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Adir Barak

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before I picked up MJ's TMF, I was DONE with self-help books.
I think we all know why, everything that MJ's speaks of, everything you notice if you actually think about it.
from the regurgitated useless advice to the unrealistic unreasoable promises...

I got TMF just because so many people (with real results to their names) recommended it.
at first I was skeptical: "another self-help book about getting rich and about freedom?, yea sure", but - Here I'm :)

anyway I can't believe MJ's books are categorized as "self-help books", self-help is a CULT! and that's why:

according to CULT RESEARCH - Characteristics Associated With Cults:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

- people based their whole decsion making on what "Jim Rohn said" or "Tony Robbins preched"

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- "if you can't manifest a mansion, a harem of babes and 100M$ that's on you! how dare you question the laws of the universe!
- if you fail, it's never the system, it's because you somehow screwd up.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- Sleep as little as humanly possible, Mediate 2 hours a day, invision your gloruious future, chant affirmations and never have free time to question whether or not this is doing anything.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- dress like a winner, hang out with winners, forget your lousy friends and family (unless you can get them on the guru train aswell), eat this, do that, a fixed recepie of how to live your life.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- just the reason you are reading this self-help book makes you a better human than the rest of the low-class slugs who roam this earth, they don't strive to self-develop, you are better, we are an elite group of people who try to better themselves and everything around them.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

- the guru is not an official finance advisor or anything of the sort, he is just a "life-coach", able to tell you anything without consequences

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- leave your family behind, throw away those friends of yours etc'


The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- if you fail to adhere to the guru's teaching you are basically giving up the "light", you choose to live a sad life.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

- how many times does a guru write a new book and encourges you to spread the gosple while never doing any real maintenance on the "current members" group?

The group is preoccupied with making money.
- the guru sells 12 books, 4 conventions a year, 3 courses etc' but you never seem to get anything out of it other than being hyper-motivated for a week or so.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- you wake up a 5AM and do nothing but reading, listening and watching what the guru has to say, preach and tell you.

Thanks for reading, and I'm sure some of you noticied the eerie resemblance of cults and the self-help industry.
This is just a general overview since I'm sure you can connect the dots yourself if you were part of the self-help movement in anyway way shape or form.
 

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before I picked up MJ's TMF, I was DONE with self-help books.
I think we all know why, everything that MJ's speaks of, everything you notice if you actually think about it.
from the regurgitated useless advice to the unrealistic unreasoable promises...

I got TMF just because so many people (with real results to their names) recommended it.
at first I was skeptical: "another self-help book about getting rich and about freedom?, yea sure", but - Here I'm :)

anyway I can't believe MJ's books are categorized as "self-help books", self-help is a CULT! and that's why:

according to CULT RESEARCH - Characteristics Associated With Cults:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

- people based their whole decsion making on what "Jim Rohn said" or "Tony Robbins preched"

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- "if you can't manifest a mansion, a harem of babes and 100M$ that's on you! how dare you question the laws of the universe!
- if you fail, it's never the system, it's because you somehow screwd up.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- Sleep as little as humanly possible, Mediate 2 hours a day, invision your gloruious future, chant affirmations and never have free time to question whether or not this is doing anything.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- dress like a winner, hang out with winners, forget your lousy friends and family (unless you can get them on the guru train aswell), eat this, do that, a fixed recepie of how to live your life.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- just the reason you are reading this self-help book makes you a better human than the rest of the low-class slugs who roam this earth, they don't strive to self-develop, you are better, we are an elite group of people who try to better themselves and everything around them.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- the guru is not an official finance advisor or anything of the sort, he is just a "life-coach", able to tell you anything without consequences

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- leave your family behind, throw away those friends of yours etc'


The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- if you fail to adhere to the guru's teaching you are basically giving up the "light", you choose to live a sad life.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

- how many times does a guru write a new book and encourges you to spread the gosple while never doing any real maintenance on the "current members" group?

The group is preoccupied with making money.
- the guru sells 12 books, 4 conventions a year, 3 courses etc' but you never seem to get anything out of it other than being hyper-motivated for a week or so.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- you wake up a 5AM and do nothing but reading, listening and watching what the guru has to say, preach and tell you.

