What We Discuss with James Jani:
- Why “hustle culture” is a bankrupt paradigm that makes it easy for fake gurus to prey upon society’s very young and very desperate.
- Why the so-called Law of Attraction that tells you you only have to think positive thoughts to “manifest” the good things you want out of life is bunk.
- How studying philosophy exercises your grey matter and sharpens your critical thinking skills (so you can better resist nonsense like the Law of Attraction).
- Why the Just World Fallacy that explains away suffering as a deserved consequence of wrongdoing is just a dangerously convenient way for people to bypass empathy for the world’s unlucky have-nots.
- How we can use street epistemology to help people question their unfounded beliefs.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
As it turns out, there are a lot of people out there jumping at the chance to show you how to help yourself — for a fee. A scant few may impart genuine wisdom that can help you along your journey, but they’re hard to spot among the countless number of shysters looking to make a buck from your desire to “manifest” a shortcut to the good life. They want you to know that if you broadcast positive vibrations to the universe, there’s a “Law” of Attraction that dictates you’ll be rewarded. On the other hand, you can only expect a dose of cosmic retribution if you’re committed to transmitting negativity (which is a bummer compounded if, for example, you happen to be clinically depressed). It’s an overly simplified explanation for how reality works that most kindergartners would question, but many adults don’t. Which is a shame because, of course, it’s total nonsense.
On this episode, we’re joined by fellow skeptic and documentary YouTuber James Jani to poke holes in this so-called “Law” of Attraction that’s suckered at least one of your favorite celebrities in the hallowed halls of Oprah herself, examine why the Just World Fallacy is just a dangerously convenient way for people to bypass empathy for the world’s unlucky have-nots, how studying philosophy teaches you to think critically, how we can use street epistemology to help others question their unfounded beliefs, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Microsoft Teams lets you bring everyone together in one space, collaborate, draw live, share, and build ideas with everyone on the same page and makes sure more of your team is seen and heard with up to 49 people on screen at once. Check out microsoft.com/teams for more info!
Miss the conversation we had with scambuster Coffeezilla? Catch up with episode 368: Coffeezilla | How to Expose Fake Guru Scams here!
Thanks, James Jani!
If you enjoyed this session with James Jani, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Law of Attraction: Fact or Fiction? | James Jani
- The Dark World of New Age Gurus | James Jani
- James Jani | YouTube
- James Jani | Instagram
- James Jani | Twitter
- James Jani | Facebook
- How to Avoid Scams | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Coffeezilla | How to Expose Fake Guru Scams | Jordan Harbinger
- How James Jani Got Started on YouTube | The Drip
- The Rise of Fake Gurus: The Dark Truth Behind Making Millions from Online Courses | James Jani
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- What Happened When I Followed the Secret’s Advice for Two Months | Slate
- What is Action Faking? | Tiny Leaps, Big Changes
- Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins | OkDork.com
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) | Good Therapy
- The Toxic World of Self Help: Hustle Culture, Toxic Positivity, Addiction, and Fake Gurus | James Jani
- The Only Amazon Dropshipping Guide You Need for 2021 | Shopify
- Understanding the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon | Healthline
- I’ve Got a Secret: The Law of Attraction Is a Lie | Jonathan Fields
- “Everything Is Energy and That’s All There Is To It.” | Quote Investigator
- Josh Samani: What Can Schrödinger’s Cat Teach Us About Quantum Mechanics? | TED-Ed
- The Multilevel Marketing Cults: Lies, Pyramid Schemes, and the Pursuit of Financial Freedom | James Jani
- Is Joe Dispenza’s Explanation of Quantum Physics Correct or Is It All a Big Scam? | r/quantum
- Eat, Pray, Lie: Holistic Wellness Scams in the Age of Social Media | Kinesis Magazine
- Michael Shermer | Why We Believe Weird Things | Jordan Harbinger
- Mick West | How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories | Jordan Harbinger
- 6 Tips for Teaching Yourself Philosophy | Brain Fodder
- What is Philosophy? | Crash Course Philosophy #1
- The Just-World Fallacy | You Are Not So Smart
- Abraham Hicks: Why Are Some People Born Suffering? | Inner Freedom System
- Street Epistemology
- The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time | Gizmodo
James Jani | Repelling the Law of Attraction Myth (Episode 515)
Jordan Harbinger: Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles transform the way they work. After closing their New York City showroom, they started doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, people from all over the world can come into their showroom. Learn more at microsoft.com/teams.
[00:00:15] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:18] James Jani: That was a really funny quote. I don't know where I saw this, but it was like self-help. It's like basically the advice your parents give you, but you don't listen to it. Like you need someone who's in a guru position to tell you. You're like, "Wow, this is like revolutionary.
[00:00:36] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional Russian chess Grandmaster, war correspondent, or rocket scientists. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:03] If you're new to the show or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we now have episodes starter packs. And these are collections of your favorite episodes organized by popular topics, that'll help new listeners or just people jumping in, get a taste of everything that we do here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. Just go to jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get started with us, which of course I always appreciate.
[00:01:27] Today on the show, you might've seen this crap on YouTube, where somebody talks about finding some bracelet in a Chinese market and they start having luck and they get a promotion and then they find a boyfriend and whatnot. Have you all seen these? Maybe you've heard about the law of attraction, where if you think about things in the right way, you can manifest them into your life, through the power of your mind and the vibrations of the universe, et cetera. None of this, of course, is scientific. It is all designed to sell you something, whether it's the aforementioned piece of junk bracelet that they get off Taobao or just false hope packaged as an expensive seminar or a retreat of some kind, or even just an ebook.
[00:02:04] Today, James Jani, a popular YouTuber who debunks a lot of these bad ideas and bad thinking — and is therefore a man after my own taste — will join me as we do a takedown of some of this so-called new thoughts, hustle culture, the guru model of pseudoscience peddling, and more. So, if you liked our episodes on Internet scams, fake gurus, and our MLM, multilevel marketing bashing, and other debunking episodes, you're going to dig this one as well.
[00:02:30] And if you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers and creators every single week, it is because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course, or, you know, just skip my free drills and manifest a network into your life, through the power of quantum mojo or magic wormholes.
[00:02:49] Here we go with James Jani.
[00:02:53] I'd love to get the background on you because you know, I saw your videos popping up in my — I guess you'd call it YouTube feed, but also I don't surf YouTube, as probably boomers call it. I don't just go there and start looking for stuff to watch generally. But I saw a thumbnail where you were talking about scams and he had my boy Coffeezilla in there, who's been on the show. And I was like, "Oh, this guy is probably legit." Or he's taken down Coffeezilla, in which case, you know, I want to let him know.
[00:03:19] But it was a good kind of clip of you doing some stuff that I'm very interested in; namely, taking a big chunk of the scams that we see online and the law of attraction and all that stuff that we're going to shred today and really kind of giving it a good whack. And I like that because there's a lot of people in my inbox. There's a lot of people that get scammed by this. And honestly, I don't know about you, but I see people that should just freaking know better going, "Maybe there's something to this," and I'm like, "No, there's not!"
[00:03:48] James Jani: Yeah, yeah.
[00:03:49] Jordan Harbinger: It is a scam. So tell me how you got interested in this.
[00:03:52] James Jani: Yeah. Oh man — where it's even begun? I think the kind of channel has almost in a way become like my own journey with all of the subjects.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:00] James Jani: I initially kind of got into this through a lot of like — I don't know, like if there's a better way of phrasing it, but sort of like the Instagram entrepreneurial type of culture that we see where someone who's like the entrepreneur on the Instagram bio and like they've got mentions and they've got Ferrari's in the back and all of these. It's kind of like this presentation of what entrepreneurship supposedly is. It's like some romanticized version of it.
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: A caricature of it, right?
[00:04:24] James Jani: Right. Yes. Yeah. Very much so. And that's kind of my intro to entrepreneurship and I was very bought into the idea at the start. And that made me encounter a bunch of gurus, which I then went on to talk about in one of my videos. The second video on the channel was called the Rise of Fake Gurus. And it was about this whole epidemic of this type of entrepreneur. And essentially, all videos, which was obviously, that was the first video that actually started blowing up on the channel. A couple of months later, it kind of then led me to talking about my experiences with self-help. And I also talked about this whole thing, where if you sort of drew a sort of Venn diagram of a bunch of these, whether it's this kind of world of entrepreneurship or whether it's multilevel marketing or whether it's law of attraction, which we'll get into sooner, you'd sort of see an overlap in all of these areas — or self-help as well, you'll see an overlap.
[00:05:10] And that's kind of where my journey with the channel has led me because after making that video, you know, at one point I was just like, man, okay, I need to talk about like my whole journey with the sort of world of self-help or just going through the kind of self-help phase, right? For lack of a better word, which for me came — how many? I don't know how many years ago it has been now. It was like when I was first getting into sixth form. It was a friend, a good friend of mine, who I'd seen reading this book, which was How to Win Friends & Influence People, which I actually think is a pretty good book.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's like — that is so funny. You should mention that because that's the book where you go, "Man, there's got to be something to this." And some old friend or friend of your family gives you this book and you go, "Oh yeah, this is really cool. Be interested in other people. I like that." And then it's like three years later, you're reading about The Secret and you're like, "I'm just going to manifest all my Ferrari's and my money." And it's like, "Wait, how did you make yourself dumber over the last couple of — what happened to you?"
[00:06:01] James Jani: Literally, it's so interesting because that does happen. And you kind of go into these. Like there's various ways to get into it, which is interesting. I kind of started with this book. I thought it was a great book and it had elements of truth to it. Like there's so many things in How to Win Friends & Influence People that I do use today. And obviously now it was kind of outdated or like most common knowledge kind of advice, but I thought it was a good book. It kind of led me to reading more and more books.
[00:06:22] Fast forward, sort of two years later, I started noticing that actually there's a lot of areas of this kind of industry that aren't necessarily that helpful or more of it are actually just ways of procrastinating, but thinking that you're not procrastinating. I use like a term that might be kind of favorite author MJ DeMarco uses, which is — oh God, what is it? It literally slipped out of my — it's a type of productivity where you don't realize that it's actually procrastination.
[00:06:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, action-faking.
[00:06:46] James Jani: That's it! That's it, action-faking, yeah.
[00:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: So this is — for people who haven't heard that term. Action-faking is it's a great term because it feels like you're doing something, but you're not actually doing it. So some common examples of this would be — and we've all done this, so I'm not trying to call you. Don't feel attacked if you're listening to this and you're like, "That's me." Making a schedule of what you're going to do and then going, "Well, I made the schedule. I'm just going to go eat a pizza now because I was productive today." Or the common example in the entrepreneurial scene would be making the business cards, having those printed out, making the Instagram handle, putting up a graphic, but never actually starting any real element of the business — never making a sale, never creating the actual product.
