4 reasons why "self-improvement" is a completely bogus idea



Please do not take my input as laughable and cynical passive-aggressive stabs. I do not think I am the only one who questions the salons and the promotion of a guru.

Also, as the first to discuss your article on self-improvement, I was responding to your invitation to comment at the end of the article.


The comment above as an isolated case perhaps may not be considered as a stab. But there’s been a pattern of these kinds of lines for quite some time now, not just in this forum but elsewhere. I am hoping that the kinds of discussions that happen here are more focused on advancing the conversation. I’m happy to learn more of your critique of some of Ruda’s ideas, or why you think I’m promoting a guru when we regularly suggest people not to follow the advice of gurus. Please share your perspectives in a way that others reading them can follow and hopefully learn from.

As for the salons, please do share how they could be improved. I personally think they can be significantly improved and am working on a new design of how they are presented.



Please recall that I have been straightforward in the critique to which you refer. First, I consistently have urged you to develop a business plan since you first began to entertain this project ten years ago. Second, I observed at an early stage, as you were forming unexus, that you solicited celebrity endorsement and affiliation for an elite club of self-appointed thought leaders. The fact that there have been two co-founders and the circumstances surrounding their disassociation should be cause for reflection. Self-pity as an imagined “man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood” is counter-productive. I wish you well and hope that you will heed well-intentioned advice.


I’m suggesting that the critiques you offer within the discussions area help others to also learn from what you’re saying, rather than offering passive-aggressive stabs as offered above. Other examples are below, sprinkled around as one-line responses to various articles on Ideapod:

I’ve noticed these kinds of one-liners come in regularly also by email. While your intentions may well be to offer constructive advice, you should be aware that one-liners like this come across as condescending, belittling, and counter-productive to the stated intent of offering “well-intentioned advice”.

Looking back, I agree we needed a clearer business plan. Now, I think our plans are much clearer.

As for celebrity endorsement, it was more seeking to get well known influencers sharing their ideas on Ideapod in order to help attract a community to the platform. I think it’s a pretty common strategy of early-stage platforms.

This has certainly been a source of much reflection on my own part. I’m sure that my close friends and trusted advisors would be able to affirm the same. I don’t see how it’s relevant to referring to me as “Justin as Siddhartha” or the other lines of argument you have started this conversation with.

I don’t pity myself for this at all. It’s a path I’m happy to be on.

This probably isn’t the place to continue this conversation. I suppose we’ve both made our points and there’s a larger disagreement in place. If it’s worth pursuing, I’m happy to do so in #ideajournal.



Why do you post articles which are effectively infomercials? I find this deceptive and unworthy of the stated ideal. If the answer is income, surely there are other ways.


We are explicit about offering online education programs and other products. The article is aligned with our ideals, as are the online education programs. We wrote an article that promotes a free salon, and in the free salon I mention an education program we’re offering. I don’t see how any of this is deceptive.


wakfu, Xana, kwami, Peridot

All refer to animated (like anime) shows that you might enjoy. We should discuss as this is a source of both meaning and enjoyment.



This article, “4 reasons why self-improvement is a completely bogus idea,” is clickbait for income-generating programs. There have been many such articles inveighing against self-help. Please elaborate on “OUR ideals.” Is this a cult?



Yes. I saw that. It is not my world, but I am interested to learn what you have to teach.


It may be that the focus for Ideapod is on a very narrow demographic and thus will be seen at time as clickbait by those outside that demographic. If you have a specific demographic you must try and figure out what they want (if you are trying to build an income stream.) Building such a stream is really a good idea as it allows a business to pay its own way. I do not know if there are enough people in this demographic to make Ideapod successful. If you have a platform that is world wide I would assume you would want want a big piece of the seven billion, not just a narrow slice of the pie. I am 75 and have very little in common with the current demographic, I know what life was like when I was part of it and it was so different compared to now that I feel sorry for them. My world was much different.


All of the shows have examples of characters that represent standards that people of today do not realize they need to adopt. Yes, it is fiction, but if you look at the world today you see many too many who are failing to be what humanity needs. In life, would you want to be a Frodo?



Yes, allegory is an excellent way to convey community principles. Tolkein and Lewis did this well.


I could speak for hours, no, days, about the characters I have met. And provide you with a way of enjoying. But not here. If you are interested I need a way to connect. My Facebook… bill.ames.37
It will be worth your effort but may change your life.



"Other examples are below, sprinkled around as one-line responses to various articles on Ideapod:

Study suggests atheists are more intelligent because they can override religious instinct

Another unhelpful meme.

Why life gets a lot better when you stop giving a f*ck

Ideapod shareholders: beware.

I’ve noticed these kinds of one-liners come in regularly also by email."