Thanks for reading, and I'm sure some of you noticied the eerie resemblance of cults and the self-help industry.
This is just a general overview since I'm sure you can connect the dots yourself if you were part of the self-help movement in anyway way shape or form.

So what are you going to do about it? And the harder question, what if not all cults are bad?
 

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Just don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Self help is hardly a cult and offers a ton of healthy advice to better yourself.

You got a lot of straw man arguments in your post - there is a healthy middle ground that can be reached.
 

Adir Barak

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So what are you going to do about it? And the harder question, what if not all cults are bad?
rn I'm not going to do anything, just something I wanted to bring up and let people express their opinion about.
I don't know any good cults. Surely some cult leaders even provide their followers with value but at the expanse of much much greater costs.

Just don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Self help is hardly a cult and offers a ton of healthy advice to better yourself.

You got a lot of straw man arguments in your post - there is a healthy middle ground that can be reached.
I don't mean to say self-help is actually a cult, but to point to some common characteristics between the two mentalities, which are imo destructive.

the examples I gave for the characteristics are just some common themes I noticed back when I followed some self-help gurus and movements, not anything special or big, just things I rememberd.

I wouldn't be who I am or where I am in life without self-help, it opened my eyes and changed my life for ever, of course it has good, even great aspects. I just wanted to shed some light on the darker side of it, as you said, to point to a better place in the middle.
 

Olov

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It's like with music, at least for me.

Most commercial songs are pure crap with no depth or meaning. They might sound good, but you hate when they get stuck in your head. Two weeks later they are forgotten. They just appealed to your lust for the moment, to bop your head or dance.

The underground music have more thoughtful lyrics and more originality.

I generalize a lot, but this is how I look at this "self-help" culture.

Most stuff that draw the attention of the masses are just empty words that sounds good for the moment.

Another (poor) comparison would be media and journalism.

You have the sensational headlines and articles from the big media houses. And you have the private in-depth journalists that actually get their hands dirty and reveal dark secrets of society.

The sensational headlines draw the most attention and money. The private or small-time journalist with real research costs more and doesn't get the same commercial success as a sensational and made-up headline.

You just have to shovel through the bullshit and find the gems that actually provide great knowledge, like MJ.

I don't agree at all that self-help is a cult. But it's a business containing a lot of snakey salesmen and cults.
 

Abenh

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It's like with music, at least for me.

Most commercial songs are pure crap with no depth or meaning. They might sound good, but you hate when they get stuck in your head. Two weeks later they are forgotten. They just appealed to your lust for the moment, to bop your head or dance.

The underground music have more thoughtful lyrics and more originality.

I generalize a lot, but this is how I look at this "self-help" culture.

Most stuff that draw the attention of the masses are just empty words that sounds good for the moment.

Another (poor) comparison would be media and journalism.

You have the sensational headlines and articles from the big media houses. And you have the private in-depth journalists that actually get their hands dirty and reveal dark secrets of society.

The sensational headlines draw the most attention and money. The private or small-time journalist with real research costs more and doesn't get the same commercial success as a sensational and made-up headline.

You just have to shovel through the bullshit and find the gems that actually provide great knowledge, like MJ.

I don't agree at all that self-help is a cult. But it's a business containing a lot of snakey salesmen and cults.
I agree with your comparison
 

Adir Barak

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 20, 2020
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110
It's like with music, at least for me.

Most commercial songs are pure crap with no depth or meaning. They might sound good, but you hate when they get stuck in your head. Two weeks later they are forgotten. They just appealed to your lust for the moment, to bop your head or dance.

The underground music have more thoughtful lyrics and more originality.

I generalize a lot, but this is how I look at this "self-help" culture.

Most stuff that draw the attention of the masses are just empty words that sounds good for the moment.

Another (poor) comparison would be media and journalism.

You have the sensational headlines and articles from the big media houses. And you have the private in-depth journalists that actually get their hands dirty and reveal dark secrets of society.

The sensational headlines draw the most attention and money. The private or small-time journalist with real research costs more and doesn't get the same commercial success as a sensational and made-up headline.

You just have to shovel through the bullshit and find the gems that actually provide great knowledge, like MJ.