[00:07:25] And this is bad for you, not just because it wastes time and procrastinates, but because it creates — I guess it creates a little bit of cognitive dissonance because you know deep down you haven't done anything, you haven't made any changes. You haven't created any element of the business. You got out the bread and you laid it out on the table and you thought about making the sandwich. But at the end of the day, you just have some moldy bread or some stale bread, and you haven't done any of the real work to build anything.
[00:07:51] And people will live, they will live in that for years. And these gurus and these fake kind of law of attraction people, and these MLMs, they know that. They know that you will buy the starter pack and never do anything and they don't care. So they base their whole business around that in the first place, but I'm jumping the shark here.
[00:08:10] So you started off getting into Dale Carnegie or whatever, totally legit. And then it's like..."Wait a minute. This is starting to become helpful." And I have to admire yourself awareness to have picked up on that within a few months or a few years, because I know people that have been in the self-help industry for half a decade and they still haven't kind of gotten the message that it's BS or they're on their seventh MLM. And I'm like—
[00:08:36] James Jani: Right, yeah.
[00:08:36] Jordan Harbinger: Do you just don't want to understand that you're getting scammed. Like where are you with this? You know?
[00:08:40] James Jani: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's a whole other kind of subject because I think what you commonly see and I've noticed as well as there will be people who will go from one thing to the next, it's really weird — there's like reasons for it, I guess. In many ways it comes from the idea of hope. Like this next one is actually going to be the thing.
[00:08:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:59] James Jani: And then if you go kind of deeper than that, you realize it's something to do with trying to do a shortcut whether it's like trying to get wealth, whether it's trying to get like happiness, or even trying to, I guess, find a sense of community. You often find that with MLMs as well, where people — I guess, with cults in general, actually, if you just look at any kind of cult that this whole idea of like a community, it feels like you're part of this group. That's kind of what these things are very good at giving you, which I guess fuels that idea of like going from one thing to the next.
[00:09:23] I mean, I've gone to seminars, I've spoken to so many people in these sort of self-help circles. When I started to just see that pattern emerge, then I kind of like — I have read so many books on this stuff. And I literally did a recent clearing. I haven't got a bag, like to my side, which is all like the crappy self-help books I read. There's only a few which have been like gems and those like good books for me, very few of them. But those were the ones where I felt that they kind of opened my eyes a little more to realize that, "Oh like, okay. I'm reading the same message in the same book. And it's like the same tropes."
[00:09:52] There was someone that was a really funny quote. I don't know where I saw this, but it was like, self-help is basically the advice your parents give you, but you don't listen to it. Like someone who's in the guru position to tell you, and you're like, "Wow, like this is like revolutionary. I guess in many ways, that's what it kind of seemed like. There was also the elements of self-helpers. It's really difficult for someone to give this kind of advice to such a huge audience.
[00:10:15] So for example — I don't want to name drop too much but if you look at Tony Robbins in front of an audience, right? It's like, there's so many people in this audience, the advice that you give can not apply to all these people. But I guess it's like something that I've come to realize. And this is another thing where I realized it's so easy to be in the world of self-help when you initially kind of start when you're in a vulnerable spot, it makes you feel better and you feel good about it. And it's so easy when you're in that spot or feeling good to kind of talk about success or give to other people, like, I found myself becoming this person who, anytime I spoke to someone, I was like trying to give them help or like trying to give them, but this is really silly.
[00:10:50] And then only when you kind of face stuff in your life or just bad things start to happen. Things don't go your way. And that's when you realize, "Hang on. A lot of this advice isn't actually helpful." And you realize, yeah, like a lot of these people were just giving this very general basic advice. This really sounds great when everything's going well. But then when you actually get into like the thick and thin of a difficult situation, and you start to realize there's a lot more to this than the kind of packaged advice that you will find in a lot of self-help.
[00:11:19] Jordan Harbinger: There's nothing more ironic and cliche than — I got to be really careful not to accidentally call out people that I know or that we know or that are well-known. There's nothing more sort of cliche than the person who quits their job or can't find a job. And it's kind of still living with their parents, but kind of wants to move out and then like takes a yoga teacher training. And you're like, "Oh good. They're getting some exercise." And then like three months, nine months later, you see them and you go, "What are you doing?" And they're like, "Oh, I'm starting a coaching—" And you're like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You have just barely become a person that isn't complaining non-stop about their life. Like you bought a dog and you became a trainer of NLP or something like that. How are you now suddenly a life coach? Like you're the most lost person in our entire circle of 25 friends. Why are you now the guru coach?" And I get it.
[00:12:10] It's not that they're scam artists suddenly, right? Not always anyway, or I should say, not even usually. It's that they went to, like you said, some seminar, they got a bit of advice and they were like, "Oh yeah, how you do—" What's a cliche like? "How you do anything is how you do everything. I have to tell everyone this, because that's the thing that I think clicked for me." And then you go and you tell everyone this, and then suddenly it's like, "Wait a minute. If I think about that really hard, it doesn't really mean anything." You know, it kind of does, but it kind of doesn't and they haven't really built anything, but they feel stable for the first time in their life, but they still don't have an actual calling or an actual purpose or an actual thing that they feel really interested in doing. So they fall in love with the material that they're using to try and seek that. And they're kind of confusing the Kung Fu with the Enlightenment or the meditation with the Enlightenment, right? And it's like, hey, this is a journey you're on. And you think you're at the top of this mountain because for the first time you've got your footing, but you're still so far down the mountain. You just have no idea where you are. So you probably shouldn't become a coach or a guru or anything like that.
[00:13:17] And I think for me — you know, I used to be heavy, heavy duty into the self-help stuff. And now I give advice on Fridays on this show, but it's like very specific, very detailed, tailored to the person who's writing the letter. And it's not this sort of generalized life advice because after 10, 11 years in the self-help industry and now doing The Jordan Harbinger Show, which I think is not self-help, I'll be clear on that. I realize you can't just tell a room full of 3000 people, one little bumper sticker or a hundred little bumper stickers and be like, "My work here is done." Brush your shoulders out. Like that's not how this sh*t works. You're just giving general advice. And all you do at that stage is you go, "I'm going to make all these people feel really good. And then I'm going to walk away. But now before I sell them some protein shakes."
[00:14:01] James Jani: Yeah, of course. Yeah, you got to hear that, man. You can't do the upselling.
[00:14:05] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[00:14:05] James Jani: That's exactly how it is. Yeah. And I think another issue is you find that a lot of it is kind of unregulated. What I realized is what was this whole, like the self-help guru or the life coach that kind of became like a replacement for some people for actual therapy from professionals that, you know, have gone and like graduated in that field and have been trained properly. It's like, they're suddenly being replaced with a life coach. And you don't know if this person has gone through the training or actually knows how to treat any serious issues that these people are going to you before. And then the big thing there is that that's important because a lot of what self-help is, is actually attracting people that are in vulnerable situations.
[00:14:42] And you get this with the law of attraction, I guess we'll come to that now as well, where you have people that do have serious problems that are now going to this life coach or this seminar expecting that this advice is going to save them. These people were like one, most of them are not qualified at all. Two, these people don't even try and test their advice. I think there's a lack of people trying to actually validate what kind of advice they're giving or to try — and it's difficult to do this. I understand, but to try and measure empirically what they're saying and how it affects.
[00:15:12] Whereas if you look in an actual field where this is like a profession, this is what they will do. You will have studies that are out there. They try to measure the actual impact of the advice that's being given. When you have these people going to the life coach, instead of the therapist, it's like becomes this problem where you could very well be giving a hundred terrible advice, terrible advice, and no one's there to kind of stop it.
[00:15:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right, because there's no licensing body. There's nothing. I remember — I've talked about this on the show before I go into these self-help seminars, that turn out to be super cult-y and I just go, "What is happening here?" And you look around and you're like, "Am I the only person? Why am I the person who's not running?" And then they're like, "You're a bad sport. You have negative energy." And I'm like, "No, I just realized what's going on here." Like, this is a hard sale. It's an upsell. This is all dangling in front of you. Like they're ripping open our emotional wounds, like, you know, throwing in whatever sort of cliche for these seminars but these people haven't been to a bunch. And the clincher for me was I started to ask — and this is why I was asking not to return, one of the reasons I'm sure, was I said to all of these like session leaders who are running this, our little breakout sessions, I go, when did you take this program? And it was like last week or last month. And I go, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. You're. The session leader in the back of the room, facilitating everything. And you took the same — you were in this chair three weeks ago?"
[00:16:30] "What on earth is going on here? Like you have zero qualification. You came to this as lost or more than anyone else in this room three weeks ago. And we're supposed to believe that you are now qualified because you're 48 hours ahead of us on this instructional f*cking annual." Like give me a break. But you know, I got to ask you this, and this is what some people are saying is like, look, you read a book or you go to a seminar, you feel like you've leveled up and just because you get a dopamine hit. Maybe you don't really level up. You probably don't in fact. You get a dopamine hit. It's like a drug, it's an addiction, but isn't this a good addiction? I mean, look, if we're going to get addicted to something, shouldn't it be learning new skills or learning some life coaching stuff, you know what's the harm. That's what people are going to ask, right?
[00:17:12] James Jani: True, yeah. And it's a good question. I don't necessarily — and sometimes I feel like I do have to caveat things a bit where I don't think all self-help is bad. There are elements of it, which can be good and can be useful. And in many ways you do also have the consumer that's going to take a bit of responsibility. Where I think it's bad in the, at least the material harm is in situations, which I just described where it's like with actual serious issues of going to like life coaches or spiritual teachers trying to get advice, whether it's on like medicine or whether it's like an actual mental health problem that they have to deal with.
[00:17:40] And that's where if you give that person bad advice that could potentially have very like serious material harm to that individual or the material harm can come in the fact that these people were either being precious sold in some situations with some gurus at the end where they're being told to out loans. Go into debt to buy the next program, which is ridiculously priced. These are situations where it is putting harm on the individual. And other situations where it's just the case that someone is in this pattern. And then the cycle of just reading a bunch of self-help from authors who may not necessarily even have a huge business behind it, or may not be nefariously trying to pull you in and sell you on a big thing, but you as a consumer of doing it. Then in that case, I think that is where a consumer has to take their own responsibility over their actions and be able to say, "Okay, I can spot that this pattern is happening. I've kind of got to relax. I've kind of got to like actually doing something here."
[00:18:31] Yeah, I guess there's a nuance to that. I don't want to like kind of be sitting here and saying, and sometimes I feel like it's more like this caveat I lacked in the video that I made about the self-help, The Toxic World of Self-Help, which is what I called it at the time, was that I just didn't add in this sort of slight nuance message where it's not all bad. And there is some responsibility on the consumer to also be aware of their own patterns. But that being said, I think there's a large, large chunk of that self-help industry, which is in the sort of portion of it, where it leads to material harm, where people that aren't qualified or professional giving advice to people that need actual serious help or selling people ridiculously expensive things. Like selling to the wrong people, to the people that they shouldn't be selling this kind of stuff to for that price and it was sort of thing. And I think that's a large chunk of self-help, which is unfair—
[00:19:13] Jordan Harbinger: I agree.
