A few days ago I posted the shortest blog post ever posted on In the Limelight. In that post I stated very simply that this blog is inauthentic. Or more correctly, in the past it has been inauthentic. I promised a forthcoming explanation, and that is what this article is intended to be.
But what might first appear to be a simple task turns out not to be so simple. Because to explain why this blog has been inauthentic, I have to first establish what a lack of authenticity looks like, and to be honest I am having somewhat of a crisis of belief when it comes to what is authentic and what is not.
As you may know, about one month ago I participated in the Landmark Forum. Shortly before I took the forum I detailed how it came to be that I was taking the forum after having dismissed it as not just a scam, but a cult, a year earlier.
After completing it, I followed up with an article in which I did my best to articulate how amazingly beneficial I found the Landmark Forum to be.
Now, perhaps by coincidence, or perhaps my divine design, it happens that during this very same period I began reading several blogs that were intensely critical of some people in the personal development community that I had developed some degree of respect for. One of those blogs even linked to my article in which I exposed what I believe if the truth about Joe Vitale’s Miracles Coaching racket.
This created a bit of a problem for me. One one hand, the writer of this blog, Cosmic Connie, shared my distaste for Joe Vitale. One the other hand, she also had a real dislike for several people who I really respected, and the entire “new age” styled personal development “gurus” in general. I was forced to ask the difficult question: Was my faith in these people misplaced?
Part of the problem was that Cosmic Connie had written a rather scathing attack on Steve Pavlina, author of the blog Personal Development for Smart People and a book by the same name. And to be quite honest, what she wrote made me just a tad disappointed in Steve. I started to form some doubts about Steve’s authenticity, and question my own judgement of his character.
But why should I care about the character of Steve Pavlina, a stranger whom I have never met? Simple. I have admired what Steve has accomplished, and he has been something of an example to me. If I was aspiring to be like Steve, and Steve wasn’t such a good guy, then what did that say about me?
Also, if it was so easy for me to doubt Steve’s authenticity, then it must be insanely easy for people to doubt mine. I began to wonder what people thought of my article singing the praises of Landmark Forum. Did they think there was some benefit to me for promoting it (there isn’t)? Did they just think I had drunk the Kool-Aid?
The real source of this racket
I have written inauthentic bullshit on this blog in the past. Not so much recently, but in it’s earlier days, when I was trying to figure out what The Limelight was all about, I wrote stuff that I did not believe. Not that I didn’t want to believe it, but still, it was false. I was not sharing truth, I was sharing wishes. I wrote articles purely because I thought they would get my traffic, visitors, recognition, and to feed my ego. I was full of it.
So back to Steve. I decided to go back to his site and re-read his articles and fully expected to discover an inherent lack of authenticity that I had missed before.
I didn’t find it. In fact, I found the opposite. I found that Steve consistently came across like he was sharing his genuine belief. He wasn’t afraid to share his ugly side either, or expose his past, in sharp contrast to most other so-called gurus. I found I often disagreed with what he was saying this time around, and questioned his choices on a few occasions. But even so, I never saw any evidence that he was hiding anything. He was not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, nor a wolf in wolf’s clothing, just a flawed human being like the rest of us, who happens to have become very successful by sharing both his flaws and his insights with the world. Nothing wrong with that.
But what about his recent praise of Joe Vitale? Well, I have to remember that I used to like Joe Vitale too.
Naturally, I could be wrong. Steve really may be a world-class asshole. But that world-class asshole gives away an enormous amount of genuinely useful content on his blog. He’s never made a penny off me either, nor has he tried, so I have little to complain about.
Throwing babies out with bathwater
Let me get a few things off my chest. I HATE internet marketing gurus, or really anyone selling useless crap to suckers. That’s why I dislike Joe Vitale. He will attach his name to anything no matter how sucky it is as long as he thinks it will make him money. Joe has no authenticity.
But should everyone who associates with Joe be guilty by association? I think not, not anymore than I should avoid watching any John Travolta movie because he’s a Scientologist, or because he was in that stupid movie Battlefield Earth which seems to exist purely as a love letter to L. Rob Hubbard.