Why Elan Gale is the self-help guru for the modern era

Elan Gale, executive producer behind US reality TV shows The Bachelor and Bachelorette has never read a self-help book in his life. But that hasn't stopped him from writing his own one.

Curiously (and humorously) titled You're Not That Great (But Neither Is Anyone Else), Gale talks about embracing your inner loser to find success.

As contrary to the concept of 'help' as this sounds, Gale says he was inspired by hearing the ebullient mantras spouted by friends who had turned to them and preached them like gospel.

"They're all feel good and very comforting and while that's great, it doesn't actually lead you to a successful life," says the LA-based Gale.

Say no to forced happiness

He says positivity is fake news and it doesn't lead to success – it's the negative that's the driving force.

But before you write Gale off as an existential king hit to how you're living your life all wrong, he's been embraced by the likes of celebrities such as Harry Styles, Ariana Grande and Jason Biggs and has more to say than might meet the critical eye.

Brutal honesty

He is a reformed alcoholic who also lost 18 kilograms in just six months and doesn't need the pat on the back for his efforts. He says those who told him to accept himself for who he was (an overweight alcoholic) didn't do much for his ambition to change.

"The biggest problems I faced when I was trying to deal with alcoholism and weight loss was the kind of support and encouragement I got for being the way I was," he says.

"It was only the people who told me 'you're really a f--k-up', 'hey you're gonna die' or 'you look like hell' that got me motivated. All those closest to me wanted me to accept myself as an alcoholic or somebody who didn't like his own body.

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While they meant well and I appreciate their intentions, they didn't motivate me. I remembered a girl who called me fat when I was 10 – she was more influential on my decision to change," says Gale.

Don't pull your punches

So just how do you embrace your flaws and make them better? Gale says it's about admitting you're not that great to begin with. You won't find success by reading inspirational quotes, but you will if you look at yourself in the mirror and try to make a better version of the person you hate when you see yourself.

"Embrace your best qualities and then hate your worst qualities and change them," he offers.

"The most important thing is never feel like you're good enough and you can always get better. It's about reminding yourself where you came from – a place of pain.  If you hold yourself to high enough standards you'll never be satisfied, but if you get rid of the idea of being satisfied then that is amazing because satisfaction is not really useful," he says.

Positively antiproductive

Gale is a straighter talker with a penchant for comedy, but says he's a realist who wants to call life for what it is. He's a punk who uses the written word and if Jean Paul Sartre were alive, he'd probably invite Gale to hang at the Sorbonne to critique life and all its miseries.

"When someone tells you to be positive when you're in a shit situation this isn't actually useful," he says.

"I don't want to be too negative on the idea on positivity, but what I'm saying is that it's not very productive."

Small steps

Gale wants you to be more successful by taking a few key steps.

"Find your motivating voice and you can be successful in anything in life," he says.

"Most successful people I know always got there because they wanted to prove someone wrong and that's their reason for success. It's very rarely encouragement that helps us get there. It's weird, because it should be, but I don't think it's how we're built," he says.

"I'm human, I'm not perfect. I am not a celebrity with a celebrity following. But once you recognise your weaknesses and turn them into some great you can change your path."