Self-Help: the Quest for Inner Peace


If you are dreaming of getting rich and famous I warmly recommend you to get into self-help business. Only in the USA the self-help industry is worth 11 billion dollars. There are no statistics on self-help in Finland but it seems that it has been growing steadily for a good while already. Why is that?

"What is your true calling and why aren't you already living it?"

It has been speculated that the main reasons behind this rise of the self-improvement ethos would lie in our very nature as a homo religiosus and, on the other hand, in the change of working life. The first part refers simply to the fact that humans are built to reflect upon metaphysical issues such as “What’s going on and why?”, “What is going to happen after?” and “Why do mean people prosper and I – a nice person – don’t?”

For a long time in Europe church had the license over these things but not anymore. Fewer and fewer people go to services or read their Bible in the evenings. Most of us don’t believe that God has planned something special just for us or that the bad things happen to us because of the evil eye. This has led us to a situation where we have a spiritual vacuum but nothing to fill it with.


The other side might be a bit more tangible. As collegiettes we are well aware of how competitive and stressful our future in the working life might be. It's no longer enough to have the degree but you also have to be sociable, beautiful, a multitasker, flexible, devoted and constantly educating yourself more. It’s no wonder that with all this pressure people start to feel themselves inadequate and small.

When you add social media – where everybody is telling you how wonderful and easy their life is while you are struggling with your average one – it’s almost inevitable that one starts looking for some kind of way to “grow as a person”.

"Imagine if there was a map that showed you step by step how to get from where you are now to your true calling and the life you were born to live—the most brilliant, rich, fulfilling, and dazzling life you could ever dream of. You are holding in your hands such a map. Hero is the map for your life."

There are also some points of view from which people argue that it’s all about the rise of neoliberalist mantra, which forces the whole responsibility of one's happiness to him-/herself. Our values have become more harsh and we don’t have that much time or interest to listen and help each other. Are we living in a world where we have to replace a friend's shoulder with books like The Happiness Project or Courage to Surrender?

"By following the journeys of twelve of the most successful people on the planet today, you’ll learn how to use your inner powers to overcome obstacles and to make impossible dreams come true. You'll be inspired to find your own calling and start taking the steps toward making the life of your dreams an everyday reality."

I am not arguing that self-help books or courses are total waste of money, even if quite often that might be the case. There’s nothing wrong in someone trying to find tools to survive through troubled times – quite the opposite. But just beware of harangues you let yourself hear.  Learn to love scientific references and favor authors who have an academic background. Naturally there are also hacks in universities too, so there's no guarantee in those either but it's a start anyway.


Throughout the times people have tried to make a killing with others’ agony. One could argue that the self-help industry is continuum from the sale of amulets and indulgences. In my view, we should receive any help we can get while we are on our earthly journey, because it will surely not be always easy! But try to find your inner Doubting Thomas every time when somebody is trying to help you and it involves money.


(Quotes by Rhonda Byrne)