The Only Piece of Internet Advice You Should Take

You shouldn’t blindly follow Internet guru advice. Except for this piece:

INTERNET ADVICE, AND MOST ADVICE IN GENERAL, IS FROM THE GIVER’S OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT THEY THEN PASS OFF AS UNIVERSAL. 

That’s it. Here’s why this bit of Internet advice is 100 percent true, and how you can recognize when other bits of Internet advice are worth following, and when they are not.

Internet advice commonly takes the form of relationship advice, business advice, diet and exercise advice, and yes, writing advice, at least in the circles I run in. Here are some common forms of Internet advice and how to separate the wheat from the chaff (hint: it’s easier than you think):

1. MASSIVE GENERALIZATIONS. How many times do you see this? “All men are trash!” or “Marriage is divorce-rape!” Boo hoo. People who give advice like this usually (a) just got out of a bad relationship, or (b) just had a nasty divorce. They are taking their own, singular, discrete experience and extrapolating it onto an entire demographic. In this case, one-half of the human population. You had a bad breakup, or have had trouble meeting a nice man or woman; therefore, some 3.5 billion people on Earth are all garbage. It’s absurd. 

You see the same thing with race. It used to be a white person had one bad experience with a black person and therefore thought all blacks were like that, but lately we’ve seen where a white woman (and nine-times-out-of-ten racial hatred seems to be directed at white woman) did or said something that gave a non-white person the bad-feels, so therefore white women need to be abolished or something. It’s ridiculous, but this brings me to advice discernment tip number one: THE LARGER THE POPULATION A GENERALIZATION IS ABOUT, THE LESS LIKELY IT IS TO BE TRUE. 

2. WHAT IS THE PERSON SELLING, AND HOW? Whether it’s relationship advice, fitness advice, or writing advice, lots of Internet gurus love to sell their advice as some sort of lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with this, but you really have to look at what the person is selling and how they sell it. Lots of gurus give away 95 percent of their advice, and then charge money for the remaining 5, which may include increased access to their expertise. That’s fine, and it makes sense. But some Internet gurus use lots of insult marketing and outrage marketing to peddle their wares. It’s when you get here that I think the buyer should beware. Secondly, and more importantly, check out if the guru is selling their product or expertise as the one true path, that if you don’t follow, you’re some kind of loser. Third, test the claims the guru is making. It’s become a cliche to make fun of the whole “I woke up at 3:00 a.m., lifted for 4 hours, took a cold shower, GRIT AND GRINDED, and made $20,000K before lunchtime on 2 hours of sleep,” but people actually make claims like that, very often posted underneath pictures of them standing next to a Lamborghini and/or some kind of scantily clad woman. It shouldn’t take a trained prosecutor to tell that most such claims are utter nonsense. Here’s our second advice discernment tip: BRAGGADOCIO MAY BE A USEFUL SELLING TOOL, BUT THE HUMBLE GURU IS VERY OFTEN THE MORE TRUSTWORTHY.

3. UNIVERSALITY. Many gurus will claim that their way is the only way. This should give you pause. Other gurus admit that their way worked for them, and that it may work for you too. This second type of guru will usually invite you to test-drive their advice to see if it works for you, too, before shelling out the money or making some kind of time-commitment. This brings us to our third and final advice discernment tip: CLAIMS OF UNIVERSALITY SHOULD BE GREETED WITH EXTREME SKEPTICISM. 

There is a lot of advice out there, and almost as many purveyors of such advice. You may be looking for guidance in some sphere of your life, and the Internet is a great resource for doing so. I just hope that you will take heed of my advice, which actually IS true and universal, and discern if the advice is worth following before you spend your time and money on following it.

There is nothing wrong with basing your opinion on personal experience, although personal experience supported by cold, hard fact is even better. But unless you’re Jesus Christ Himself, claiming that your way is the only way, or that your hot take is the only true hot take, is a gigantic red flag.

. . . .

Okay, yes, this post was inspired in large part by Tomi Lahren’s incredibly shrill and tone-deaf “All men are trash!” video. Chick got dumped and she’s bitter and it’s all men’s fault and she doesn’t have an ounce of self-awareness. Newsflash, Tomi: YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE ALL THAT PLEASANT OF A PERSON. I’m sorry that I’m just basing that on my personal experience of you as a public figure, but dang . . . at some point it might not be the rest of the world. It just might be you.

I don’t spread despair. I spread discernment.


I relied on a lot of good writing advice when I wrote The Last Ancestor. Check out the fruits of my labor by buying it here

15 comments

  1. This is spot on, quite apt timing too in respect to massive generalisations as I just read a Facebook post claiming that all men are so full of jealously and suspicion of their other half, the dearer sex aren’t able to leave their phone alone in the event their man checks it for any secret lovers!

    The guru way, is the only way is also a major red flag, I’ve tended to take the approach of picking out things that work for me or focusing my self-improvement more towards philosophical type texts.

    Don’t get me started on the recently divorced, PUA “relationship coach”…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh man, PUAs are not my favorite. Which one is this now?

      The best PUA is the one who is no longer a PUA, became an Orthodox Christian, and now stands in direct opposition to everything he used to preach. I am talking, of course, about Roosh V. His transformation has been something to see.

      He’s stopped selling his PUA books and banned any talk about fornication from his forums. The US watchdogs, of course, consider him a hate figure…surprise surprise.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The one that tells you all the time you’re doing marriage wrong just by being married 🙂

        I’ll give Roosh V credit as I know his books would still be making royalties today, if he’d left them up, and his change in approach alienated his original audience.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oh okay…I *think* I know who you’re talking about.

        Roosh has done such a 180 at such personal expense to him, I can honestly only chalk it up to a sincere faith. And good for him.

