The Pitfalls of Self-Help ft. Sai

Show Notes

Sai is a fourth-year medical student at King’s College London with a background in neuroscience. We talk self-improvement, its underlying problems, and how best to navigate the saturated industry.

Books mentioned:

Key discussion points in this episode:

  • What is self-help/improvement?
  • The commonality of exaggerated claims
  • The addiction of self-help content consumption
  • The self-help industry profits off of your continual dissatisfaction
  • Hustle culture
  • The perception of self-help gurus
  • Your life experiences are the best self-help guide
  • Overarching recommendations to self-improve well.

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A conversation where we explore topics both familiar and unfamiliar to us to find out what makes them interesting, so that we can expand our horizons and further our understanding of the world and people around us.
From science to lifestyle design, languages to religion, plus everything in between – anything can be interesting if exposed to you through the right lens. We hope to spark your curiosity through open-minded and thoughtful discussion, as well as a healthy dose of overthinking.

About us
Subaan is a 4th year medical student, motion designer, and an avid rabbit hole explorer. He has keen interests in lifestyle design, technology, investing, and metabolic health. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Dan is a 5th year medical student, pianist, and random fact connoisseur. He spends most of his time learning about languages, playing sports, music, and geopolitics. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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Note: This transcript was generated using Therefore the transcript will not be 100% accurate in some parts.

Subaan Qasim  00:11
And in this episode, we speak with Sai, a fourth year medical student at King’s College London with a background in neuroscience, we discuss the topic of self improvement, some of the underlying problems encountered by engaging it, and how best to navigate the saturated industry.

Daniel Redfearn  00:27
Good evening Subaan.

Subaan Qasim  00:29
Good evening Dan.

Daniel Redfearn  00:30
I’m very excited to welcome our guests onto this episode today. Sai. He’s a medical student at King’s fortean medical student at King’s, who has a degree in neuroscience. And today he’s going to be talking to us about self improvement. But I think it’s a really, really interesting topic, the element of self improvement that he’s going to be talking about. So yeah, I guess. Without further ado, welcome, Sai. Thank you for the welcome. And, yeah, could you tell us a bit more about what you want to talk about today?

Sai  01:03
Okay. So I think self improvement is a very, very interesting topic. I think a lot of people get kind of lured by self improvement. I mean, what can you not like about self improvement, you’re literally getting better, your life gets better, right? I think there are a lot of pitfalls that people can kind of fall into, because at the end of the day is an industry and the industry wants to wants to keep its consumers in, they want to keep the consumers consuming. And so I think, kind of revealing to people how it might they might have difficulties kind of interacting with this world would be something worth talking about. And I’m sure you guys as young kind of university students, I’m sure you have some kind of experience when it comes to self improvement and how it might be a bit difficult for you sometimes. So yeah.

Daniel Redfearn  01:43
So just very briefly, before we get into it, so broadly speaking, are we going to be talking about the concept of self improvement, or the sort of industry of self improvement, you know, like, the resources online, the books, the whole sort of industry around and the mentality towards it, or the actual improvement itself?

Sai  02:02
I think we’re going to focus more so on the industry itself, the industry rather than self improvement is itself because I think more of the falls lie with the industry and how they sell it to us, rather than our own attitude towards it.

Daniel Redfearn  02:12
That makes sense. Is that something that you’ve sort of been involved with before? Subaan?

Subaan Qasim  02:17
Yeah, I guess I have, when not, when I came to uni, I guess a lot of people, when they come to uni, start going down this whole self improvement thing, because as a different kind of lifestyle, you’re more independent, you’re okay, and you actually do this, do that. And I want to improve in this, and I want to take on this endeavor and everything. So you naturally have to go through quite a lot of self improvement. And yeah, it’s a very deep hole that you can go down where you can end up spending, you know, more time is hitting up productivity management tools than you actually end up using them and stuff. So it’s a matter of, how do you kind of balance all of that, and I have found myself a few times, like, I’m an avid user of notion, where I’m setting up these huge databases, massive things. And then I kind of come to the points like, how much am I actually going to use this, but I would just kind of sold the point of like, Oh, yeah, you should stop this database and do that, and then do this and, or, you know, do all of these morning routines. And then I’m like, Okay, and then I try for a bit and it just doesn’t work. And I keep trying it, but then it just doesn’t work. So I’ve now kind of found my way of going about self improvement. That kind of works for me. But I don’t really go into this whole consumerism type of just consuming all this content on self improvement. So I have had like similar experiences.

Sai  03:30
Well, I think you’re on the right path. And yeah, we don’t need this. Yeah. Interesting point you raised about how coming into university, it’s actually the first thing that I was thinking of talking about in that. Well, me, for me personally, coming from a relatively strict upbringing, where the focus was on education, mostly, like education was everything, whatever you did, kind of had to be to the goal of education, good sleep for education, and eating well, education, right. And then when coming to university, I’m realizing that No, that’s not what life is about. There are many other facets of life that are kind of enjoyable. And so I think that’s where I found self improvement, where I kind of, I felt like, oh, everyone else has had a head start on me in terms of self improvement, cuz they were enjoying their lives in other ways, and kind of making progress there. Oh, now it’s time for me to do that. I thought, Oh, I don’t really have too many mentors. I have a few friends who can kind of help me on the way. But I just want to Google search, right? Look for Google search. And I found infinite almost infinite resources, loads with great reviews and great recommendations. And that’s kind of the start of my journey. So it’s interesting you say that

Daniel Redfearn  04:30
is often isn’t the way so for you the first time you started to engage with it was around four or five years ago, right? When you were starting to go to university and stuff. Yeah, exactly.

Sai  04:38
It was almost weeks after university where I encountered my first self help resource.

Daniel Redfearn  04:41
Okay, and what was that resource?

Sai  04:43
So the resource came in, in a in the form of a video. And it was a video that looked at habits, formation of habits, which is actually I think, one of the cornerstones of kind of the self help industry at the moment. And it kind of just discussed five habits that that apply. Wasn’t the person running the channel quite a bit? over 100? Over, I think it was over 500,000 subscribers. I thought we had improved his life, and he wants to share them. And yeah, I just kind of consumed that. And that’s where it began.

Daniel Redfearn  05:14
He’s very sama. Yeah. So I’m sorry. I love that word. A quick question. So the modern age, you know, I mean, like the social media, being able to consume all of that information online and seeing other people sharing their lives. Do you think that’s allowed for self improvement to the industry to grow massively, because when we even when we were younger, I don’t know if it’s just because we were children. But I remember people would read like self help books. I remember this person, or I’m just seeing this guy reading on on a bus one day, like a book about how to find a wife, really, which I guess is like a kind of a self improvement sort of book. But that stuck out to me because it wasn’t something I saw very much. Whereas these days, maybe it’s because we’ve entered into the university sphere, where I think people naturally trying to improve themselves and look for those resources. But do you feel like it’s grown specifically because of social media?

