Who is Hamza Ahmed?
Hamza is a YouTuber, born on 1997, in the UK, who makes content based on self-help, productivity, fitness and relationships. He has over 100k subscribers on YouTube and he has a cult following consisting of mostly teenagers. Hamza sells mentorship / coaching programs.
In this post, I will discuss the good and bad about Hamza Ahmed.
On his website there is no mention of his educational background, where or what he studied at University. It is believed he studied Psychology, unknown whether he graduated or not. Either way his credentials are missing and his site is just filler content of story telling with the whole ‘before and now’ narrative.
“but that doesn’t mean he can’t be self taught on stuff and know stuff”
Sure but you’re going on a whim to trust some guy in his mid 20s without any scientific background. He isn’t some meditation guru or a relationship expert. Sure he has an above average physique but that doesn’t make him a fitness expert or a nutrition expert either. Great football players don’t always make great managers (don’t get me wrong, they of course can but the point is being a great player has no effect on being a great manager).
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As for his credibility with attracting women: He claims to have hooked up with a lot of girls from clubs/bars/pubs – while that is definitely plausible especially considering the locations, still the only actual evidence we have of him attracting women is 2 ex-girlfriends. Now I know it’s not easy to show evidence of hook-ups, but he could at least show the many tinder matches blurred out, that he claims to have/get regularly. “Oh I dont need to prove that to you” sure but this is to do with your credibility in the stuff that you claim.
Generic advice that young kids think is incredibly valuable
The “it’s great advice”-guys
To put very simply – this is SUBJECTIVE.
His general audience is young naïve kids and so to a lot of them his advice might seem great when to most older people it probably does not. These young people might think “people struggle to do the obvious stuff so he gives pretty detailed in depth advice for most things”, if someone is struggling to actually apply the theory they know then more theoretical advice isn’t necessarily going to make them take action.
“Overload of information can actually be a problem. Your brain has finite information in a limited space. You get too much advice and it can all cancel to 0. In modern society, we get too much information too quickly and many have attention spans that are very low.”-Naval Ravikant
The “he saved me”-guys
A few people will say that Hamza has ‘saved’ them, and sure perhaps he played a role in doing so. Though his content also hasn’t saved a lot of others. The element of feeling like someone ‘saved’ them, is that they drew enough inspiration from them to create a drastic change – that inspiration can even be got from the largest fake gurus, though there are also a lot more who weren’t positively impacted or had wasted a bunch of money on courses that didn’t create impact. Testimonials usually only show the good side.
The basic message of Hamza’s is good.
Something can be both generic/obvious advice and still be good.
If the main points are things like do focused-work, exercise, meditate, gratitude journal, learn about your craft – then sure that’s all good but there’s also no need to watch multiple vids on that like “how to X”, “guide to X” etc., when it comes to these things be a practioner not a theorist. Hamza as many other self-improvement youtubers do, takes the most popular topics like “dopamine detox”, “nofap”, “quitting social media”, sleep, diet, exercise, meditate etc. and just states obvious things while dragging it out to make the vids a lot longer than they need to be, and sometimes make multiple vids on the same topic. The basic message of Hamza’s is good but to me it’s also no special advice, pretty obvious stuff to me. It’s like with Jordan Peterson, his basic message of don’t just complain, don’t self-victimize, pull yourself together, act and decide well – that’s all good but when it comes to his philosophical talks there is some questionable stuff.
Am I Just A “Hater”?
No. I actually used to really enjoy and watch a lot of Hamza’s content when he had under 10k subscribers on youtube. This isn’t one of those cases where as someone becomes more successful they get more haters. It’s not about “clout” either; I could care less about whether this post gets “clout”, I just want to help people avoid a scam. This is about how as Hamza has grew in popularity, he has become more business-focused and less interested in genuinely helping others. I understand that there will be some people (mostly from Hamza’s cult), who will try to label me as a “hater” or a “loser”, all in attempts to try to avoid the logical issues presented in this piece. There’s also a high chance that Hamza’s fans will start calling me names instead of trying to understand the point and I understand their POV, they have been basically brainwashed into believing that Hamza has changed their life.
I don’t blame Hamza
Let me make this clear – I do NOT blame him. The fact is there are many other content creators in the same field as him, doing the same thing as him and I don’t blame any of them. While I do think he is making easy money off mostly lonely desperate people, I don’t want to turn this into a debate on ethical issues. I’m just addressing the points and making it aware for consumers. As long as it’s by legal means I don’t blame anyone for making money whatever way it is, the onus is on the buyer to be smart about it. The consumers need to take accountability for their actions as well.