I don't agree at all that self-help is a cult. But it's a business containing a lot of snakey salesmen and cults.
Yea I see what you are getting at, there is some truth to it for sure, just like populism in politics.
 

Bombastik_80

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The appealing thing about self-help / self-improvement stuff is that it appears like a short-cut of sorts for many people.

"As soon as I read that self-improvement book / buy this seminar my life will take a turn."

If I had to put self-improvement in a short statement, my take would be that it is a conscious and repeated effort to replace bad habits with good habits.

Tiny steps every day, for years / decades. Event vs. Process.

But such an approach doesn't necessarily generate high book sales/clicks etc., what certainly explains some of the noise around the self-help industry.

And this noise causes perhaps an one-dimensional perception of that industry, though it certainly isn't a cult in the actual sense.
 

WillHurtDontCare

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Self-help's real problem is that it is entertainment pretending to be education (AKA masturbation).

But even the best books are absolutely useless if you don't have clear, meaningful goals to tie them into. If you have good goals, then you can extract gold from even seemingly garbage books.
 

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Developing yourself is a great thing.

"Self-help" as an industry, however, you have to tread carefully.

You can probably pick up 5 great books on self-help, and that will be enough to know everything you need to before things get really REALLY repetitive.

If you find that this is happening: stop there. You don't need to read anymore. Continuing beyond this point is getting caught in the self-help loop of always reading about things but never actually doing anything with yourself.

Past that point, the only books/"self-help" you should be reading/consuming should be strictly related to actual things you need at the moment i.e leaning about marketing, finance, etc etc.

Unfortunately, "self-help" as an industry has absolutely been taken over (in large part) by grifters and rabbit holes into more "woo-woo" concepts that are further designed to suck you dry of your money than actually get you anywhere.

For a grifter, the best type of grift is one that leaves them blameless. With self-help, failure can always be blamed on the consumer than the guru.

Self-help also has no barrier to entry. Any bozo with 0 qualifications can start writing about how you should live your life, or start making videos on how to achieve anything you want. These are big red flags for me.

So, to conclude:

Gather the good bits in self-help; the practical advice that can likely be traced back to ancient philosophers who didn't care about making a career from teaching this stuff (Marcus Aurelius), then get tf out of there and actually do something that progresses you towards your goal.

If you hit a point where you're reading into "the law of attraction" or "manifesting" success, turn the other way. You're being conned.
 

Adir Barak

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 20, 2020
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Developing yourself is a great thing.

"Self-help" as an industry, however, you have to tread carefully.

You can probably pick up 5 great books on self-help, and that will be enough to know everything you need to before things get really REALLY repetitive.

If you find that this is happening: stop there. You don't need to read anymore. Continuing beyond this point is getting caught in the self-help loop of always reading about things but never actually doing anything with yourself.

Past that point, the only books/"self-help" you should be reading/consuming should be strictly related to actual things you need at the moment i.e leaning about marketing, finance, etc etc.

Unfortunately, "self-help" as an industry has absolutely been taken over (in large part) by grifters and rabbit holes into more "woo-woo" concepts that are further designed to suck you dry of your money than actually get you anywhere.

For a grifter, the best type of grift is one that leaves them blameless. With self-help, failure can always be blamed on the consumer than the guru.

Self-help also has no barrier to entry. Any bozo with 0 qualifications can start writing about how you should live your life, or start making videos on how to achieve anything you want. These are big red flags for me.

So, to conclude:

Gather the good bits in self-help; the practical advice that can likely be traced back to ancient philosophers who didn't care about making a career from teaching this stuff (Marcus Aurelius), then get tf out of there and actually do something that progresses you towards your goal.

If you hit a point where you're reading into "the law of attraction" or "manifesting" success, turn the other way. You're being conned.
Yea I agree with pretty much everything, that is my view on "self-help" aswell, especially the part of reading/consuming educational content based on current and near-future needs and goals past the phase of unlocking the right mentality.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I don't know where I'd be without self-help. Probably would have stuck a .38 in my mouth in the mid-90s.

Like anything, self-help can be abused.

You can kill yourself drinking too much water.
You can use a pillow to sleep, or use it to murder.
 

Onakosa

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before I picked up MJ's TMF, I was DONE with self-help books.
I think we all know why, everything that MJ's speaks of, everything you notice if you actually think about it.
from the regurgitated useless advice to the unrealistic unreasoable promises...