Sai  06:08
I completely agree with that. I think that’s a very, very important point. Self, I think social media has kind of created this ideal. Because it’s essentially a highlight reel of people’s lives. And there’s always something that they’re kind of selling out, or something really good going on with their lives. And that’s all you see, you kind of have to imagine your life in that sense, right? If you think oh, my life has to be this constant highlight reel. And to do that, I need to self improve, I need to be better to be like these people. When actually, a photo represents more than just the photos, for example, say someone’s, I think the best example of this is fitness. If someone’s put up like a bodybuilding pack, or like a big one, they look really good. And you look at that and think, oh, that’s just one small part of their life. And you’re missing the fact that they’ve been in many, many, many hours of work to get there. Lots of like, blood, sweat, and tears. And if you do, you might do exercise for a few hours, a few weeks, and you realize, Oh, I’m not changing that much. You might see slight changes, you might see none. But then you realize it, then you think, Oh, wait, I’m not getting the feedback that I thought I’d be getting. I don’t look that much better. So then you kind of fall down this hole of self kind of self hatred.

Daniel Redfearn  07:10
Okay, so do you think it can be? I mean, I imagine it can be quite damaging as well, if it’s being consumed in the wrong way. Yes. There is that right? Do you think it can often harm people more than do good?

Sai  07:20
I think it’s often confused, consumed in the wrong way, especially through social media, where, unfortunately, these influences don’t really express the fact that there has taken a lot of hard work. I think they’re doing it more and more, but they’re not. I think it’s very difficult for a person to become aware of that aware of how much actual work that needs to come into. Because you I think the the thought process people go through when they see that is, oh, I’ve done this work. But I didn’t get there because I’m not good enough. Because I didn’t work as hard as they did. You know, during the workouts, I just didn’t work as hard as they, the reality is everyone’s different, right? You might have to work a bit harder. It just simply might be the case.

Daniel Redfearn  07:56
So do you think maybe people trying to sell it so say the fitness example of someone putting up a photo like a bodybuilder. And in order to sell it, they need to make it out, like their way of doing it is like an easy way to become really good? Yeah. So they they make you think that it’s actually quite easy to achieve what they’ve done? They’ll be like, I’ve got this in six months or something. So then you do that. And Okay, that makes sense to me now. So if you do that, and in six months, you’re still not in, you don’t look like how they look, you think that the problem lies with you. So maybe, is it fair to say that the one of the key problems in self help or self improvement is that the people are advertising it? They’re, they’re giving you false hope? Or they’re not being realistic with it, maybe because the concept of self help and self improvement is really good? Isn’t it? Like the idea that you want to make yourself better? And you want to encourage other people to make themselves better? So what about what about it in the execution of of it in the industry is so damaging? Is it that?

Sai  08:47
So? Yeah, I think you’ve raised another really good point, I think, I think it’s the fact that, yeah, they want to have a unique selling point, right. And often the selling point, because the humans are the way we are, the selling point is it can be done quick, it can be done with a little little effort, right? Especially with something like fitness, which takes a lot of effort, usually, as a lot of just physicals simple effort, just physical exertion, right?

Daniel Redfearn  09:07
Because there are so many people out there who are trying to sell the same thing. So they want to get ahead. They need to say like my program is easier than everyone else’s programs, you can get results much more quickly with me,

Subaan Qasim  09:17
you know, the classic like three week workout, like all these challenges that come about, it’s like yeah, yeah,

Sai  09:22
and I’m sorry, quickly on that point,

Subaan Qasim  09:24
the fact that it’s a challenge, it’s something that’s kind of fun, as that kind of alluded to it as well. And so you mentioned like the classic six, six month ABS kind of thing. I think I read on Twitter where someone did like an average calculation using averages on like, average body fat percentage and how much on average, you need to get a visible six pack and build enough muscle mass and it came out to attribute around on average six years to get a proper chiseled six pack abs. So all of these six so it’s just again, I yeah, like you said, so is probably the timescale that is the biggest kind of deceiver where these people are like these people. Like, you know, these productivity gurus have been doing things for years. And in the background, they’re probably probably been developing certain skills or certain qualities in the background for years. But they’ve only just seen maybe become aware of it in the last three weeks. So then over again, three weeks or months to just kind of develop this, or they’ve seen this improvement in three weeks, whereas it’s actually been like multiple years, maybe decades, even. So then they just try and sell it like, okay, over the past three weeks, I’ve noticed this, and then this is, you know, site improving, which you know, is, is probably they probably aren’t doing it intentionally. Well, at least I’d like to think most people aren’t doing it intentionally. But yeah, I guess it’s hard. Even if you know that you’ve been, you’ve spent years doing it to actually express that and make the other person understand that it’s taken me 15 years to do X, Y, and Zed or learn how to do X, Y, and Zed or how to control x, y, and Zed. But, yeah, so yeah, I think the time issue is probably the biggest factor.

Sai  10:56
And I think that’s the case with all these things that people need to improve not just fitness, but like another popular one is kind of increasing, improving the charisma, you being a kind of better person to speak to socially, right? Because social acceptance is a huge motivator. And you mentioned Subaan, you’re not if you want to think that these gurus are actually Oh, they’ve it’s almost a mistake, that they didn’t realize that it was actually the decades of effort, I think sometimes it can be quite sinister with it. Because you can see on self help pages that they’ll take, going back to the fitness example, they’ll take photos in specific times of the day after they’ve gotten a pump, when they’ve had a lot of water, etc, etc. to make that different, seem quite a lot more drastic than it actually is. It’s simply a matter of,

Daniel Redfearn  11:37
and it’s like the interest of the person and doing it is more to like get profit, right to sell their product, as opposed to really helping people. So I see what you mean, in that there are quite sinister undertones to it sometimes because they’re advertising is like I want to help you. But in reality, it’s like, I want to exploit your insecurities and make money off of that in a way is that is that, you know, I don’t want to just like be negative about it. But I guess that’s the point of what we’re talking about now is like, it’s a double edged sword. And this just happens to be the side of the soul. That’s a bit more sinister. So yeah, I definitely see what you’re saying there.

Sai  12:09
Yeah, exactly. If you look at something that’s quite fascinating, it’s actually quite scary to look at the amount of profits that that kind of the biggest self help gurus can make. Like, I think Tim Ferriss one is a very famous one, I guess. But he was bigger back in the day. It’s ridiculous the amount of money they can make.

Subaan Qasim  12:27
But that’s also he’s been building his own personal brand for however many years. It’s Yeah, it’s insane. Yeah, so he’s gone through multiple phases, like he had, you know, in poker, it was there was his book, his podcast and everything. And these days, he’s not, at least from what I’ve kind of listened to and stuff. He’s not always so much about self help these days. He just kind of doing his own thing. And he’s very open to just start doing his own thing. Right. And then, you know, as a side thing is, the blogs, he writes the books, he writes, you know, the podcast he makes, they will make money as well, right? He’s not selling one, or at least have an experience in selling one specific like product, or course or something to kind of do that. I guess. It’s just, he’s gone through the process. And he shared his process and different things. But I haven’t followed Tim Ferriss. Too much of like, read his book. I’ve read the four hour workweek, I think most people probably, and I’ve listened to, you know, this amount of his podcast, but that’s kind of picture I get. So I mean, personally, I think Tim Ferriss is like one of the, you know, more sincere ones out there. And he just kind of just doing his own thing, trying to improve himself. And he just sharing the process almost. But yeah, there are definitely some that I feel are just doing it for the you know, profiteering ones like, profiteering kind of intention. Yeah,