[00:19:13] James Jani: —for those that I think are trying to be a bit more legitimate, trying to sell to the right kind of people that actually — they can provide value to et cetera, et cetera. I think it's unfortunate for those, but yeah, there's definitely a nuance there, there is absolutely.
[00:19:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think the big secret and you reveal this in the video — and we're going to link to a bunch of the videos that I used to prep this interview in our show notes. So people will see these and can go to the source material and watch and listen to your hypnotically, sexy, British accent, narrate all of this, instead of listening to me, yell at him.
[00:19:40] But the big secret here is you are more valuable to the self-help industry, unhappy/broken/discontented. You're just more valuable that way than you are happy and fulfilled. And that is one of the reasons that I wanted to get out of the industry because we were teaching — years ago, I used to teach like social skills and things like that and the ideal client just outgrew us. But then, we were like, "Well, crap." And then, you know, our business consultants go, "You need something else to sell them." And we're like, "No, because then we can't focus on the people that really need our help."
[00:20:09] James Jani: Right.
[00:20:09] Jordan Harbinger: And they're like, "Yeah. What you need to do is make them — leave them wanting more." And I'm like, "No, I want them to leave, going, 'I'm done.' Not like, 'Oh man, now I got to buy the next thing.'" I didn't want to do that. And that's a problem because, unfortunately, in many successful self-help businesses, there is no actual incentive for the guru, the teacher, the instructor to help people make lasting change.
[00:20:32] One, it's harder to do because you have to do so much work. You've got to tailor stuff to your client or to your customer. And it's also just really easy to keep people hooked, upsell you into something else. Like rip open all your childhood wounds and then go, "But you know, in our advanced class, we're going to go over how to handle all these," but then of course you don't do it then either you just sort of dig like one layer deeper. And it's like, "Well, when are we going to fix this problem?" And by the time that they've done their, you know, your nine-day $19,000 course, they're just desperate for a solution because you've ripped open their childhood trauma or given them some new ones. And it's that feeling of inadequacy that keeps people coming back. That's the dark secret, right? Is that they don't want to freak and help you fix anything. They want to keep you where you're at or make it worse.
[00:21:17] James Jani: Yeah. Well, it's certainly for some, I mean, obviously, there are those that don't try and do that. I believe that there are people—
[00:21:22] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:21:22] James Jani: —actually just want someone to, but yes, there is like that toxic thing of, we need to find the next big thing to sell them on the next upsell. And it becomes like you assume that you're trying to solve this issue that this person has, whatever they've come to you for. But at the same time, what you're hoping to get out of them is just another sell on the next product, as opposed to them getting a solution and being out on their way. That is where it does definitely get toxic. I can imagine. And it's interesting hearing you saying that kind of environment does exist because that's what I imagine happens, like with some of these people behind closed doors they talk about, "What's the next thing we got to upsell them on? What's the next big program?" And it becomes a case of like, we try to not see them as much, like when we try and actually help them, yeah, and that's another element of it that gets toxic.
[00:22:04] Jordan Harbinger: And as a self-help instructor or a guru or whatever you want to call it, which I had never liked that word, of course, I didn't even like the word coach, but it was all there was — you build yourself into like a business prison, right? Because you find the ideal client as someone that outgrows everything that you have, right?
[00:22:21] James Jani: Yeah.
[00:22:21] Jordan Harbinger: And then you go, "Oh, well, I'll just build more that they can grow into." But then you have to do a bunch of work. To build that, you have to work on yourself, hire new coaches that are "evolved" to be there. So you're building a new business. Why are you going to build something that's 10 times harder to get one-tenth of the people who are like up towards the top of the totem pole, when there's this wide net of people at the bottom and this funnel of people at the bottom. So you start either tailoring your stuff to the lowest common denominator. So you have a wide range of customers, and then you're losing all your qualified people that you would actually hang out with after the seminar. Like those people don't want it, they don't need you anymore. Or you're building for people that are more and more evolved and it's smaller and smaller, which means you're charging more and more, which means you have to bring more and more value, which is really, really hard.
[00:23:07] And I felt like, I'm just building a trap for myself and I don't really want to be in this mess. And not that I have any sympathy for people who are trapping themselves in this, but I do understand how good people who get into self-help, look around 10 years later and they're like, "Wait, how did I get into conning people on email funnels and like selling BS supplements." And like, because that's the only area of growth for the business. And most people aren't content to make the same amount of money every single year for a decade, right? They want to grow, especially if they're good at building a business. I want to get into the hustle porn and hustle culture, speaking of business building. You did a video on this. And I thought, you know, this is interesting because I'm a big critic of this. One, I worked on Wall Street and I got burned out. Two, I built my own business here with my wife. And there is a lot of pressure in the entrepreneur space for people to just work themselves, almost to death, in some cases, literally.
[00:24:03] James Jani: Yeah. And this was kind of part of the self-help video as well, where I mentioned, and I kind of touch on this topic also because it becomes, so there's like a few things that I've even observed since making the video. So like, I think my initial message with the video was that there's this weird thing that self-help has created or this kind of industry of self-help or the Instagram entrepreneur where this idea of looking as though you're working hard or like having the image of like you're hustling, right? And that's the image that is created, but then in fact then it's like contradicted by the fact that you're not actually really doing anything and whatnot.
[00:24:32] But then there is also the side of hustle culture and whatnot, which is about overworking yourself like an insane amount. And you're like, see these sort of classic information videos where it's like, "I'm waking up at 4:00 a.m. Or waking up at 3:00 a.m." It's like, they go back one hour, each new video, like, "I'm waking up at 1:00 a.m." It's like, when does it stop? And it's just like we're working, working, working, working really hard. And even I ran into this issue recently where I'd been very much like working myself a lot because I was trying to create these videos for the channel.
[00:25:06] And I was dealing with all the sides of things like just the overall business of the channel and starting to build out the team and whatnot, and literally be like Monday to Sunday. But what I realized, and this was a very recent realization, which is, I guess, it's good timing that we're talking about it. What I realized was I was becoming less productive. I was hitting a point where it was like diminishing returns. So it was putting all this energy in and then I'd sit back at the end of a Sunday, after like not giving myself any of the same and just like trying to do work. And I look, and I'm like barely got anything done because I was just trying to put in so much work and just exhausted so that the quality of the work — number one, it was bad. I just wasn't able to focus too much on it. I never gave myself a time to actually even just reset and look at what I'm doing and be able to say, "Actually, this is kind of inefficient. I've got to stop doing this. I got to put more time into this." I don't need to give myself that time.
[00:25:53] And then looking at that and realizing, "Oh, actually this is doing far more harm in the long run than it is in the short-term." So coming to that realization was also important. And it's obvious, there's this whole idea of being the person that's hustling all the time. It's sort of an attitude that you commonly do see. And I was even going to be a bit charitable. I would say that like, especially in the case of like, I guess if you're looking at someone who's starting up a business in sort of those situations where at the start, you kind of expect there's a little bit of, it's not going to be too balanced. Like there's going to be a lot of emphasis at the start of the business. And hopefully, if things go well, when everything pans out well, then you're able to then bring more people into the team and your actual time into the businesses starts to decrease and you give yourself more of a break. But that's kind of, not really the attitude that's preached about nowadays, which is where we get into the kind of hustle culture thing. What are your thoughts on it? Because that's kind of covered my thinking around it.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Look, I think you mentioned something that I wanted to latch on to — working on the wrong thing. There's a lot of folks out there that are not taking a pause in the so-called hustling to think about where they're actually going. And I don't just mean a lack of planning. I mean, people doing — and I've talked about this on the show before like, "Going all in. Quit your job. Tell your parents to go freaking fly a kite." And it's like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You're cutting off your runway. You should live with your parents and you should have a regular job that has income when you're 18 years old, so that you can spend a few hours every day or whatever on your side hustle to see if it's going to freaking work. Don't quit your job as a server and then live on your friend's couch until they kick you out because you're a deadbeat pain in the ass so that you can spend all day on Twitter, trying to figure out how to do lead gen out of nowhere, by buying some product from somebody.
[00:27:33] I've said this many, many times, I don't want to beat the dead horse here, but a lot of these gurus, they want you to quit your job so that the only option you have is to buy and join their high-level mastermind because otherwise you're completely effed because you don't have a job and you don't have a place to live. And your friends and parents now hate you because you have burned all your bridges. Like they want you to isolate yourself, so that you're like, "Well, I guess I better give my last $10,000 to this guy to join the mentorship program because this is my only path out. And then I'll show everyone that I knew what I was doing. And they'll be so sorry." And that's just not how this ever works. You want to leave yourself enough runway, but yeah, working on the wrong thing, never taking that pause in hustling to see where you're actually going.
[00:28:15] Also a lot of these gurus, they talk about ideas that they've never done any of this crap. This is not how they are making money. They are selling you the idea. You gave a practical piece of advice and you had a commonly known real estate scammer in the B-roll on the video, which I thought was funny because I think he said something along the lines of, "You know, if you just know that you're destined for more, but you just don't know the path like this is for you." And I'm like, "Okay, so you're describing everybody who thinks they're destined for greatness, but doesn't know how to get there." But your practical was ask yourself if what this person is telling me, the method they are telling me—
[00:28:54] James Jani: Right.
[00:28:55] Jordan Harbinger: —is this the method by which they got rich themselves. If they are a real estate guru, are they doing real estate deals? If so, how many? Why are they teaching seminars at the freaking airport Hilton? If they're so good at buying and selling multi-family property. Why are they — they're not telling us about their secret real estate system tricks while bro-ing out with whatever, like guru why aren't they busy doing business? I don't sell podcasting courses to teach people how to get rich in podcasts. I'm busy getting rich podcasting, people. Come on.
[00:29:25] James Jani: Yeah. That's the common thing that is seen there. And I remember this is especially like an early realization where I'm going to have to just slap myself because realizing that going through a lot of the gurus we're looking up to a lot of these gurus. And now I'm far more skeptical of this idea of like, they were selling you on something that actually is not the way in which they're making their money. It's a completely different thing. It's by selling you that thing. Essentially what I was realizing was there's something behind what was being taught and it's not actually what they're telling you. When I was going through a lot of the gurus, the Instagram entrepreneur type thing, you were kind of being sold on either fads or these kinds of — I don't really know. It's not like get rich quick, like business model type of thing. But it's the idea that like business entrepreneurship is about catching a wave or catching a fad, whereas it never really cut to a bit more deeper where it was like trying to potentially find a problem and creating a solution to that problem or finding something that has a lot of scale. It never really cut to it deeper.
[00:30:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right. No, it's, "Hey, you can make so much money dropshipping fidget spinners on Amazon." It's not, "Hey, here's how you find a niche that's good for you. And then build out that niche."