I got TMF just because so many people (with real results to their names) recommended it.
at first I was skeptical: "another self-help book about getting rich and about freedom?, yea sure", but - Here I'm :)

anyway I can't believe MJ's books are categorized as "self-help books", self-help is a CULT! and that's why:

according to CULT RESEARCH - Characteristics Associated With Cults:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

- people based their whole decsion making on what "Jim Rohn said" or "Tony Robbins preched"

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- "if you can't manifest a mansion, a harem of babes and 100M$ that's on you! how dare you question the laws of the universe!
- if you fail, it's never the system, it's because you somehow screwd up.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- Sleep as little as humanly possible, Mediate 2 hours a day, invision your gloruious future, chant affirmations and never have free time to question whether or not this is doing anything.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- dress like a winner, hang out with winners, forget your lousy friends and family (unless you can get them on the guru train aswell), eat this, do that, a fixed recepie of how to live your life.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- just the reason you are reading this self-help book makes you a better human than the rest of the low-class slugs who roam this earth, they don't strive to self-develop, you are better, we are an elite group of people who try to better themselves and everything around them.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- the guru is not an official finance advisor or anything of the sort, he is just a "life-coach", able to tell you anything without consequences

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- leave your family behind, throw away those friends of yours etc'


The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- if you fail to adhere to the guru's teaching you are basically giving up the "light", you choose to live a sad life.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

- how many times does a guru write a new book and encourges you to spread the gosple while never doing any real maintenance on the "current members" group?

The group is preoccupied with making money.
- the guru sells 12 books, 4 conventions a year, 3 courses etc' but you never seem to get anything out of it other than being hyper-motivated for a week or so.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- you wake up a 5AM and do nothing but reading, listening and watching what the guru has to say, preach and tell you.

Thanks for reading, and I'm sure some of you noticied the eerie resemblance of cults and the self-help industry.
This is just a general overview since I'm sure you can connect the dots yourself if you were part of the self-help movement in anyway way shape or form.
There is some truth in this. Particularly the ‘toxic positivity’ stuff. As others have pointed out though, and as with all things, you need objectivity and some sort of direction. I’m not a massive self-help buff, but the info and recommendations I’ve had from MJ’s books and this forum generally, have been great - but I already mostly knew what I wanted to do in the first place. If you’re just flailing around in the dark looking for someone to save you, I guess that’s where anything gets dangerous.
 

j0elsuf

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S'Funny, I'm about to write a massive blog post about this. But I guess I'll put down an abridged version of it here.

There are two massive problems with self-help.

First, very little of it is actionable. Most of it is a lot of rah-rah and woo-woo. I'm looking at you, Law of Attraction!

Also, how much of it is niched, designed to solve specific problems?

This is one of the differences I'm trying to make in this industry. I want to create materials that solve specific mental health problems (dealing with trauma, loss, abusive family members, etc).

We don't get that from most self-help or self-development stuff. Most of it is just "manifest your depression going away, I have pseudoscientific 'certifications' that 'prove' that this stuff works."

I sound like I'm hating on the Law of Attraction but I'm not. Even stuff by geniuses like Stephen Covey or Brian Tracy is superfluous at times and can be condensed a lot.

I want self-help to be more niched and actionable. That's what I want my blog to be about.
 

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These are all ideological concepts.

Cults are not inherently good or bad.
 

Kevin88660

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before I picked up MJ's TMF, I was DONE with self-help books.
I think we all know why, everything that MJ's speaks of, everything you notice if you actually think about it.
from the regurgitated useless advice to the unrealistic unreasoable promises...