Sai  13:41
I can. Yeah, I agree. So the next point I thought would be good to talk about is actually earlier in the podcast that had mentioned, we’re talking mostly about the industry, I think it’s good to talk a little bit about self help itself, and how the industry exploits this kind of psychology that people might have. And it’s the idea that the self help medium, whether that be through books, and watching videos, attending seminars, or just kind of reading leaves anything really to do with self help. It gives you this idea that once you’ve completed it, that it gives you this feeling of satisfaction gives you this feeling that you’ve you’ve done something, you know, you’ve done something productive. And physiologically, I think this quite literally makes you feel good, it gives you motive, and the good feeling gives you motivation to kind of consume more. So what ends up happening is you kind of enter into this cycle, where you consume a self help book, video, etc, etc. And then you want to consume another one, another one and another one. But say you consume, you’re doing this for months, even years, right? If you take a moment to just stop and reflect on how you’ve actually changed as a person, realize that oh, you know, all of these things, you know, all these techniques, you know that there’s this principle that I can apply to this aspect of my life, which will improve it by 5% or whatever, you have all of these things in your head, then you’ll actually look at yourself you look at your, your knowledge of other things, you look at your body, for example, how people kind of interact with you and you realize often that

Daniel Redfearn  14:58
how much has actually changed Is it like an addiction mechanism?

Sai  15:01
I quite literally think it is like an addiction mechanism.

Subaan Qasim  15:04
It’s kind of similar to, where’s that? How much are you actually applying from that book you’ve read or podcast or listened to, or something where not many people, or people will listen to me like, Yeah, I did this or I can incorporate this now. So it’s like, Okay, good dopamine hit, next book, next podcast kind of thing, where they don’t actually sit down, apply everything from that book, or, you know, the parts that you know, they resonated with and stuff and try to go about and improve that way. And then go on to the next step is similar with Dan, I think I was speaking to you about this, once were mentioning, your idea or things you plan on doing in this was in the episode that you know, we did in the car, but we just never learned because the audio quality was rubbish in the car. If you tell other people what you plan on doing, like your aspirations, or goals, or like, Oh, I want to achieve this or, you know, I’m going to start doing this to someone, you probably that’s like your first failing point, basically, is by telling beam. So the whole point is, don’t tell people what you plan on doing or what you want to do your goals and aspirations. Apart from a very few select number of people who will truly hold you accountable. And that’s very few, even most of your family members probably don’t really care, like, I want to, I’m going to start, you know, selling or start writing a blog. And my mom would just be like, yeah, okay, cool. And like, Yeah, she cares for me, and you know, wants me to do well in it, but she isn’t going to send them out. Okay, how many posts Did you write this week? And, like, so, right? I’d probably tell someone like you, Dan, who would, you know, probably hold me accountable, or you’d read them and give me feedback. And, you know, push me further. Those are the people you’d want to tell. But most people would, very easy because they have these ideas, Okay, I’m gonna start doing this and just tell someone because it kind of comes up in conversation and just tell them, but because of the you basically fool yourself into thinking you’ve done something, because you gain reward out of telling someone what you’re going to do. So then you’re like, Okay, I have you feel like you’ve done something. So then you don’t go and take the next step to actually do the thing you said you were going to do. So it’s like a form of self gratification, if that’s the right term, where you’re rewarding yourself for saying you’re going to do something as opposed to actually Yeah, well, yeah, it’s just your physiological way. It’s just like you say, you’re going to do it. And now just in your brain, your brain thinks, oh, okay,

Daniel Redfearn  17:14
I’ve taken a step towards doing it. So it’s like buying buying a self help book and thinking, this is actually, this has actually helped me, but in reality, that’s just a vehicle. And you can you can apply elements of the book to your life, but the actual book itself isn’t going to make your life better. Yeah, exactly. correctly. Yeah. Is your you used to have to apply the things you’ve learned from the book?

Sai  17:33
I think there are, obviously, big benefits of self help. But those are discussed later, mostly. But yeah, as you said, it’s, it’s very much a case, I think, what I observe mostly is that people just do the self help thing, and then move on to the next level, I think there needs to be something in the middle, you know, it needs to be an action, something productive, actually productive. Because I think reading these books and consuming these media is fake, productive, almost, in search of a better phrase. And it’s interesting how I kind of came to this, this idea in this and this isn’t I’m not saying this is an idea that’s kind of like hidden, and I’ve just uncovered it. But the way I came to this area is I noticed that sometimes in university, when there’d be like a big assignment coming up, and I procrastinate on it sometimes. And sometimes instead of doing your classic procrastinating things of going on social media, and like watching videos on YouTube, I do other productive tasks productive in quotation marks. But those tasks don’t contribute to the big priority. That is the assignment, you know. So there might just be, I think the best example of it is doing a chore, like washing clothes, and sorting out the bed, folding clothes, etc, etc. I’ll do those, I’ll get a sense of gratification. As if I’m, yeah, I’m contributing, you know, and being productive. And at the end of the day, productivity, pseudo productivity. Exactly. productive. procrastination. Yeah, again, yeah. All these words,

Daniel Redfearn  18:45
these buzzwords.

Sai  18:48
When at the end of the day, I look at I look at, I look at the blank Word document. And I’m like, No, I haven’t made any progress. Yeah, I mean, read about it. I thought about it, because I’ve been doing these other tasks. And I think that’s a similar phenomenon, to kind of the greatest extent when it comes to self up. And

Subaan Qasim  19:02
sorry, just as I think I think intention is probably the biggest thing in terms of actually being productive. Like, okay, you read all these morning routines, but it you can, you don’t have to apply all of them but even just applying just the ones that you have a true intention behind as to why you’re doing it is important thing. And, again, intention about actually procrastinating where, I don’t know if you’ve read willpower by not willpower. hyperfocus by Chris Bailey, is a pretty good book. Yeah, he mentioned this thing, where is hyper focus, which, which is when you’re like, you know, down on the task, or you have in your mind is the task you’re hyper focusing. But then you also have this thing, scatter focus, where if you kind of do other things, procrastinate, wash the dishes, wash your clothes kind of thing, with intention of the ultimate kind of task at hand. It allows you to kind of build ideas and stuff and actually work on the task. This assignment was doing these other things. And I was like, that’s the true kind of pseudo productivity. for, like, productive procrastination, and it’s a really interesting concept. And I’ve actually started using it a lot more in terms of certain assignments where I’ve done a lot of reading and stuff. So I just need to kind of organize my thoughts. But the way I do that is by scattering my mind by just kind of, Okay, I’m going to wash the dishes, but I’ll just kind of let my mind run free about the stuff that I’ve just read, maybe make some weird links. But then I realized, it’s all about the intention that you have when doing that particular topic. So you can do other tasks that are outside that don’t directly produces outcome for the main task at hand. But as long as there’s intention behind it, at least in your head, you can still kind of make some kind of breakthrough.

