The personal development industry is a multi-billion dollar business that has a lot of people’s attention. And why shouldn’t it? If there’s a genuine desire to help people, where’s the crime in making a living out of it as well?
Most doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers and laborers have the same genuine desire to help people as well, don’t they? And the last time I checked, most of them make some decent coin from helping others as well.
My blog today isn’t focused on justifying the self-help industry but I just thought I’d open with that perspective to eliminate any stigma from the get-go about what I have to say.
There’s a lot (and I mean A LOT) of personal development experts in the world. I mean, some popular names include: Tony Robbins, Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown and Gary Vaynerchuk just to name a few that I’ve followed for a bit of inspiration.
After watching several of their videos and digesting a lot of what they say, I discovered a common theme among all of them. Ultimately the same message is delivered by every single one of those personal development gurus (including myself if I may be so bold to put myself alongside of their names). The messages are clearly about: discovering your own self-worth, through self-love, self-kindness and self-respect in order to find happiness. Regardless of your past, you have a choice to make on how you will live.
This is over-simplifying what everyone is saying, but the key theme always comes down to the same thing. Happiness is an inside job, love thyself, money can’t buy happiness and all the other cliches. All true.
So why do we keep listening to all these experts over and over again if they’re saying the same thing? For one, their delivery is uniquely different from one and other. Gary Vee for instance is much more brash and direct compared to say Mr Tolle. And that’s what captivates us. The different melodies with similar words is music to our ears.
I thought about this the other day: If there’s such a huge following and desire for personal development, why is the world still so fucked up? Why can’t we see eye-to-eye on things such as politics, religion, race, gender and relationships?
It’s a cynical thought (and this is merely my own perspective), but I believe that we deep down inside aren’t learning much just by watching, reading or listening to the personal development experts because if we did, why are there so many of them out there? If we did learn anything about self-improvement and self-worth wouldn’t we have all learned by now how to live to our lives? Why do the same messages keep getting played back repeatedly for decades by different people when we keep reacting with the same mistakes and suffer from the same miseries.
Here’s my belief: I believe we’re listening to all these experts speak because we want to feel validated. Like us, they too have gone through a long, tough journey and when we hear their stories and revelations, we can relate and we find healing when we’re not alone. And that’s why it’s a symphony of words when the same words of self-worth and self-awareness gets played back over and over again.
The pain that trauma survivors and people who live with depression and anxiety is so great, that it’s soothing to know there’s others out there who understand us. They get our pain and need the encouragement. We all know how to live our lives, but the negative experiences have been so hard-wired in us, that it’s difficult to change and finding a community of like-minded people is therapy.
Every one of us, including the experts have a history or past of some sort that brought them to their present journey and knowing that brings tremendous healing to a lot of fractured hearts in the World.