I am the only person in the world that dislikes cheat codes. Call me a man of simple pleasures, but I prefer my Sims to earn their money the old-fashioned way. I mean, if I’m going to steal a purse from an elderly woman in Grand Theft Auto, I don’t want to minimize any of the risk with a cheat code. I live on the edge.
The Lifehack Mentality is a Virus, Not a Cheat Code
Over time, I realized that the lifehack lifestyle is not a cheat code, but a virus. Don’t get me wrong, individual lifehacks can be great time savers, but they often come with a cancerous mentality that can sabotage the pursuits we hope to hack. Let me give you some personal examples:
- I want to start running. In the two months it takes me to find the perfect app, perfect shoes, and perfect plan, I decide I want to do Crossfit instead.
- I want to learn a quicker way to do something that already takes 2 minutes. I spend 2 hours learning how to shave off 20 seconds.
- I want to finish a project quickly. I apply Parkinson’s Law to set incredibly short deadlines. I overwhelm myself and give up before I even start.
Minimal Effort Demands Dependence
To illustrate this point, let’s talk about the testicles of bodybuilders and steroids.
“The lie of the lifehack is that happiness is threatened by effort and challenge.”
- My objective: Improved physical health (and abs and a modeling career)
- A hack/method: Exercise before breakfast
“It requires less thought to purposelessly learn lifehacks than to be clear about one’s objective.”
Our Exploited Thirst for Novelty
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
– Ecclesiastes 1:9 (A thing from the Bible)
“Novelty is a silver-tongued devil that exploits our deep need for significance”
Do It The Hard Way First
Remember in high school math when you weren’t allowed to use a calculator? What seemed like a great injustice was actually a limitation that enabled you to learn the basics. Had you outsourced your brain to a calculator, you would have never learned the fundamentals.
Lifehacks are calculators. Many lifehacks allow you to outsource your brain like you would to a calculator. While calculators are awesome for people who know math well, they enable students who do not want to learn.
“For the novice, lifehacks are often calculators that mask a poor understanding of the basics.”
Accept Your Limits, Don’t Cheat Them
My mom is a pathological liar. She lied to me about Santa Clause. She lied to me about her “homemade” lasagna. Worst of all, she lied to me about my potential. I grew up believing that no one in the world was as special as me. I could be whatever I wanted. I could accomplish anything, not because I worked hard, but because I was the greatest child to grace this planet since baby Jesus.
Moral of the Story
After drinking and surviving the Lifehack Kool-Aid, here are my 5 cautionary observations for the lifehacker generation.
- Lifehacking promises minimal effort but delivers dependence.
- Lifehacking promises efficiency, but sabotages resiliency.
- Lifehacking promises significance but delivers novelty.
- Lifehacking promises mastery without discomfort but leads to shallowness and fragility.
- Lifehacking promises a life without limits but imposes incredible restrictions.