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Why ‘Science’ Can’t Teach You To Hack Success

Why ‘Science’ Can’t Teach You To Hack Success

Because there is no easy path

What if I told you that there was One Weird Trick based on Science that could make you fly? Just by flapping your arms.

Would you believe me?

Some people might. But I’d like to think a lot of people are wise enough and awake enough that they’d recognise a promise like that for the bullshit it is.

What if I told you that there was some kind of scientific principle that could teach you how to instantly make your life successful?

What if I told you that you could use Science to hack your life with no defects and become successful overnight?

Would you believe me then?

Apparently, a lot of people would. Because promises like that are a dime a dozen. They’re everywhere. They’re on every website, every platform, every wannabe guru’s tongue. But it’s a promise with about as much weight as a promise that you can learn to fly.

Folks must believe those promises because they keep on reading and sharing and liking and consuming and gorging themselves on all of this crap.

When you read these articles, they can’t be helping. Or the thousands of people who shared them would all be a combination of Yogis, Billionaires and Beings of Pure Light by now.

And yet, they keep getting published.

I think it comes down to two problems.

The first problem is that we have an innate trust of popular science (crap like “we only use 10% of our brains”) and a distrust of hard science (the boring stuff that gets published and peer-reviewed and actually changes the world.)

We want exciting, thrilling, colourful Instascience. We trust that stuff. It makes us feel like we’re living in the future. It’s full of science fiction. It’s full of promise. It’s not complicated.

It’s The Easy Path

The second problem is that we’re obsessed with success and we’re obsessed with getting it at all costs. Which is the wrong thing to be focussed on. Success is what comes after you do great things. After you raise great kids, cook a great meal, build a great company, write a great book, get a great promotion. It’s not a reward on its own. It doesn’t even exist as a concept on its own.

Real success doesn’t come overnight, and it doesn’t come because you’ve followed some faux science hack.

Believing that you can just chase success is also the easy path.

So where does this leave us?

Like hard science — the stuff we don’t want to read about — real success is about hard work on things that aren’t easy. That’s how it all happens. Looking for a shortcut wastes your time. Looking for a shortcut doesn’t help you.

[This post by Jon Westenberg first appeared on Medium and has been reproduced with permission.]

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.


A Sydney based writer focusing on creativity, technology and business.

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