        It helps that he’s a smart guy and always has been. I’m happy he’s bent his intellect and his spirit to far worthier ends. God is truly good.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I consider myself blessed that I was never part of the PUA scene. For better or worse, I’ve known my wife since middle school when she was sister’s friend (who I hated!). So, as far as Roosh’s PUA stuff, I missed all that and only know of it now from people referencing it.

        But now, from what I understand of Roosh, I see God and the Holy Spirit working their crazy wonders. Who better to make a tool of the Lord than a guy like Roosh? In retrospect, it seems genius, though nothing anyone worldy would have predicted. He’s been there, done that. And I don’t mean that in any prurient way. In terms of human nature and behavior, he knows whereof he speaks. He applies his insightful mind to a problem or challenge and creates strategy, tactics and opportunity. Now he’s just doing it for the right side.

        He’s already reached and taught millions of men. I hope and pray they follow him to Jesus.

        Considering what he has given up, monetarily and in earthly pleasures, to do this, I firmly believe he’s the real deal at this point.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Flirted with the PUA scene in darker times, but by actually thinking I questioned a lot of its dogma. Still some useful tips that boosted my confidence leading to me meeting my wife.

        Fair play to Roosh, although I didn’t buy everything he said it exposed to me how ruthless mainstream media could be creating it’s villains with out of context quotes.

        Good luck to him, and it’s good to see finding God has given him purpose.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The PUA scene does have a few pearls of wisdom amidst the sludge. But it’s a scene I’m glad I never got deeply into aside form a few chuckles.

        I totally think Roosh is the real deal and he did get jobbed by the media. Far worse people get treated far better then they deserve. Ah well. Now that he’s Christian, they just ignore him for the most part. Probably for the better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m with you re: PUA stuff. I was already married when that sort of thing first came on my radar. I remember reading about Roosh and his, shall we say, unpopular opinions. I went to his site and found most of it abhorrently degenerate yet there were a few pearls of wisdom in how men and women think differently.

        I didn’t think much of him until some of his political and philosophical opinions made their way to me through mutual when I joined Twitter in 2015. They were far more interesting than his “game” stuff. I remember his DC meetups being outed, his doxxing, his being banned from a few countries like Australia, his Canada set-up debacle, and his legendary press conference where he smacked those evil morons down good.

        And then he began to grow dissatisfied with his disgusting lifestyle and returned to his dormant Orthodox faith. It was truly fascinating to read about his transformation from spiritually broken and degenerate fornicator and user of women to a man of God. I also absolutely believe he’s the real deal—one doesn’t forego the lifestyle AND INCOME he had just for attention, especially not the kind of attention he’s gotten since. The guy lost a lot of money and followers. But it was like burning away the dead wood. I really am hoping he finds a nice woman to marry and start a family with, and that his message reaches more young men and encourages them to get back to church.

        Roosh is a guru I absolutely take seriously. One of the few.

        Like

    • Yes exactly. There’s so much marketing and persona-building it’s very hard to tell who is authentic and who isn’t. The online guru might seem like they have it all, but in real life could be the proverbial jobless potbellied dude living in his parents’ basement.

      Or be Tomi Lahren, so miserable that, instead of taking a good, hard look at themselves, lash out with ridiculous blanket statements about half of the world’s population.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander

        Yes! The lifestyle guru is a pet peeve of mind. Anthony Robbins is the epitome of the shuckster grifter i loathe. Oprah’s another.

        The few people I sorta listen to are modest and rather testy about the universality of their experience. However it’s precisely that modest that rings authentic. And so I’m willing to listen

        xavier

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Alexander

    Yes! The lifestyle guru is a pet peeve of mind. Anthony Robbins is the epitome of the shuckster grifter i loathe. Oprah’s another.

    The few people I sorta listen to are modest and rather testy about the universality of their experience. However it’s precisely that modest that rings authentic. And so I’m willing to listen

    xavier

    Liked by 1 person

    • “The few people I sorta listen to are modest and rather testy about the universality of their experience. However it’s precisely that modest that rings authentic. And so I’m willing to listen”

      Exactly. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a pretty decent test as to whether the person is credible.

      Like

  3. —I think a lot of self-help advice online is valid, same with the information in books; but after a point it’s different ways of saying the same thing usually. Which is fine overall since presentation impacts people differently and while a blog with solid suggestions may not work, a book will or vice versa.

    —Regardless of the advice, most of which can be distilled, for example as: Fake it till you make/lift weights with cardio, concentrate on good form and strength will follow/work towards your passion/focus on the good, be appreciative/ avoid sugar, carbs, processed foods, eat vegetables, and toxic people and so on and so forth, the point is to eventually do it. Taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

    —If you want to meet women you have to have the confidence to talk to them and be a well developed person so you have interesting things to say and the assurance to back them up. If you want to be a guitar player in a band you gotta learn the instrument and write songs. Want to get stronger lift weights. If you don’t know how, find someone to teach you, after a certain point it’s down to repetition and diet and self-discipline.

    —So I think for the most part you are right in your cautioning about advice. In my experience, a lot of it boils down to the same points and different ways of saying it. Sure there are different ways of lifting weights but the healthiest and most effective have a history backing them up and once you learn the form you’re good to go.

    Alex wrote: “…Other gurus admit that their way worked for them, and that it may work for you too….”

    —It’s a good qualifier. I’ve taken good advice from different sources and distilled them for myself, I figure this is what most people do anyway. Again, the trick is in taking action; reading this stuff can feel good, can cheer you up which is good too but it might leave you feeling you’ve done the thing you’ve read about while sitting on your couch which defeats the purpose.

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s absolutely the same thing packaged many different ways. The thing is, like McLuhan famously said, the medium IS the message. Some media of transmitting the same message sticks with some people better than others. And that’s all good!

      Like

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