Motivation and inspiration will become more important jobs, and this time the story is from China:
Life coaching is big business the world over, perhaps nowhere more so than in the US. China is still a newcomer, with self-help books and motivational talks beginning to gain traction just 15 years ago. But as in so many other areas of the Chinese economy, the gap is closing quickly. The “success studies” industry, as it is known in China, is dominating bestseller lists, filling conference halls and generating phenomenal wealth for star speakers…
On this occasion, though, Chen [a major motivational coach] needs no extra help. The audience is raring to go. Bursting on to the stage, he asks: “Who wants to be number one?” All 1,500 hands fly up in the air. Then a dose of realism: “You’re dreaming. Only 3 per cent of you will succeed. And to get there, you need the right coach. You need to be in a circle of winners.” A slideshow follows, pictures of Chen posing next to or somehow squeezing himself into the frame with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, basketball star Michael Jordan and more. He replays a phone message from Huang Xiaoming, a Chinese actor, thanking Chen for his coaching.
The message – that Chen is a winner and that his tutelage is a prerequisite to success – proves startlingly effective. At the end of his speech, he gives the audience a two-minute countdown to sign up for a special deal to join his circle of winners: Rmb29,800 [TC: 6.12 Rm to one U.S. dollar] for a year’s access to his Shanghai club and more self-improvement courses. About 150 people seize the opportunity, dashing up to the front of the room. Chen’s assistants form a ring around them with handheld bank card swiping machines, ready to collect their money on the spot.
The fascinating FT article, by Simon Rabinovitch, is here, possibly gated. Of course the greater is income inequality, the easier it will be to market such services, because the promised gain from leaping the divide will be that much greater.