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The real secret behind the self-help industry

It's not about you, it's about the people you serve!
It’s not about you, it’s about the people you serve!

I have been afraid. I am still afraid. The worst part is I know the fear will not go away and I have known this for years.

Every encounter with the unknown, whether it be through skydiving, serving in Iraq with the US Marines, or crossing an icecap has sent waves of fear through every inch of my being. But when the price of failure meant death, I rose to the occasion. I excelled.

However, when the price of failure has meant neglect, or more accurately the perception of neglect, I cowered.

I have run away from this blog and the book I am writing by diving into underwater caves and attending seminar after seminar in the last few weeks.

Through each experience, I have sought a greater understanding of what it takes to achieve fulfillment and success so that I have more value to contribute to the world. But instead, I have shunned my self imposed responsibility to be of service to the human family. The very family I seek to make a difference with.

For fear of not providing enough value, I have provided none. I have let my fears get the better of me.

But that all changes today!

No longer will I shirk responsibility and hide within the guise of personal growth. I now know that the greatest personal growth and the only real “self-help,” is the service of others.

As Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

The self-help industry is a billion dollar industry because most of us are stuck in learning mode and paralyzed by even the thought of action.

I attended a webinar from Jim Bunch once, and he found that only 4% of people who attend large personal development seminars actually implement the knowledge they learn and take action.

This is not to say that I don’t believe in the value of these seminars. I have gained an immense amount of knowledge and growth from the many seminars I have attended. But the true value from them comes when you put it into action in service of others.

That is the greatest myth of the self help industry. Self help is not about helping oneself, it is about helping others.

Tony Robbins once said “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Since leaving the Marines, I have not fully committed to my decision to be of service to something greater than myself. Whilst I have taken some actions in honor of that decision, I have not taken nearly enough.

But that all changes today!

This ties in to part eight of the ten part series that began with the brief outline of the 10 steps to becoming the greatest salesman in the world, as outlined by Og Mandino in his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World.

The eight step to becoming the greatest salesman in the world to multiply your value a hundredfold.

Just to reinforce, by no means do I condemn the constant process of growth through learning. Unless I am on an expedition, I read about a book and a half a week and I have spent thousands of dollars on seminars. So I place immense value on learning and growth.

But today, we are talking about action. We are talking about self help through service.

In Og Mandino’s words, this is the mentality we will be focused on: “I will never be content with my performance in the market”

As some of you might have noticed, there have been some changes that have been taken place here at the Existing2Living community. There will be a few more in service of improving my performance in the market, which to me means increasing the value I provide.

So here are a few of the changes you will be seeing in the coming weeks:

– We will be launching a weekly (yes, weekly, not bi weekly or monthly) podcast on Itunes from the show “Our journey into the human experience.”

– We will be switching up some of the free content we give away to simplify it and make it as jam packed with actionable material as possible.

– Our video quality will be a lot better than it has been so far. Still learning the ropes and I appreciate your patience.

– The content on this site will be focused around using psychological and physiological principles to embrace risk and achieve mastery over the self in order to then broadcast a message of value to as many people in the world as possible. In essence, Existing2Living will show you how to master your mind, body, heart and spirit, get clarity on your unique vision for the world and market that message to all corners of the globe.

– You may be wondering, why I have been using “we” instead of “I.” That is because this will be more of a community moving forward with more people contributing to this site. The intention is for this place not to be about me, Akshay Nanavati, but to be about a group of people committed to mastery, for self and others.

Today’s Action

Before I get into today’s action, I just want to thank Maneesh Sethi. I was inspired by him to write this post and share what is going through my mind. Often that means being vulnerable at the risk of being judged.

I have been on Maneesh’s list for a while and he is one of the most authentic people I have encountered online. I have only had the pleasure of meeting him briefly once, but if you get a chance I highly recommend you check out his site for not only a refreshing dose of authenticity, but invaluable tips on productivity and creating the lifestyle you want to live.

Even as I write this, there is fear that I will be judged, but I have decided to embrace this fear just as I have the fear of death in order to create a space for others to share their fears. There is nothing more valuable in the journey toward success than a community that supports each other. That is my intention here.

If you really want to see the power of vulnerability to shift the world, check out this amazing TED talk from Brene Brown.

In honor of Brene Brown and Maneesh Sethi, today’s action is to share your fears that are blocking you from unleashing your vision onto the world with at least one person. Then embrace that fear, I didn’t say fight it or get rid of it, I said embrace it and take one action in service of others. No matter how small or large, just do one thing to help someone else better their life. Through this you will find the real meaning of self-help.

Please share in the comments below, what are your fears and what will you do today to embrace those fears and leave a mark on this planet?


