Toxic Self Help - The Recluse of the Untalented

Toxic Self Help - The Recluse of the Untalented

10 years.

10 years I've been watching this guy waste his life on his personal development blog. Starting when he was 24 to now 34. It's a real tragedy:

"I help emergent creatives, leaders and change makers refine and align their authentic story through self knowledge techniques in a holistic approach."

What? He rewrites this gobbly gew every few months.

Seriously, it reminds me of South Parks take down of Inception and how just because you can make something complicated does not make it "deep" or intelligent. His books don't sell, his following is non-existent. Yet he persists when all signs point to stop.

Sort of like me in how I tried to make edgeofdavid.com into a big personal development website back in 2011. I spent 2 years on this project, totally failed and rightly so. Being a young man at the time I had a lot of learning and growing to do. I had no business giving any sort of life advice.

All younger guys I think make this mistake. It's part of the process of growth, sort of like how every young person want's to "change the world" even though they've been taken care of their entire life and don't know nothing about anything.

Luckily, I wised up and quit in 2013 from the idea of this blog being anything more than a personal thing. Because of that decision, I was able to pivot and focus on different websites and eventually a YouTube channel that actually worked and makes a ton of money.

Now I'm free and have earned the right to share wisdom. But I'm thankful for that failure because it taught me how to write, design websites, WordPress and SEO. All skills that I continue to improve and serve me today. Including the skill of knowing when to quit.

Reality.

All the successful guys that I know who make bank and can explain exactly what they do without the toxic self help nonsense babble:

"I'm an ecommerce entrepreneur and I build and sell profitable brands on niche specific topics."

NOT

"I help people live their wallet centered lives through aligning their values and income with purchase decisions that help them live their authentic leadership story."

Self help is the recluse of the untalented

Look, self help has it's place in the world. Particularly if you're older, wiser and have been through some tough times and are now a successful person in a clear and objective way.

The problem however is that there are too many people like Dave, like the the older version of me circa 2009, have no skills and instead gravitate towards either dating or personal development content instead of doing the difficult work of getting good at something tangible.

The reason most who get started with creating blog content or videos on these two topics is because the barrier to entry is low.

Any idiot can babble on about how to be "authentically you," how to "live your leadership" or "how to get da girls" and so forth.

Cringe.

To be honest it's part of the process of being the fool proverbially before you become the master. It's this process that keeps people at bay for even trying because no one want's to struggle, fail, and look dumb in front of everyone.

I used to get made fun of all the time back when I was an English teacher trying to build stuff online. People would make fun of my stupid content and so forth.

I'm having the last laugh now though as those losers are still broke English ESL teachers. I however kept going, quite stuff that did not work and kept trying. I eventually found my thing where I can help people out and provide value.

With Ursillo, I'm just astonished at how someone can persist for a decade doing something that so clearly does not work, writing the same content they were writing 10 years ago. Not really growing or evolving, just 10+ years doing the same thing in obscurity.

I guess it scares me

Looking at Ursillo reminds me of what fate would have waited for me if I kept blogging at edgeofdavid.com for all that time instead of doing something that works.

I would have ended up being an ESL teacher in Thailand making $1,200 a month writing a blog where I give life advice while not living an inspirational life myself and proverbially sniffing my own farts (smug liberals from South Park) by lecturing the world like Dave does while secretly hoping that "this is the year" things finally turn the corner.

...or worse, I would have ended up back in Connecticut working a job in a cubicle. Having only a taste of how good life could have been.

Now however, I can write about personal development because I've earned the right too. I'm successful, I'm living abroad, I'm actually self employed. I can help you out through all the mistakes I've made and all the crazy experiences I've had.

Self help industry

The self help industry is filled with people looking for the key to motivation and the secret to unlocking their life purpose by buying or doing all sorts of complicated things.

Meditation, yoga, paraphyletic sleep, journaling, apps, social media detox etc. They get lost in a sea of nonsense. Spending years consuming repetitive content. Never getting better and not changing their lives in any meaningful way.

It's like when your dog is fat and you want it to loose weight, well you simply take it for more walks and give it less treats (duh). You want to loose weight oh well you'll need to do intermittent fasting, follow a keto diet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and implement a strict rotation of carbs and protein...

or you could just workout more and reduce your calorie intake.

Dopamine re-wiring

People are unmotivated and lacking purpose because they have short circuited the dopamine wiring in their brain. Your brain in the most literal sense generates a chemical that gives you direction, purpose and motivation on its own.

TV, social media, and video games all give a constant build up and release of this chemical by creating goals and then rapidly achieving them. Ever catch yourself mindlessly checking the same 4 apps again and again? Yea, stop that.

Our phones are a slot machine that do every step needed to generate this feeling of direction and then a burst of pleasure. The reward is the random feeling of success. The action is swiping, seeing a notification or a reply. When you experience these triggers your brain takes that as you doing something right and to optimize your dopamine to give you the focus and direction to do it more.

This can be swiping on Tinder, building a company or being great at what you do. Your brain doesn't care. It just sees that burst of success feeling and then optimizes a way to get back to it as quick as possible.

Your brain cannot tell these goals apart from worthy life goals and also gets a bigger hit from these than standard life goals. You end up flooding your brain with dopamine. Thus you have no motivation and purpose because your brain already believes its gotten you there. It's also harder to focus because your brain wants that next hit you trained it for.

If you want proof play video games, use social media for hours a day and then just stop.

You'll feel that addiction and your habits kicking in. The second you get "bored" you will immediately seek out your phone so break the cycle. Force your brain to literally find a new dopamine target. Without easy targets like Instagram or Tiner,  it will have to pick the harder targets.

Just like how you can't stop a habit, you can only replace it with another. Same goes for your brains dopamine sources. You got to stop the nonsense,the video games, social media 24/7, the Gary V "crush it" personal development content.

Change your environment. Change your motivations.

Your brain has no sense of what is boring, only what is giving it some sort of engagement. Sometimes that means you'll have to change your environment. When I go for walks with my dad when I visit back home, we like to venture out into some pretty beautiful trails near the shore of Rhode Island. It's easy to focus and think about what I need to do. It's meditative and that gives me purpose for when we head home. I know what work I have to do.

You can control your motivation and purpose like a light switch by adding and removing heavy dopamine triggers. It has nothing to do with your soul, living authentically you or your special "gifts." It is a chemical made in your brain that is secreting the wrong way because our brain was not designed to work in such a quick gratification world.

Minimalism

I guess this why minimalism took off a decade ago. People have made millions with the answer "more" and that more being a book, course, destination retreat or "workshop" where you can do yoga and talk about yourself all day. In reality, less is more. Take away what has been added instead of adding more.

Control your dopamine triggers, stop with the endless personal development content (which comes in many forms) and focus providing value. Which is not lecturing people on how to "align themselves to live an authentic story to match their heart centered life" or whatever.