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Enough With The Hacks Already

Butter in your coffee. Jeans in your freezer. Fail fast. Is everyone really smarter nowadays? Or are we just a collection of half-remembered list-acles feigning expertise with our colleagues and friends.

Humor me with a quick experiment. Search any word and put “hacks” after it. I double dare you to come back and finish this article. Seriously. I hereby propose an amended rule 34 for the internet. If it exists, there’s a hack for it. If there isn’t yet, there will be: Rule 34b.

If you managed to make it back, I remind you all of the story of The Ant and the Grasshopper. A cautionary tale that always pops up in my head when I come across the latest installment of “10 ways to close more clients in your sleep”. If you don’t remember this particular bit of Aesop’s children’s wisdom, the Ant worked all summer when the weather was nice so she had food for the winter, the Grasshopper did not. She was just chilling, playing the fiddle, and probably reading hacks articles, ultimately leading to her premature demise. A sobering lesson for children and adults alike, but the The Ant was grounded by the understanding that survival requires consistent effort, the Grasshopper fell victim to a false narrative of skipping the line.

Am I saying hacks are a bad thing? Pretty much yes. Hacks wallpaper over the deep expertise in marketing, life, fitness, and about any other topic you can think of that’s built over time. A phenomenon that needs to be put into a more healthy context for those consuming — taken with a grain of salt so to speak. True expertise is a long collection of experience, struggle, negative, and positive reinforcement. Our perception of effort gets warped with each Buzzfeed post and B2B article promising success without effort.

So, let’s make a point to reward and honor the process it takes to make meaningful effort and progress in 2019. Put in the time without an immediate payoff to build a brand, to grow a business, or learn a new skill. We cannot overlook the value in willing to be wrong and taking the steps to find out. The sunk costs associated with failed effort are rarely useless, even if terrifying initially. Slow and steady. Consistency over intensity. Failing fast is great, but not without intention.

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