[00:30:27] James Jani: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, 100 percent dropshipping can work. You know I have a good friend of mine right now that does well with dropshipping. And I've spoken to them and it's like a lot of people would seem to think that it's like this thing of like, "Yeah, I'm just going to find a product on Alibaba and I'm going to just sell it on Facebook." And this isn't like you've got to actually apply some level of thinking and be like, "Okay, how can I actually market this product in a way? Is this a good product? How can I mark it so that, you know, the USP is clearly defined in its marketing and it's clever, et cetera?" And it's like that isn't sold when you're looking at these like Instagram entrepreneurs.
[00:31:03] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest James Jani. We'll be right back.
[00:31:08] Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles reinvent the way they work. When the pandemic hit, the bike shop had to close their New York City showroom. They found a way to reopen by doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, the team can meet with two or three times the number of customers than they could before. And people from all over the world can visit their showroom. Learn more about their story and others at microsoft.com/teams.
[00:31:32] Now, back to James Jani on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:31:37] But the reason I'm so against this is multifold in the first prong of this is that they primarily target kids, 18 to 24 or whatever, and desperate people. And I'm not saying that kids are dumb, but I am saying that if I'm 18 and I'm watching you on YouTube — well, not you because then I would know about it. Let's say I'm watching some stuff on YouTube, then an ad pops up and it's one of these guys with a cool haircut and a Maserati in the background. And like there's a girl in the bathtub that you can just kind of sort of see, right? You are saying, "Hey dork, you're probably at home right now on your crappy phone. Your mom is next to you. They're making you watch what they want to watch on their TV. You don't even have a car or your friends are all out not doing anything either. Look at me. I'm loaded, man. All you have to do is just scrounge up some cash. I know you got it somewhere. My first training is free anyway, just come and join me and be part of this elite club of guys that are much cooler than you have ever been in your whole life. And you can eventually leave and move to Miami and hang out with dudes to drive cars like this because you'll be one of us."
[00:32:42] That is what they are selling. They are selling the dream and you brought this up, right? The course content that they have doesn't matter. They're targeting kids, that's the other prong of it. And honestly, I have been approached to create podcast courses by people who are out selling the idea that you can get super rich podcasts. And I'm like, "You make the course, you're the one telling people this I'm the one telling people that podcasting is a terrible way to make money and that you have to win the podcast lottery and maybe start 14 years ago, like me helps. I'm not going to help you make a course on this." And I know you've mentioned it where there's these Amazon guys that are like, or it was a Coffeezilla — these Amazon guys were like, "Yeah, Amazon dropshipping and they reach out to somebody who you and I or Coffeezilla know. And they're like, "Hey, can you like make the course because we don't — we've never even seen this sh*t. Like we don't know anything about this. We're just selling it."
[00:33:30] James Jani: Yeah. Yeah. A big part of it is what I've been trying to — this is like a recent project that I've been working on, which is just like a passion project. I was trying to figure out — I don't have a position where I'm like, I don't think, online courses, like I've taken online courses for a bunch of different things. It's kind of similar to self-help where there's just this huge chunk of it that has become this whole thing of like selling this dream or targeting a vulnerable audience and whatnot. So if I don't think that online courses are bad, I need to figure out, okay, what would make the ethical kind of selling an online course? This was kind of, and I'm like working on like a whole document right now just to like trying to flesh these ideas out and their position. And one of the things I realized was a big part of it. What would separate, for example, someone ethically selling a course versus unethically selling a course is how much of a guarantee can the product or service fulfill on the promises and expectations it's setting out in the marketing.
[00:34:18] Because theoretically, that was a course, that everyone who took it, in this hypothetical universe, everyone who took it was making $10,000 a month in profit. Then you'd be silly not to market that as like, get out of your job. This thing is going to make you a whole other income. Like you can quit your job with this course because that's actually what you're guaranteeing. In that situation, I wouldn't consider that unethical. Or you look a lot of marketing today is somewhere or another target, like a vulnerability. Or, you know, maybe it's like a face cream, this kind of show someone with spots or like they don't look great or whatever. And then they apply the face cream in it and they look good or whatever it might be. That's technically talking of vulnerability, but I don't consider that as unethical because there's some level of guarantee that what the product is, is they will actually help you get to that.
[00:35:00] But it's when the course is so crazy in their promises. For example, in my opinion, Jordan, if you put out a course where it's like, "This is how I build my podcast, here's the business model that I use. This is the course that I've done." I wouldn't consider that unethical. If instead you went, "Guys, I've been making a ton of money from my podcast. Here's my students who are making a ton of money. Podcasting is great. .It is the thing that's kind of—" Like you kind of start to apply these high expectations where it's going to break you out of the nine to five. It's going to make you so, so rich. Whereas these are the things that you call it actually guaranteed with the product that you're offering. It's very hard to guarantee that. The expectation has shifted in that marketing, which then turns it into another unethical thing.
[00:35:37] Jordan Harbinger: That completely makes sense to me. And I'm with you on that. I love that distinction. I think that's well articulated. Because people will go, "What the hell? There's plenty of courses." Look, I have Skillshare. I'm learning Photoshop from there. "You sell Skillshare, Jordan. You're a hypocrite." You know, on The Jordan Harbinger Show, but Skillshare is not saying, "Hey, if you take this Photoshop class, you are going to get hired by Disney and they're going to pay you like a million-dollar bonus because you're going to be, you are going to be the balls, the dog's balls or whatever you get you say over the dog's bollocks at Photoshop. You're going to be so good at this."
[00:36:09] The thing is with something like podcasting, that may be even a great example because I know people that are wildly talented and very hard workers, and they have 20 years of experience working for like Canadian broadcasting corporation. And they're great interviewers. And like, "Jordan, I want to start a podcast." And I go, "Man, that's going to be really good. You know, you write well, your interviews are good." And they start a podcast and they go, "I'm getting like 350 downloads an episode. How do I grow this thing? Like, when I wrote for CBC, when I was on CBC radio, half of Canada was listening to me. Like, what's the problem?" And I go, "I mean, you kind of had to like get lucky and call in favors and do a bunch of swaps. And like, you got to pick up a marketing skill set that I'm going to take like 50 percent of your time. And then you got to hit, it helps you be of have money, then you can buy ads and like, that's going to take a decade." And they're going, "Wait, what? Is that the truth?" "Yeah, because when you work for CBC, they paid you $58,000 a year or $85,000 a year because they brought the audience to you and that's valuable. And no one can guarantee that you're going to get that audience." So it's considered an audience like customers, right? With any sort of course, that's where they build unrealistic expectations.
[00:37:17] You can teach somebody how the Amazon dropshipping backend works. Like that's probably available for free anywhere, but Amazon probably wants to teach you how to use that so that more people are doing it. It's the whole, "Oh, and then a bunch of people are going to buy this stuff at inflated prices and you get to keep the rest." Like that's the part that is frankly, a lie. And I will add to that, and this is the maybe third or whatever, prong of why I'm so against these kinds of courses, gurus by and large and I will say this with authority do not care about their audience or their customer. I say this because I know many of these guys in real life, we're not friends. I want to be very clear on that. I'm friends with many folks like yourself or whatever, but I'm not friends with a lot of these gurus. I just know them. We have circles. They invite me to these masterminds, whatever, but I hear from them, their teams and from whistleblowers and all of these other folks like that, I hear how they behave and how they talk when they are not camera facing.
[00:38:09] And frankly, it's disgusting. They don't give a single sh*t about the single mom with a special needs kid who just spent her life savings on their course only to be told that the so-called real secrets, they're only given at the super-duper inner circle, annual retreat in Fiji that she can never afford to go to. "And by the way, you can't get a refund on this other thing, because you have the binder that we sent you and that's the value," right? And we kind of talked about this with Coffeezilla. Like the refund policies are very tough, but these gurus universally are, I should say, 90 percent of the folks that I know that are in this guru space, they don't give a crap. They never talk about how their success stories are doing amazing. They only talk about their profile and what they've bought and how successful they are. They never mentioned their students. That should be a good red flag that everybody should pay attention to.
[00:39:02] James Jani: Yeah. It's like a huge chunk. It's not all, but it's like a huge chunk of people in this. And in many ways, like the passionate project of like creating a document that kind of outlines what I think are like distinctions between these two things is not really for — because I've had conversations with a lot of people since like making, for example, The Rise of the Fake Gurus video, people who were like either selling courses or doing coaching.I think they're really nice, like great people. They actually qualify in what they're trying to teach. Like they've done the thing that they're trying to coach others in, but they have a big fear in not wanting to seem like they're trying to basically like f*ck over their customers.
[00:39:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:31] James Jani: And they have a huge — because that fear has now been put in because of how bad the market has gone. And because there's been all this backlash that has come from it, whether it's from my channel, whether it's from like Coffeezilla or Mike Winnet, those are like the OGs who started seeing like the huge backlash that came about from this whole industry, because of that. Now, there's more attention for the people that are trying to be genuine. It's like, "Oh God, how do I do this so that I'm not in that category." And that's kind of one of the things that I've wanted to really pop, because I don't think a document like that will ever change. Someone who's going to look at this like a free document and then be like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to change everything." It's not really, yeah, you know what I mean?
[00:40:06] Jordan Harbinger: You're correct, man. Like I buy a lot of ads for The Jordan Harbinger Show and other podcasts and I'll see comments on Reddit, like, "Who the eff is this guy, just want to be a cult leader?" And I have to be like, you know, first of all, like incensed, "How dare you. I'm not—" And then I go, no, no, no, no completely reasonable suspicion that some guy who has a show named after himself, like what kind of narcissistic prick does that? And it looks a little self-helpy. But it's not, but you know, why would I investigate that? Because Jordan looks just like all these other schmoes everywhere else. So I go, you know, it's a reasonable but mistaken sort of idea because I don't sell anything. And that's one, one of the reasons I don't sell anything is because people go, "Oh yeah, nice run one of those protocols. So let me guess seminar inner circle." And I go, "Nothing for sale," and they go, "Oh, oh, well, okay. So what's your show about?" And I'm like, "A-hah, the key is I'm not making enough money. Like if I were making more money, you'd be really suspicious," but that's sad, right? Because if I actually have a really good skill set and I do plan on making a very specific course in a very specific niche that applies, and I have to have a great guarantee and it's not going to be about getting rich or podcasting or anything like that. I'm thinking about this and I'm always like, yeah, but I don't want to do this thing or that way, because then it seems like this it's a shame because it is really a classic example of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch. But the problem is it's like 70 percent of the apples are rotten in this industry, that's the problem.
[00:41:28] James Jani: Yeah.
[00:41:29] Jordan Harbinger: You know, the guru model, we've gone over a little bit, but it's like kind of, you know, YouTube ad free training, upselling to intro course slash product upsell to inner circle, upsell to super duper mastermind in Fiji. I always pick on Fiji, right? For these et cetera. And a lot of folks go, "Well, you know what? Fine, Jordan, James, I'm just going to go to the free trainings. I'm just going to go do the free webinars." You poke a little bit of a hole in this in one of your videos. And I thought this was interesting. What do the webinars do? Why can't you just go to the free ones and get a bunch of value?