You are objecting to my style. When you advise us to stop giving a f***, it occurs to me that, as someone responsible to shareholders, this is an impractical, if not a careless, attitude. Also, your promotion of atheism strikes me as shallow and unhelpful, especially when you are proposing that we should adopt your shaman’s ways.


It is important to consider the target demographic. The content of Ideapod is a filter, it will allow some to wish to stay and others continue on the trackless paths of the internet. Because I watch humanity as if on the bridge of my characters planet size space ship I do not get offended by anything. However I do lobby for providing assistance as I do have a lot of compassion. That is one reason I wish for more here on Ideapod as that will help a much greater part of the passengers on planet Earth.


Yes I am. I’ve been explicit about this a few times. Ideapod Discussions is a place to advance perspectives. Rather than passive-aggressive and one-line jabs, please instead respond directly to the perspective being offered and do your best to share information in a way that others can benefit from. This is one of the principles by which Ideapod Discussions is organized. I’ll do my best to explain it more comprehensive to new-comers to Ideapod. In the meantime, I’m taking this opportunity to communicate the principle in this medium.

You’re connecting very disparate dots here. I should be judged on my actions for preserving shareholder value, as well as future outcomes. One thing should be clear, I haven’t stopped giving a f*ck. This isn’t the place to debate the various actions Ideapod the company has taken. Rather, our discussions should be more focused on advancing perspectives offered on the platform.

In these situations, please help people understand why you think promoting atheism is shallow and unhelpful. Personally, I’m not an atheist and I don’t advocate for others to become one. There are articles advocating for it though. Ideapod is a media platform publishing many different perspectives.

As for suggesting that people adopt my shaman’s ways, we have produced an online workshop together that I think is very valuable for people. In that sense, I think that learning from Ruda Iande can be beneficial for many people. For others, perhaps not. It’s really up to the individual who decides to enroll in the programs. You’ll need to explain yourself more comprehensively in the accompanying discussions to whichever articles you want to dive deeper into. I’m happy to share more of my own perspective. Though I’m much more interested in learning from others here on Ideapod Discussions, especially where they communicate with the intent of exploring ideas together.

As for the idea of suggesting people to follow gurus, or for Ideapod transforming into a cult, I find it quite funny. Perhaps it’s time for me to become a “trickster guru”. For anyone reading this and considering following me, Ruda, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Osho or whoever, please read the following article:

Any online education programs offered by Ideapod will always emphasise some of the key lessons shared by Alan Watts in this article. The most effective way to developer your personal power, or live life “out of the box”, is to be the source of your own authority.


Oh my, the article was very revealing. My principal screenplay character sitting next to me here on the bridge of the ship points to the article and says how it explains a lot about where I come from. I point out that it makes the opportunities to help nearly infinite and that provides a nearly infinite source of feeling good rewards. We then discuss how to address the problems where to help one harms another, or at least discomforts another. The “good” feelings are often canceled by the “negative” feelings. The life on planet Earth is complicated.



Messages received loud and clear. Good to engage. I guess the vulgarity of the one article, more than anything else, got under my skin; but my other observations also hold. As for the article on atheism, I hope my point was clear. If not, I can elaborate further. Let me know.


There are places, well, we need to talk, there is God and there are…

you will meet some soon…



The following article, for example in my opinion, is much more worthy as the basis for a conversation on belief: “Our Western tendency to define reality narrowly is seen most in the realms of science and religion.”

Much of religion is allegory, an aid to understanding the otherwise un-understandable. Part of the problem in today’s uncivil society, I think, is that discourse is informed excessively by ideology. Where belief is the topic, both sides are, in my opinion, equally ideological and equally unreasonable.

This author writes: “As a writer whose chosen subject is religion and, more recently, magic and its supernatural cousins, I admit that I am more disposed to exploring, and perhaps even experiencing, these kinds of altered states, but I am not more susceptible to believe in them. Not only because I am often critically challenged by readers and friends but because I am interested in what it means to hold to the irrational with a rational embrace, using skepticism as a compass to travel the map of the weird. One consequence of this, however, is finding myself without a home. Of those who encounter me—either in person or in what I write—the faithful don’t trust my intentions, and the skeptics think I am being too lenient.”

So let us not dismiss others’ ideas as “completely bogus” or insist that religious belief is something above which we should seek to rise.

Have we truly lost our ability to communicate to each other effectively?

I agree with @Eleprocon where he writes: “But it does feel in my guts like something is still out of balance, even more off kilter than before… I don’t believe our brains work linearly, nor are they machines or computers yet we try to structure and manage thought that way and may be causing irreversible harm to the commons of mind …hence, polluting the noosphere.”

Let us discourse in a civil manner and avoid advocating nihilism.