I got TMF just because so many people (with real results to their names) recommended it.
at first I was skeptical: "another self-help book about getting rich and about freedom?, yea sure", but - Here I'm :)

anyway I can't believe MJ's books are categorized as "self-help books", self-help is a CULT! and that's why:

according to CULT RESEARCH - Characteristics Associated With Cults:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

- people based their whole decsion making on what "Jim Rohn said" or "Tony Robbins preched"

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- "if you can't manifest a mansion, a harem of babes and 100M$ that's on you! how dare you question the laws of the universe!
- if you fail, it's never the system, it's because you somehow screwd up.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- Sleep as little as humanly possible, Mediate 2 hours a day, invision your gloruious future, chant affirmations and never have free time to question whether or not this is doing anything.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- dress like a winner, hang out with winners, forget your lousy friends and family (unless you can get them on the guru train aswell), eat this, do that, a fixed recepie of how to live your life.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- just the reason you are reading this self-help book makes you a better human than the rest of the low-class slugs who roam this earth, they don't strive to self-develop, you are better, we are an elite group of people who try to better themselves and everything around them.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- the guru is not an official finance advisor or anything of the sort, he is just a "life-coach", able to tell you anything without consequences

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- leave your family behind, throw away those friends of yours etc'


The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- if you fail to adhere to the guru's teaching you are basically giving up the "light", you choose to live a sad life.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

- how many times does a guru write a new book and encourges you to spread the gosple while never doing any real maintenance on the "current members" group?

The group is preoccupied with making money.
- the guru sells 12 books, 4 conventions a year, 3 courses etc' but you never seem to get anything out of it other than being hyper-motivated for a week or so.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- you wake up a 5AM and do nothing but reading, listening and watching what the guru has to say, preach and tell you.

Thanks for reading, and I'm sure some of you noticied the eerie resemblance of cults and the self-help industry.
This is just a general overview since I'm sure you can connect the dots yourself if you were part of the self-help movement in anyway way shape or form.
Self-help is a good start but they could be overcomplicating things.

A lot of disciplined and successful people have not joined self-help and probably will wonder why the cult needs such a complex ritual to do things that they are already doing.

A lot of Motivations come from envy and comparison. Successful people by nature are highly competitive. They want the things and recognition. It is not really driven by “positive emotions” as what the guru would like to teach. Most of the time is driven by “fear or losing” and “paranoid of imperfection.”

Many guru are teaching that you need to “feel good” to get things going. I just don’t think that is the case because good feelings rarely last especially when you are going to do hard stuff.

Being driven by fear and being competative (compare yourself to others) is exactly what guru or any other “mainstream counsellors” will advise you against. Guru will tell you fear is “limiting belief”. Many people in the society will tell you comparing yourself to others is a recipe of unhappiness. But quite the contrary from my observation, being unhappy and feeling inadequate is what is actually driving people.

There is a big gap between what is being preached and what actually works.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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It's not that you're skeptical... it's that your gutless.

You're afraid that if you read the books, go to the seminars, and listen to recommendations of people that are far more successful than you AND you still fail -- you'll have to face the glaring reality that it's YOU.

It's YOUR fault.

Not somebody else.

But that's scary.

It's easier to post here and create a global sweeping generalization that "self help is a cult"

Books are a cult. Seminars are a cult. Improving your life is a cult.

Time to grow up a bit my friend.
 

Olov

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It's not that you're skeptical... it's that your gutless.

You're afraid that if you read the books, go to the seminars, and listen to recommendations of people that are far more successful than you AND you still fail -- you'll have to face the glaring reality that it's YOU.

It's YOUR fault.

Not somebody else.

But that's scary.

It's easier to post here and create a global sweeping generalization that "self help is a cult"

Books are a cult. Seminars are a cult. Improving your life is a cult.

Time to grow up a bit my friend.
Lol, you sound like someone who follows Tai Lopez and Gary V.

Very cringe.
 

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Ismail941

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Self help is good it means you are start to take care of yourself. But too much Self help will lead Into fairy tales which is delusional. It has to be balanced out by you without being naive. It’s important to become more practical in life as in general.
 

ProcessPro

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before I picked up MJ's TMF, I was DONE with self-help books.
I think we all know why, everything that MJ's speaks of, everything you notice if you actually think about it.
from the regurgitated useless advice to the unrealistic unreasoable promises...

