Since what we’re doing here, at its core, is a camouflaged form of self help, I think this video is relevant. It’s a short 20-minute talk given by a British journalist who spent a great deal of time researching and participating in the self help industry. It’s a pretty realistic critique and fair discussion of the industry and worth a watch if you’ve got the time. I think probably 80% of what he says can be accurately applied to the dating advice industry. Below the video are my notes and what I found particularly poignant.
- Happiness isn’t so much an obsessive focus on positivity as it is the ability to hold both positive and negative emotions in balance.
- Success is most easily achieved by lining up a series of small and easy goals and achieving them successively rather than attempting to attack massive life-changing goals all at once.
- We as humans generally over-estimate how much happiness certain life changes will bring us (becoming rich, being fit, getting laid, etc.).
- Self help inadvertently encourages people to remain self-absorbed, something which is counter-productive as most things that make us happy usually involve transcending the self (i.e., relationships, altruism, spirituality, etc.). I made a similar critique of self help’s unintended implications here.
- The Cheesiness Factor: it’s unfortunate that some of the most proven and successful self help tools appear so cheesy and trite upon first glance which causes many people to disregard them (i.e., writing goals down, keeping a journal, gratitude exercises, etc.).
- Despite Self Help’s flaws and the large amount of unqualified or flat-out fraudulent teachers, it fills an important role in our culture and encourages people to confront important questions and personal issues.
- After spending months enmeshed in and actively involved with self help, and despite wading through the massive amounts of bullshit, he feels that on the whole, it was a positive experience and he’s happier for it. I’ve had the same experience and I agree.