[00:41:59] James Jani: Good question. I think a lot of the webinars, again, I can't say this is like over-generalize for every single webinar out there, but a lot of the webinars are specifically designed to not really answer any kind of question that initially hooked you into it. It's more designed to — it's basically just a three-hour pitch that is building you up to this, like suspense and hype around. "Oh God, like, I really need this. I really need to do this thing. Whatever it is, whatever business model they sold, you want whatever they said, this is what's making them millions or their students millions." It's to get you to that point where you're like, you really need it. You're being told about what the person, the guru's backstory. You're being told about the great things that this business model is. Maybe you're giving a little bit about the business model. And then right at the end, you're slapped with the course, but you've kind of gone through this entire webinar.
[00:42:39] It's designed quite well. There's a lot of — I tried to point out a few things that happened in the webinar that you will commonly see things where like, you know, first we'd be introduced with a sort of backstory. And then all of a sudden, it isn't a bad thing, but you have the backstory, then you start to get into the kind of never really answering the question, just giving you more of the promises. Here's what my students are doing. Expectations, expectations are built about something much greater than what the product is just supposed to be providing or what the product can actually guarantee. Then right at the end, you're typically given the countdown. Here's how much it costs or like they'll throw up a bunch of like numbers. Like, you've just come out of nowhere with these numbers of like how much this thing is really worth.
[00:43:14] And we'll be like, this is how much value you'll get. It's like the class thing. This is how much value you're getting with this. It's a number like completely thrown out of thin air. And then this is what you're actually given. It was just a marketing tactic, kind of giving you the larger number. And then you compare it relative to the second one. And that doesn't seem as big anymore, as opposed to, if you were just presented with that number from the start. And then you're given the fake countdown, you may even be told that the webinar is live, most of them. In fact, almost all of them are not live because obviously that just wouldn't be scalable, but you're told that it's live. It almost seems like it's live when you go through the classic ClickFunnels ad and then it looks like there's a countdown and they'll pretend to even be reading a chat.
[00:43:46] Like, oh God, it's so sleek. I had to go through like hours and hours and hours worth of webinars for that video. I can't tell you it's so annoying when it's like you get it. And they're like, "Oh, hey, like Thomas from England," or, "Hey Jerry from this." Like just reading all these names, you know, there's no chat there. You know, it's not live at all. They're just making it up.
[00:44:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So the live chat you're saying the live chat is fake. So there's a chat box on the side and it's like, "Hey Jordan, James, this is so amazing. You're dropping huge knowledge bombs y'all." It's like, we wrote that and it just comes up at a minute, 17. And we go, "Yeah, Jonathan from Albuquerque, what's up, Doug?" And we just scripted that whole thing. There's no one in the chat. You're the only — there's only five people watching this webinar. It's been played 7,000 times. It's on every Tuesday or whatever, yeah.
[00:44:35] James Jani: Or literally sometimes they won't be that live chat. It will just say something like, "If you have any questions, type here." They won't actually show you the chat. Just be like, this is the private chat between you and the guru. So like they're pretending that you're not going to see everyone else's messages between you and the group. Anyway, you go through that whole thing. And then at the end, you're typically given the worst type of ones. I remember seeing this a few times as where they give you the timer, the countdown. Knowing this isn't a live webinar, it's a complete fake time and scarcity of like, "We're only giving this offer now and they'll put like the five-minute timer and it goes down and down and down." And then they're saying like, "You got to take the opportunity now and they'll do these things like close your eyes. You know, really imagine like—" this is where it gets the marketing gets shady and it's like, what are you doing? Like you're completely overselling the expectations and what someone should expect when getting a product like this, or they'll make it seem extremely easy and spend like one sentence in that three hour webinar saying, "This is only for somebody who's going to work hard, but look, you don't need customers. You don't need to have any knowledge of the Internet. You don't need any marketing experience." I was like, whoa, whoa, you can't just use one-sentence offer and like spending two hours and a half like, describing how easy and basically saying this is super easy. Anyone can do it. Anyway, yeah, that's the webinar. It's not really something that's designed to help you in most cases.
[00:45:41] Jordan Harbinger: You did a funny side by side, in one of the videos where you showed one of the guys who, again, no names mentioned, but it was like you posted one is him standing in front of his dumb car. Right? And he's like, "This is for people that are kind of like me, like lazy, but they want to make a lot of money."
[00:45:57]James Jani: Yes.
[00:45:57] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm like, what on earth? First of all, effe you like, no one — shut your face. But second of all, then like five minutes later. And he's like, "This is for those who really want to hustle to get down to business, no fluff. I'm going to teach you the way. And you're going to have to grind, grind, grind, grind, grind." And then 15 minutes later, or five minutes later, it's like, "And you're going to be chilling while this thing runs itself in the background." And I'm thinking this is deliberate, right? Because first people who have selective hearing. If I'm like, "I'm ready to grind or ready to go." I don't want to hear how easy it is. I want to hear how, like, I'm one of the elite ready to cut through it. I just need someone to show me the way and I am going to run through walls. And then the people that go, "Oh man, you know, I'm kind of lazy. I just want to buy new stuff so that girls are like me." I'm only hearing those parts. Or I'm hearing the other parts, depending on what's going to sort of resonate with me the best. So if I'm a fake guru, I'm saying literally anything just to see what sticks onto certain leads, because other people will forget the rest of this.
[00:46:56] This is actually called the — and we'll revisit this in the law of attraction segment here on the show. This is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. And it's where if I talk about a blue car and you've got a blue car for your birthday, now you're seeing that blue car everywhere on the road. Some people call it a reticular activation system or some other fake fancy name, but it's just a form of selection bias or confirmation bias. And I will just say anything that I think will resonate with any large group of people. And then I will say the complete opposite, and it won't matter because people have selective hearing. It's just cognitive bias. So I might hear both of those things and I might go, "Yeah, it's easy said it's really easy, but I don't care. I am a super hard worker. I don't care if it's easy." So now I'm listening to this stuff where he says the best people are the ones that grind it out hard. That's me, right? That's how I identified.
[00:47:41] James Jani: Yeah.
[00:47:41] Jordan Harbinger: So you're right. It's just, they will take an hour long webinar. There's no content in it. It's just an upsell. So people who think I'm just getting the free webinars, like I'll just stay there. Fine. But you are literally just wasting your time. These are designed to not give you any actual value. The whole reason it exists is to get you into the paid program. There's no other benefit to these, generally.
[00:48:02] James Jani: Yeah. And as a disclaimer, for that video, that section where I was like, Putting that group, like what they've said and then what they like. So that was all from the same webinars. Some people might think that's from a completely different video. That was all from the same webinar. If you're lazy and you don't want to work, then you know, this is perfect for you. And literally in the same webinar would say, "But look, if someone's telling you that getting money quickly is easy, then they're just scamming and lying to you." I kid you not, that was all from the same webinar. I did not like to take these from different videos. Just a disclaimer for anyone that might be wondering because it could seem like that because it's just too good to be true.
[00:48:34] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:34] James Jani: No, it's literally all from the same webinar.
[00:48:36] Jordan Harbinger: It's just so wildly different that it's like, this can't even be the same guy in the same product and the same — no, it's in the same pitch. And this is like minute five and minute 15 saying the complete opposite different stuff, because he knows you're only listening to a few other things. So whatever's going to stick in your consciousness is what you decide. You've already, you already believe. Let's talk about law of attraction, because this is one of my favorite pet peeves. It's made famous by Oprah, which everyone loves Oprah. But I have to say shame on whatever producer, handler, assistant handed this to her, and then let her believe this unchecked. Like this is what happens when you have too many, yes men and women around you, because you believe some of the stupidest, most harmful crap that exists today.
[00:49:17] First of all, tell us what the law of attraction is because a lot of people probably don't even — haven't heard of it.
[00:49:22] James Jani: Yeah. I guess, to boil it down really simply, the law of attraction is this idea that your thinking or what you think plus fear was also a little caveat in there as well, becomes an actual thing. So I guess, a better way of thinking is like, if you're thinking positive or if you imagined yourself in a mansion and you really think about that mansion, and you really feel like you have that mansion, or maybe you go out and you create a mood board with a mansion on it, exact mansion that you want, or you go to like a open house of a mansion that this kind of what you're looking for. If you do these things and you really align your — and then we use the term like vibrations, because the idea is that your thoughts have vibrations. And if you match your thoughts' vibrations to this vibration of wealth or the mansion that you want to get this will materialize or manifest is the common word use, into real life.
[00:50:12] Now there's all sorts of different variations of the law of attraction. People will say, "Oh no, but that's not how it actually works," and it's something that they all kind of follow along. The similar trend of, if you think and feel this certain way, it will materialize in that way. And that's kind of the basis for what this law of attraction belief is.
[00:50:28] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, there's the obligatory fake Einstein quote. This is a fake Einstein quote, right? And we looked this up and you check this as well. Supposedly, the man said, "Everything is energy and that's all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help, but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics." Guy never said anything like that, right? Like fake, fake, fake, which makes sense. Right? I mean, if you don't have a fake Einstein quote or a fake Mark Twain quote, what are you doing with your life?
[00:51:00] James Jani: Right.
[00:51:00] Jordan Harbinger: But law of attraction, folks, they love to science things up in this is very common with pseudoscience bullsh*t in general.
[00:51:07] James Jani: Yes.
[00:51:08] Jordan Harbinger: One of the main fake words is quantum, right? It doesn't apply at all to any of the contexts that it's being used in. Go ahead though. I'd love to hear what you think about that because you shredded this and I loved it.
[00:51:19] James Jani: Yeah. There's a whole rabbit hole, I guess, and I think this is like common with any kind of pseudoscience where it is like trying to attach this idea to actual science and commonly the common thing that's used is like, quantum physics is like the thing that proves that it's a real thing. And you kind of hear people — bear in mind, a lot of this people that will say that this is due to quantum physics, come from people that aren't qualified at all. Like quantum physics is something where you really have to be qualified to know what you're doing. And there's like the common quote that you have for me was like, if you say you understand quantum physics, then you don't. It's like people that like studying this field will commonly say that. And you'll hear from somebody, who I'm not going to say names, but somebody who likes to put a doctor in their name when they're actually just a chiropractor. And we'll talk about quantum physics and how these things have been proven through — what's the really well-known experiment? The double slit experiment. Because I'm a layman, right? I don't actually, I haven't graduated in physics. Like this is a subject that's beyond me.
[00:52:13] Jordan Harbinger: You have a PhD from YouTube, like many of these guys.