I got TMF just because so many people (with real results to their names) recommended it.
at first I was skeptical: "another self-help book about getting rich and about freedom?, yea sure", but - Here I'm :)

anyway I can't believe MJ's books are categorized as "self-help books", self-help is a CULT! and that's why:

according to CULT RESEARCH - Characteristics Associated With Cults:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

- people based their whole decsion making on what "Jim Rohn said" or "Tony Robbins preched"

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- "if you can't manifest a mansion, a harem of babes and 100M$ that's on you! how dare you question the laws of the universe!
- if you fail, it's never the system, it's because you somehow screwd up.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- Sleep as little as humanly possible, Mediate 2 hours a day, invision your gloruious future, chant affirmations and never have free time to question whether or not this is doing anything.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- dress like a winner, hang out with winners, forget your lousy friends and family (unless you can get them on the guru train aswell), eat this, do that, a fixed recepie of how to live your life.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- just the reason you are reading this self-help book makes you a better human than the rest of the low-class slugs who roam this earth, they don't strive to self-develop, you are better, we are an elite group of people who try to better themselves and everything around them.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- the guru is not an official finance advisor or anything of the sort, he is just a "life-coach", able to tell you anything without consequences

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- leave your family behind, throw away those friends of yours etc'


The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- if you fail to adhere to the guru's teaching you are basically giving up the "light", you choose to live a sad life.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

- how many times does a guru write a new book and encourges you to spread the gosple while never doing any real maintenance on the "current members" group?

The group is preoccupied with making money.
- the guru sells 12 books, 4 conventions a year, 3 courses etc' but you never seem to get anything out of it other than being hyper-motivated for a week or so.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- you wake up a 5AM and do nothing but reading, listening and watching what the guru has to say, preach and tell you.

Thanks for reading, and I'm sure some of you noticied the eerie resemblance of cults and the self-help industry.
This is just a general overview since I'm sure you can connect the dots yourself if you were part of the self-help movement in anyway way shape or form.
I get where you're coming from. I myself got really hooked on self help books, then I realized actual change never really followed through. A few rules of thumb I have for myself nowadays is to skim the back of the book for references to scientific journals, to research the author (avoid people that got rich selling advice - if someone actually did the hard work and made money doing the thing you're trying to learn from them, it might be worth a read), and I also try to read the 1-3 star reviews on Amazon to learn what people disliked and why. Another thing is selective reading. I'd skim the table of contents, find the parts of the book that grab my attention the most, read the sub chapter headings, read the first/last paragraphs etc to get a feel for the book. The good news is that after some experience with the genre, you develop a radar for BS.

The single best self help book I've read is without a doubt Self Directed Behavior by David Watson. What I was seeking in the whole self help genre was to change my life. And change can only happen if we change our behavior. And this book outlines the solid science, very practically of how to change your behaviors. I'm not perfect to this day, but I'm quite consistent with working on my goals, and this book is the reason why.
 

Adir Barak

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I don't know where I'd be without self-help. Probably would have stuck a .38 in my mouth in the mid-90s.

Like anything, self-help can be abused.

You can kill yourself drinking too much water.
You can use a pillow to sleep, or use it to murder.
Right, as I wrote myself, self help changed my life completely that's true, it's super powerful for good or bad.

If you’re just flailing around in the dark looking for someone to save you, I guess that’s where anything gets dangerous.
Funny enough that's when cults grab you as well :)
Anyway I agree, if you aren't focused and you give up control, you endanger yourself.

S'Funny, I'm about to write a massive blog post about this. But I guess I'll put down an abridged version of it here.

There are two massive problems with self-help.

First, very little of it is actionable. Most of it is a lot of rah-rah and woo-woo. I'm looking at you, Law of Attraction!

Also, how much of it is niched, designed to solve specific problems?

This is one of the differences I'm trying to make in this industry. I want to create materials that solve specific mental health problems (dealing with trauma, loss, abusive family members, etc).

We don't get that from most self-help or self-development stuff. Most of it is just "manifest your depression going away, I have pseudoscientific 'certifications' that 'prove' that this stuff works."

I sound like I'm hating on the Law of Attraction but I'm not. Even stuff by geniuses like Stephen Covey or Brian Tracy is superfluous at times and can be condensed a lot.

I want self-help to be more niched and actionable. That's what I want my blog to be about.
Not actionable, general and also a lot of it is BS. There are gold nuggets as well, but many self-help gurus spit out useless, and as you said psuedoscientific notions.
Also, interesting idea about changing the approach to self help, sounds good and yes, more actionable.

Self-help is a good start but they could be overcomplicating things.

