The Best Self-Help Articles Are Songs

Self-help hacks and speaking, humbly, from experience

Rocco Pendola
4 min readSep 18, 2020
Image by Stian Schløsser Møller — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia

Michael Thompson wrote a fantastic article for Mind Cafe (I Asked a Bunch of ‘Self-Help Haters’ to Rip Apart My Article) that freaked me out a little. Thompson lives in Spain and, apparently, Europeans hate self-help people. Point #1 was:

“This guy just wrote an article about the importance of learning from your mistakes and then quoted Elon Musk who’s been married like 37 times.”

Gulp. Because I just did that. In my defense, I qualified it:

Musk has said and done a lot of things since that phone call.

I had one experience with Musk. He handled it with class. I learned a lesson. Whether Thompson was writing about my article or one of his own, I can’t quite figure out. But it’s besides the point. He’s one of Medium’s best writers. I strive to achieve a modicum of his success. As always, his article got me thinking. I don’t feel like I’m writing self-help. I’m relaying my experiences.

Self-help, in and of itself, isn’t always the issue. It’s the mentors and gurus offering the advice. Often, they’re opportunistic hacks, telling tall tales and selling big dreams on the basis of their success. Success they can’t seem to stop telling you about. Do the loudest voices…