Have you ever taken a stroll down the personal development section of local Barnes and Noble? The amount of bullshit out there is overwhelming. So many books, so many contradictions. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson is by far and away my favorite read. It basically shits on the self-help industry in a hilarious, refreshing, brilliant take. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you read it immediately.
I have also read books I don’t want to mention because I don’t want to give them any credit. Books from people I’ve never heard of.
Why would anyone read shit from people that haven’t accomplished anything in life? It’s as bad as hiring the fattest personal trainer at the gym to whip you into shape.
Listen, I’ve never claimed to be book smart, but I do possess a shit ton of street smarts and common sense. I love to communicate with people in a transparent, authentic, raw, and vulnerable way…and in the spirit of being transparent, I myself have been caught up in the trap of becoming a personal development junkie.
When I retired from baseball I had some serious identity issues and had no clue what to do with the rest of my life. I had everything I had ever wanted but was having daily panic attacks, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Something had to give.
I began reading personal development books. I have probably read over 100 different personal-development books. While working out, I listened to motivational speeches and even signed up to take a class to be a life coach. Ironically enough while taking that class I was having full-blown panic attacks during group exercises. I wasted 5 years of my life reading self-help material while still waking up every day feeling unmotivated, confused, depressed, anxious and passionless. I became a self-help junkie and it was getting me nowhere.
I know many of you are thinking: Aubrey didn’t you just write a blog about how transformational the Tony Robbins event was?
Yes I did… in fact it was a very powerful, energetic, life-transforming event.
Because I was around 15,000 screaming people who were jumping up and down to loud music for four days straight. That kind of immersion will get anyone in a good mood for a couple of weeks.
I was so pumped from that event that I wanted more. I decided to sign up for another personal development course two weeks later in San Diego. The minute I walked through the door of that building I instantly felt sad and depressed, essentially wiping out any positivity gained from the Unleash the Power Within event. The course was to be held from 9 am to 10 pm Friday through Sunday. I took my seat and tried to lock-in, but my brain just didn’t engage. The lady leading the seminar sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher… WAAAAA WAAAA WA WA WA. I literally fell asleep twice within the first six hours. At 3 PM there was a break and I made my escape; essentially having wasted hundreds of dollars. I was actually pissed at myself for signing up.
Once I got to my truck I told myself I didn’t need this shit anymore and that I was enough! My positive mindset returned and I felt just like I did before I walked into that seminar.
Why did I feel so depressed walking into that seminar?
I believe it was because prior to entering that building, I was in a positive, confident, loving, free and beautiful mental state. In my mind walking into another personal development course told my positive mind, “I’m at another personal development course? Well shit, there must be something wrong with me!” It was in that moment when I remembered something Tony Robbins had said that hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’m not here to fix you. There is nothing wrong with you.
And there wasn’t…and there never has been. I realized I’ve always been fucking amazing. I just forgot that somewhere along my journey.
Guess what? You are fucking amazing too just the way you are!
I truly believe if you feed your brain with all this motivational be-your-best-self-and-feel-positive-everyday bullshit you are setting yourself up for failure. The truth is life isn’t always positive and you’ll be handed a shit sandwich from time to time. When that happens the self-help stuff you have been taught is tricking your mind into believing something it isn’t really feeling. I’ve come to realize there is no such thing as feeling positive and happy all the time. Sometimes life can suck donkey dick. It is imperative that you allow yourself the freedom to feel that pain.
The truth is the self-help industry wants to keep you depressed and sad..feeling like you aren’t living the life of your dreams.
My guess is it’s because it’s good for business.
In a 2016 article done by Market Research “The U.S. self-improvement market was worth $9.9 billion in 2016. It is forecasted to post 5.6% average yearly gains from 2016 to 2022, when the market should be worth $13.2 billion.”
It’s pretty obvious to me the self-help community, life coaches, seminars, authors, and motivational speakers want you to be fucked up so they can make a living.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for going to an event or two in your life to get yourself out of a dark season, but when you make this kind of work your life it steals your joy and passion. It makes you come off as fake. I’m a huge believer in chasing your dreams and becoming the best version of you. Yet when you are always talking about positive shit with no action, you are setting yourself up to be a victim. Action is key. Motivational thinking can only take you so far. You have to do the work. The problem with self-help people is that they are about personal development but forget the one big part of that…the actual actionable development part.
People who post encouraging bullshit on social media are the ones who haven’t accomplished anything in life and who themselves secretly live a miserable one.
The truth is you’re already enough and you don’t need some asshole telling you how you should feel, what you should do, or how to live your life. I promise you, you’ll be free and happy once you are comfortable being who you are and not always trying to chase this magical fairy tale, rainbow unicorn life. Look around you, you live in America…and my guess is you have a roof over your head and a car to drive. No matter how much you make annually you are already in the top 5% of earners on the planet. You have a lot to be thankful for. Remember you have already won…you’re here on this planet.
Did you know it takes only one sperm cell to fertilize a woman’s egg. But there’s stiff competition for that honor. In fact, the average ejaculate contains 200 million sperm. You’ve already won the lottery of life.
You didn’t need any personal development coach to convince you of that.