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It’s funny how muggles (aka people who don’t use magic because they didn’t know they have it in them or refuse to know they have it in them) dream of happiness and success and world peace, but when they stumble upon the actual tools they need for creating all that and more, their eyes go bigger than dinner plates and they shake their heads. “No. No. That’s not it. That can’t be it. It’s too damn easy. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to this self-help guru over here who keeps telling me I can achieve everything I wanted to if I set my mind to it while I wait for the heavens to open up and tell me what I need to do.”

Does your guru happen to be selling a 90-day program with scientifically proven, tried-and-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you make a million dollars, lose 12 pounds, and connect with your one true love—all yours for the super-low price of $999 with an iron-clad, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee if you email within the next 30 days? And if you purchased within the next 10 minutes, he’ll even throw in a free t-shirt so you can walk around telling everybody you’re a #SpiritualBadass. But, but, but if you don’t buy now, then I guess you’re not just ready to change your life just yet and I guess you don’t really want this as much as you do and I guess you’re happy with your mediocre, boring life. But, yeah, no judgment at all. None whatsoever.

How ever can anyone fall for this marketing crap is beyond me. I wrote as a freelancer for a living. In my early days, I never turned down anybody, including the old and creaky Internet marketing gods of 2008. I was literally given an actual script to follow for these sleazy-as-hell, super-embarrassing sales letters. I know where to put in the big, bold letters in red, the shameless yellow highlights, and the fake testimonials from people I found on stock photo sites because, hey, a fake testimonial never hurts. Today, most people have removed their red headlines and cringy highlights, but the formula, in general, remains the same. Also, fake testimonials and reviews are still a thing.

And all so they could sell a so-called super-ancient secret ritual that will allow you to hack your subconscious mind and change your life in 17 seconds. Bleh. You don’t need none of that. You don’t need to pay $999 for a stranger to tell you want to do with your life and then mock you if you decide he’s not right for you. You don’t need scientifically proven, tried-and-tested, step-by-step strategies to change your life because there is no such thing. And, honestly, iron-clad money-back guarantees are just another way to teach you to not trust in people, and in doing so, not trust in yourself as well.

What you need—what we all really need—is to step back and realize you don’t need no fancy-schmancy technique or ritual to change your life. Because it’s all been laid out so simply and plainly and so perfectly for you already. The secret to it all is that it’s no secret. Anybody who’s had the teeniest glimpse of their true selves through the cracks of the masks they wear have been blabbing on and on about it for millennia. And we’ve gotten so tired of being bombarded with it that, in our quest for novelty and instant gratification, we’ve dismissed them as clichés that any seasoned editor will roll their eyes at.

“Believe in yourself.”

“Follow your heart.”

“Live life to the fullest.”

“You get what you give.”

“It’s the little things.”

“Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”

Nothing rings a bell?

That’s because at some point in your information-saturated existence, you’ve decided that the only things that matter are those that sound new and exciting. And anything that sounds like it’s been around for centuries simply isn’t gonna cut it out for you anymore. And that’s why you always fall for the next shiny object every two minutes. That’s why you decide you need this super-secret ancient technique. You need the hottest new expert to give you a detailed, step-by-step strategy, PDFs and worksheets included. You need somebody to take you by the hand and tell you what you need to do based on the latest, most bleeding-edge scientific research in quantum physics and neuropsychoimmunology. And no, I didn’t make up that last word.  

You could drain away your bank account for all of that in your constant search for the elusive secret of life. Or you could just finally realize here and now that, hey, all you really need to live a happy, successful life (whatever your version of that is) is already within you. That you already have all the resources you need, notwithstanding the high-minded new theories about politics, the economy, or the existence of the Anunnaki that people have formulated about why we can’t be, do, and have what we want. Because they’re all but theories, and theories are nothing but generally acceptable explanations for things. Any theory could be dismantled by the next shiny new theory. In the meantime, the inner truth of who you are remains. It’s the truth that is so mind-bogglingly simple that the only way for you to find it out is to find it out yourself. No guru or teacher or life coach is going to dig that up for you. That’s something you gotta do on your own.  

Not that teachers or gurus or life coaches aren’t helpful. They are, when they’re not pretending that a simple transfer from your PayPal to theirs is what you need to change your life. Good teachers teach. Great ones inspire. The best ones? They help you realize you never needed them in the first place.

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