A lot of disciplined and successful people have not joined self-help and probably will wonder why the cult needs such a complex ritual to do things that they are already doing.

A lot of Motivations come from envy and comparison. Successful people by nature are highly competitive. They want the things and recognition. It is not really driven by “positive emotions” as what the guru would like to teach. Most of the time is driven by “fear or losing” and “paranoid of imperfection.”

Many guru are teaching that you need to “feel good” to get things going. I just don’t think that is the case because good feelings rarely last especially when you are going to do hard stuff.

Being driven by fear and being competative (compare yourself to others) is exactly what guru or any other “mainstream counsellors” will advise you against. Guru will tell you fear is “limiting belief”. Many people in the society will tell you comparing yourself to others is a recipe of unhappiness. But quite the contrary from my observation, being unhappy and feeling inadequate is what is actually driving people.

There is a big gap between what is being preached and what actually works.
I think it varies drastically based on personality. Some are escaping pain, some are chasing happines, others want 3 lambos to show off and yet others want to win no matter what.

It's not that you're skeptical... it's that your gutless.

You're afraid that if you read the books, go to the seminars, and listen to recommendations of people that are far more successful than you AND you still fail -- you'll have to face the glaring reality that it's YOU.

It's YOUR fault.

Not somebody else.

But that's scary.

It's easier to post here and create a global sweeping generalization that "self help is a cult"

Books are a cult. Seminars are a cult. Improving your life is a cult.

Time to grow up a bit my friend.
I have to strongly disagree.
As I replied to the previous comment I think it depends on the person's personality.

1. I wasn't "afraid" of the books, I've gone through too many.
2. If I was so scared of picking up TMF but later done it am I gutless or a f*cking beast for conquering my fears?
3. You generalize me worse than you claimed I generalize self-help.
4. Books, seminars and improving one self are not a cult, even if they might be a central part of one's life.
5. It seems to me that you mostly speak to yourself with this "aggressive" attitude for motivation.


Thank you for commenting.
 
Last edited:

Adir Barak

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I get where you're coming from. I myself got really hooked on self help books, then I realized actual change never really followed through. A few rules of thumb I have for myself nowadays is to skim the back of the book for references to scientific journals, to research the author (avoid people that got rich selling advice - if someone actually did the hard work and made money doing the thing you're trying to learn from them, it might be worth a read), and I also try to read the 1-3 star reviews on Amazon to learn what people disliked and why. Another thing is selective reading. I'd skim the table of contents, find the parts of the book that grab my attention the most, read the sub chapter headings, read the first/last paragraphs etc to get a feel for the book. The good news is that after some experience with the genre, you develop a radar for BS.

The single best self help book I've read is without a doubt Self Directed Behavior by David Watson. What I was seeking in the whole self help genre was to change my life. And change can only happen if we change our behavior. And this book outlines the solid science, very practically of how to change your behaviors. I'm not perfect to this day, but I'm quite consistent with working on my goals, and this book is the reason why.
Interesting, thanks for the book reference, haven't heard of it till now, will check it out.
I actually do similar things like reading low rating reviews and checking to see whats practical as well, guess it's a thing you develop once you get fed up with loads of useless/repeated crap
 

Kung Fu Steve

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I have to strongly disagree.
As I replied to the previous comment I think it depends on the person's personality.

1. I wasn't "afraid" of the books, I've gone through too many.
2. If I was so scared of picking up TMF but later done it am I gutless or a f*cking beast for conquering my fears?
3. You generalize me worse than you claimed I generalize self-help.
4. Books, seminars and improving one self are not a cult, even if they might be a central part of one's life.
5. It seems to me that you mostly speak to yourself with this "aggressive" attitude for motivation.


1. Did you apply anything?
2. I 100% agree you are a f*cking beast for stepping up and trying one more thing.
3. Agree. I have no idea who you are or your background or what you've accomplished.
4. There are seminar junkies. People who read book after book and never do anything. They sign up for a seminar and before they even leave the seminar and apply anything, they've signed up for the next seminar. But that's a small percentage of people who are trying to improve their lives.
5. Meh. I don't like motivation. Never been a fan. I want strategy. I want distinctions. I want knowledge. I want to get better.

