Link to original article by Stefan Pylarinos:
So, one of my favourite internet entrepegurus is at it again. Only, this time, he's addressing his critics. Me being one of those he nonchalantly banned from his youtube channel for speaking my mind, the idea of replying is just a little too seductive. So here goes...
The whole article is a rather clumsy attempt at deflecting criticism. Most of it is so ridiculously obvious, I would feel embarrassed to go into the details. Everyone who criticizes Pylarinos, has to be a negative person full of fears. Yeah, it's that primitive, and it wouldn't bear mention, except that there are two congealed pieces in all that bile that play with ideas rampant in new age and self-help circles, and so I feel they need to be addressed, time and time again.
Both are present from the very first sentence on - the article's very title, indeed: "Why People Are Negative, Pessimistic And Skeptical"
This is a very strange combination of words. Skepticism has nothing to do with the other two qualities. Skepticism is neither a character trait or a psychological disorder. It is simply the idea that claims should be supported by evidence. If you bring the case of skepticism up against me - well, here I am! Of course I am being skeptical. You can either show that your method works, point to independent, peer-reviewed research to support your claim - or chances are it simply doesn't. That's really all there is to it. Sure, you can try to show that this is not the case for this one very special extraordinary claim - but then you'd have to present the evidence for that...
Actually, if you're a self-help guru, you'd have to come up with even more evidence, since you'd not only have to show why your method works, but also why it works better than the gazillion of other methods out there.
The other point is a bit more subtle, and way more insidious: People ARE negative. Negativity is a character trait, a personal wrong - in short, a sin. Voicing criticism is a surefire sign that a person is afflicted with that sin. Because a positive person will always find something positive in everything.
It's insidious because it plays to the insecurities and vulnerabilites that are rampant in virtually all of humanity. Even more so because everybody is bound to know a few instances of things where they honestly can't find anything positive, as hard as they may seek.
And this insane idea - that criticizing someone or something is inherently bad - has been instilled in a crazy number of children by their parents, school teachers, the church, the military, politicians, and so on and so forth. It's incredibly easy to exploit, especially if you add a little group dynamics and the ever-smiling, suave and kind coach guru who - ostensibly - only does good, with all the best intentions.
In reality, as my old jewish-history prof at uni kept repeating, criticism comes from the greek krinein, which means "to separate out, to decide". Most probably, if you look at stuff methodically and with some cool distance, you will find something positive in most things - and you'll find something negative, too. And both should be voiced and addressed, accordingly.
In essence, I'm saying that criticism is a good thing. If anything, the onus to reframe it into feedback and deal with it, lies with the coach himself. Simply punching the ball back into the clients' court is ridiculous, juvenile and insane. And unproductive.
On the more cynical side, I still fail to see how the recent story of a stranded whale (that died because it picked up so much plastic in the ocean its intestines got obstructed and stopped working) has a lot of positive to it. In a lot of cases - such as a woman who survives childhood abuse, and then manages to make a career out of supporting other survivors - I suspect that a potential positive outcome does not lie within the situation itself, but "making something positive" is active, potentially very exhausting and tedious work on part of the person who made it happen. Simply reducing this to a character trait or an inherent attribute of a person, whose only display lies in the lack of criticism, is incredibly short-sighted, thoughtless and cynical. We cannot demand that a person be able to do that - at best, we can wish them the best in overcoming their specific issues, and empathize in a supportive way, realizing that we all have those points in our lives where we just don't seem to ever make any progress.
Ultimately, I think, that very last quality is what is so sadly missing from Pylarinos' videos: Empathy. It doesn't seem like he has realized that he's struggling exactly like the rest of us. I believe he thinks that he has to keep up a firm mask of success and self-assurance. I mean, we are talking about someone who runs a bunch of websites promising every kind of success - fast money, success with women, fitness, general success in life - under different names. All with the same copywritten drivel, all with the same obvious marketing tactics. It's somewhat hard to imagine that a guy like that actually has the experience to back his claims. Actual experience, in my experience, shows not in self-assured reliance on one's own grandiose life-coaching method. It shows in being able to deal with criticism elegantly, in the ability to ponder different points of view and deal with conflicting ideas without having to instantly come up with a clear-cut answer.
If you actually want to help people, developing your humility might make for a good headstart.
I'm chalking it up to his youth and relative inexperience. And that's one reason why I'm reacting this way on my blog.
See, to me this is a moment of hope. The sheer fact that Mr Pylarinos, or whatever his real name is, has seen the necessity to react to his critics - even if he did so in a rather clumsy and unconvincing way - shows me that some tiny part of the message did ultimately get through to him. Maybe the mask is showing its first cracks. Maybe, behind the sharade, behind the suave facade of success, somebody feels that maybe something is not quite right in lala-land.
I have heard of cases where opening up to criticism was the beginning of a journey back to sanity. All my best wishes go to Stefan Pylarinos for the tough trip that lies ahead of him.