LinkedIn, the home of dream sellers

Published on 29 January 2018 by Tomislav Rozman

I have a confession to make

Last month I have attended NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) afternoon teaser seminar at a nearby hotel for the first time. When I have arrived, the hotel lobby was packed with people. The expectations were so high I could almost touch them. 95% of people waiting outside the hall were females in their best years. I couldn't recognize anybody in this group of ~300 people, which means I have fallen into a totally different social circle that I'm used to. At the entrance, we have received our stickers with our first names.

Overall, the event organization was great. The presenter did a great job attracting and engaging the audience. Motivational music, motivational speech, motivational success stories, motivational guest speakers started to lift people's mood. Soon the audience started to follow presenter's orders, sorry, instructions: "Get up, sit down, clap, high five your neighbour, repeat ..." etc.

Get up, sit down, clap, high five your neighbour, repeat ...

I started to feel uneasy. I started to feel weird in the moment when crowd effect started to kick in. At the moment, when most of the audience started to follow the instructions of the presenter ("YES we can" approach). It would be so easy to drop my guards and go with the flow. But something didn't feel right. Anyway, with a grim smile, I gave up and participated in the mass movements. But the uneasy feeling just escalated. I have felt manipulated and as soon it finished, I have left with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Why did I attend the NLP seminar? Because I wanted to prove myself wrong. For many years, I am holding a sceptic stance towards NLP. When I have received an email invitation to the event, I said to myself: "How can you shape your opinion about something you haven't yet experienced?" So, I applied and visited the NLP event and closed this chapter. NLP (at least its mass manipulation approach) is not for me.

To be clear, I am not a pessimist, who doesn't believe in person's inner powers. I do think some of the NLP tools are worth to consider, e.g. reading of the body language. But please don't make me merge with the crowd of dream chasers.

So, what does this story has in common with LinkedIn and "dream sellers"?

On LinkedIn, everybody seems to know the secret ingredient of the success.

LinkedIn (and other social media too) timeline feeds me every day the neverending list of variations: Set your goals, Be organized, Do more, Persist, Believe in yourself and the universe ... and success will come for sure. Dream sellers seem to be very persistent these days.

There are a lot of authors, who have repackaged these phrases or 'holy prayer of success' to their books and services. But, (financially) succeeding by selling books/coaching services on how to succeed is ... well, an unsustainable hoax.

Succeeding by selling books/coaching services on how to succeed is ... well, an unsustainable hoax.

If you are stubborn and despite all the crocks out there you're still looking a consultant or a life coach, who will help you succeed, you should make a filter. The same applies to dream sellers on your social network. You should ask him/her (or do your homework and do a research):

  1. "Did you succeed with anything else than books on how to succeed?"If you get the answer 'Yes', proceed. Else, run away.
  2. The second question should be: "Where did you start?" If he/she had wealthy parents, excellent education, generous investors, run away. It's nothing wrong with the head start position, but your current position might be different.
  3. The third question should be: "Is your success evenly divided between all important life areas?" For example, if the coach's success is only about business/financial wealth and his/her family is a wreck, run away.

Let's be realistic - there is a big chance you will not succeed*, no matter how hard you try.

But hey, what is wrong with that? A life is much more than that. Even if you don't succeed, you are a worthy person. Don't forget that.

* success in the terms of what mass media wants you to believe what the success is

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