[00:52:18] James Jani: Exactly. So I like during the research, I felt so stupid doing this. I'd have to let go of people with their like physics grads. Or like people that have studied quantum physics. And I'd have to ask them the questions we'll throw up these experiences. Just say, "Look, tell me, is any of this actually to do with the law of attraction?" And like, I'm getting the same responses, you know, it's like a laugh and it's like a joke. Like no one takes this stuff seriously in that actual field. But let's say you're not the actual expert in the field, or you're kind of critical thinking — and this isn't to sound patronizing because I would have fallen for this very easily. I have a full of elements of this in the past. Where if you like critical thinking, is it switched on enough? If someone comes in with a doctor in their name and they start talking about using words, like quantum or law. And they do it in such a way, which it almost always, it was like gaslighting you in a sense that they use these words so freely, but you think like, am I the crazy one for not realizing this is like a law, right? Because these words are thrown around so effortlessly. And so you kind of begin to buy into it and you see the thing that whoever is preaching these ideas to you is actually figuring all authority on the subject and you're like, "Wow. This is true. Like actual science backs this up." Reality is not science.
[00:53:20] One of the big reasons for this is cause, and this is also why, and I've mentioned this in this law of attraction series that I did is falsifiable. And that's why it's such a great grift, right? If a grifter was trying to get into this, because what you've got with the law of attraction is this idea that we can never really say, anytime, it doesn't go in that way, anytime you think something, and it doesn't occur in the way in which you were thinking about it, you can go to the guru, that's preached this idea to you and you can say, "Hey, look, I've tried it. I've done so much work and it hasn't worked," and the guru can say, "Well look, the reason it hasn't worked—" and they've got a bunch of excuses they've laid out. It's like, one, you didn't believe hard enough, right? As if it's something you can really measure. One, you didn't believe hard enough. Two, you weren't patient enough. You know, it was coming, you know, the vibrations were starting to get aligned. Like you can come up with whatever fluff you can. The vibrations were starting to come align. That you weren't patient enough. And it was just there. And you've kind of just, you weren't patient. You didn't stick to it or all the excuses you can use. It's just like any of these things that you can use as an excuse.
[00:54:16] Jordan Harbinger: One of the common ones that they're trying now is, "Oh, if this didn't work for you, it's probably because instead of manifesting the good stuff that you wanted, you're accidentally manifesting the negative outcomes that you didn't want by focusing too hard on not getting those, as opposed to actually going for the things you do want."
[00:54:36] James Jani: Yes.
[00:54:36] Jordan Harbinger:"So if you take my course, it's only $3,000 on how to manifest properly, then you can get the good results and not the bad results." And so you end up going, like you said, it's unfalsifiable, right? So this paves the way for those with bad intentions. You see it in other scams, like multilevel marketing, where, "Hey, if this didn't work for you, it's got to be your fault. Because look at this guy on stage, I mean, he's crushing it, selling overpriced toilet paper through Amway." Or, you know, "He's selling so many doTERRA essential oils. This has got to be a problem because look at all these great people. And that also goes into survivorship bias, which you bring up as well, where, "Yeah, maybe if I'm running doTERRA, I'm only putting the one in 10,000 people. That's actually profitable up on stage. In fact, you know what? Screw it. You don't have to be making any money. I'll just pay you to go up on stage and lie about it as long as you're a good speaker, because who's going to verify your income. You're not bringing your tax returns with you. Come on"
[00:55:32]James Jani: For sure. What is kind of sad is when you really look into it is you actually see the situations where it's almost like we were talking about self-help with like the life coach. Someone becomes a life coach because they hear about this stuff and they just feel like, "Oh, this is brilliant knowledge. Now, I can help so many people."
[00:55:44] You actually see a lot of people in this. Law of attraction space, get into it and teach other people and create their own courses. But they genuinely believe they don't actually think that they're doing anything harmful. It's like blind leading the blind, right? Like you have them and they genuinely believe, and then they'll sell these courses on how to do it and it's perfect. Again, they're given all the excuses in the book that they can use it if a student isn't able to do it. And they believe in those excuses, they really do think that that's the case. Like there's no way that this law of attraction thing can't work. But I think fundamentally that the law of attraction has in terms of its scale and the level of like things that are just unethical, very harmful, I think law of attraction does get into the sort of the near top, because a lot of the times when part of the research for that video was I spoke to people that really believed in it. And I sort of had a back and forth conversation, almost like a debate type of thing where I was really trying to flesh out these ideas. And I presented them these sorts of things that are law of attraction, like the fact that it's on falsifiable, with like a lot of misinformation or that there's not much science around it. And I guess the ultimate question that normally came down to was all, "But like it's not causing any harm. Like, why not just let someone have it." And that was where I kind of said, "Well, I disagreed. There is actual fundamental harm that's being done in this kind of belief system that you've created."
[00:56:52] And that's where we get into the sort of areas of health that the law of attraction tries to weave its way into health and medicine. And then I guess you can go into a whole rabbit hole about alternative medicine and all of this stuff. I think the law of attraction, what it does is extrapolate these ideas into the idea that if you have a disease, you can just think it away. This is what it commonly does. And there's been actual examples, and I go into some of this stuff in the series where examples of people who have an actual disease, serious like life threatening disease. And instead of going to professional help. They instead believe in the law of attraction stuff, thinking that their mind is going to cure it for them. And it doesn't work out.
[00:57:32] And like, I can't even begin to, like, there was so many stories I had like testimonials that I asked for when doing the series from people. I didn't say anything about being negative or positive. I just wanted to get people's experiences in general with law of attraction. So many of these stories, really ones where it was cases of people who have either themselves or family members have had this. And they would refuse to go for medical treatment because they truly believe in this idea that if they were just thinking positively, that they could cure themselves of it. Or people who had a friend who themselves, they weren't like a grifter or they believed so much in what they were thinking that they told their friend this advice, and that friend ended up passing away, like actual stories like this.
[00:58:13] The testimonies that came through specifically for this series investigation was just like, it was very, almost like emotionally taxing doing the series to hear the amount of stories of just people that have either been gasoline by the gurus, who they follow. People that are like, generally, some people were still operating right now who are running like effectively just like cult compounds, which like, honestly, I said, as well as I wish I had like the money, it's just like fund some kind of like proper investigation docs that we can like properly expose some of these people. Because they're still out doing their business and they still got their stuff operating. One of which I'm thinking of in particular, which at some point I'm very confident is going to end up becoming like a Netflix documentary on this person and what they're going about doing.
[00:58:50] Jordan Harbinger: I know — is it Joe Dispenza? It's got to be that guy.
[00:58:55] James Jani: It's not Joe Dispenza. That's a whole other boat to pick with Joe Dispenza. It is not Joe Dispenza. It's someone based more in the UK. I've shown their face a few times in the actual series, but I've spoken to ex-staff members from that guy's place. And it's a whole other rabbit hole to go into, but there's a lot of those kinds of people. And this also encompasses the kind of, I guess, the spiritual guru sort of thing that you tend to see like the new age gurus and this kind of leads it from the law of attraction, into the whole new age stuff, which includes things like tarot cards or whether it's — what's the thing where you think of the star sign tells you something about?
[00:59:27] Jordan Harbinger: Astrology.
[00:59:28] James Jani: Yeah. That's it, astrology. This is where it encompasses these ideas, very similar to the law of attraction. Or, this idea of like twin flames. It's very, very much the similar type of thing with the law of attraction. These unfalsifiable things that are just not rooted in any actual science, very much based on these ideas of trying to use like dreams and hopes and things that you have and trying to present it in a very shortcut easy way. And the whole field basically just encompasses this idea that like, actually these ideas are harmful and there are people that have tried to take this stuff seriously when it comes to medicine and health. Or even just the toxic positivity side of it, which is another thing that it's not just in health.
[01:00:02] So like a lot of it is focusing on this idea of being positive, but it's extremely unrealistic. Like you can't be positive all the time and I'll caveat this because some of the people in the law of attraction, like I know like — because having these conversations, I know all the kind of counter arguments and things—
[01:00:15] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:00:16] James Jani: People in this space would say, but it's not about being positive. It's actually saying embrace. Like you got to accept that positively, but fundamentally underlying your belief system is this idea that if you want to achieve this positive mindset or being this positive space, you have to be aligned with it. And so fundamentally rooted in your belief is the idea that if you are not in that space, something is wrong. Something is misaligned. That is a fundamental part of that belief system. No matter how much do you want to caveat and say, oh, like, you got to accept that place to get to that place where you want to be, like, your belief system is fundamentally rooted in that idea that in order to get to that space that you want to be, you have to be on that same vibrational frequency.
[01:00:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So never thinking negative thoughts, which by the way, not only is unrealistic, it's terrible for your mental health, because what if you have depression? Oh, how do I suppress this? So I don't manifest other things. And it's like, no, no, no, no. You go to a therapist and you work this out. You may need medication. You are not supposed to just ignore these types of feelings. And frankly, I was researching this last night after your videos as well, trying to suppress negative thoughts actually increases paranoia, which it feels bad for everyone. But if you have an underlying condition, like even mild schizophrenia, which might not even affect you day-to-day or could be medicated and treated, you can completely eff yourself up by trying to suppress these things because you're creating a form of paranoia that can exacerbate, like medically can exacerbate the symptoms of other mental illness.
[01:01:41] To clarify an earlier point, one of the reasons that good people can fall victim to the law of attraction stuff and actually believe it is because of that Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, the frequency illusion, right?
[01:01:50] James Jani: Right.
[01:01:51] Jordan Harbinger: Where we notice something for the first time. And then there's a tendency to notice it more often. And you show this clip a brilliant clip of a gal who says, "When there are so many coincidences and there so — happening so much, you just have to start questioning things," and I go, "You're right. You do. You have to look up cognitive bias and realize you are the definition of it right now, the absolute living of it." That's how it works. Bingo! It's not magic. It's not the law of attraction. It's you finally realizing that no, when you drive under a light and it goes out, you don't have magical powers. You're just noticing it goes out all the time. Right? You're not making it happen. You're not creating that.
[01:02:28] James Jani: Yeah. I think it was funny because I said, one of the things I said was like, fundamentally, like for all the kind of tool around this space of the mind being such a powerful thing that can manifest it. You know, when you really look into it and you look at like how flaw our minds really are and you realize, man, like you have no idea. Like there's so many things that our mind can easily be tricked. I don't know. The whole space is very much filled with a lot of biases, but it's this idea and I think what I tried to get at the end of the series was more of a message for, I guess, a consumer of it, which was to do with like, just being able to switch on your critical thinking skills. In many ways, it's annoying because I never got to elaborate exactly because it's hard to just say switch on critical thinking—
[01:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:03:06] James Jani: In many ways this can sometimes lead to what you see as another overlap in the whole law of attraction spaces, like conspiratorial thinking and when it gets into conspiracy theories and then like that can also trail into other things like anti-vax and not like it can go into all of these other thoughts. If you tell someone to think critically, in fact, you often hear that advice from people inside of like these conspiracy circles, because they're not actually told what it means to even think critically.
