?

Herein lies the weakness and flaws of a term as broad and superficial as 'self help/improvement' - there is no underlying philosophy or social theory in self help which will help you decide which to choose when you are faced with the choice of moving abroad from the Anglosphere or deciding to stay and make the best of it. Self help and self improvement has no answers for that because it is not a philosophy.

And this is where happier abroad comes in along with the emphasis on concretely comparing and analyzing the deep differences in social and love life in different countries and societies. Self help alone cannot give you direction on the biggest choices in life, you need deep analysis and experience to make the best choices. In the end the problems with self help is that the concept is on the one hand too broad, and on the other hand can get in the way of seeing the bigger picture and getting you to compromise on a bad situation by making the best of it instead of taking the more drastic decision to revolutionize your life and move abroad.

Self help can be indiscriminately applied to many different things in life but in the end what men need most of all is direction. Helping one's self achieve happiness is the end goal but without direction you won't know which way to go. That's where you need philosophy and comparative sociology in order to figure out the best way forward - there are a ton of things you could do to help yourself , many of which many be mutually incompatible or even contradictory. So which direction do you take in life? You need philosophy. Not just blind self help. That would be putting the cart before the horse. Blindly and indiscriminately applied self help can lead to the overall degradation of one's life in the long run.

If you take it to the extreme, self help means enabling yourself to do literally anything in life, so as long as you believe it, but that of course has already been debunked. If you take a more conservative definition of self help, then it is merely common sense. Yes improve yourself, cultivate interests, stay healthy etc, be confident yes . But all this should go without saying and is pretty meaningless from a philosophical standpoint because it provides no underlying direction.

This diluted commonsensical form of self help is just stating the obvious and seems more like a 'feel good' marketing gimmick by those with commercial interests in the so called self improvement industry. What we need most of all is philosophy to give is direction, not just blind and indiscriminate self help over anything and everything under the sun."
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Winston » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:29 pm

Here is Darrell Johnstons response to Ethan_sg's long rant about self help vs HA.

Darrell Johnston:

"Tell him I said, I advocated moving on as a great solution to bad experiences in the debate already. The difference between him and me is he talks about 2 different kinds of self improvement, but he presents it as if you only have 1 option out of 2, there are infact multiple options and you may chose as many as you like.

Also bare in mind that my main point was that what do you do if you are home for a year....or three years? While you figure out the ways and means to fund this trip?. What do you do in the meantime? Do you sit around and wait for fun to come to you in the future? Or do you do your best to make it as fun as you can while you wait?.

Baring in mind, many of these guys are stuck at home.....like winston already pointed out, many of them have never owned a passport, so they are kinda trapped there

Because the last time I got stuck at home, I did the waiting around for when the check came thing..... and I waited a year, in this time my mental health got worse, I waited a year and I couldnt wait any longer, I had to go out side and make changes in my habits and life or I was going to go crazy.

When people think that they only have 1 option or the other and wait around for the other until they can feel happy.....thats only OK for a few weeks, a few months is bad, a year is very bad ,5 years.....well, I couldnt imagine that.

And the longer the person is sitting there festering, the weaker he becomes socially and intelligently and intellectually, and can eventually make a man so incompetent that he can never escape his hole.

All areas of life must be worked on, not just 1.....ESPECIALLY if one area of your life is an area that you will have to return to.

If a man can escape that for ever....then fair play to him, most can not because they dont have the skills to keep it going.

You and I are lucky to have properties to be able to contribute to this road of freedom experience and the liberty to country hop more less as much as we choose to.

You do not need personal development at home as long as you have the funds to keep your travel dream alive. If you ever lost those however......the crash you will experience could be of severe consequences upon realisation that you are stuck there and have no where else to go."
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby nomadphilippines » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:24 pm

of course its mostly just BS, people need reassurance that things can be better and are willing to pay for it
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Zambales » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:51 pm

nomadphilippines wrote:of course its mostly just BS, people need reassurance that things can be better and are willing to pay for it


Sounds very similar to the Catholic Church :wink:
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Traveler » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:33 pm

Trump's pastor while growing up was a famous self help author.

" 'I go to church, and I love God, and I love my church,' Trump told the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa last year. 'Norman Vincent Peale, the great Norman Vincent Peale, was my pastor. ... He was so great. And what he would do is, he'd bring real-life situations, modern-day situations, into the sermon. And you could listen to him all day long.' "
http://www.npr.org/2016/08/03/488513585/how-positive-thinking-prosperity-gospel-define-donald-trumps-faith-outlook

Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking, was the first book I encountered in the self-help genre. I remember reading it made me feel very good at the time. It felt great to believe that I could have all I want in life just by thinking positive thoughts. I can imagine that listening to his sermons in person filled people with hope and motivation.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby celery2010 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:01 am

The difference is that there's nothing wrong in saying be the best that you can be. Everyone has potential.

That is like telling athletes that they don't need coaches, they will win the Superbowl without any training, help or effort whatsoever. The winner should be the naturally talented.

And earning money? Effort should not be rewarded, just seniority.

And the overweight middle aged woman should be loved for who she is; yeah losing weight and having good style make no difference.

Do you not see how ridiculous you sound?

(This is not to say i condone the self help industry though.)

Winston wrote:I dont understand the logic and basis of the self-help/self-improvement industry in America. I mean, if im kind, caring, honest and a good guy, and i have good communication skills and am friendly and sociable, then WHY THE HELL do i need to change myself or improve myself in order to have a good social or dating life?!?! Whats the logic of that? How am I at fault or deficient that i need "self-improvement"? Sounds like a con and scam to blame victims rather than a toxic, unnatural, dysfunctional, disconnected society.