In terms of Human decency, Hamza is probably at average. He’s not necessarily evil for making money the way he is, he doesn’t come across as a terrible human being and that is perhaps why a lot of his younger audience seem to place some trust in him. One should be aware that just because someone isn’t a bad person that doesn’t mean they have your best interest at heart.
Typical Justification given by self-help content creators
“oh im just exchanging time and value for money”
This is the typical justification by the people selling such self-improvement courses, they say they put in a lot of time and effort into creating whatever course/book it is, and sure that may necessarily be true but it doesn’t justify the prices it’s being sold at. You can make the argument if the prices are very low that it’d be like spending it on bettering yourself instead of buying some takeaway food, however in cases like Hamza’s it’s at a lot higher price. Also let’s not pretend that there aren’t genuine helpful people out there who put in lots of time and provide similar-level value or even higher value stuff while charging a lot less or making it all free.
Renowned clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson sells his programs of “Self Authoring Suite” for only $29.90 ($14.95 for each of the 4 separate programs).
Harvard psychiatrist Dr Alok Kanojia sells his full bundle guide at $60 ($20 for each of the 3 separate modules).
Whereas, in comparison, Hamza’s 30min call program is priced at $747 and his 60min call program is priced at $997.
“oh it’s about accountability”
Paid self helps courses are scummy by nature because the whole point of self-help is that in the end only you can do the work and improve yourself. Others are just guidance and there’s a bunch of free content which is enough for people if they actually just apply the stuff. The problem is they do what’s known as ‘action faking’ where they watch these self help vids and it makes them feel like they’re taking action when they’re actually not. The people selling the courses will be like “oh it’s all about accountability, we’re here to make sure you actually take action” but you don’t need to pay to do that, you can get a friend to hold you accountable or you can hold yourself accountable. Ultimately when it comes down to it, you’re going have to hold yourself accountable to do the work – especially when the course is over and how driven you are starts to decrease over time.
“You just don’t understand business”
Pretty much everyone with a Youtube channel wants to attract more viewers. I mean that’s basically the point in having a Youtube channel – so others can see your content. I have nothing against that.
The point here isn’t that he’s making money. Everyone needs a way to make money and it’s not surprising as his audience-size increases that he starts becoming way more focused on the business and caring less about helping others, and so I get why he is making vids on topic of the trends. Striking a balance between growing business + genuinely helping others can be very difficult as the 2 can at often times cross as mutually exclusive. The criticism here is the scummy way that he’s doing it; he’s doing the generic self help toxicity that large based fake gurus do.
Hamza’s response when called out
Hamza had responded in a discord server created by another youtuber (1stman).
Ad Hominem by Hamza:
Hamza says “marketing tricks lol you sound like a simpleton”, “you sound like a resentful guy”.
Throwing personal attacks because he’s unable to hold a constructive conversation/discussion even as an adult.
Inordinately bad analogy by Hamza:
Hamza says “go complain about every store having a red SALE sign, that’s manipulative too isn’t it?”
Not necessarily because it’s somewhat out in the open and people can still not go into that store or do go in.
Hamza’s comment about healthy foods:
Hamza makes the comparison “that’s like saying why is healthy foods more expensive?”
Healthy foods are not always more expensive, it always varies depending on where. Often times junk food will be priced higher because they’re more in demand. It’s to do with the addictive nature of processed food making you crave more processed foods (involving things like activation of neurons in the gut and dopamine) and so by comparison junk food is being consumed and purchased more, so a lot of people are willing to pay more for them.
Hamza: “a course is like 5-10x a book tbh”
Well no, not necessarily. It obviously depends on the course and the book. Often a well-written book can condense the author’s essential points and knowledge into writing, so can actually be time-saving compared to multiple useless vids dragging out stuff with filler and waffling.
Unequivocally trash logic by Hamza “if my course was overpriced then people wouldn’t buy it”
There are lots of naïve people, desperate people and stupid people who would and do buy overpriced stuff without realizing that it’s overpriced. Lots of people buy overpriced stuff and then later regret it. The logic there is laughable. It’s like saying “if heroin was bad then the people who take it wouldn’t take it”.
Self help in itself isn’t bad
I don’t believe the entirety of the self-help industry is bad. As someone put it: “There must be a BALANCE – both your consumption and action must have a symbiotic relationship, and a combination of both can make self-help something that could prove to be genuinely useful.”
I’m not even saying Hamza’s course itself is bad. I’m saying it’s overpriced as you can most likely create the same change as someone who takes it, without paying $997. Hamza’s site will advertise something like “this price is totally worth it as it will be life changing positive stuff!!”
