The secret to great…

The older I get, the more opposed I get to a catchy book, video, and podcast titles, starting with “the secret to great…”

It’s a scam that has built the multi-billion dollar self-help industry. And no, not every publication or course in the genre is trash; some of them are good, but those are rare. In general, the premise is to sell the audience on secrets and shortcuts when all that’s happening is assembling information that’s been there for ages.

Just because you choose to emphasize something doesn’t make it a secret. It’s only your rehashed version, not precisely thought leadership but thought remixing.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with remixing or rephrasing an age-old truth in a palatable or more accessible way. What’s wrong is marketing them as secrets because they aren’t. We have all known them in some form or shape; we didn’t have the courage, discipline, and humility to put our knowledge to work.

All this lies marketing has made us slaves to gimmicks, shortcuts, and secrets. They compel us to open our wallets (or time) to skim yet another book or watch yet another video that’s essentially a rehashed version of the previous product titled “secret of…” that you had purchased.

“I’m sure there’s some value in even the rehashed version of the secrets, Sunil, don’t be so pessimistic!” I hear you, friend. My concern is simply this — all this repetition and rehashing only diminishes the actual value of the message these gurus are trying to convey.

Why don’t we tell people the bitter truth — working your butt off, using your brain, living frugally, and always be learning is a lot of effort, but there’s no way around it? That won’t sell. I think these gurus can create a lot of value to telling the truth and helping people achieve them.

By not luring them into another bunch of secrets but giving people the support they need to create unique pathways to accomplishment. Unfortunately, that’s a way slower and a whole lot more deliberate way to grow a business. It doesn’t have the charm or appeal of an upstart with the potential to scale into a multi-million dollar business.

Perhaps, there’s a secret to fixing that problem somewhere…

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