Sai  20:39
Yeah, yeah, I completely agree with that. The intention being the important part. And what I know from your experience, from my personal experience, when I personally did the task, I was, instead of having the attention of kind of forming links in my head, I would just try and avoid the anxiety and the kind of worry and stress that came with actually contributing to the task. So yeah, even even in that kind of action, there are two different ways of looking at it. And one way is much healthier, or much better when it comes to so actual self improvement than the other. Yeah,

Daniel Redfearn  21:06
I agree. And there’s one other thing just quickly, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to word it, right. But it’s like, um, like the accountability, or where the improvement is going to come from? Is it coming from the thing you’re buying or the resource you’re using? Or is it going to come from yourself. So I think people can often go down a hole where they think, oh, if I just buy this product is really going to help me to improve, like, if I buy this new running top, like this really expensive one that like, I don’t know, it was really comfortable to sweat in us, I think that was gonna help me really improve my running, you attach the improvements to the things that you’re buying and stuff. But really, that might give you a slight improvement, but it really has to come from yourself, you could do a lot of the things that we do for self improvement, you don’t need to buy something to help you do it, you can just do it yourself, just cuz you’re gonna get a very slight gain in using a certain resource for it doesn’t mean that you can only achieve that success by getting that thing if that makes sense. That’s

Subaan Qasim  21:59
the classic phrase all the gear but no.

Sai  22:04
I mean, buying those products, at best is optimization is actually getting good at the task is yourself is comes from within,

Daniel Redfearn  22:11
because we don’t you know, like about marginal gains. Yeah, that that saying all that time. So it’s like, buying that nice running top, or those really nice running socks or something. Those those will help you when you get to the point where marginal gains matter. But we’ll get to that point first. Yeah, that’s how I see it anyway. And I know that doesn’t apply to absolutely everything. But I think from the people I know, sometimes you can, and me as well, I can get caught up in thinking I need to buy this in order to be able to start improving at it. But yeah, I think that’s the accountability thing is like, really, you have to accept it has to come from you more than anything else. Anyway, okay. That’s my side point.

Sai  22:47
No, no, I think that’s very true. Yeah. Thank you.

Subaan Qasim  22:51
And just on the point of the socks, I shot basketball socks, and they have like this weird grip that grips on the sole of your shoe. It’s actually insane. It improved.

Sai  23:02
The quantified decimals. So another point i thought was interesting about these, I think I briefly mentioned it before with taking pictures is that these self help books and these seminars and things, they will kind of exaggerate what’s being observed. So no maybes exaggerated claims about things that actually don’t make too much of a difference, if that makes sense. So as medical students, we’re kind of, we’re given this idea which I completely agree with that large sample. Well, kind of structured, empirical research is kind of the best way to look at the world, you know, to the best way to find scientific truth. But when you look in these self help books and the self help videos, you look at the references and you look at you take a deeper dive into what they’re actually saying, the evidence isn’t as convincing as it seems, maybe making up statistics, I think is a relatively simple thing. And the way you can manipulate them is is is can be very deceiving. So I think that’s another way that the industry kind of convinces you that their ideas are the best. It’s all about getting that unique selling point.

Daniel Redfearn  24:03
I don’t want to put you on the spot. But can you think of any examples? Because I think that I’d really hope to make sense of it.

Sai  24:07
Yeah, so I do have an example of that, actually, I was I was looking at funding oneself and University at the moment. And I was looking at the combined oral contraceptive pill. And I used two resources to kind of gather information about it. One was a book, quite a quite a while reviewed and kind of a good, good book. And another was a website just kind of broadly your eighth or ninth kind of thing that shows up when you search it on Google. And they both talk about the risk of mortality from the pill. And on the website, it claimed that the risk, increased risk of stroke, or the struggle mortality, I can’t remember exactly which they came with the pill, increase it by two fold, increase it by 100%. And I use these kind of grand statistics to kind of prove his point. Whereas in the book, if you actually look at it, the baseline rate of stroke amongst women is two per 100,000. And that’s that goes from two to four. So if you present the statistics in those two different ways to Woman, I think you’ll get a start, I can only presume that you get a stark difference in reaction

Daniel Redfearn  25:05
to it depends on how you want to convey the information because you could say, Would you take this medication? If you’ve got a four and 100,000? Yeah, risk of stroke, versus saying this doubles your chances of having a stroke?

Sai  25:17
What a stark difference?

Daniel Redfearn  25:19
Yeah, I get what you mean that how you’re presenting the information changes massively, the perception of it. So just to tie it back into the, in what you were saying before about self help books, often manipulating information a little bit to give a bit of a false meaning behind a technique or principle, and how you can apply something to your life saying, yeah, it doubles your chances of sounds happening, but in fact, that increases quite small.

Sai  25:41
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And these, well, I don’t have a specific thing to handle those self help books tend to use statistics like that, they tend to manipulate like that.

Daniel Redfearn  25:50
So if we were, as we don’t want to just say that there’s no point of using self help, right. So just to anyone listening who’s thinking, From then on, if they do read a statistic in a book that does look a bit dodgy to them, yeah, would you recommend just if you really want to go and looking at the reference and not being afraid to set that up and not taking everything, necessarily at face value?

Sai  26:11
I think that’s a great piece of advice, when it comes to consuming self help is that if you find a statistic that kind of forms the basis of a principle within self help, and if that is, especially if that statistic is really grand, or seems very potent, yeah, definitely kind of look into the resources and, and, and look online. A good thing about more modern self help books is that they tend, from what I’ve experienced, they tend to, you tend to be able to find all of the references at the end. So you can quite easily just go through there and find the actual information.

Subaan Qasim  26:40
And I guess, if you aren’t so used to reading statistics, analyzing these papers, and taking out what the figures actually mean. A good resource that I read fairly recently, and I’ve been recommending to everyone is the art of statistics by David Spiegelhalter. It’s a very good book that takes you very simply through, you know, how to go about conducting statistical tests, or like just collecting data first. So it starts right from the root collecting data, what’s good data about data, things you have to think about? And then how to analyze the data in terms of doing statistical tests. And then what things like p value, what would the P values actually mean? What are the different ways people can manipulate, you know, which is cool, like p value hacking and stuff or things like harking, which is, hypothesis after results are known, where people like meat revert or post hoc hypotheses. And so just being able to kind of figure out what’s going on and actually come to some stunning the statistics is a very simple book to actually read and understand. So I’d recommend reading that to understand statistics.

Daniel Redfearn  27:39
And you know, that guy’s very legit, because the books called the art of any work that the dude or do or do that must be very knowledgeable

Subaan Qasim  27:49
is also like a petitioner Cambridge, I think. So.

Sai  27:52
I personally stay away from titles like that. But this is this is one I. So I thought another kind of interesting point about self help is that it kind of creates this idea, it kind of links into the point we made earlier about buying something and that buying that thing, kind of that’s the part of improvement, right, you can literally buy the improvement is that it kind of create this vicious circle, where you have the feeling, you kind of get this feeling in yourself that you need one thing, you know, you need one more thing. And that’s, that will be the big ticket item that will change your life. And you keep searching for that. And this kind of plays, this propagates the vicious cycle that comes with consuming self help. So you’ll watch a video, and then you’ll see or maybe on the sidebar of YouTube or something, you’ll see another video with a certain idea, right? And you say that the watch later, and the title of that video will be something like, Oh, these two ideas will change your life forever, right? There’ll be 2030 minutes. So you convince yourself, oh, there’s actually some kind of something behind that. And you’ve got to move on to that. And you go back and forth. And me personally, it’s something that I, I kind of I kind of fell into that trap, and sometimes still do. And for years, years and years, and when I reflect back, I think, Oh, wait, instead of actually watching those 30 minute 40 minute videos every day, what if I put that time to following just one strict rule? You know, one of the few principles that I found?

