Self Help is everywhere. Books are churned out a mile a minute on the subject, google searches for ‘how to___’ are higher than ever and everybody has a piece of advice to offer. There’s nothing wrong with this phenomenon on the surface — people are simply looking to better themselves. The problem as I see it, is that most people are getting caught up in the wrong methods.
There are thousands of tips and tricks, that people recommend for better health, relationships and productivity. And we eat those small tips up like candy – take cold showers to be more productive, drink celery juice for clear skin, spend fifteen minutes in the sauna to increase endurance.
People love these tricks because they are easy. They are fast, simple things that are marketed to make your life disproportionately better. And who doesn’t love a quick fix?
The problem is that these tips cause us to think about our routines backwards. We end up carving out time to sit in the sauna instead of actually doing cardio regularly. We focus on the celery juice when maybe we’re not drinking enough water. And cold showers? Fuck off.
The problem is that these tips don’t work on their own. They work in addition to a strong foundation. These little tips only work if they are extras to a system you would have already built. If you’re a regular runner and you add sauna time on top of that, it may really make you a better runner – but doing the sauna all by itself will do you little to no good. And yet we think that if we string together enough of these little tricks we really can be better. We want to believe in it so badly because it is so much more palatable than the alternative —
Work. Consistency. Discipline. BO-RING- yes I know.
But building a strong foundation for your fitness, productivity, or clarity are the only ways to truly improve. It’s consistent workouts, daily focus time, and disciplined habits that produce real results. The problem is that this part isn’t as glamorous or fun or as marketable. It’s a long term game.
You may say – well Jack Dorsey takes an ice bath in the morning and he founded Twitter! Yeah well he also spends twelve hours a day working on their business and only eats one meal a day so I don’t think it’s the ice bath, buddy. He is doing the work day in and day out and progress at first was probably slow slow but over time it built – it wasn’t magic by taking ice baths – but we see someone’s full picture of results and like to attribute success to the easiest to control variables. Because then, our own success doesn’t feel quite as far off.
My point here is not to ignore all tips, tricks, or hacks. Some can be extremely useful. My point is that you must be careful that you don’t put too much stock in any of them. Real change, and real improvement can only happen through improvement of the foundation so don’t let yourself get caught up in every new thing that promises amazing results. Chances are you’ll be the same as before, only with less money because half of these are just marketing pure and simple.
Focus on yourself and the things you can do every day to reach a state that resonates with you, and if a cold shower really does help – then who am I to stop you?