10 Things I Hate About So-Called Gurus!

What is the real definition of the word “guru”? How many real gurus, on different topics, could there possibly be? And what is this new emerging trend of having people describe themselves as gurus in their biographies and resumes?

The exact definition of a guru is: “is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others. A guru is literally a preceptor who shows others knowledge (light) and destroys ignorance (darkness)”. This definition lead me to think of all the so-called gurus I bump into on Twitter and other social media sites and of how annoying it can be to find hundreds of self acclaimed gurus with no proof or record of their expertise!

The Xara Art of Zeb

The Xara Art of Zeb

Therefore, I decided to compile a list, with examples, of the top ten things that I hate about fake gurus:

Is it still 1995?

1995 left-overs, and yes, that's a "guru's" 2009 site!

  1. False Credit: In order to be a real guru, you must possess certain characteristics, education and knowledge. So-called gurus are self acclaimed, which means they give themselves credit they most probably do not deserve! An example is a tech guru” on Twitter with 72 following, 62 followers, a site which looks like a 1995 leftover with no traffic and around 414 updates about random things that do not relate to technology!
  2. Inaccurate Advice: A guru is supposed to provide his audience with advice, tips and information which is accurate and even more-so, life-changing! Falsified gurus will do the exact opposite, providing downright wrong advice that might get their audience into trouble! Check out the Financial Gurus Hall of Shame!
  3. Lack of Humbleness: A real guru is humble and selfless; helping his followers excel, learn more and be more just for the mere pleasure of watching them grow. Self-acclaimed gurus ruin that image by boasting about who they are and what they do!
  4. Unfocused Attention: Usually, a guru will be focused in one field of expertise in order to provide the most value to his followers. The so-called gurus of these days are “experts” in multiple fields despite their young age and lack of expertise in most of the fields! A great example is a “web guru” World Famous DJ, marketer and producer!
  5. Lack of Credentials: Real gurus are field experts who have reached a level of professionalism and expertise that enables them to provide any necessary credentials. In addition to that, they probably have a list of magazine articles, publications and/or successful conferences. A false guru lacks any credentials and yet promotes his image as a world wide expert guru!
  6. A guru with poor listening skills!

    A guru with poor listening skills?

    Lack of Two-Way Communication: A real guru, naturally, will provide helpful tips and advice to his followers but will also place both time and effort to listen to their concerns and questions and formulate the right answers for them. Today’s media-made gurus just want to talk; they don’t care to listen! Here’s a very good example: How could you listen to your followers if you’re not following them back?

  7. Repetitiveness: If everyone is a guru in that certain field, they won’t reinvent the wheel, or will they? No, definitely not and this is why, with the increasing number of self celebrated gurus, everything said is becoming repetitive like a broken record with no added value!
  8. Inability to Practice What They Preach: Regardless of which type of guru you are, you owe it to yourself first, and then to others, to practice what you preach!
  9. Lack of Application: Yes, we all know that “talk is cheap”, but do so-called gurus know that? I doubt it! Fake gurus talk, make up theories and techniques that can “change the world” yet in application, they are only and mostly inapplicable theories!
  10. Lack of Commitment: A real guru will go all the way, walk the extra mile and have certain long term planned goals to achieve. Today’s abusive gurus are money-seekers, short-term oriented and mostly hoping for the hit and run profits!

Finally, I’ll leave you to think about this: If there are more than 7,000 gurus alone on Twitter, how many of them are real and how many are just guru-wannabe’s?

Would love to hear your feedback and any additional examples you’d like to share about annoying fake guru-related experiences!

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Great post Beirut! I think Gurus are Morons, too (mostly) :)

  • http://www.bkmacdaddy.com/ Brian McDaniel

    Great post and my sentiments/frustrations exactly! I once heard someone say that if you have to walk around telling everyone that you’re “the man” it usually means you’re not. In my opinion the title of expert or guru should be given, not self-proclaimed.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post (I know it’s a little long but I had so much to say :) )
    I appreciate your feedback as well.
    As you desrcibed it, it is very frustrating how many people seem to be calling themselves gurus. It seems to be the new trend, especially when it comes to social media! The problem is that people follow them blindly and listen to what they have to say, without even checking their credibility at least!

    Stay tuned for more articles to your taste :)

    Regards

  • Anonymous

    This is an excellent article and I fully subscribe to the content. In my opinion, you have described the situation to a tee. In a world where everyone claims to be a guru, you never know who you can trust until you find the real thing. Thank you for a great topic selection.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I am more than glad to see your positive feedback :) You’re more than welcome :) Stay tuned to more and more articles that tickle the mind and tease the senses :)

  • http://blog.threestarleadership.com/ Wally Bock

    In the beginning, there were the religious gurus. Then the term was applied to Peter Drucker, whom many of us showed wisdom beyond even the excellent authors, consultants and teachers. In both those cases, the community awarded the guru appellation based on their perception of value. Now, gurus appoint themselves. You’ve outlined the result of that quite well.