Whether you pay for some program or not, you still have to put in the work to create an impactful change. Paying hundreds COULD make someone feel like they can’t allow that money to go to waste and therefore be driven to accomplish whatever set goal. The problem with that kind of thinking is that a few years later or perhaps even a few months later, they can lose all that drive and get complacent then start to fall back downhill.
Am I saying to stop watching Hamza?
No. If you like his free content and find it useful as a starting point for self-development then okay. I’m just pointing out his flaws and bringing awareness to the scheming marketing aspect of the paid stuff. As long as you’re not over-consuming his free content then you should be fine.
Now some of you younger guys are probably thinking well watching just Hamza means you don’t have to watch multiple other sources or read many books from 10-20 years ago as you think watching just Hamza means you get all the info from just one source. The problem with that is firstly he says a lot of incorrect stuff – one example being much of his broscience (see below). Secondly, if you’re constantly watching countless vids of his then you’re still spending similar amount of time as you would be from watching multiple different sources – with the difference being less credibility in Hamza’s information.
What I like about Hamza’s content
Though he has his flaws and says some wrong stuff, he also does say some stuff that can be quite motivating for the younger audience. I feel like this is particularly when he’s streaming that we get to see a slightly more genuine side to him probably because it’s not pre-planned vids and so harder to put on an act.
He has also at least admitted he’s running a business (although I do think not admitting that would just make him look even worse)
Hamza and red pill is definitely a step up from black pill.
What I dislike about Hamza’s content
A few months ago Hamza made a video calling other youtubers frauds for being clickbait – calling others in the same field as frauds can help reinforce the idea to youngsters that you yourself are not a fraud. While Hamza’s basic point makes sense, he also doesn’t seem to understand the other side’s point – which is that self help shouldn’t take over one’s life and have it be their entire personality, potentially leading to becoming egotistical and narcissistic.
Now a few months later he’s doing the same clickbait titles like “why I hate modern women“, “why you should breakup with your girlfriend” etc.
Hamza’s advice can be dangerous to young people
Hamza made a video on how to psychologically manipulate people (in a nice way). The problem with this advice is that you can end up having shallow relationships. It can be extremely hard transitioning all that stuff to an actual connection or feel any affection. The other person ends up having a relationship with a mask, not the real you. The assumed premise for this even being considered a slightly good social tactic is that people only want what’s good from other people – but we don’t always know or even want what’s best for ourselves and others without good values. If you have to plan out a whole mental strategy on how to manipulate her, stopping yourself from texting her when you want to just so she hungers for attention, you are spending a lot more effort and disguising your true self, rather than a guy who is himself and enjoys every minute he spends with the chick as he just does whatever the fuck he wants. At the end of the day she’s the one who has YOU on a leash as she’s forcing you to change yourself for her sake. She’s the one controlling you.
If you’re familiar with Hamza’s content then you’ll know he admittedly uses broscience constantly as advice. The problem here is he often says scientifically wrong stuff then tries to play it off with mocking people who ask for source of his broscience. He often mocks people multiple times on his discord lectures for not sharing his preferences or approach or ideas. (Using an IQ bell curve meme doesn’t support your case either)
One example out of many of his broscience here
Within the first few minutes of the video you’ll hear Hamza incorrectly states “The amygdala is the lizard brain”.
It’s common for these self help youtubers, life coaches and ‘gurus’ to throw around random buzzwords that they saw in some random psychology book or article, that they have no idea about. Firstly the lizard brain is just something that was coined by a neuroscientist decades ago who came up with the model of ‘triune brain’. The amygdala is part of limbic system which is also known as the mammalian brain or paleomammalian cortex. The lizard brain is the reptitilian brain or the reptilian complex.
Now someone might come to his defense that “oh he probably didn’t fully understand it at a scientific level but what he inherently means is right”. If you don’t scientifically understand topics literally to do with science then it’s best to just avoid talking on it instead of acting like you know what you’re talking about. It would be better to watch an expert talk about it and yes there are videos where experts explain things simply, for instance Robert Sapolsky explains the same topic clearly in a ‘Big Think’ video. “Oh but Hamza basically said the same thing as Robert Sapolsky” the difference is Sapolsky knows what he’s actually talking about and doesn’t state anything wrong.
Toxic self-help marketing nature
If someone is selling you something then it would make sense that they’ll try all the strategies to get you to invest in their product. Here are some of the strategies use:
-give some mediocre free content which naïve people will think is decent, while having links to the paid stuff below the vid.