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17 thoughts on “The real secret behind the self-help industry”

  1. Awesome, Akshay. Vulnerability is indeed the most powerful connectors of humans. It is rare that leaders are willing to be vulnerable, especially men, so I honor and applaud you my front. It’s what the world needs more of. =)

  2. Interesting the point regarding how many people attend or endeavor self-help, and the percentage that actually applies action to it. One of the things I ponder in my own business is how to get people motivated or willing enough to -decide- they want it so bad that they are actually going to do what it takes to achieve it. I have felt that I only truly succeed when my client succeeds… I know you can only lead the horse to water, but to inspire it to drink it and enliven his health in life is my goal… and I have devised a program that does this, but all in all — people have to want it — and everyone is ‘where they are’ and some do want it, some think they want it and some really go for it… we can only show up and do our best, which brings us back to — being in service, and helping others the best we can. Great post and wishing you great success!

    • Thanks Cindy. Glad you liked the post. It is amazing that you have devised a program that inspires people to want to take action. I look forward to checking it out and learning more about how you make that happen! I love your site and your tagline, inspired breakthroughs for EPIC living. Awesome!

  3. Dear Akshay,
    Thanks for not being afraid to share your thoughts and feelings! What an inspirational post – there’s a lot we can learn from it! And the first thing is not to be afraid anymore!

  4. Akshay this is FABULOUS! I feel overwhelmed with the energy that has emerged from EA over the past 2 weeks. Your sincerity is beautiful! I can’t wait to see the rest unfold!

    • Thanks a ton Crystal. Was definitely nervous writing this, so its encouraging to hear that this is well received. I am very excited about the things that are brewing since EA. I am excited to see what you have going on and supporting you in your projects as well!

  5. Thanks for the post! Fear has been one of my biggest challenges. One deep seeded one is the fear of being successful which is stemmed from the worthiness issues that occasionally rear their ugly head. Can’t believe the low percentage of those who actually implement self help knowledge learned. Makes sense though.

  6. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your life, the questions you should ask yourself is, is it serving my highest purpose only to be comfortable? Inside everyones being resides a purpose, even if you don’t know it yet. A lot of the time we stay in our comfort zone for the FEAR of failing, even looking for a purpose in life drives up our survival. Fear will always be with us no matter what, fear serve’s its purpose by reminding us what can be created and become possible by taking action is service of our commitment, what ever that may be. The bigger the commitment the bigger a solid intimate relationship of trust is formed with fear, FEAR & LOVE become one in your very being.

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. The part that really hit home for me: “For fear of not providing enough value, I have provided none. I have let my fears get the better of me.” You are right, I need to examine whenever I start to feel that way!

  8. Akshay – so right on that most people don’t take action to apply what they learn. Then the problem with most action taking entrepreneurs is they never educate themselves or seek out mentors. And their businesses either stall or fail.

    When you marry education & mentorship with action you get the top 1%. Not a difficult formula but one that take discipline and being ok constantly being outside your comfort zone.

  9. I appreciate how you shared your fear and vulnerability with us in this post. We all feel the same. We all have something great inside of us that the world needs and can benefit from. It takes courage to discover and share it! Thank you!

  10. Hey, Akshay. This was a great article! Self-help is amazing but it can also be deceptive. People read articles every day and often at an obsessive rate only to fail to implement changes. It’s such a dangerous trap because it FEELS good for a while but in the end you’re still at the same place you are.

    I always try to internalize and implement the things I read but just last year I was in the group that only read thinking they were learning. There’s much more to it than “studying.”

  11. Amen Brother!

    Something visceral happens when you wear and share your heart on your sleeve. Other people instantly like you MORE.

    I use to lead with my success. But then I learned a valuable lesson from Brendon Burchard – “People relate to your pain and struggle more than your success.”

    I guess I was a pompous ass back in the day. People would ask me what I did for a living. I would respond with my victories and triumphs in the business world. But I never shared the dark side; the pain, the struggle, and the anguish of making it to the top, and then losing it all.

    And then I learned it’s okay to share the nosedive stories and all those times I fell flat on my face. It’s okay to let people in, pull back the curtain, and disclose the simple truth, “Hey, I’ve been afraid often. I’ve been insecure and unsure of myself more times than I can count.”

    We’re programmed to walk through life wearing masks. Thank you Akshay for taking yours off.

    Akshay, you’re an authentic and genuine person of great character. I’m glad to call you friend.

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. I came across your story over at Ending the Grind. I have found the obstacles you have overcome quite fascinating. You are right that are fears hold us back and that we will try to attain as much “knowledge” as possible before acting on what we want to do. Well no more right? Start acting and implementing the change. Real growth doesn’t happen without a conscious and consistent effort to make a change in habit.

    I think many people want a quick fix and that isn’t possible. Personal growth seminars give a hope that it can happen, but it can’t. Most everything takes time. My biggest fear is being a failure, but what is that? For a long time it was me being judged a failure by others, which is quite self-centered actually because no one cares in the long run. What I now see it is giving up on myself when times get tough!

    Thanks for the post.


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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama