Mindfulness, neuroplasticity, trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, career coaching, Kripalu yoga – the list of “cures” for our lack of resilience and related problems is endless. If you are overweight, alone, miserable at work or crippled by stress or anxiety or depression, there are hordes of gurus and experts chasing you with books and quick fixes. With their advice, guidance, motivation or inspiration, you can fix your problems. But make no mistake: They are always your problems. You alone are responsible for them. It follows that failing to fix your problems will always be your failure, your lack of will, motivation or strength. Galen, the second-century physician who ministered to Roman emperors, believed his medical treatments were effective. “All who drink of this treatment recover in a short time,” he wrote, “except those whom it does not help, who all die. It is obvious, therefore, that it fails only in incurable cases.” This is the way of the billion-dollar self-help industry: You are to blame when the guru’s advice does not produce the expected outcome, and by now, we are all familiar enough with self-help to know that expected outcomes are elusive. […] Personal explanations for success actually set us up for failure. TED Talks and talk shows full of advice on what to eat, what to think and how to live seldom work. Self-help fixes are like empty calories: The effects are fleeting and often detrimental in the long term. Worse, they promote victim blaming. The notion that your resilience is your problem alone is ideology, not science. We have been giving people the wrong message. Resilience is not a DIY endeavor. Self-help fails because the stresses that put our lives in jeopardy in the first place remain in the world around us even after we’ve taken the “cures.” The fact is that people who can find the resources they require for success in their environments are far more likely to succeed than individuals with positive thoughts and the latest power poses. […] The science of resilience is clear: The social, political and natural environments in which we live are far more important to our health, fitness, finances and time management than our individual thoughts, feelings or behaviors.