Daniel Redfearn  29:06
And then it’s also the idea of like, um, do you think people? This is an interesting question, why do people turn to self help in the first place?

Sai  29:14
So I think there are a lot of reasons that people might get into self help. I think the most kind of common thing is being dissatisfied with their place in life. So they feel like kind of entering this world of self help and getting better, will kind of give them a contentedness. This is a fairly bold thing to say. But I think it is actually very intrinsic. It’s kind of maybe someone who has a lack of self esteem or low sense of self worth, I think they’ll often kind of they want to seek to improve that right? And to improve that, what better way than self improvement is literally in the word, right?

Daniel Redfearn  29:40
And do you think the industry pulls people into self help, who wouldn’t have needed to turn to it in the first place? Without the industry sort of like extending it’s like limbs towards that person, if that kind of makes sense? So people who, if they hadn’t been exposed to that self help, were completely fine, but had now kind of revealed like an insecurity on it. How have, like allowed an insecurity to grow inside them or decide the source of dissatisfaction as a result of sort of, like, looking into self help a little bit, and sort of like being a rabbit hole of like, Yeah, I was quite happy with my physique or something. But I started to look into like a book on how to change your lifestyle to get in better shape. And now I’m just completely obsessed with self help around getting fitter. And you know, it turning into a spiral. That’s kind of what I’m curious about is like, the people who is self help completely make sense to me. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing as well. For example, if you keep getting bad grades, and you’re not happy with the advice we’re getting from your friends and family, turning to someone who’s achieved really good grades, and they’re giving advice is a good thing. But what I’m wondering is, yeah, how many people are drawn into it? Who wouldn’t have needed to otherwise? You know, like the fitness example, do you see where I’m coming from that?

Sai  30:51
Yeah, I think that’s a very interesting point. And I think there’s actually a fair sum of people, we’d get drawn into it. I think, the way, personally, the thing, the way I think happens is kind of through life’s course, you’re going to, you’re going to fail, right? Bad things gonna happen, and you’re gonna learn from them. But I think sometimes people might fall kind of so far into a bit or might be faced with a failure so large that you think, Oh, I can’t, I can’t really trust in myself to get out of this pit anymore, I need something else, right? I don’t trust my own wisdom, I need more than my friends, I need more than myself, I need more than and so they look at, as you said, people who have accomplished a lot, and they will kind of trust them. And then they’ll start like really looking into them. And then they’ll find out that person has a product or an idea or something. And then they’ll enter that. And then that’s it kind of stuck in that web, and then the desktop another webs and yeah,

Daniel Redfearn  31:39
because it can be addictive, as you said before. Yeah, it makes sense. So in a lot of ways, it’s exploitation, really, from the industry. I know I’m doing that and like air quotation marks the industry on a lot of different industries. And they all use similar techniques to draw you in. But I think it is a theme and it comes again, from profiteering right, and that you’re ultimately trying to make money from it.

Subaan Qasim  32:00
But I guess with everything, or to improve at anything you need some level of obsession is like, especially to learn something you need to kind of be obsessed about to really understand and learn things at least quickly. To improve yourself, or insert or certain aspects of your life can be quite a major task. So you do need to get somewhat obsessed about it, or even addicted to trying to improve it. Or what point do you think it becomes pathological rather than beneficial?

Sai  32:28
That was a good question. Yeah. So I think when it comes to the obsession, I think the way you improve is, it depends on how you kind of split your time with regard to that. I think the trap itself is where people spend too much time intellectualizing what they’re doing, right. So when it comes to anything, you can have a theorizing of it. And then the action itself is something I’ve recently got into stress. I’ve been trying to improve it that I’ve noticed what I’ve been doing for about 80 to 90% of the time, I’ve been obsessed with it. And I say, if I can,

Daniel Redfearn  32:57
I can agree with

Sai  32:59
80 to 90% of the time is just watching videos, and like openings, mid game strategies, and even just sometimes I’ll watch videos of the best players in the world, I have no idea what’s going on, really, because they’re thinking far too far ahead for me to even get anything from it. And then 10% 10% of the time, I’ll be doing puzzles and playing games, which is how you actually kind of apply those that intellectualization. So I think what it gets pathological is when you’re intellectualizing everything, really, to the degree where you? Yeah, I don’t like to put numbers on things, but approximately 10 to 20%, as well. I like to see, oh, only that small, small proportion of your time is being spent doing action. I think that’s too little. I mean, I think it varies depending on what you you’re doing. For example,

Daniel Redfearn  33:39
can I try and give an analogy for how I see it from this conversation so far, is that you’ve got your end goal that you can see in the distance. And then self help doesn’t actually get you closer to the end goal, because you have to put in all the work yourself to get better. But it can, it can sort of show you the path, if that makes sense. So self help can show you the path to improvement, but it’s not actually doing the improvement for you yet. And then a lot of circumstances. Yeah. So like using the running example. Yeah, it’s like those running shoes are not actually making your body fitter. They’ve got nothing to do with it, in fact, but it’s a vehicle, it’s something that will help you become fitter and more like facilitate it. Yeah. But it seems to me from what you’re saying that a lot of the time, people, their perception of self of self help is wrong, and they think it’s actually improving them. Yes.

Sai  34:25
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a really good way to put it. I think, as I mentioned earlier with the buying products and stuff, I think they might think they’re buying the improvement. They’re literally buying the improvement in themselves. When No, you’re buying an external influence in regard, as you said, Yeah, I think that is a good point. I think that’s a mindset that people some people do take. And I think something that that moving on to the next point, something that makes this kind of all makes self help more of a trap is the kind of community that surrounds it. And there are these massive online communities of self help and Theseus on Instagram, Reddit, I think those are the two big culprits Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. Yeah. And they kind of they kind of reinforce this idea that you’re kind of joining an alliance rather than you’re actually forming an addiction. because there’ll be all they’ll all be telling each other Oh, you’re doing great you’re doing you’re improving you are done this this day. And that’s, and that can be used in a healthy way. But I think what this has created is, especially on Instagram is this kind of community of hustlers, these people who tell you to work hard to grind, grinding and hustling, I think those are the two kind of key buzzwords in this context. And when you look on the Instagram pages, you often scroll down and you’ll see a bunch of videos have been telling you all you need to hustle, you need to grind same message in every video, you think, oh, you’re spending all this time doing that? What are you actually doing? Right? And then you actually look at what they’re doing. What are they doing? genuinely? I’m I’m curious. What are you doing?