[01:03:29] One of the things that I wish I had done at the end of the series is actually to recommend sources or places or things to look into. So I think philosophy is probably a brilliant subject for just learning how to think critically. And it's one of the things that yeah, I wish I had recommended at the end of it. I studied it in school. And only now when I did the series, was I realizing, or like fundamentally how much of what I'd learned in philosophy was so helpful for just being able to switch on your brain and actually like, look at the arguments someone has said out and be able to assess, "Okay, like these premises are clearly like not justified at all." And it sounds almost really weird to say, but like, I guess philosophy is very much a study of depending on what branch you get into, obviously, but philosophy is very much a study of how to think properly in many ways. There's a great, like just if I could give off a recommendation—
[01:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:04:13] James Jani: The Crash Course Philosophy, so like crash course is like the YouTube channel. They do like a bunch of different subjects and they've got the crash course philosophy. Really great thing to just go and have a watch. It's sort of a nice, easy first step into the realm of philosophy. And I guess that will help you kind of get an idea for how philosophers tried to tackle away these arguments presented to them. And that's actual critical thinking, not the sort of critical thinking where it's like, question, question what the mainstream media tells you, like going on Facebook.
[01:04:38] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:04:40] James Jani: Getting your information there instead.
[01:04:41] Jordan Harbinger: It's been a plan the whole time. It's a Plandemic man It's a plandemic.
[01:04:46] James Jani: Yeah, literally it's that? So it's like a use of the caveat the idea of critical thinking. And it's something that I wish I had included at the end of that series, but, um, yeah.
[01:04:58] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest James Jani. We'll be right back.
[01:05:02] Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles transform the way they work. After closing their New York City showroom, they started doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, people from all over the world can come into their showroom. Learn more at microsoft.com/teams.
[01:05:17] Thanks so much for listening to and supporting the show. Look, I love doing this. I love creating it. I would do it for free, but alas, it does cost us a lot of money to put this thing out. So I'm not asking you for dough, but I would love it if you support those who support us. And all of the deals, all the codes, all those special URLs are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. They're all on that page. They're all in one place. So if you're jogging, driving, or lifting weights, you don't have to worry about the ads during the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/deals and see them all in one spot. Please do consider supporting those who support us.
[01:05:50] Don't forget. We have worksheets for many of our episodes. If you want some of the drills and exercises talked about during the shows, those are all in one easy place as well. The link to the worksheets is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the rest of my conversation with James Jani.
[01:06:09] The other problem that you brought up with the law of attraction is this whole, just-world fallacy. Can you bring up the other side of this? Right, so like, if I'm manifesting everything, that's good by doing all these great positive thinking and then things that befall me that are negative, I've somehow brought upon myself. Maybe not a hundred percent, right. It's not a hundred percent my fault that I got beat up by guys in an alleyway. But like, there's a part of me that energetically is responsible for that. That starts to break down well with pretty much any scrutiny, but it's just-world fallacy. I'd love to hear your take on this because it can get pretty dark.
[01:06:45] James Jani: Yeah, absolutely. The just-world fallacy is the idea that because you behave in a good way that will be rewarded in the future or like good actions would lead to — quite literally just what the law of attraction says in and of itself is a fallacy because we see actually in real life that sometimes this, in fact, in a lot of cases, this doesn't play out and you can see, for example, you can have somebody who is good and tries to be honest and good to people and think positive who actually gets just completely like downtrodden on and like manipulated by other people, and doesn't get like any kind of good result from just being a good person. Whereas you have on the other side of things, people who are absolutely horrible, morally bankrupt, people who get extremely far from just being horrible to other people, and that happens. And so you've got this overall fallacy, which is the idea that just because you're a good person or because you behave or because you think positive somehow that's going to lead to any kind of positive consequences. And the truth is that just isn't always the case. And that is essentially literally the law of attraction tries to make this a thing. And it's not, it really isn't really, isn't true. Yeah, I don't know. Do you want me to go any more into that or—?
[01:07:49] Jordan Harbinger: No, I just liked the example of, look, if I'm thinking positive things and I'm getting them okay. If I'm thinking negative things and that's happening, okay. But what about the kid? In fact, I am going to try and phrase this carefully because this is a friend of mine that I really do like, but he brought up the idea that maybe he could cure himself of a deadly cancer through, you know, the alternative stuff and the healthy stuff and the law of attraction. And finally, it was funny because a lot of the people around him, who were telling him like, "Oh, it's all, you know, healthy food and law of attraction." One of the guys had cancer before and he staged an intervention and goes, "Listen, man, I know that we talk a lot about this stuff. This is cancer. You can't, just don't take any chances."
[01:08:29] And I thought that was very interesting because. If all of these guys are talking about whole foods and this and that and energetic healing and this and that. And then it's like, oh, but this has cancer. It doesn't work. Why does it work on other things that you can't see the result of? But, hey, when it's cancer better, just go to the freaking doctor. That's an interesting little loophole you've built for yourself here. And I called him out on that while also giving a major props for finally drawing the line on something that was going to kill our mutual friend, because you know, they convinced him like, "Oh, all you need is this, and there's these powders. And you've got to get these whole grain thing, whatever." And I'm like, "You're going to kill this guy." And he's like, "Yeah. Okay." Finally comes to his senses and says, "Get chemo." and he survived.
[01:09:09] But to this day he says, "Well, you know, there's this, and you get these negative things. And maybe I brought on some of the cancer myself because I was going through stress and all this." And I go, "What about the kids in Africa who starved to death? What about children who are five? And they have leukemia, are they just too negative?" And that was an uncomfortable conversation for both of us because he had a very emotional reaction to that. But where do you draw the line is a five-year-old who got leukemia or has bone cancer? Is that their fault? What percentage of fault do they have, right?
[01:09:40] James Jani: Yes. Yeah. So this is like the problem with suffering that the law of attraction will always say. There's some really interesting videos where there was one specifically where Esther Hicks who's well-known in this kind of space was sort of questioned on it by someone. And it was a really good interview and she published it herself, but it was a, if you really pay attention to the conversation, she pivots very quickly because she doesn't want to address this question of suffering because it is very much, the more you look into it, the more you realize how absolutely insane this belief system is.
[01:10:06] But yes, the problem is suffering is what about situations where you've got kids who were starving in the millions and die below the age of five, let alone, not the fact that these people were like, the children are dying. That's an impact on the family, right? Like there's a whole other array of things that happen because of that. Did the kid attract this to them? No. There's this excuse that they'll use where it's like the country kind of brought it in and that country kind of manifested that for them. So, okay. What percentage of the country was that? What percentage of the country's vibration was bringing that onto the child? And if the country's able to override someone's vibration, what's like impacting people in, for example, the states, how much of like, if you're living in the US, how much of you will like vibrations are being impacted by the government? How much has it impacted by you yourself? And it's like, the more you question, the more you realize, okay, this is absolutely insane.
[01:10:53] You're just making things up on the spot at this point. But I guess the more you, you start to dig into it and especially it happens with this problem of suffering when you start to realize, like, when you bring it up, like, there's that level of like cognitive dissonance that appears. And it's like when you bring up the problem of suffering specifically, I think is where you started to see this pattern of starting to just make things up where it's actually, you're just coming with this, I'll put this on the spot because the more you question and we realize our upside is.
[01:11:15] There's another great recommendation, actually, that I would say. There's a channel. I can't remember the name of the channel, but if you just search, it's like this thing called street epistemology. I don't know if you've ever heard — street epistemology is great and there's channels of people that do this way. Essentially. You just go out to the street and they will ask someone to give them a belief and they'll have a conversation back and forth to the person who's doing the street epistemology. They'll just give them questions, basically, trying to figure out how they came to the conclusion of that belief. And it's a great, like kind of tactic where you just question people, and this is what I tried to do when I had conversations with people who were into the law of attraction. It is just trying to question and find out — and this is also why philosophy is a great subject, because it helps you with this type of thing and understanding how they formed like the premises to ultimately reach the conclusion that they've made.
[01:11:58] And as you start to question and you sort of just question their reasoning and how they got there — like another great question to ask somebody is what would it take for you to not believe in this thing?
[01:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:12:07] James Jani: If your answer to that question is there's nothing that it will take to make me not believe in it. Then that's a serious red flag. Like I'll also say like, if someone brings up — because then someone will say, well, what if it is just the fact? What if, but like, even with an actual fact, you can say, you can still say something that it would take to make you not believe in it. For example, if someone said to me, "What would it take for you to not believe a one plus one equals two?" I say, "What if you can prove to me that one plus one doesn't equal two, then I will believe that's not the case." There's always something that if you did demonstrate to me, this was the case, then I would not believe in it.
[01:12:34] But if you find it on your belief system, that in fact results in the default of there's nothing that can do for me to like to falsify my belief system. Then it's a serious red flag. Law of attraction obviously suffers from this greatly, but it's kind of a part of that battle for me. I was going through a whole ramble here, but it is kind of a part of the whole thing of questioning or starting to see the cracks that form in the law of attraction. But I noticed that, especially when you get into the conversation of suffering in particular.
[01:12:58] Jordan Harbinger: That is interesting. I love the idea of street epistemology as well. Like it must be exhausting, but Hey, people love talking about that kind of thing. So good for them. I remember a long time ago, I went to some lecture with a rabbi. This is like 20 years ago in college. And the idea was why bad things happen to good people? And I'm not saying this guy like represents Judaism. I think he's, in fact it was like a culty sect of Judaism. And I didn't realize it at the time. I just was curious about this lecture and why bad things happen to good people. I can't help, but chuckle. The real reason was because that person is behind closed doors, just kind of a sh*tty person and deserves it. And I was like, "Wait. So you're really saying that the reason that so-and-so got cancer and died or their baby died is because we just don't know that maybe he beats his wife."
[01:13:42] And that was the actual example that they gave in the lecture. And I was like, "Check, please." This is ridiculous. Like, if you're good, then only good things will happen. What planet are you on? Where that has ever been the case. And it's just such a very harmful view, because imagine what that does for the sympathy you get in the community and the support you get in the community when your child gets bone cancer and he's four, you know, God forbid. And then it's like, "Well, I don't know, rabbi so-and-so said that probably he's done something really, really horrible. So we should just stay away from them." I mean, he must be a horrible abuser if these horrible, if all his family died in that car fire. That's on him. Right? And it's just like, oh my gosh, this is horrible. You're literally punishing this man further. That'd be the, guy's going to have severe emotional and mental consequences from this because you made this sh*t up. So you could give a talk about it. That's the only reason that's not in any Old or New Testament that I've ever seen, but thanks for your bullsh*t perspective on this subject.
