Are You A Guru?

This weekend, I was reading a post from a self-proclaimed “blogging guru” and it got me thinking…. what does it take to be a guru?

Authority or Guru

The first thing to clarify is the difference between an “authority” and a “guru.”  Basically, if you can tell someone more than they care to hear about a topic, you are probably an Authority on that topic.  It’s also possible that you are just boring – but lets try to keep things positive.  Being an authority implies a great deal of knowledge in that specific area.  It is pretty cut-and-dried.

A guru, on the other hand, is a little more complicated.  In addition to a great deal of knowledge, it also implies a willingness to help others.  In other words, a guru is a teacher.  In today’s society, it usually means someone who will teach you – for a price.

Guru Requirements

So how can you tell if YOU are a guru?  Well, it can be a little confusing – but there are a few unwritten rules.

1.  Know It All

To call yourself a guru, you need to either have a vast knowledge of a subject or at least claim to have a vast knowledge of a subject.  Who can really say when you officially become a Photoshop Guru or a Painting Guru.  At some point, you just start using the term.   If you can talk about a topic for 30 minutes – and still have people standing there when you finish- you might be a guru.

2.  Subject Matter

Unfortunately, you can’t be a guru in anything you want.  Certain subjects are off-limits.  Basically, a guru is generally an expert in a field of study that is considered good or helpful.  For example, you can’t be a Crime Guru – they are referred to as “criminal masterminds” or something like that.   You could, however, be a Crime Solving Guru.  See the difference?

There is no such thing as a Death Guru or Poverty Guru – they just don’t exist.   If your field of expertise is in one of these fields, you probably need to forget about being a guru.  Sorry.

3.  Stuff For Sale

As far as I can see, the final requirement for being a guru is that you have to have some sort of product for sale.  If you are an Kitchen Organization Guru, you better have a book-or even a utensil sorting tray- for sale.  People like to buy things from gurus.

Can you imagine meeting someone who claimed to be a Marketing Guru, but didn’t have a marketing book for sale?  You’ve got a better chance of stumbling across the Loch Ness Monster.

Make Sense?

Hopefully that will clarify things a bit for everyone.  If you read over the requirements and you have determined yourself to be an actual guru- congratulations!

If not, keep at it.  I didn’t just become a Guru Guru overnight – believe me.


  1. Cortney

    From your definition, I feel I am on the cusp of becoming a guru…. It might help my cause if I started “pimping myself out,” so to speak… LOL Maybe I need to find a marketing guru to help me with that =)

    • Kesha Brown

      Hilarious comment Cortney! Once you got the pimp part right, you’re good to go 😉

      Larry, you had me cracking up too with “It’s also possible that you are just boring – but lets try to keep things positive.” I’ve seen many people call themselves gurus who are just that – BORING! LOL

      Because the term has so many expectations tied to it, I generally just use authority for myself but I need to start getting my “pimp on” so I can ball out with Cortney :-)


  2. JosephJYoung

    Hi Larry,
    Well said. I like the way you wrote this makes a person think a little. Lots of people want to be guru’s, some even claim it, but in the end, as you said, the true guru’s really have something to offer that helps people.

    Am I guru, not sure, but I do love helping people with what I know.


  3. Jeevanjacobjohn

    Awesome article, Larry!

    Thanks for inviting me in to read 😉

    Nowadays, there are just too many gurus out there (I should say, self proclaimed gurus). They proclaim themselves as gurus just because they had success in the past (techniques get less powerful as time passes on) or because they just got lucky (some of them – they didn’t even have any success with the niche; they just proclaim too).

    It is really hard to define a guru. As you said, a guru should be someone who knows everything (but, at the same time, a guru could be someone who could capture your attention for more than 30 minutes).

    Awesome thoughts here Larry,

    Jeevan Jacob John

  4. Stephen Robinson

    Unofficial titles are really just a state of mind. A state of mind that can be passed onto other minds through influence, reputation, and repetition.

    If a couple in a love relationship have been living together for a few years, and they refer to themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Jones, then through the power of influence, reputation, and repetition, they will be referred to by others as Mr. and Mrs. Jones, even though they have never been married.

