In this day and age where so many of us are searching for answers, we’ll identify with those who seem to offer an understanding of our challenges and the journey needed to overcome them. But can we be sure that appearances are more than skin deep?
Here are 5 things you should know.
Not all gurus are equal
The place of guide or mentor belongs to those who themselves are on a path and continue to travel it daily. Their own journey will be different to yours and they recognize that. But their dedication to their own development gives them a wealth of hardcore experience from which to support you.
Contrast the position of the unscrupulous or hopeful searcher, who has decided, because there’s such an opportunity in the market, and no barrier to entry, that he or she can just write a website and set themselves up. They may be able to knock out interesting blog posts based on material they’ve regurgitated from others. And they may have very slick marketing skills.
But, when the chips are down, and you need some big support with a major bump in your road, do they really have what it takes to help you through it?
Beware gurus who promise a quick fix
The self development master knows that you have the resources in you to create opportunities and change in your life. As much as helping you work through from where you are, they know that a vital part of their role is to help you build your own self-development muscle enabling you, more and more, to tap into your own resources.
But this takes time.
The would-be guru likes to focus on quickly actionable stuff. It meets the needs of our healing on the hurry-up lifestyles. Now, instruction and practical stuff has its place, but too much “tell”, without any attempt to get to the core of your challenges, only fosters your dependence on them for the answers.
Beware gurus who will only attend to one part of your reality
You are your past, present and future. The master is comfortable to constellate all of those in an integrated and positive way as they work with you.
The would-be tends to want to focus on only one or two of these, excluding and often discounting the other. Their discomfort, or misguided belief, robs you of some of your depth.
Be cynical about gurus who project the illusion of the perfect life
The true guide is imperfect and okay about it. They see their fallibility as a strength because they know it means that they’re human. It gives them empathy in their quest to relate to others.
The “life is sorted” brigade are not just being insincere; they are setting themselves up to be better and hence apart from you.
You may initially think that it’s very inspiring to have a totally sorted person as a role model, because you see them as someone you want to be like. But you’re setting yourself up to be miserable, because totally sorted doesn’t exist.
Be cautious of those happy to give themselves the guru title
Real guides and mentors – folks who are indeed “gurus” – shun being defined by that word. They sit in their expertise and own it confidently. Yes, of course, they may use 21st century marketing practices to let you know who they are, but they’re not bumming it.
The folks to watch out for are those who’ll give themselves the title and brag about their expertise and achievements.
To avoid playing the personal development game – lots of apparent discussion and action with no real progress – you need to be smart and discerning. Remember this is your life you’re talking about. Treat it wisely.
Have you ever come across any of the practices above? How did it affect you? How did you deal with it? Are there any other unscrupulous practices you’ve seen around the web or in the personal development world at large?