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Saturday, January 14, 2012

What's Wrong With The Self Development Industry?

We're not going to feature any one single life in this post, rather we'll look at what's good and bad about the Self Development industry and how it compares to 'Life Cycles'. I read estimates of the annual value of this industry as being around $10 billion, so there is no doubt it is big business. There are undoubtedly many sincere and professionally trained practitioners, who are providing a service to those who feel the need for extra motivation. But there are two major criticisms about the books written and products offered.

The first major area of concern is the attempt to link their findings to science and thus the badge of 'unquestioned reputation'. Be wary of any use of the term 'quantum'. I was drawn to this, because at the side of one of my ezine articles on 'Will the World End in Dec. 2012?' was an advert for the latest product called 'Quantum Jumping'. They have taken a pretended association with the great scientific minds of our time and suggested that you can have anything your heart desires by simply 'jumping into a new you in a parallel universe'. This is just an extension of the attempt by 'The Law of Attraction' brigade to suggest there is 'proof' of their notion of thoughts creating outcomes, by attempting to link it to quantum mechanics.

People often simply don't want to hear the unvarnished truth. Life is difficult. Growth takes time, sacrifice, courage and maturity. All of us can expect both breakthroughs and setbacks and sometimes long periods inbetween. We are not all blessed with outstanding natural abilities, that mean we are destined to be discovered and lauded. However every life has meaning and every path will lead to outcomes. I recently saw an interview, where it showed the same people who bought these books/courses etc., were buying more of them at 12 to 18 month intervals. That is because they create a 'feel good' atmosphere, but do not substantially change behaviour. This leads me to my second criticism of the Self Development industry. They have no professional standards.

Anyone can write a book in this genre with a degree of application. You simply read ten books and then combine what you consider are the best sections or ideas. Most of the ideas however, feature some form of instant gratification. Riches and fame and romantic success will all be yours in a very short time, provided you follow/purchase the system. It's not vastly different from the snake-oil salesmen of the old west. Even people within the industry are critical of it's lack of standards. It relies on a natural preference for taking the 'easy path' rather than working hard to reach your goals.

Why do I do this rant? I may even cause some offence by it, although others have said exactly the same thing. Aren't I just some funny extension of this industry myself? I do it for the simple reason of comparison. 'Life Cycles' is based on reasoned analysis of what actually happened in people's lives. It is not science, because there can always be some subjectivity in the interpretation and I do selectively look at certain years, however it offers the kind of proof none of these other systems can. It is 1. New Knowledge and 2. Self Knowledge, but I make no attempt to suggest you can get rich quick or acquire skills overnight.

Let's look together at the evidence presented to you in both blogs in the year 2011. Rosa Parks/James Blake (ages 31/43 almost identical turning points). Napoleon at 43 (in 1812). George VI at 31/43. Donald Trump at 36/43. Prince William and Catherine at 19/24. Mr. Arafinto at 43/48/55. Novak Djokovic at 7/12/19/24 and Cleopatra at 19/24/31/36. Steve Jobs at 19/24/31/36, Rebekah Brooks at 31/43, Cadel Evans at 7/12/19/24/31 and Freddie Laker at 24/31/36/43/48/55/60. Miranda Kerr/Megan Gale/Heidi Klum at 24. Kristian Anderson at 36. Carl Williams/Matthew Johnson at 36. Todd Carney/Anthony Watts/Greg Bird/Katie Milligan/Brett Stewart at 24. Carl Stefanovic/Asher Keddie at 36. Clyde/Kerry and Jamie Packer at 36. Sarah Mamalai/Sharon Cohrs at 36. Judith Lucy at 36/43. Jodie Gordon at 24. Liz Hurley at 36. Demi Moore at 48. John Farnham/John Williamson at 36. David Beckham/Tiger Woods at 24 and during 36.

That's 70 detailed case history examples taken from real life and sometimes quite spontaneously, because they were in the spotlight (like Djokovic, Jobs, Arafinto, Prince William and Catherine and others). I try to be as objective as possible in charting the important turning points in these years, but let's say you are a hard marker and only let me have half these examples. What's the odds of randomly picking 35 consecutive major turning points in this way? If I take the crude measure of a 1 out of 6 chance each time (because I say we have two significant years in every twelve), then it's 1,719,070,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. That's 1,719 trillion, trillion to 1.

If you're not familiar with my blogs and my posts I invite you to read all my work and judge for yourself. Yet I come to you in 'brown paper wrapping', I don't make false promises and there is nothing else out there like this. The revolution starts this year and as I have been quoted as saying:- "You can't be a quiet revolutionary". Till we meet again next month; may the cycles always bring you good fortune.


  1. Neil, the good thing about self-help books is that they give people hope. When this hope is converted into action it can frequently open new doors to people and help change their lives. My problem with the whole business is that sometimes they go too far and promise outcomes that are not only quixotic but unnecessary. They often promote, to my mind, a false and self-defeating concept of happiness and success.

  2. Marty, you are quite correct. Up to a point Self Development books etc. can be useful, but then some of them overstep the mark and prey on people's emotions and unfulfilled dreams. No substitute for hard work has ever been invented.