  • http://twitter.com/arjarosz Andy Jarosz

    Enjoyed this post and echoes my irritation at so many self-styled experts. “Show not tell” springs to mind – if you are great at what you do, others will do a far better job of singing your praises that you can ever do. Reminds me also of the old proverb “An empty vessel makes the most sound”.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Loved the proverb! Good one :)
    I really enjoyed your comment especially the part where you said: “others will do a far better job of singing your praises that you can ever do”… It's true and I very much agree! If you do something great, people will spread the news, but if you spend time trying to prove you are great, eventually no one will care to listen to you or talk about you :)

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    I love it. Great points!

    The hardest one for me it #3. People need to know your credentials to feel comfortable hiring you. And to justify their hiring you to their bosses or boards. That's why I like getting someone else to draft something. They can be more objective.

    But as I said in my tweet, #1 really resonates. I was shocked to find “experts” quoted in an article on Twitter only had 70ish follower and 4 updates! *sigh*

  • http://twitter.com/skashliwal S K Jain

    You've nailed them very well, thanks a lot for a posting on the subject… these guys can't remove shadows but add more to them in different colors…

  • http://blog.threestarleadership.com/ Wally Bock

    In the beginning, there were the religious gurus. Then the term was applied to Peter Drucker, whom many of us showed wisdom beyond even the excellent authors, consultants and teachers. In both those cases, the community awarded the guru appellation based on their perception of value. Now, gurus appoint themselves. You've outlined the result of that quite well.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Welcome to our blog :) and my post in specific!

    You're definitely right, it's crucial to have a list of real and trusted credentials whenever there are other people involved; people you are going to teach and interact with.

    Hope to see you here more often :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    That's exactly what I meant to do: NAIL THEM :)
    You're more than welcome! You know it's our aim and highest objective to try and provide unique topics and content to our readers through our humble blog :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    One more thing: glad to have you as one of our reader :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Thank you for the example you have mentioned and thank you for your feedback as well :)

  • http://loscuadernosdejulia.com/ avidadollars

    To tell you the truth, I wanted to write a similar kind of article, but I'm glad you did :-) I'm an historian, I have to claim my YouTube channel as a “guru” because there're different videos there, and underlining the expertise feels like a right thing to do. But – as to why I mentioned my degree subject – it doesn't cease to amaze me that people don't even look into the definitions of the words, neither do they know what happened to those who were called by those names. I had to write a paper once about the Hindu Gurus – as it happens, half of them were martyrs! What's so great about calling yourself by the name that isn't actually that good?

    And don't forget “evangelists”. I'm relieved they don't use the word “gospeller”, though. The entire religion would be rewritten by now.

    Thanks for your great post.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I agree with you since I noticed that trend of self-proclaimed gurus more than a month ago, and it got on my nerves! I tweeted: “My work requires me to surf 100's of pages/profiles a day. In my opinion, anyone who calls himself a “guru” is a knob-head!”

    http://twitter.com/amerkawar/status/1950152376

    Great article, Beirut :)

  • http://twitter.com/missmcj misscj

    I liked this post a lot. I couldn't agree more. “Guru” means “spiritual teacher” at its base and you're quite right, “Gu” is darkness and “ru” means destruction so “destroyer/dispeller of darkness”. It's pretty rare to meet a guru in a lifetime, what with having to be laden with divine consciousness and all that to qualify.

    Brian is right, Gurus are not self-proclaimed. Wally says that now we apply the term loosely and although we do, it doesn't change what the meaning of it is. When we call someone a “Golfing Guru” it's tongue in cheek. It's pretty funny how people self-appoint themselves seeming to have completely not understood this. I mean “Dr Dre” was not a doctor as far as I know.

    I would estimate that about 100% of people on the internet right now are not “Gurus” :)

  • Toyaisme

    I think and believe that a real guru is called a guru by other people. A real guru wouldn't agressive advertise and claim the knowledge but leave it all up to yourself.
    Interesting blog and subject!

  • jwashburn

    Guru-ism is annoying, yes. Anyone who calls him/herself a guru should be smacked.

    One thing: I think you're a little harsh in your first example, that clearly being some kid who's playing 'grown up' and was probably a little kid in '95. Not to say that his site isn't really silly, but finding an example of someone who's old enough to know better might sell your point better. Just sayin'

  • http://www.unmundollenodemundos.blogspot.com/ leila

    Nice article, Beiruta. I have some problems with the world guru too, and find it embarrassing when people self-proclaim themselves. Good job, keep it up.

    Thanks for following me on twitter too.

    Leila

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/08/social-media-medical-diagnosis-could-your-online-doctor-kill-you.html Social Media & Medical Diagnosis: Could Your Online Doctor Kill You? | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] almost every little piece of news we read and advice we need, social media has become a place for “self-acclaimed” gurus in every field, even the critical field of [...]

  • http://twitter.com/Krud Krud

    I think I'm going to start calling myself a Fake Guru. Help people on their journey of spouting off hypocritical opinions with no basis in experience or education. (Except if I'm really a fake guru, I shouldn't have to call myself one, people would just know, right? ':D)

    Okay, in all seriousness, I agree with your article. At the very least, people are rendering the word “guru” as worthless and/or meaningless as the words “promise”, “love”, and “bargain.” (“At Value Guru, we Promise You'll Love Our Bargains!”)

