Who is Hamza Ahmed?
Hamza Ahmed is a YouTuber who was born in 1997 in the United Kingdom and creates material that focuses on topics such as relationships, self-help, productivity, and fitness. He has a cult following that is primarily made up of adolescents and has amassed more than 100 thousand subscribers on YouTube. Hamza is in the business of selling mentoring and coaching packages.
I shall address both the positive and negative aspects of Hamza Ahmed in this essay.
His educational history, as well as the institution(s) he attended and the subject(s) he majored in, is not mentioned anywhere on his website. It is thought that he majored in Psychology, however, it is not known whether or not he graduated. In either case, his qualifications are lacking, and the information on his website consists solely of storytelling, with an emphasis on the “then and now” narrative structure.
“but that doesn’t mean he can’t be self taught on stuff and know stuff”
Certainly, but you’re going to blindly put your faith in a young man in his mid-20s who has no scientific training whatsoever. Hamza Ahmed is not some sort of authority on meditation or on interpersonal relationships. Even if he possesses a better-than-average physique, this does not qualify him as an authority on either physical fitness or nutritional health. Being a great football player has no bearing on one’s ability to be a great manager (don’t get me wrong, they certainly can be, but the point I’m trying to make is that being a great player has no bearing on one’s ability to be a great manager).
Hamza Ahmed claims to have hooked up with a lot of girls from clubs, bars, and pubs. While this is undoubtedly feasible, especially considering the venues, the only concrete evidence we have of him attracting women is his two previous relationships.
Now, I am aware that it is not simple to present evidence of hook-ups, but he could at least display the many Tinder matches that he claims to have/get routinely blurred out. Now, this is something that I am aware of. “Oh, you don’t need me to prove that to you,” you might say, but the point here is that your credibility is at stake in the things that you assert.
Generic advice that young kids think is incredibly valuable
The “it’s great advice”-guys
To put it 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 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.
“Overloading 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 Ahmed 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 Ahmed is good.
Something can be both generic/obvious advice and still be good.
If the main points are things like doing focused work, exercising, meditating, 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 practitioner, 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, meditation, 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 Ahmed 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.
Typical Justification is given by self-help content creators
“oh I’m 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 Ahmed 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 program “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 guidelines 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 start 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 of 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, so I get why he is making vids on the topic of the trends. Striking a balance between growing a business + genuinely helping others can be very difficult as the 2 can oftentimes 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: Hamza says things like “marketing tricks lol you sound like a fool” or “you sound like a bitter guy.”
He’s making personal attacks because, even as an adult, he can’t have a constructive talk or discussion.
Hamza Ahmed makes a terrible comparison: “Go complain that every store has a red SALE sign. That’s manipulative, too, right?”
Not definitely, since it’s kind of out in the open and people still can’t or don’t go into that store.
Comment by Hamza Ahmed about good foods:
Hamza says, “That’s the same as asking why healthy foods are more expensive.”
Healthy foods aren’t always more expensive. It depends on where you live. Most of the time, junk food costs more because people want it more. It has to do with the fact that processed food is addictive and makes you want more processed food. This is caused by things like activating nerves in the gut and releasing dopamine. As a result, people are eating and buying more junk food, so many are willing to pay more for it.
Hamza Ahmed: “Tbh, a course is like five to ten times a book.”
Well no, not necessarily. It depends on the course and the book, of course. Often, a well-written book can put the author’s most important points and knowledge into writing. This can save time compared to multiple useless videos that drag out information with fluff and rambling.
Definitely throw away what Hamza Ahmed says. “If my course cost too much, no one would buy it.”
People who are naive, desperate, or just plain stupid will and do buy things that are too expensive without understanding them. A lot of people buy things that are too expensive and then feel bad about it. That makes no sense at all. It’s the same as saying, “If heroin was bad, people wouldn’t use it.”
Self-help in itself isn’t bad
I don’t think the self-help business as a whole is bad. Someone put it this way: “There must be a BALANCE; what you consume and what you do must go together, and the two together can make self-help something that could really help you.”
I’m not even saying that Hamza Ahmed’s class is bad in and of itself. I say it’s too expensive because you can probably make the same changes as someone who takes it without spending $997. Hamza Ahmed’s website will say something like, “This price is totally worth it because it will be life-changing, good stuff!!
Whether or not you pay for a school, you still have to put in the work to make a big difference. Someone COULD feel like they can’t let hundreds of dollars go to waste and be pushed to reach their goal because of that. The problem with that kind of thought is that a few years or even a few months later, they might lose all their motivation, become lazy, and start to go backward.
Am I saying to stop watching Hamza?
No. If you like his free material and think it can help you improve yourself, that’s fine. I’m just pointing out his flaws and making people aware of how the paid stuff is marketed in a sneaky way. You should be fine as long as you don’t use too much of his free material.
