Even just scanning Rich Roll’s post I breathed deeply and knew I’d let go of something.
Why You Should Stop Lifehacking and Invest in the Journey spoke to something that has been rattling around in me for some time now. And I was so glad that he’d called it out.
As Rich says, the whole idea of hacking is well intentioned.
“In truth, a properly implemented hack is nothing more than leveraging a good idea. A way to cut wasted time so that you can invest yourself more fully in what makes your heart truly beat — a passion and pursuit that can transform your life by catalyzing a new journey.”
But it has become so much more.
Just look around the internet. There are entire blogs dedicated to hacking. And many articles are by their nature hacks.
- 5 Top Tips To Create More Time In Your Day.
- Get Fit in Only 10 Minutes a Day
- 7 Ways To Get on Top of Your Email Inbox
I get exhausted just reading the headlines!
And let me not pretend that I haven’t been there myself, writing hacking articles. Why? Because I bought in at one point to the belief that that was the way to go.
I remember in my early days of blogging, having a conversation with an internet marketer, who, for the record, didn’t hack it himself.
I’d wanted to write deep, insightful articles. Because I know for myself, and in the work I do, there are no shortcuts. And that change happens, not because of any brilliant advice, but from people seeing things for themselves.
“No-one will read them,” he told me. “You need to be punchy. Give people what they want.”
But that right there?
Looking back, that’s the biggest con for me.
Because more and more these days is seems that people want results without having to do anything fundamentally different. And that’s the issue.
If a hack comes from an expert, it looks like it should carry some weight. You might even go off and put these ideas into practice.
They may even seem to work for a while. But in the end most of it won’t stick. Or it won’t bring you lasting change.
The reasons are threefold:
I’m drawn to what Syd Banks has to say about the nature of thought. For him, thought is one of the core common denominators that make us human. Thought flows through us, day in, day out.
On the one hand, that’s an incredible gift. On the other, it’s a real curse. Because thinking and feeling are linked. And if I’m thinking, thinking, thinking all the time, it’s affecting how I’m feeling, which is in turn affecting my health and wellbeing.
Of course, in Banks view of the world, just realizing that your thinking is running away with you is by itself therapeutic. The mind, he says, has its own healing powers if you just let it be.
And otherwise meditation can be a really useful practice in quieting the mind and letting go of mental clutter. But either of these views need time for deep understanding and practice.
Hacks, however, pretend to help us take the stress out of things by offering quick solutions. But they actually end up only stoking the fire by giving us more or different to think about.
So we might start out with one problem, like the burgeoning email, and teach ourselves some hacks for that which last for a while until we lapse back into our checking it every six minutes a day pattern. Then, as if the email isn’t problem enough, we’ve now got a lack of discipline problem to go learn some hacks about.
So, it’s all very superficial. You might as well go repaint your hamster wheel.
You know, you might be taking your supplements and health food shop smoothies. Great. It’s not that they won’t give you something. But if you’re imagining that that’s any substitute for creating a great, health supporting diet and lifestyle, or confronting the psychological challenges you’re putting in the way of them, think again.
Some of the hacking stuff too has an element of coping for me. And I think it’s from that mindset that some people reach to hacks.
How can I cope better with the circumstances in which I find myself?
But, back to Syd, it’s not your circumstances that are the core problem, it’s how you’re thinking about them.
Plus, who wants to cope when you can thrive?
So, stop tinkering with your circumstances, imagining that you’re doing yourself any good.
Wake up and start realizing, as Rich says, if you want deep change, you have to put the work in.