    I noticed, however, that someone on your linked list was a “time travel guru.” I give them kudos for creativity…

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/10/top-10-tips-to-avoid-getting-blocked-on-twitter.html Top 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Blocked on Twitter… | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] Humble: Don’t pretend you are a guru or act as if you know more than you do. “Wannabe’s” are not welcomed [...]

  • http://www.thejigjoint.com/ Ryan

    HI Beirut,
    It's been a while since I've seen your posts on Twitter. Glad to be here to comment on one of your blog posts especially this one. #6 is the one that irks me the most. Emailing several times on different occasions about ideas or comments and even some questions i wanted to get a response to never got an answer back. This well known “guru” had a TV show last year. He's pretty quiet lately but last year he sent me offers after offers that I just got sick of it. Do you think these “gurus” have been lying low from all the guru-bashing going on?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/09/username-xadultfinder-action-unfollow-more-twitter-tips.html Username: @xadultfinder – Action: Unfollow! More Twitter Tips… | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] Should Be Sincere: If you are not a guru, don’t claim to be one in your user name! This applies to everything else ranging from claiming to be a doctor to [...]

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/11/top-10-social-media-golden-posts-rules-tips-know-hows.html Top 10 Social Media Golden Posts: Rules, Tips & Know-How’s! | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] Rules, Tips & Know-How’s! At Thoughtpick, we don’t claim to be social media gurus – because… don’t get me started! However, we place a great deal of our time and [...]

  • http://rolandhesz.com Roland Hesz

    Spot on article.
    I think you can spot the false gurus easily – they have the word “guru” in their profile.
    And to answer your question
    “If there are more than 7,000 gurus alone on Twitter, how many of them are real and how many are just guru-wannabe’s?”

    None.

  • http://www.proconsultants.in/ Lavanya

    This is so true. Many calls them as Gurus but fail to behave as one.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2010/02/10-tips-to-ensure-that-youre-not-a-social-media-sucker.html 10 Tips to Ensure That You’re NOT A Social Media Sucker! | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] you think you are some kind of social media guru or simply just someone who is special just because you use social media, you are mistaken! You are [...]

  • defined@benefit.com

    The God's offensive using corporate America to convert from defined benefit into defined contribution retirement packages helped bring about the economic downturn we experience today.
    Without a majority embracing defined benefit packages the Gods are given the freedom to instruct these preditors at the top to initiate the economic offensive we experience, and instead of having a guarenteed retirterment package, a vested interest by their employer, too many are betting on the market, and during these economic collapes they will find their golden years evaporate into a blur of “divine” corruption.
    And although the market has bounced back, as with the 9/11 strategy, decisions were made at the time which has costed many subsequently.
    But this event may have just been a warning.

  • Costaswoman

    Oh that brainless, lobotomized “guru” called “LisaLisaD” on YouTube. She only accepts friends if they send her free products for her own use. She's greedy as all get out, and brags on and on about her lust for cosmetics so she can feel adequately southern. She will flatter the heck out of you if she thinks you have something she might like. Brainless.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2010/08/10-tips-for-keeping-your-twitter-followers-hooked-on-you.html 10 Tips for Keeping Your Twitter Followers Hooked on You!

    [...] he or she is “all that”. So, while you enjoy your Twitter experience always remember not to flatter yourself and allow others to do that for you. Give them reasons and not hints! Guru? Are you [...]

  • http://twitter.com/larryczerwonka larry czerwonka

    guru is a term others give you it is NEVER a term you give (or even use) yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/larryczerwonka larry czerwonka

    guru is a term others give you it is NEVER a term you give (or even use) yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/larryczerwonka larry czerwonka

    guru is a term others give you it is NEVER a term you give (or even use) yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/larryczerwonka larry czerwonka

    guru is a term others give you it is NEVER a term you give (or even use) yourself.

  • http://tweepi.com/blog/2011/03/10-tips-for-keeping-your-twitter-followers-hooked-on-you/ 10 Tips for Keeping Your Twitter Followers Hooked on You!

    [...] he or she is “all that”. So, while you enjoy your Twitter experience always remember not to flatter yourself and allow others to do that for you. Give them reasons and not [...]

  • http://tweepi.com/blog/2011/04/top-10-tips-to-avoid-getting-unfollowed-or-blocked-on-twitter/ Top 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Unfollowed or Blocked on Twitter…

    [...] Humble: Don’t pretend you are a guru or act as if you know more than you do. “Wannabe’s” are not welcomed [...]

  • http://twitter.com/jadkr jadram krisnamurthi

    Thanks for the clarity and humour. I’ve been wondering where to find such info… One question?

    I do not understand what value obtains by follow for follow. when you asked ‘ How could you listen to your followers if you don’t follow them back.’ 

    I thought the answer was that they simply send me a tweet, or reply to one of mine. That is what I do when I am following someone who does not follow me.

    Please show me the error, or bad manners in my response.

    Thanks

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