About "self-help"


There is a lot of questionable self-help advice out there

Self-help books typically ignore the fact that a lot of things are simply outside your control and even when you are 'in control' you are still limited by biology, especially your brain. No amount of positive thinking will allow you to do the impossible. Most startups are failures, most bold ideas are wrong, most people do not have what it takes to compete at the highest level.

You need to prioritize, how important is something for you, what's the probability of success, what would it take to try.

Let's take physics, let's say you want to discover the fundamental theory of physics. Sure it would be nice if you were able to discover it but how much is it worth, wouldn't you rather have things like a family, financial success, power?

Given the number of people who have already decicated their lives to physics so far the probability of you finding a theory of everything (assuming it even exist) might be one in 10^7, often people who think they are onto something delude themselves into thinking "my theory is really promosing" even though it's a dead end and you are pretty much wasting your time.


Bad advice mixed with decent/good advice
It's a general problem that self-help books mixes decent advice with outright harmful advice and if you are not thinking critically bad things can happen to you.

Giving universally good advice is really difficult since what may work for one individual may be harmful for another since people are in different situations and have different talents. Thus even if we had evidence in favor of some self-help regime in general that does not mean you could just blindly follow that and have a guaranteed good outcome, you still need to figure out what will work for you.

A general problem with the self-help industry is that instead of giving advice specific for one individual they offer a one-size-fits-all solution since that is easier to scale and can be marketed to pretty much everyone.


Being overly optimistic can end very badly
You telling yourself you are more capable than you are can end very badly, then you might quit your job and start a business ended in catastrophic failure. If you play poker it's important that you know the flaws in your play so you do not play in scenarios where you are statistically losing.

You might invest money in something very questionable and lose everything thinking "this will be great for me".

If you have passing for something you are really bad at maybe it's better just to leave it as a hobby?


The millionare fasttrack
In this book they divide financial strategies into the following

Sidewalk: no real respinsibility, you dont even try to save, spend money you dont have, just leave for the moment
Slowlane: you slowly build wealth by saving (stockmaret, owning a property) and maybe when you develop altzheimers you will have a lot of money to spend.
Fastlane: you get rich by having your own company.


One obvious objection to the book is that you can live a good life without being rich and some people enjoy their jobs. The book also ignored the fact that you can choose something between the sidewalk and the slowlane, you simply buy what you need to live a good life and save the extra.

Many people who save money do not actually put much effort into it, they simply earn more than they spend and they cannot really find anything worthwhile to spend their money on.

The book take issue with advice where the individual giving it isn't following it, this however ignores the fact that a lot of people are simply not in a position where their own advice apply or they lack discipline to actually follow their own advice. A fat guy might warn you about eating like him and them you might want to listen.

The book does engage in a lot of victim blaming, one example was a women that was a victim of identity theft "if he hadn't had her purse out in the open that wouldn't have happened"


Victim Blaming
Blaming yourself for when bad things happens to you is generally bad for your mental health


Victim blaming can also be extended indefinitely

I took SSRI pills that my psychiatrists prescribed and now i have athakisia and PSSD
Nobody forced you to take that drug it was your fault
While it is true that you can take steps to protect yourself this however takes effort and it's not clear it's worth the price. Also: nobody is completely safe from these quacks.

I didn't want to start treatment (abilify) but my psychiatrist treatened with a community treatment order, now i got diabetes as a result.
Why did you go to the psychiatrist in the first place and why didn't you challenge it in court
This of course ignored the fact that psychiatrists hold a lot of power over the patient and may retaliate if the patients takes it to court, also even if you take it to court and make a good case you may still lose becuase the court always side with psychiatrists (this is the case for some Swedish mental health courts).


Some people are more or less forced to see a psychiatrist, this can be to get welfare of becuase someone called the cops on you.
The nazis sent me to a gaschamber becuase i was viewed as a jew, i didn't even know i would count as that
That's your fault from not looking things up and fleeing/hiding before it's too late.
A lot of people became victims as children and had no real chance, if you are victim of infant genital mutilation there wouldn't be any way for you to prevent it. Even if you are older as a child you can still be essentially powerless becuase authorities are unwilling to intervene or worse side with your abusers.


A good self help advice is “brush your teeth”
Most self-help stuff that actually work is boring like

0. Do not be too honest with people.
1. Dont eat too much calories (otherwise you get fat)
2. Do not donate money to charity
3. Use tor browser when doing stuff online you dont want other people to find out about.
4. Do not be ashamed of getting a government handout.
5. Do not start a company unless it's limited liability (in the case it goes bankrupt).

There is no magic formula to get rich. Just preserving your wealth is hard.