Daniel Redfearn  35:45
Why are you grinding? Yeah, exactly. And learning so

Sai  35:50
crazy. What are you grinding? I’m running, reading. And, yeah, anyway. This is kind of whole. Yeah, and it’s shrouds, shrouds your perception of what actual branding is, which I think is finding something, you’re actually you’re truly invested in something that really kind of lights your fire, right. And then working towards that, in a way, which isn’t kind of toxic, you know, not doing hours and hours a day. Like, for example, there’ll be these people who grind, they won’t actually necessarily even see much improvement, but they’ll just keep grinding. And I don’t know, weeks, months years down the line, these consumers will find other this other method that if only I had kind of branched off earlier, I would have been making a lot more progress. And I

Daniel Redfearn  36:34
think maybe it comes from intellectualizing it too much as you were saying before, You’re overthinking the process of improvement. But thinking is all well and good streamlining how you improve something. But ultimately, you have to do the improving, suspending Yes, with the chest, for example. Yeah, spending 50 hours actually playing it is probably better than spending 40 hours watching, like tutorials and then actually playing it. So yeah. And I think for us with medicine, for example, at uni, like I can learn about the psychiatric cuz I’m on Psychiatry at the moment, I can learn about the psychiatric medications for a few hours. But just going into placement for one day, I can actually see what medications are being prescribed and what medication the experiences of each of those medications. And instead of thinking of all the side effects and memorizing them, I can just think of that patient I saw and the side effects they said they were having and they weren’t happy with. Yeah, and it’s sort of, again, I guess it ties into the idea of you being obsessed with the process, but not actually engaging in the process.

Sai  37:30
Yeah, exactly. And I think that might lead people, if people were to sound like I’m going from some high place as if I’m a wise guy. But now, people who engage in these things, if they kind of look back, took a step back, and then looked at how much they’re enjoying the action itself. They might think, Oh, this actually isn’t for me, because I like thinking about it. I like looking at the end goal, you know, what were the best people or, again, with chess where the best people are playing, you know. And so there might not be the right person.

Daniel Redfearn  37:57
But the end goal can be a source of motivation as well, can’t it? Because that’s something I quite like doing. I need to know whether to change that is I like looking like years ahead. Yeah. And then that is a source of motivation. For me, it makes me want to work hard to achieve those things in the future that I want to do. So yeah, again, I guess it’s like, is that one, like looking ahead trying to do better, these are all good things that people are trying to do Yes, in the right way,

Sai  38:20
this is the right way in the amount that you do, you know, again, finding a balance, I think is key. So another point, I think that’s interesting to talk about is the fact that often the people who quite dissatisfied and Lord into self help, they kind of feel like there’s something wrong with them, you know, the fact that they aren’t as good yet, especially people who tend to be older, you know, they feel like oh, I’m not as good as my colleagues or good as people around me, they tend to feel like there’s something wrong with them, you know, something inherently, actually just almost pathologically wrong with them. And when this obviously isn’t the case, and then they stop trusting their own instinct and their own experience. So there’ll be experience, there’ll be having experiences in their lives, whether they be successes and failures. And they won’t be able to kind of like, gain anything from that they won’t really be able to learn lessons from that because they weren’t trusted, they will trust those experiences. And so they will look to outside sources, a self help gurus have apparently had these amazing experiences. And these long, like, fulfilled rich lives full of failures as well, and kind of, hopefully learn from them rather themselves, when, in fact, their own experiences are the most specific to their own lives.

Daniel Redfearn  39:20
So you like to get the best help from your own experiences are tied to self esteem, kind of and the idea that you go through an experience that you could learn from, but you think that your opinions are not valuable enough to learn from and that you should only be learning from opinions of people who have actually achieved great things in their lives and that your lessons aren’t good enough to learn from, is that kind of what you’re saying

Sai  39:39
that? Yeah, I think low self esteem is kind of one of the causes of this, I guess, disease that is looking for self help in that way. So I think also, it might be worth discussing how people perceive the self help groups. So I think it’s interesting because because of the nature of the topic, self help, you kind of want to assume or you want to think that these self help gurus are these great people. write these people who have accomplished so much, because that’s the nature of self help being good being having progress at things. But when you look at them, they’ll have kind of, Oh, this is my personal experience. When you look at them, they’ll have kind of successes in specific areas, right? I have quite, quite good success in specific areas. And they’ll translate what they’ve learned from that experience into self help. How can they be so great if there’s they’re spending so much time in that kind of realm of self help, right? I mean, maybe I guess business is a good medium, because with business, and the self help people and those sorts of gurus are creating a brand, the business which makes them good at that, and at the same time, they’re acting itself out. So I think what you often find is businessmen.

Daniel Redfearn  40:38
So it’s like, people who are doing that the people who are running like the self help empires, they’re the, if they’re spending all their time advertising self help, yeah. Are they doing? Like, what are they gaining? Like, what are they learning? But aside from that, which is giving them that like, platform to be able to do that? Exactly. So it’s almost like some a small subset of people in self help might be somewhat self help frauds?

Subaan Qasim  41:02
Yeah, I guess a lot of them are selling courses and stuff on self help. So they’re trying to give some kind of information, so then, you know, then they will leave it with a cliffhanger. So then you then buy their course to get the rest of the information.

Daniel Redfearn  41:13
Yeah. When it’s like, please, we saw on recently of like, did you fail the usmle? And the, like, um, that’s the US medical, like entrance exams into working in America and like, um, then I was like, watch this half an hour? If you watch this free half an hour. Oh, shoot. Yeah. And it was also like, um, oh, it was really interesting. Because the guy in the advert held up this book. He’s like, did you fail the usmle? Did you use this resource? And it was his book that everyone uses? is one of the Bible. There’s so many people use the usmle. That did you use this? Well, that might be part of the reason why you failed. But the thing is, nearly everyone uses that resource.

Sai  41:55
It’s a bit unfortunate, but it

Daniel Redfearn  41:58
is manipulating again, because a huge proportion of people who fail if he says a big proportion of people who fail, use this resource. I guess that’s true. But everyone uses

Subaan Qasim  42:08
motion. Pass with that.

Daniel Redfearn  42:10
Yeah, a big proportion pass with that

Sai  42:12
as well. revenue, of course, probably.

Daniel Redfearn  42:13
Yeah. And in watching it, you think, like, I don’t think I’m ever going to take the usmle. But if I have taken the usmle if I had an I had failed, and I saw that. And I think they use emotion quite a lot to manipulate how you feel. So if I had failed, it might be a sore topic for me. And I see. First of all, I don’t know the algorithms already fixed. Nothing to show me that. Yeah, like, foreshadowing. Yeah. Oh, that’s scary. Yeah. That, yeah, like, um, if I had failed, seeing that advert, it will straightaway make me feel a bit like rubbish. Oh, I did fail the usmle. Then him pointing to that book, it will keep me on the train, like, oh, and I did use that resource. And then he finally he sucked me in because he goes, Well, look, you failed using that. Do you want to pass? Do you want to pass? Do you want to make something of yourself? Use my resource? And then he says, Yeah, you watch my 30 minute video, which for free. And I’m sure at the end of, and I watched that, and I’m joking. At the end of that video, that’s where the I don’t know, like the $30 a month package comes in. And I see what you mean, and the manipulation of like, um, I guess he’s someone who, who did pass the usmle. So you think like, okay, you have that requirement, at least Yeah. And that you remember the book, Episode Subaan, when we were talking about how the author of the book is something that really matters in some ways, because you’re you’re giving yourself hours, you’re giving hours of your time to that person, and you’re allowing yourself to listen to often years of learning or years of input to read their book in just a few weeks or whatever. So you really need to trust that person. I completely agree with what you’re saying that aside about self help, and that, if it’s someone like, I don’t know, Bill Gates giving self help about I don’t know, like, a tech how to do one on a tech company, then. Yeah,

Sai  43:55
God, I believe that.