Some of you younger guys might be thinking that if you just watch Hamza, you don’t need to watch multiple other sources or read many books from 10 to 20 years ago, because you can get all the information you need from Hamza Ahmed. The trouble with that is, first of all, that he says a lot of wrong things, like a lot of neuroscience (see below). Second, if you’re always watching a lot of his videos, you’re still spending the same amount of time as if you were watching a lot of different sources. The only difference is that Hamza’s information is less reliable.
What I like about Hamza’s content
Even though he has flaws and says some bad things, he also says some things that can be very inspiring to young people. I think we get to see a more real side of him when he’s streaming, probably because the videos aren’t planned ahead of time and it’s harder to put on a show.
Hamza and the red pill are definitely better than the black pill. He has at least admitted that he has a business, which I think would make him look even worse if he didn’t.
What I dislike about Hamza’s content
A few months ago, Hamza Ahmed made a video in which he called other YouTubers “frauds” because their videos were clickbait. Calling others in the same field “frauds” can help kids understand that you are not a fraud. Hamza’s main point makes sense, but he doesn’t seem to understand the other side’s point, which is that self-help shouldn’t take over someone’s life and become their whole personality, which could make them selfish and narcissistic.
Now, a few months later, he’s using the same clickbait names like “Why I Hate Modern Women,” “Why You Should Break Up With Your Girlfriend,” etc.
Hamza’s advice can be dangerous to young people
Hamza Ahmed made a movie about how to get people to do what you want (in a nice way). The problem with this advice is that it can lead you to have relationships that aren’t very deep. It can be very hard to move from all of that to a real relationship or to feel any love. The other person ends up getting to know your mask instead of you. People think that they only want good things from other people, but without good values, we don’t always know or even want what’s best for ourselves and others.
If you have to come up with a whole plan in your head for how to manipulate her, like not texting her when you want to so she wants attention, you are putting in a lot more work and hiding who you really are, compared to a guy who is himself and enjoys every minute he spends with the girl while he does whatever the fuck he wants. At the end of the day, it’s her who has you on a leash because she wants you to change for her. She is the one in charge of you.
If you know Hamza’s content, you’ll know that he admits to using neuroscience as advice all the time. The trouble is that he often says things that aren’t true from a scientific point of view. When people ask him where he got his information, he makes fun of them. Hamza Ahmed often makes fun of people more than once in his Discord talks for not liking or agreeing with him or his ideas. (Using a meme about the IQ bell curve doesn’t help your cause, either.)
Here is just one example of his prescience.
In the first few minutes of the film, Hamza Ahmed says, “The amygdala is the lizard brain,” which is not true.
It’s common for self-help YouTubers, life guides, and so-called “gurus” to use buzzwords they read about in a psychology book or article but don’t know what they mean. First of all, the term “lizard brain” was made up by a researcher who came up with the idea of a “triune brain” decades ago. The amygdala is part of the limbic system, which is also called the mammalian brain or the paleomammalian cortex. The reptilian brain or the reptilian complex is the snake brain.
Now, someone might say, “Well, he probably didn’t fully understand it from a scientific point of view, but what he means, in general, is right.” If you don’t really know what you’re talking about when it comes to scientific topics, it’s best not to talk about them at all instead of looking like you do. It would be better to watch an expert talk about it, and there are videos where experts explain things in an easy way. For example, Robert Sapolsky explains the same topic clearly in a ‘Big Think’ video. “Oh, but Hamza Ahmed basically said the same thing as Robert Sapolsky,” but Sapolsky knows what he’s talking about and doesn’t say anything wrong.
Toxic self-help marketing nature
If someone is trying to sell you something, it makes sense that they will try everything they can to get you to buy it. Here are some of the things you can do:
-Give away some free content that isn’t very good, but that people who aren’t very smart will think is good. Below the video, put links to the paid content.
- Act like you want what’s best for your audience. – Relate to hopeless people by talking about yourself in the past: “I WAS lonely, depressed, etc.” Hamza often does this by saying, “Younger Hamza” when talking about himself.
-Then tell the person who doesn’t have any hope how you turned your life around. Hamza does this by sharing a picture of himself as a skinny child before puberty and another of himself now, when he has more muscle and abs.
-Use the “Charm Pricing” trick to sell things by making the amounts end in “7”
- Have a website with some inspiring stories and good reviews.
-Tell them you’ll give them their money back if they don’t like the show. This makes them feel like they have nothing to lose by buying it.
Advice for those listening to Hamza Ahmed
I know where most of Hamza’s fans are coming from, so I can relate to them. A lot of these people are sick of their bad habits and destructive traits keeping them stuck in their lives. But an expensive study isn’t the answer, and neither is reading too much of his work.
Most of the people in his cult/Discord server are around his age, so they probably just connect to him more. His content might be a good place for them to start since he’s their age. My advice to these kids would be not to believe everything he says and not to be attached to his material. Instead of following his stream and all the videos he uploads every day, they should only watch about one of his videos per week. And most importantly, put the good tips you’ve learned to use. Some people might think this is clear advice, but since most people who follow Hamza are young and naive, it probably needed to be said.