      • Stephen Robinson

        It’s actually funny that this movie I seen a while ago, called The Love Guru, came to mind while reading my last comment. He calls himself The Love Guru, and even goes by the name of Guru Pitka.

        The people around him also call him The Love Guru. But, he had never actually been with a woman, and didn’t really know anything about love or being in love. It was only his title and reputation that made him a love guru.

  5. Armi Niemi

    Hello, Guru Guru! lol
    I’m not a guru yet but I might be someday :)
    Thanks for writing this post. I enjoyed reading it!

  6. bbrian017

    Hey Larry, I don’t know what I would call myself but I hope to think I help others. Also I make a profit doing it so there’s a benefit or value added perk. I love what I do day in and day out. I work 16 hour days because I want to.

    Perhaps we will leave this Guru status to some of the others that make 100,000 USD lol… give me a year or two more. I plan on growing the largest hub on the internet for bloggers.

  7. Gwen

    Hi Larry,
    I am so happy to visit every blog post that you share, its full of great ideas and I used it to in my daily lives… Guru is good, and I want to be that.. Its matter on how you deal it…

  8. ntathu allen

    Larry..umm.I have trouble getting my head around this whole notion of, for example- an internet marketer being regarded as a “guru”…it just doesnt work like that. A “true guru” will not go around saying I am a guru…that is just so up yourself. A guru is a spiritual teacher who humbly serves and “removes darkness”. The term is banded about these days…just because you have knowledge and in depth understanding of a subject doesnt make you a “guru”. It is a spiritual term and as spiritual seekers we are encouraged to seek the “god/teacher within”..if we are blessed a “teacher/guru” will appear to teach us and walk alongside us, to impart their knowledge and spiritual understanding of life. Traditionally, under the Gurukula system-a student went to live with their teacher and learnt universal principles and ways of living, in harmony and peace-through yoga, meditation, with the ultimate aim of self actualisation…for me that is way different from the way, we (in the west) use the word “guru”.

    Food for thought.

    • Larry

      Couldn’t agree more Ntathu. It drives me crazy when people refer to themselves as a guru – especially when they are just trying to sell something. Unfortunately, it is very common these days…

  9. Katharina25

    No, I’m not a guru but I am willing to learn more about online marketing. I want to be more experienced in order for me to teach beginners too.

  10. Will Lourcey

    Larry, I know your blog is awesome, but SERIOUSLY, if you’re going to make this blog more popular than YouTube, PLEASE don’t make me look like an idiot by dressing like Hitchcock’s Psycho/Bill Murray in “Zombieville” the movie. Okay, so I was thinking about that if maybe you could put an ad on your blog thing saying that your nephew has a blog and needs visitors and comments to follow me too and so I could be just like you? Well, I could use some international publicity, because I think I just saw a virtual tumbleweed. Contact me at “Hello World” and, if you do the ad thing talk about my blog website and I guess I’ll see you around, Uncle! -Will, your nephew!

  11. Theriz26

    This is a great article to read and i really enjoyed reading it. I’m not a guru yet but i might be someday. And i’m willing to learn to enhance my knowledge about online marketing.Thanks for the post and job well done.

  12. Astro Gremlin

    This article was a disappointment because I thought there was such a thing as a “poverty guru” and thought I had a pretty good chance of being one. We should be charitable and realize that to some self-proclaimed gurus, to them their knowledge may *seem* vast. OK seriously, if you want people standing there after 30 minutes, at least 10 of those minutes should have been spent asking about them and their problems. When you start solving people’s problems, they, not you, will start using the term “guru.” Hilarious article.

  13. I do not disregard the role of a teacher but guru mean some one who delivered a knowledge whether you understood or not, even if you are not interested they just doing a job which is teaching. I prefer a coach as he develops the potential of a person and making some one becoming to what they want.
    I’m growing a blog of Photographer as a worker in photography business commercial at and I luv your opinions mentioning our issues TQ Larry

Leave a Reply to Larry Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>