[01:14:47] And that was it for me with that guy, obviously, but there are people preaching this and look, I love where in your videos, you actually show scammers faces like you're showing these Joe Dispenza lectures. And I said, I wasn't going to mention names, but I go, "Hey, Joe, I'm watching you," or Bob Proctor and all these grifters from The Secret and all of these other BS kind of things. You're showing their faces. I wonder if these guys ever come after you. Like, do you ever hear from their attorneys. Like, "Hey, you're not allowed to use our likeness when you say scam," and you're like, "Come at me, bro."
[01:15:14] James Jani: So not for the law of attraction, at least not yet for the law of attraction series.
[01:15:18] Jordan Harbinger: Not yet.
[01:15:18] James Jani: I was worried, very much for the second part of that series, I was very worried that someone might try. That's why I tried to like, do like a little bit of a disclaimer at the start. I was just a little concerned that I was name-dropping quite a lot. The actual and only experience that I've had with someone reaching out to me hasn't come from the law of attraction stuff. It came from the failure of video. One of the gurus on that reached out, but they did this whole thing — it was very, it was so weird. So they donated money to my page monthly. And I saw this and I was like, "Hey, like we realize I've been extremely critical of your stuff, right?" And they're like, "Yeah, yeah, but I want it to support your work." And for a while now, that kind of said that, and I felt very weird. I didn't know how to react to this. I was like, but I'm like trying to make videos at the same time and like eight months pass of this happening and then it was only recently that I kind of realized, wait, I felt very, it was almost like a cognitive dissonance from myself. where I was like receiving money from this personal page where I didn't really know how to deal with it or what to do. But if I genuinely believed that this person wasn't getting their money ethically, then I'm essentially receiving money from potentially people that they have unethically taken money from.
[01:16:23] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah.
[01:16:24] James Jani: And this was about my own experience. And then recently, as I'm like, literally last month, there was like nights where you're like, in your thoughts, I was like, realizing this. I was like, holy, like, this is bad. So what I did was I literally canceled the patriarch pledge and just like, took that money and donated it to charity. All the money that they'd given me for the eight months, but it was really weird. And this is the only experience that I've had with any kind of guru or whatever in these spaces reached out to me.
[01:16:47]Actually, there's this one, not really a guru that I've mentioned, but someone who is very much involved with these people, like a lot. He reached out to me very alone. I had no idea who they will do their involvement. It was pretty big. I mean, you know, now who would like reach out to me and like I'd even hopped on a call with him and spoke to them and thought they were pretty cool. But until I started looking like, who actually was this person I realized like, hang on a second. Like this person usually interviews all the people that I'm usually against. It was very weird. So all the experience I've had with people reaching out to me, with what talking about live videos have been somewhat positive in a way. Like, they've been nice to me and it's been really weird and I've just noticed it. I thought like, oh, maybe like they're trying to get me on the good side. So I don't say anything wrong, but that doesn't make sense to me. Like, I don't really think that's why, but yeah, that's my experience as far as it's been.
[01:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: I think part of it is they're trying to get on your good side because this happens to me too, right? Like, "No, like, you know, look, if you think I'm a cool guy and I'm supporting you, then maybe you'll just pick on someone else." But alternately, I think there is a potential longer-term play where they go, "He didn't have any problem with me giving them $10,000 over the past 10 years, hypocrite, discredit, here are my receipts. You know, how was your vacation that I obviously paid for?" You know, that kind of thing.
[01:17:56] James Jani: Yeah, that was what was going through my head. I was like, "Wait, like, this is so backwards," if that makes sense. That's why I ended up doing like that thing with like canceling the pledge and donating because I realized there was a misalignment with the principle that I had. Yeah, I think maybe that could be a reason for it. And that's the only thing that I can think of either it's like getting on the good side or just, I don't know what it was, but anyway, it's been very weird. I haven't had like, like Steven, like obviously, like it has had like, you know, people trying to take down his video as a copywriter. I haven't had this really weird, like nice reactions to it. And there's only two people really that I have kind of been in contact with, from like in the spaces of people that I've spoken to.
[01:18:32] Jordan Harbinger: It's only a matter of time. It's only a matter of time.
[01:18:37] I've got some thoughts on this one, but before I get into that, here's a sample of my interview with scam buster, Coffeezilla, whether you or a loved one is being tempted by sketchy investment opportunities, MLM traps, fake guru-led operations, understanding how to identify them and the mechanisms by which they work is the best chance you can have of putting a stop to their shenanigans. Here's a quick look inside.
[01:19:01] Coffeezilla: You see an ad and it's of some guru you've seen before, you haven't seen before. Let's say Jordan, you're the guru for today. And you tell me, "Oh, come to my free webinar. It's always free. And it's always going to teach me how to get rich. There's no investment that I initially think I have to make." So I go to your webpage. I give you my email and I sign up for this live webinar. It's never live. They've prerecorded. It's a three-hour sales pitch for their $2,000 course. And they basically tell you, "Look at all these people who have had success." They will show you the Forbes article that they bought, but they'll not tell you that they purchased it. They'll say, "Hey, look, how successful I am." They put themselves in your shoes. They know that their average buyer is broke, you know, disaffected. Everything he's been trying hasn't worked. And they say, "I was just like you. I was you four. And I bounced around and I made all these mistakes until I found the one secret. And I will tell you that secret to get you from A to Z. It took me five years to get to a million dollars. I'll teach you, Jordan, how to do it, a proven blueprint in one year. I'll take you from loser where I used to be. I used to be a loser like you, and I'll take you to winner where I am now. And I'll take you there, blueprint, guaranteed. No problem. Look at all the testimonials, sign up baby right, right, right, right now." And then they go, "Hey, my course, normally I'd sell it for $40,000. Normally it's a hundred thousand dollars' worth of value, but just this second for the next 50 minutes, I will give this to you for $2,000." And they're coaching you through the little credit card application.
[01:20:28] Jordan Harbinger: You're on the phone with the credit card company and they're coaching you how to do this.
[01:20:31] Coffeezilla: You're like sitting there and they're like, "Hey, this is what you're going to say. Go ahead, call them right now. And let's swipe that card, baby, let's swipe that card before you leave the seminar." They're left with a $40,000 collection debt, you know, for a high interest rate. They can't pay it back. They're not making the money they were promised. And then there's a money-back guarantee. There's not a money-back guarantee.
[01:20:50] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more about how to expose credit. Tory shysters for what they are by delving into their shady manipulation tactics, check out episode 368 of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Coffeezilla.
[01:21:01] All right. I love stuff like this as you know. Thanks to James Jani for coming on the show. So why mix BS spirituality with life coaching and advice in the first place? Well, the reason that a lot of these so-called gurus do this is because this builds scarcity in the marketplace because now there's only one source for the object or the information. If you just say, "Hey, this is a bracelet I got off of the Internet and you can get this elsewhere," then it's not valuable. And if it's just information that you get that can be freely shared, it's less valuable. But if we can't find the same thing elsewhere, or we think we can't, then the seller, the guru, whatever you want to call it can inflate the price that we have to pay.
[01:21:44] And Justin Ramsdell did a show on The Jordan Harbinger Show on pseudoscience. If you want to have a look for that, there's only a few select people who can provide this or practice this versus the information being widely available. And one of the principles of pseudoscience is that false scarcity that only one person has invented this or that one group has the secret to this. Cults use this. Pseudoscience peddlers use this. So of course, the BS life coach spirituality that talks about a lot of this, they are very keen on this because otherwise it's just a concept that anyone can use anywhere. To add credibility to their BS, fake studies that don't hold up are often published in sham or fake science journals that are not respected by the scientific community and are in fact known as fraudulent by the scientific community.
[01:22:29] So they'll publish fake studies and then cite these and say, "Look, there's science behind this, look at this study." But of course, if you ask anybody who's in that field and is actually a scientist in that field, they'll say, "Ah, yeah, this is a BS study. There's never been replication. The sample size is small. It was published in a fake science quarterly journal." I mean, it really doesn't hold up, but a lot of these manifestors they'll point to science and it's just not real science.
[01:22:53] And I know there's some of you when I've talked about this in person, that'll say something like, "Look, I don't care about Napoleon Hill who's a famous self-help grifter who was influential in this space, but widely known as a criminal and a scammer during his time. I don't care if he's a con man or that these fake gurus have skeletons in their closet. They were running The Secret and they are literally responsible for the negligent deaths of some of their seminar participants." They'll say, "I got value out of the books or their work and that their work has value. Even if that person might be a bastard themselves. Where's the harm, Jordan?"
[01:23:25] Well, new thought as it's called stretches the truth, in part, because it has to stretch the truth in order to remain profitable. So positive thinking isn't just a good way to stay positive during the day and mitigate some stress. It now has to heal and it has to make you rich and it has to help you get over trauma, real trauma that you should be getting therapy to get over and really working on with something real. And as James mentioned during the show, new thought is also unfalsifiable. So you can't ask someone to prove it isn't working. That's just about impossible just with any science, or with anything it's impossible, almost always to prove that something is not working, but of course, it's also just as impossible to prove that it is, right? You can't tell where the ends and the bullsh*t begins.
[01:24:11] This is by design when it comes to new thought. That way people will say, "Well, I’ll invest in this course or I'll continue doing this because I feel like it's working." That is where the grift comes in. Now, if something is making you feel better and it's just a way that you kill time and it's a hobby, that's fine, but it goes beyond positive thinking and junk science and can really get victims into a place where they're not doing what they actually need to do for their health and wellbeing, whether it's financial or otherwise, a lot of people — and I know that you're going to say, "Well, that's dumb and I would never do this," but a lot of people will skip medical care. They will forego other responsible practices. Financially, they'll waste money. They'll invest in things that aren't real because of this fake science. They will replace what they actually need to be doing with what these fake gurus are shilling.
[01:25:00] Hence my crusade against this type of thing for the past several years now. So you see where I stand. Thanks to James for coming on the show. Links to his stuff, his YouTube channel, et cetera, will be in the website in the show notes. If you buy books from anyone — James doesn't have a book, but if you buy books from the guests you hear on the show, please do use our website links. It does help support you. The show worksheets for the episode in the show notes. Transcripts in the show notes. There's a video of this interview, going up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. And by the way, we have a clips channel now, jordanharbinger.com/clips. A lot of clips from the interviews that don't make it into the final cut. Things you can't hear elsewhere on the show. Jordan arbinger.com/clips is where that is. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[01:25:44] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig that well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. They contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in some art company where you belong.
[01:26:03] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who believes in a lot of hokey stuff, invests in things that are pseudo-scientific and aren't sure if it's going to work, or if they're trying to help somebody else get over wasting their time and energy on these sorts of things and their money and their health, share this episode with them. I hope you find something great in every episode. So please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show and leave everything and everyone better than you found them.
[01:26:47] Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles reinvent the way they work. When the pandemic hit the bike shop had to close their New York City showroom. They found a way to reopen by doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, the team can meet with two or three times the number of customers than they could before. And people from all over the world can visit their showroom. Learn more about their story and others at microsoft.com/teams.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.