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Lancing the self-help bubble


It started out so well… like most ideas whose time had come.

No-one knows exactly HOW it started, but suddenly people began waking up to the fact that the future wasn’t fixed. It could be changed. WE could change.

Strange now, to imagine that things could ever have been otherwise, but before the 1960s most peoples’ expectations were fairly limited. If your Dad was a baker, you knew you’d end up making bread rolls for a living, unless you were slightly delusional and had secret fantasies of pushing a bicycle down a cobbled street in the Hovis commercial.

But raising our expectations of life was a bit of a double-edged sword.

From a spiritual perspective, believing in possibility is a good thing – it’s expansive and creative. But from a personality perspective (where the vast majority of us are living) expectations can create a lot of disappointed people.

Once the big bang of the self-help idea exploded into our consciousness, a few self-help stars were formed.

Like Tony Robbins.

His Philosophy: NLP. Our mind can be programmed. Unleash the power within and you can be or have whatever you want.

Watching Tony turn a miserable person into a super positive person in seconds had the same effect as watching Jesus turn water into wine. In other words the response was NOT…

“Hmmm that’s interesting, I wonder what I can change about ME”.

The response was “Wow Tony!! I want to be HIM.”

This signaled the beginning of a revolution in which thousands of people queued up to buy his books and took out second mortgages to pay for seminars in exotic locations.

They wanted to improve the quality of their life by selling quality of life to others. They didn’t want to be themselves, they wanted to be someone else, someone who looked and sounded suspiciously like Tony Robbins.

Meanwhile, over on the other, more spiritual side of the equation, Louise Hay, self appointed Queen of Aphorisms, started a publishing empire. Because people needed more information! Her business model was one of “Build it and they will come”. And they did… in droves.

Psychics, Mystics, Healers. People who held regular conversations with Angels, Deities and Inter galactic beings. They each had a book in them, and for a reasonable fee Louise was happy to publish them all.

After that, the inevitable happened. The mind people got together with the spiritual people and created a love child, and having been born in the computer age, this one was internet savvy. He wouldn’t deliver a sermon from the mount. She wouldn’t write a library of books. They would spread the word DIGITALLY.

Cut to the present day and the internets are awash with Webinars, Summits and You tube clips delivering more and more information on how you can heal your pain, change your psyche and be somebody different.

These new wave purveyors of information have some identifying characteristics.

1. They have a glazed look on their faces – a bit like the Barbie doll at the end of Toy Story 2 – which could be the result of too much smiling.

2. They say ‘Wow’ a lot of the time when they interview each other – which says so little but wants to imply so much. Like the fact that everything that’s being said is just so awesome and profound and gosh darn it we still have another 45 minutes to fill.

3. They have an “offer”. Not a normal offer, like 10% off if you sign up now. But a weird offer put together for special needs people which is like 97% off. There is an arbitrary list price of 2000 dollars and an actual price of 60 dollars.

This is all fine and dandy and doesn’t harm anybody and I’m sure some people get value from it, so I’m joshing. But really, here comes that double-edged sword.

1. Happiness comes from expression – whatever is inside us gets expressed out through love and creativity. And it’s only the expression of who we are that counts – not who we wish we could be!

2. If we’re too busy putting stuff IN, (more information, more learning, more understanding) then there’s no opportunity for expression OUT. We just create a logjam.

In the old world people said “I’ll be happy when… I’ve lost a load of weight, made a ton of money, won the competition.”

In the new world people say “I’ll be happy when… I’ve healed my low self esteem, my relationship with my mother, my bad karma from past lives.”

Same story. Different day.

Rev Cynthia James says that everything in life is either information or energy. I love this! I used to say everything was matter or energy because that’s how the scientists describe it but calling it information is more relevant.

In other words we’re either working with information or we’re actually living.

Working with information takes the form of:

Talking, reading about or ‘processing’ the current situation. Analysing what happened in the past. Strategising for what might happen in the future.

This has its place in life but we’ve become completely submersed and consumed by information. There’s just no wiggle room. No scope for freedom or action. No room for the ENERGY of life.

And let’s not forget that the energy has far, far more intelligence than we have – even on a good day, even if we HAD read all those books at the side of the bed.

The most common killer of dreams is NOT lack of information, know how or ideas…

It’s the inability to feel.

The inability to deal with the energy.

Because feelings are energy.

As a philosophy for life Jesus pretty much nailed it (which is, I suppose, why they had to nail him).

1. Love God.

2. Love your neighbor.

3. Love yourself.

Simple. In other words…

1. Love (and be one with) the energy of creation. Open your heart and FEEL things.

2. Don’t be a dickhead – appreciate and be kind to other people and forgive them when they fuck up.

3. Stop beating yourself up by thinking you’re not good enough.

Strange that every book about his way of life is a thousand pages long!  (In the beginning was the word, but in the end there were probably far too many of them.)

So, if you want a more expansive, happy, creative life…


Wake up your inner Sleeping Beauty.

Don’t allow the computer screen to become your glass coffin.

Resist the urge to open just one more attachment. One more life changing seminar. One more Guru interview.

You’re ok.

Really, you’re more than ok.

You’re perfect.



  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for confirming my perfection. I have only suspected it thus far xx

  2. Jayne Veazey says:

    You rock! 🙂

  3. John Marshall says:

    You Are Perfect!

  4. David Chalmers says:

    Thank you Elanor.
    Just what I wanted to read, this sunny Sunday morning!
    You’re well more than OK too…..
    Luv ya,
    David <3

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