My questions for you is especially on #2 ... why did you pick up this book? Why would you try one more thing if you're so sure all self help is a cult?

Do you think there's other people reading this thinking "yeah this guy is right, I'm never going to buy a book or go to a seminar ever again"?

Is it possible you're dissuading people just like yourself from picking up that one last book that might be the key for them?
 

ZCP

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One of the things I am pushing as I coach kids in basketball and teach college engineering courses is that we need help / coaching / etc.

It is a GOOD THING to grow / learn / improve. Health, wealth, mind, skills.

We'll hire a coach to teach us how to jump higher / run faster, why not hire a coach to get us to think farther?
We'll hire a trainer to get us to workout, why not hire a therapist to workout our mind?

To extend that,
We'll hire a business consultant to help specific details or our business, why not hire a mindset consultant to remake your mindset as the owner?
We'll hire a trainer to get staff to 'follow the procedure', why not hire a counselor to help them 'want' to follow the procedure?

I think this is the next explosion as 'health' gets systemized / commoditized. We'll move to getting help with the body / mind connection.
 

Adir Barak

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1. Did you apply anything?
2. I 100% agree you are a f*cking beast for stepping up and trying one more thing.
3. Agree. I have no idea who you are or your background or what you've accomplished.
4. There are seminar junkies. People who read book after book and never do anything. They sign up for a seminar and before they even leave the seminar and apply anything, they've signed up for the next seminar. But that's a small percentage of people who are trying to improve their lives.
5. Meh. I don't like motivation. Never been a fan. I want strategy. I want distinctions. I want knowledge. I want to get better.

My questions for you is especially on #2 ... why did you pick up this book? Why would you try one more thing if you're so sure all self help is a cult?

Do you think there's other people reading this thinking "yeah this guy is right, I'm never going to buy a book or go to a seminar ever again"?

Is it possible you're dissuading people just like yourself from picking up that one last book that might be the key for them?
I don't think self-help is bad as a concept, surely not, I have mentioned several times how it changed my life completely.

I wanted to point to the dark sides of this industry, mainly some of the "gurus" who lead it and amass followers.

I picked up the book because I'm not perfect, and even though I was getting tierd of self-help books I heared really enthusiastic recommendations for it, and as a non-perfect entity I sure can use help :)

My message isn't don't buy books or avoid semniars and courses and what not, it's just, think about what you absorb from it, think critically of the speakers and the authors of these.

I agree I might not have been clear enough about my intentions with this post.

One of the things I am pushing as I coach kids in basketball and teach college engineering courses is that we need help / coaching / etc.

It is a GOOD THING to grow / learn / improve. Health, wealth, mind, skills.

We'll hire a coach to teach us how to jump higher / run faster, why not hire a coach to get us to think farther?
We'll hire a trainer to get us to workout, why not hire a therapist to workout our mind?

To extend that,
We'll hire a business consultant to help specific details or our business, why not hire a mindset consultant to remake your mindset as the owner?
We'll hire a trainer to get staff to 'follow the procedure', why not hire a counselor to help them 'want' to follow the procedure?

I think this is the next explosion as 'health' gets systemized / commoditized. We'll move to getting help with the body / mind connection.
I think modern health systems should revolve mainly about psychology and mental health, people today seem to suffer from it far more than physical situations
 

j0elsuf

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I think modern health systems should revolve mainly about psychology and mental health, people today seem to suffer from it far more than physical situations
They should.

However, if you think self-help is a cult, then the mental health industry is about over 9000 times worse in that they visciously shame anyone who doesn't have their "qualifications."

Look no further than how mental health channel The Rewired Soul has been treated over the last 3 or so years to see what I am talking about. The channel had much better content than most other counselors, but because he didn't have "certifications" he was vilified.

I have seen about 25 different mental health counselors in my life.

Guess how many actually resulted in an experience that got me to improve myself?

About two or so.

These counselors weren't cheap, either. They were "free" with my college tuition, but if you break that down, it shakes out to about $50 or so per visit.

That's one thing I want to do with the content in my blog, which I should be sharing on here: Completely change the culture of mental health to include less jargon, more qualified counselors (not just interns and not just people who have "certifications because they read a bunch of books but have no real experience) and more actionable advice.
 

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