According to a Marketdata Enterprises market report, the U.S. self-improvement market is worth $9.6 billion. Yes, billion.
â€śThe total self-improvement market (incl. revenues of weight loss programs) was estimated to be worth $9.59 billion in 2005. The market grew more than 24% between 2003 and 2005. We expect 11.4% yearly growth through 2010, to a value of $13.9 billion.â€ť
Thereâ€™s no doubt about it. The self improvement market is HUGE. Just go to your local bookstore and look at all the books in the self improvement section. Stay up late at night and watch all the infomercials. See how much CDs and DVDs are selling for. Thereâ€™s so much information out there, but so little time to learn it all. On the flip side, I think weâ€™re fortunate to live in a day and age where we have access to all this information, but at the same time, this presents some problems.
By far, the most frequent problems that come up within the self improvement market as a result of over saturation are these 3 key issues.
Exterior Focused Conditioning
All of these issues feed off one another and have contributed to making the self improvement market what it is today.
So letâ€™s discuss in detail these three issues and start with the first one – addiction.
Probably anyone who has delved into self improvement can relate to this issue. You read a book or listen to a speaker and youâ€™re hooked. Something inside of you perks up. And itâ€™s a â€śgoodâ€ť addiction, in the sense that you want to know all you can to unleash your potential, but the worse part of this addiction is the all too familiar â€śreading everything but never applying.â€ť
Closely related to this addiction is the second issue â€“ exterior focused conditioning.
What I mean by that phrase is that people become conditioned to think that what they seek, that â€śitâ€ť, is entirely outside of them. And this is only natural because it was only by looking outside themselves, through a book, tape, speaker, that they were able to discover the realm of self improvement. Theyâ€™ve been conditioned to believe that everybody else has the answers and that they donâ€™t. Unfortunately, this is where the dark side of the market comes into play and where scam artists thrive on. They prey on this conditioning and capitalize on the weakness of human nature on top of it â€“ primarily through providing the easy way out, short cut, miracle products/services.
Then we have confusion, which you could argue is a mix of addiction and exterior focused conditioning. And confusion is a viscous cycle. Youâ€™re conditioned to think what you need is outside of you, and you keep looking for â€śitâ€ť but never finding it in your never ending search. And the â€śgurusâ€ť (I use guru here for lack of a better term) of self improvement are partly responsible for this, even if they donâ€™t realize it.
Their intentions are well, but each guru that has found â€śitâ€ť is sharing it with people all at once or either in bits and pieces. And itâ€™s overwhelming for the masses because thereâ€™s so many things to absorb. People are left hanging with hundreds of pieces from left and right, having no idea of how to put them all together or not even knowing whether they can be put together in the first place.
Addiction, exterior focused conditioning, and confusion.
Buy, read, watch or listen, and never apply. Buy, read, watch or listen, and never apply.
It wouldnâ€™t surprise me if the statistics showed that the 10 billion dollars spent was really made up of the same group of people buying multiple products/services due to these three issues.
To see how you can effectively deal with these issues, it helps to analyze the self improvement market to see how itâ€™s divided and what youâ€™ll find is that itâ€™s primarily divided into three categories.
Motivation â€“ these speakers, books, and tapes wake you up, pump you up, and give you the high to believe in yourself.
Knowledge â€“ these speakers, books, and tapes will give you the knowledge, the principles, the how toâ€™s, etc.
Scam Artists â€“ this is self explanatory.
For most people, they are exposed to the motivation category. Then after being fired up, they go on to expose themselves to the knowledge category. And then back to the motivation. And then maybe fall for a scam. And then go back to knowledge, etc.
Ideally, you want to â€śwake upâ€ť by first exposing yourself to the motivation category. Then use that motivation to learn the knowledge.
And then, instead of looking outside again, start looking within and think back to your own successes. Think back to the goals youâ€™ve achieved. Think back to when times were great and look inside yourself for your natural process of achievement. This is key.
Then start reconciling your personal experience with the knowledge youâ€™ve learned and start to seek the common thread in the things youâ€™ve read and have personally experienced and what youâ€™ll inevitably find is that you already â€śknewâ€ť all the knowledge, but you just werenâ€™t aware of it consciously.
Once you discover your natural process of achievement, you sever your addiction to self improvement and all the confusion ceases to exist and this is precisely what readers of my book have been saying after discovering exactly what the natural process of achievement is within them.
I think we are the most fortunate generation to have ever lived because of all the access we have to the wisdom of the past and the present. We just have to become aware of the three issues that have contributed to the huge size of the self improvement market and the traps that have come as a result of them, with the biggest trap being that we think what we need is outside of us, but only to realize that we need to wake up and see that it is and always was, entirely within.