Inside the Hollow World of ‘Self-Help’

Thanks for all your responses to my previous articles. In case you haven’t yet done check them out! It gives me immense pleasure when I see some of you reaching out to me complimenting me. Well, I hope to continue with this, and let’s see how it goes!

Now, coming to the term “self-help”. What does it mean? To enable people to gain some level of encouragement in life which would probably help them in achieving their dreams. It can be also be added as per their explanation, to ‘inspire’ people.

A lot of you would be watching these so-called videos and probably feel a lot pump when you watch it? But how long does that last? Ever given a thought? 1 hour or maybe a little more differing from individual to individual. There’s no standard time limit.

The Hollow World of ‘Self-Help’ videos

The point arises as to how do these videos usually have 1 million + views and people comment below:

  • “Oh, I am inspired! I am going to kill it!”
  • My dog has become a lion after watching this.
  • “I will become ______ (any exam /profession)

The sad part which none of us realize is that these videos are made with the sole purpose to oversimplify everything and just give you a sudden burst of dopamine within yourself. (Dopamine – a hormone secreted in our brain when any we experience any form of pleasure/excitement)

Now, how is it that we always end up watching these videos? At some point in life, we feel low, we need some form of a ‘push/kick’. In this process, we also ignore the fact that how oversimplified content is being consumed! Things in life aren’t so simple and easy to comprehend by just a few sentences or in just one story.

You can easily be tricked by these videos given the storytelling they use in their videos.

Following are some of the common portrayals/tropes used:

  • A poor/backward caste person having lots of hardships may be parents died or ailing
  • Constantly mocked for how he/she is
  • He/she keeps struggling and aspiring to have a dream fulfilled
  • Finally, after loads of struggle, achieves the dream and entire celebrations surround him/her with all villainous characters feeling ashamed for their deeds.

Isn’t this very aspect observed in most of the ‘self-help’ videos? Probably some person would come in the end and give some advice “Never give up on your dreams” or some other quote with some very intense music in the background. Very much emotionally pulling right? It is the very purpose for which these videos are made, to attract an audience who falls for such things.

Coming towards the CA course, we have oversimplification of success in this course too. One such video I remember where some person had compared the great Olympian Karoly Takacs’ feat with CA exams failure. I don’t think these people even understand the agony that Olympian went through and how he had made things happen! That Olympian was passionate about a sport so no matter what he would want to achieve it! Why link it to a course which has its problems as to why some people aren’t able to clear despite giving their best shot. It’s purely done so students develop an insane enthusiasm within themselves and form an emotional bond with the course.

Every person involved with CA coaching or otherwise uploads videos on YouTube is more or less targeting the same aspects “never give up” “CAs are born for fighting” but no one ever provides a realistic point of view towards:

  • What the idea stands for?
  • What are we supposed to take from this idea?
  • How was the idea constructed, surrounding what grounds?

If you face the same pitfalls consistently, it’s time to maybe introspect, “Where is this getting met to? Well, that’s a matter of discussion as to how important ‘critical thinking ‘is and how much we lack it as a consequence end up getting tricked very easily.

Quite often, I see a lot of people who were rankers upload videos ‘my journey to becoming a CA’, and below such videos, we do have the common comments as aforesaid. Well, there’s nothing wrong to share your journey, rather the point is simple ‘not everything in life has a happy ending’. Some things just remain the way they are and you can’t get past them, no matter how far you reach and achieve any amount of ‘x’ – figure pay.

For example, I have seen one of the motivational CA videos in which the person was sharing details about how one of his parents passed away during the exam and he struggled during those times. Yes, it was hard on him! I am not disregarding that point and of course, he deserves sympathy from others. With that said, claiming that “I am strong now, after my parent’s death” isn’t justified, as he would always have the void even if he doesn’t accept openly on camera. He will keep having memories of them and will never completely be over it forever! It’s that eventually, we learn to adapt to how life is really and become adapted individuals. We learn to live with it, basically without that one entity for the rest of our life. It’s not that it can be used as a trope for storytelling where the speaker in the end portrays himself as a “hero”.

All in all, I have nothing against anyone posting their journey rather we need to understand the purpose behind these videos. It’s indeed these videos that keep echoing the same ideology that other so-called “Motivational speakers” keep saying.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your comments!

Author Bio

Qualification: Student - CA/CS/CMA
Company: Innergize Solutions Pvt Ltd
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Member Since: 09 Oct 2021 | Total Posts: 6
I am a financial analyst currently working at a management consulting firm in Mumbai. I am trying my hands on blogging as lately I have developed a passion for it and aim to give everyone a new/better perspective towards life! View Full Profile

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  1. AMIT AGRAWAL says:

    So true. It is bang on the current tide of the self-proclaimed baba types people who portray their own life as an example for others.

    Keep it up.

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October 2021