Daniel Redfearn  43:56
Yeah, it is all like Warren Buffett talking about investing, then yeah, yeah, that’s someone who you can value their opinion. But yeah, I completely get what you mean, in that. People who are engaging in self help, definitely need to listen to the people. Look up the background of the people and what they’re advertising. And something on top of that, is, we have to also be fair, and look at it from another lens. And that something I was thinking about recently in football is some of the greatest managers weren’t great players themselves. So like, we call it maybe the marina hypothesis. Yeah, Josie Marino, an incredible one of the greatest managers of all time in football. But his playing career was very average. In fact, he never really was a big footballer. But yeah, it doesn’t. Just because you weren’t great or something doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great teacher. And so yeah, I guess that makes it a bit more complicated and choosing the right people to listen to. Because, yeah, just because someone’s not a big SEO doesn’t mean they can’t talk about what makes a business work. Yeah. And that’s where it can be a bit tricky, where you can easily fall into the trap of listening to giving someone the benefit of the doubt when really they don’t know what they’re talking about, versus some One who is worth talking about, even though they haven’t got all these accolades, so it can be really tough sometimes. And I don’t know, if you, I mean, you’re going to do a recommendations thing in a minute, aren’t you? Where you can, we can hear some hot tips from the years of experience. But yeah, I don’t know if you had anything you wanted to follow on from that, whether you agree with the point on the the Josie Marino hypothesis, or what do you think so I

Sai  45:20
do agree with that. And I think, yeah, as you said, we have to be careful when we’re looking at people who offer self help guns, I think, I guess the This isn’t a rule, this more of a correlation, I guess, if you if you, if someone is great at something, if someone’s achieved a lot of something, you can almost kind of assume that they have something, they have insights about insights that might potentially help you more so than someone who hasn’t achieved as much. But on that point, on the point you mentioned earlier, you can have people who have achieved a lot, but who happened to not who have achieved a lot but who aren’t necessarily great teachers, there might be people who are just very talented, you know, and they kind of just, they just see it in a different lens. And so they can’t really help you, because they can’t really express what they’re seeing.

Daniel Redfearn  45:59
Maybe they can’t take themselves out of like they can’t put themselves back in the mindset of a beginner.

Sai  46:03
Yeah, exactly. Maybe a really talented footballer might might struggle to say, oh, if they see us doing something incorrectly, those who think Oh, just do it correctly, which really isn’t very helpful. But yeah, as you said, you have to kind of navigate the world of self help. This whole podcast, I’ve been talking about how self help, there are a lot of people’s self help. But I do think there is definitely, there’s definitely good there, you know, but it’s more like gems, you know, that you have to find? I think Unfortunately, it can be difficult to navigate self help without having kind of experience in it. Because there are a lot of people who offer information, which is not kind of the best doesn’t have the best sources, right?

Daniel Redfearn  46:39
Is it quite saturated as well?

Sai  46:41
Yeah, I think it’s incredibly saturated. I think it’s the fact that there were What is it then $10 billion industry and the fact that when you go on Instagram, every day, there’ll be some somewhere on your feed, there’ll be someone talking about how you can improve at something. And I don’t know fitness is huge. just the sheer quantity of fitness instructors is it’s mind boggling, right? So I thought maybe a good way of kind of finishing off this podcast would be talking about how some tips, you know, to navigate the world of self help, because I think, as I said earlier that there are gems to be found. So I think kind of the main tip I can I can offer when it comes to getting better as a person is to simplify, you know, because there’s so much content out there, there’s so much variety, I think a good idea would be to find some kind of method or some principle or something and just kind of stick with it. And maybe you don’t feel like sticking with it, maybe you’ve at some point, you kind of get bored of it or, or it just becomes too much strain. But try and find the discipline to just keep going with it. So instead of producing 10, or 11, different production maps, or workflows for your day, maybe just stick with one and just kind of see how that that goes. Because what I noticed is that people will move on too quickly from one to another. Yeah, and just to add in terms of simplifying a lot, a lot of these kinds of videos where you get, you know, 10 tips to, you know, be more productive in exam season or something.

Subaan Qasim  47:56
And you know, you can have the classic thing or having a to do list or something. But if you go straight into some more advanced videos, or someone that’s more experienced, and is just giving, say, more advanced tips, and you’ve never done anything like that. So I’ll go back to the example that I gave earlier on where it was like a huge kind of notion, database and templates set up for streamlining certain workflows, and, you know, animation videos. So just to help organize stuff, or even with research, I’ve got separate templates up for that, going and doing that, if you’ve never even just set up a to do list, that’s too much of a big step. So you just have to simplify it. If it’s your first time going into it. Start right from the basics, read like the the seminal books, like like atomic habits or getting things done or something, reading those books where they like, a lot of them are very practical based, just like you know, start off with a to do list and just do the first thing on the to do list and do it in order software. So simplify it down to the and if you have a bunch of things where someone’s like, okay, the best morning routine, a video like that is like 10 things you should do in your morning routine. Just take one, just take one of it, if you’ve never done a morning routine, just take one thing and add that to a morning routine, or just start your morning routine, just with one thing where it’s waking up and meditating for a bit, just do that for your morning routine for a week, then add one other thing that you think might be useful. So again, it’s a matter of simplifying and not just kind of like okay, this morning routine where he meditates and and reasonable half an hour and then he does yoga and an exercise then deep breathing. Okay, I’m gonna do all of that in one and a half hour morning routine, where first you have to learn how to wake up early enough to even incorporate a morning routine. So, again, simplify start from the basics. So yeah, I think that’s probably a really important point.

Sai  49:32
I think on that note, when it comes to simplifying, you mentioned that Oh, the first thing you have to do is wake up early. I’ve been there a few habits that are almost universal, that I’ve found, and that have kind of been repeated among different sources of self help that are just so kind of inherently helpful that they’ll affect all other aspects of life in a positive way. And just to mention some of the some of them. I think exercise is is very key, I think doing some form of consistent exercise. Great thing about it is you can do there’s so much right do that right, you can do virtually any sport, you can dance, you can literally just do a few push ups on the ground, it’s so easy to access. And I think that has a number of positive benefits, ranging from distressing to improving your self esteem through the way you look, for example, to increasing your energy, the amount of energy you have in the day, I think another is diet, which is very much ties in with exercise, and sleep as well. He’s kind of foundation health habits, I think those are very, very helpful. That’s like the Trinity, the Trinity, just to tag on to that fourth one, some form of mindfulness. And again, I think you don’t need to kind of force yourself to do meditation, as I think a lot of self help gurus offer. But you can do it in many other ways. And other Others include, you can just walk, you can just go on a walk. And that can be quite meditative. Because you’re on your own, you’re in your thoughts, you might be able to kind of discover something.

