A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook his annoyance at the term, “hacking,” and how overused it is in society today. No, we’re not talking about Russian infiltration into American elections. No, in this case, the word “hack,” refers to a way around the hard work required to get from point A to point B, a cheat or shortcut, if you will.
As you might be aware, the Internet is loaded with “experts,” self-proclaimed gurus who will tell you the quickest ways to anything as long as you subscribe to their YouTube channel or buy their self-published book. They use content marketing to generate interest by publishing articles, videos and infographics with titles like, “10 Hacks To House Flipping,” or “Hacking The Self Employment Life,” or other such nonsense.
The primary goal here is for the author to set his or herself up as the “expert” by creating tons of content and luring in subscribers. Once they’ve got you in their marketing list, you will be inundated with messages trying to convince you that you can’t function without their dime store psychobabble or unqualified business advice.
Don’t misunderstand, there are plenty of legitimate content marketers out there who have great and useful information to share. But those who are reputable might offer tips to get you where you want to be, but generally never offer any sort of shortcut. The only thing that will see you from start to success is hard work, consistency, and persistence.
There is just no such thing as a hack to anything worthwhile. You have to put in the time, make the effort, learn the steps and execute them with intent. That’s the only way you’ll ever achieve your goals.
When these so-called experts or motivational people get up on a stage and start telling everyone how to live their lives it infuriates me. People are smart. They need guidance, not the ravings of someone trying to sell a book or something.
The only skill most of these people have is in getting someone who’s a little lost in life to cough up buckets of cash for junk advice, books, videos or whatever. At this point someone who reads my work regularly is probably saying, “Wait, don’t you offer advice and tips about things?” Yes, I do, but there is a major difference – credibility.
I only offer advice and tips on subjects with which I have experience and, usually, in a logical and objective way. I also generally explain in those kinds of pieces that I’m giving you an account of my own experience or that of someone I know directly who can speak on it with authority.
I will also never try to get you to buy a book or subscribe to a mailing list or other such tactics. Although, I appreciate that you’ve purchased the newspaper you may be reading this in, but it’s not necessary. My columns are freely available online in most areas where I’m published.
If I do want you to respond to some business opportunity, I’ll say exactly that. It won’t be shrouded in some kind of self-help gimmick. I will always contend that people are smarter and more resourceful than they give themselves credit. That goes for personal and professional issues alike.
If you just sit down and analyze whatever situation you’re coping with as objectively as you can, get advice from trusted friends or family, and then act accordingly you’ll do just fine. Things might not always turn out as you hope, but we all do the best that we can.
You will never need a “hack” to do something worthwhile. It will never work even if there is some shortcut available to you. Everything we do of substance requires patience and effort, something many people shy away from in a modern society where instant gratification rules the day.
So the next time you see a self-help post or article with the word, “hack” in it, and it’s not about a computer problem, think twice before following the lead of the author. Is it useful information or just a gateway to a shopping cart?
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com