Also, how come i dont need self-improvement or confidence to have a normal social and dating life in Russia, Europe or China? The self improvement gurus such as Dr. Wayne Dyer or Tony Robbins NEVER have an answer for that. Neither do mainstream Americans.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Bao3niang » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:11 am

It definitely is, and it's poisoned the minds of so many people especially women. It begins by telling you that there's something wrong with you, even when you are perfectly fine. Then it tries to throw crap at you that you do not need in the first place, but it keeps convincing you over and over that the way you are, what you have is not enough. There could be MORE, MORE, and MORE. Once you are hooked, brainwashed and thoroughly subscribe to it, you are destroyed from the inside. You'll lose what was once so good about you, and turn into an abomination that spews shit. I can't think of any better way to describe it.
CYKA BLYAT!!!!!!
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Winston » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:04 pm

celery2010 wrote:The difference is that there's nothing wrong in saying be the best that you can be. Everyone has potential.

That is like telling athletes that they don't need coaches, they will win the Superbowl without any training, help or effort whatsoever. The winner should be the naturally talented.

And earning money? Effort should not be rewarded, just seniority.

And the overweight middle aged woman should be loved for who she is; yeah losing weight and having good style make no difference.

Do you not see how ridiculous you sound?

(This is not to say i condone the self help industry though.)

Winston wrote:I dont understand the logic and basis of the self-help/self-improvement industry in America. I mean, if im kind, caring, honest and a good guy, and i have good communication skills and am friendly and sociable, then WHY THE HELL do i need to change myself or improve myself in order to have a good social or dating life?!?! Whats the logic of that? How am I at fault or deficient that i need "self-improvement"? Sounds like a con and scam to blame victims rather than a toxic, unnatural, dysfunctional, disconnected society.

Also, how come i dont need self-improvement or confidence to have a normal social and dating life in Russia, Europe or China? The self improvement gurus such as Dr. Wayne Dyer or Tony Robbins NEVER have an answer for that. Neither do mainstream Americans.


Celery, you are delusional and using total straw mans. No one is saying that you shouldnt be the best you can be. No one is saying that athletes dont need coaches. Or that you dont need to make effort.

But the self improvement industry exaggerates and makes misleading promises. It is also overlapped with the new age movement and its crazy unrealistic claims. Sure they contain good advice, but its mixed with BS as well, like such things usually are. Like i said before you cant sell 100 percent lies or 100 percent truth. You have to mix it up.

For example they say you can do anything you believe in. There are no limits. Even hillary clinton says that "Girls can do anything. There are no limits. They need to believe that." She said that in her concession speech. Its BS. Of course you cant do "anything". There are limits. You gotta work with your skills, talents, strengths and opportunities. This is common sense. Why do i always have to explain common sense things to you guys? You guys sometimes act like ignorant sheep. Lol

An athlete with talent and potential needs a coach. Yeah. But thats because the coach believes in him. If you had no talent or athletic ability then the coach would deem it a waste of time to coach you. But the new age and self improvement industry says that you can do anything you believe you can, even if you have no talent or aptitude. Thats plain false and delusional.

For example i cant go to a coach and say that i want him to train me for the Olympics in gymnastics because i read The Secret and believe that i can do anything through the power of thoughts. He would laugh at me if i said that. If im too old to start training and dont have any talent or aptitude, then my beliefs and thoughts dont matter and wont help. Enough said. Its no brainer. Do i have to explain this to you?

Ask a professional coach. He will tell you that he will only train people with POTENTIAL, and strong potential too. He wont say that he will train those who believe in themselves yet lack any talent or potential. Common sense.

You guys sometimes act so dumb that you make me look smart by contrast. Lol

If hillary believe that girls should have no limits in what they can achieve then why doesnt she tell them to jump off a building and try to fly? Lol. There are no limits right?

See how exaggerated all this BS is? If you take it literally it can be dangerous too. Some people have been killed doing dangerous things believing that they were invincible and were foolish. They believed thoughts create their reality so that nothing can hurt them if they dont fear it.

Studies show that new age people and positive attitude junkies take more risks and hence have a higher rate of fatality than negative people and pessimists who do not take risks. I posted those studies before.

We have been through all this before. I hate explaining the same thing many times. This is the umpteenth time.
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Kradmelder » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:08 pm

Winston, I admire the energy you can expend explaining basic things :lol: Your mind never stops working.

Ee=ither you truly believe people have the potential to understand it, or you are mixing BS with truths :lol: :lol:

Try mixing in a sense of humour as well as it reduces the irritation factor that you may feel :lol: :lol: Then it is win win as you can laugh again when people actually take the humourous parts seriously :lol:
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Re: Is the Self-Help/Self-Improvement Industry a Fraud?

Postby Eric » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:13 pm

It depends on what you're talking about. What you read, of course most of it is crap - just like anything else. You have to sift through the crap to find what's truly valuable. Look for well researched books/authors...highly popular books with lots of reviews, heavily researched material, best sellers etc., written by PhD's and or down to earth people not part of the system...but whom have something real to say.

It's quite easy actually but we make it complicated. One great book I read is The Gifts of Imperfection, it's by a PhD author and she's on Ted Talks also. It's a fantastic book.

Self- help crap shouldn't 'feel good'. Real self help is arduous hard work, and no one likes doing it... it's like cleaning the gutters/ or revamping the garden and replanting everything.
it's very difficult unpleasant work to do, but it is rewarding. That's how you know you're doing it right, and getting somewhere "good".
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