Subaan Qasim  50:47
Yeah. And I think Dan has something like, you know, with self reflecting self reflection, introspection and stuff. But yeah, so maybe just going on a walk, I think, again, there’s it goes back to the intention going on a walk to just kind of self reflect and just not deeply, too much. But just whatever comes into your mind, just kind of free flow. I think I was listening to a podcast with with navall. But basically, he was saying that, just get comfortable just with just being with your thoughts. So it’s just I don’t see any yoga pose or anything, just lie down on the floor, doing nothing. Just with your thoughts, no sound, no nothing, no stimulation in any way. Just lie down on the floor. And just think we’ll just don’t even think just let things come into your head, become comfortable doing that. And then they’ll just kind of really free up your mind. I guess that’s a different kind of self help rather than like productivity. But yeah,

Sai  51:33
just a quick digression on that recently, I’ve actually also been getting into yoga a little bit. I’ve noticed everyone’s saying it’s over. So mindfulness helps you like is it helps you ease your mind, I’ve noticed the positions are so difficult. I’m spend all of my effort, my mental effort trying to maintain that position. And so I can’t actually think about anything. I’m just they’re just kind of in different painful positions. Yeah. So everything doesn’t work for everyone. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I do find working much better when it comes to mindfulness. For me personally, I think another thing that people struggle with is when they kind of enter this world of self help is finding good resources. Because they’re, I mean, if you go on Amazon, and you type in self help books, you get about 1000 entries, or with four and a half, five star reviews, for example, many reviews, and then you read the reviews, and they’re all just say the same thing. Right. So that little bit of a controversial thing, maybe but I don’t think it matters too much what you pick, right?

Subaan Qasim  52:21
I mean, I

Sai  52:22
personally, I have my go to, which is atomic habits. I think that’s fantastic. I think that has a lot of good evidence. The person who writes the book has a good amount of experience as a leader. And yeah, if anyone listening to this does want to kind of just want a book recommendation. I think that’s that’s why

Daniel Redfearn  52:40
atomic habits

Subaan Qasim  52:41
by James clear, yeah, it’s probably also worth following him on Twitter, because he does die every day or every other day, just tweet some pretty good snippets, whether they’re just snippets from his book, or just just some kind of thought is like your that was actually pretty insightful, profound, yeah, just 140 or 240, characters or whatever. So yeah, worth following on their resume.

Daniel Redfearn  53:01
And what’s so interesting about like, the idea of someone posting snippets and stuff is that they’re often posting life lessons. And life lessons are often best learn yourself, you know. So that’s a small problem I have with self help, as well as the idea that you’re learning your life lessons from someone else. But remember before how we were talking about when you’re in hospital, when you’re seeing someone actually taking the medication and how it’s affecting them personally, as opposed to just reading the side effects in a book. If you actually are learning those lessons yourself, you actually get it. So again, that’s the point of the podcast is like getting something but as opposed to yet hearing that you need to, I don’t know how to process bereavement, for example, you can actually go through that process yourself and understand how it feels, and how to come out the other side of it. Again, as opposed to reading a book where someone talks about their experiences, because you need to value yourself, you know, a lot of what we’re talking about is like, you don’t value your own feelings, you don’t think you can learn life lessons on your own. But you can, because whoever you are, you’re living your own life. Like you’ve got your own opinions, you’ve got things you like, you’ve got things that you struggle with more than others, and then you struggle with less than others. And that’s when we’re talking about introspection and reflection and understanding who you are. Personally, I think if you do that yourself as well, you can learn the life lessons yourself, because life is the best self help book you can have.

Sai  54:18
And just a small, small, small thing to add on to that quite specific, the experiences that you have in your life, they have their form with all the variables and all the confounding everything is personal to you. Right. So the where even something as small as the weather where you live and all these variables, they’re confined to you. Whereas with other person, they might have this other variable that affects their life and improves it that you either can’t access or you wouldn’t thought of or anything like that. So yeah, very much your own life is your

Daniel Redfearn  54:45
best self help book. And you need to value those lessons that you’re learning because otherwise you can miss them. And I think that’s one of the worst things you can do is go through life learning lessons, but you’re you don’t realize you’re learning those lessons and you don’t realize that it’s better to learn those from yourself than anyone else. So

Subaan Qasim  55:00
But then I do also think it’s always, always good having, you know, external input as well. That’s why the whole thing of having a mentor is so, you know, profound, like, if you have a really good mentor, you might be going through a certain experience that they might have gone through a similar thing. But if they are your mentor, and they, they understand you and know you as a person, they can, obviously, they might not give the same advice or what how they dealt with it, they might not say the same thing to you and deal with it in this way. But you know, if they understand that they’re a good mentor, basically, they will adjust them we are Oh, but they’ll consider your variables and give you advice in that way. So you do also want external, external input, because you might get a better way of dealing with it. So that’s why I like it on Twitter, because I’m just going throughout my day, and then, you know, I’m just sat down, like waiting for the bus, I’ll just flick up on Twitter, sees some, you know, insightful snippet on my heart, that just relates to a problem I was just having earlier. So I like having just that random input sometimes, oh, that’s actually a different way of thinking about it. And it just kind of adds to my own kind of repertoire of reflections basically, inside that I can make in any kind of problem that I have,

Daniel Redfearn  56:08
I completely see what you mean. And I definitely think it’s important to appreciate that otherwise, you live in your own echo chamber. And often it’s hard to reflect and learn from the mistakes you’re making, you need to obviously get external input from time to time and what you were saying about a mentor, the way I see a mentor is someone who is on somewhat of a similar life path, or has lived a life path that you’re on. And they’re just further down the line than you. And they’re able to, through telling you mistakes that they’ve made, that you can hopefully learn from and through helping you reflect on your own mistakes, can streamline your life and sort of help you better achieve your goals and follow in their footsteps, because that’s the point of them being a mentor. And I think in choosing that’s why choosing the right source for self help is so important as well, because you don’t you want to choose someone who is a mentor for you in a way in that they, they are someone who you’d be happy to follow in that you can actually trust what they’re saying, as opposed to blindly just following an idea that they’re saying, this will improve your life, you have to think in what way will it improve me personally, because I’m a different person to that person. So just because something worked for them, you were saying before, there are so many variables in your life, those things won’t necessarily work for you. So yeah. Again, I see both sides of and I do agree with you, Subaan, that you can’t just live in your own echo chamber at the same time. So yeah, I guess, in a roundabout way, I’m saying nothing. Self Help is good. But also you don’t need to work. So help.

Sai  57:30
I mean, this all ties back to the point of finding a balance.

Daniel Redfearn  57:32
Okay, so I think that brings us nicely towards the close side. Unless there’s anything else you feel? No, I think that’s about it. Okay, lovely. So, yeah, we really appreciate you coming on. I think it was really interesting discussion. And good to think about this, because it’s something that as we were talking about before, so many people do engage with these days, and is ultimately, something that’s worked with good intentions, a lot of the time, but it can be easy to end up on the bad side of it,

Subaan Qasim  57:57
although we will probably talking about the bad or negative side of self help. For a lot of it. It’s not that we’re not trying to say self help is bad. And don’t follow any of these gurus or anything. Because, you know, a lot of the time, you know, a lot of content is being recycled and stuff. So it’ll just kind of come out and it will be beneficial. But yeah, there’s a good side and the bad side. We’re not saying don’t do it. It’s just about, like I said, finding the balance,

Sai  58:21
trying to avoid the bad side.

Daniel Redfearn  58:22
Yeah. Okay. All right. So we’ll leave it there. Thanks very much. Sorry.

Sai  58:26
No worries. Okay. Peace, peace, peace.