-pretend to have viewers best interest
-relate to the hopeless people by talking about the past version of yourself “I WAS lonely, depressed etc.” Hamza uses this technique frequently by referring to himself as “Younger Hamza”.
-then give the hopeless person some sense of hope by talking about how you changed your life around. Hamza does this by showing some pic of himself as a skinny kid before puberty compared to now with a more muscular physique and abs
-use the psychological trick known as “Charm pricing” to sell stuff by having prices end in “7”
-have a website with some motivating stories, have positive testimonials
-tell them you will refund money back if they didn’t like the program (makes the viewer think they have nothing to lose in purchasing it)
Note: Refund procedures are not always so straightforward as you might think it is.
See the similarities in this typical scheming
Casey Zander is another 20-something year old who has no mention of his qualifications on his site, with psychological pricing of having prices end in “7”, showing positive testimonials, showing body transformation pics and finally selling an overpriced program.
It used to be pick up artists selling overpriced courses/coaching to lonely guys and now it seems to have moved onto self improvement. Even RSD (Real Social Dynamics) moved from pick-up artistry to self help because they realized self help has a wider margin and includes dating & relationships, so more profit in selling courses for that.
Regarding the testimonials on his site
Firstly, aforementioned – testimonials usually only show the good side.
The testimonials he has displayed is an extremely low sample size. I’m sure there will be some of his followers saying there’s a lot more that he’s not showing, but it’s way more likely that there are a lot more disappointed testimonials that aren’t being shown. Also showing random cropped whatsapp messages cannot be trusted as testimonials of integrity.
The “I used to be like that” technique
The whole “I used to be like that too” is a psychological technique which attempts to push the narrative that the other person is wrong and that you’ve ascended.
Someone else can easily use that same technique on Hamza himself. Example: “I used to have a similar scummy business mindset to Hamza a few years back until I reached a point of financial freedom, so I completely get where he’s coming from. Give him a few more years and he’ll probably switch out of it to a new source of income”
Why do people find it hard to change their beliefs?
The science: When you have a belief and you reaffirm yourself of it or find something supporting it, you get some dopamine release it. People get a dopamine hit from the “I’m right” feeling.
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A lot of these young people have been following Hamza for months or years, so it’ll be hard for them to change their mind. Take for instance, Floyd Mayweather and Conor Mcgregor, they have even assaulted people and yet still have countless fans supporting them.
Brandolini’s Law – it takes more energy to refute bullshit than to produce it, the world is left with a lot of unrefuted bullshit.
The Messiah Effect – most people don’t believe in ideals, but in people that believe in those ideals.
In political campaigns, people often vote based on the person’s characteristics rather than the intricacies of policy.
Countering broscience: Hitchens’s Razor – what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. If you make a claim, it’s up to you to prove it, not me to disprove it.
Russell’s Teapot – If you believe there is a teapot flying around the moon, you have to prove everything because your counter can’t disprove it. Burden of proof lies upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others. (Read Karl Popper if you wish for more info about falsifiability of claims)
Advice for Hamza’s audience
I understand where most of Hamza’s fans come from and I have great empathy for them. A lot of these people are sick of being stuck in their life due to their bad habits and destructive tendencies. But an overpriced course is NOT the answer, nor is over-consuming his content.
What do you mean by brainwashing?
Brainwashing, alternatively termed as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and forced re-education, revolves around the notion that specific psychological methods can influence or manipulate the human mind.
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Since most of the people in his cult/discord server are kids close to his age, they probably just relate to him more and so his content might be a good starting point for them. My advice for these kids would be to not take everything he says at face value and to not be attached to consuming his content, turn off notifications about a new vid, limit yourself to about 1 vid of his per week instead of daily following his stream and all his uploads. And most importantly actually apply the useful practical advice you learned. – Now this may sound like obvious advice to a lot of people but considering most followers of Hamza are young and naïve, that probably needed to be said.
Hamza tries to portray himself as someone who wants to help people, all the while he tries to manipulate vulnerable people into buying his exorbitant course. He doesn’t have any credentials as a behavioral therapist or psychiatrist or anything close to the sort and thus, is nothing but a quack in that manner. Don’t jump into buying his courses. Firstly before making such a purchase, why not watch a bunch of his most recommended videos and actually apply stuff then you can get some kind of view on his mindset/thought-processes. If you’ve tried everything and tried cheaper courses and still found no change and you like Hamza’s way of thinking and you strongly believe that Hamza can change you for the better and you’re also wealthy enough to splash huge amounts of money around then and only then should you even consider buying his course. His free content is okay but I would strongly advise everyone to avoid his courses.