Is “Life Hacking” Making People Lazy (& Entitled?)

Popcorn Life Hack
Cool hacking, bro.

Life hacking is making people lazy and entitled.

Before a seething mob of butter-in-coffee drinking, Tim Ferriss fanboys come and (ever-so-efficiently) burn me at the stake at the next TED conference – allow me to nail my colours to the mast, with regards to the 21st-century online phenomenon that is life hacking; if there is a way of doing something quick and I can get the same results in doing so – I will do it in a heartbeat.

Sign me up.

I’d sooner waste money than waste time. Time is a precious commodity to me and I take it very seriously these days. But life hacking has morphed into a euphemism for laziness to the many who beat this drum and it’s holding many people back in life.

What Exactly is Life Hacking?

Technology writer Danny O’Brien first coined the term in 2004 after a successful presentation named Life Hacks – Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks. The initial message was to showcase how IT professionals cut out the nonsense that was holding them back in work, creating shortcuts to get their work done.

The catchphrase evolved and transcended into other industries, with the American Dialect Society awarding it the runners up medal in 2005, only losing out to the powerhouse new word “podcast.”

The word was added into the Oxford Dictionary in 2011, as it had boomed in parts of the English-speaking world with people in business and exercise taking a particular liking to it and trying to incorporate life hacking into their worlds with sexy shortcuts and timesaving alternatives.

I am Not a Life Hacking Hater (But it’s Gone Too Far)

For the record, I have a lot of respect for the aforementioned Ferriss, often seen as the Godfather of getting things done in a faster time and his first book; ‘The Four-Hour Workweek’ has been good to me over the years. I used some of the principles in there to generate a five-figure monthly business whilst gallivanting around the globe for a decade, so I’m certainly no hater to the general philosophy.

Lay down your arms!

There is unquestionably a time and place for shortcuts. No one likes to do tedious crap when they can get the job done in less time (or not do it at all). If you could – why the hell wouldn’t you? But I think it’s all getting a little out of hand and it’s making us lazy, delusional and kind of annoying.

I’ve noticed a disturbing shift of mentality in the making money online world for new starters – I see people are looking for a cheeky cheat to succeed from the very start before they’ve even gotten their hands dirty. In advance of dipping their toes in the tide – they’re expecting to claim the whole ocean as their own.

Because “life hacking, bro.”

It makes me uncomfortable.

And to be frank, sometimes I just want to ask these people; “what makes you so special, princess?”

In short, life hacking has become somewhat of a misnomer for lazy people who want to glamourise their laziness and inertia, while hiding behind this buzzword.

The Passive Income Dream

do nothing

Whenever I receive an email, it’s usually from a reader who is interested in how the hell I did it. How I went from a deeply-in-debt bum, with no university degree, to a long term traveller whilst making a lot of money online (with zero experience) in a relatively short space of time.

People barely a flying f**k about my travels (friends and family included); they just want to know how I managed to fund it.

And I don’t blame them.

I happily respond to people who tell me they are hopelessly lost in life but have found a defiant, romantic sparkle in their eye and that they are willing to do anything to upgrade their life.

I always love to hear from a dreamer. Rags to riches stories get me all giddy. I can’t get enough of them and I love it when someone backs themselves against the odds….but…

When I candidly open up to them with a “how-to” including how hard I worked at the beginning and all of the boring stuff I had to learn during all the hard work – they turn face up and say noooo – but I want to make passive income!

They’re way too good for all that hard work nonsense.

“I wanna work smart, not hard brah!”

Before the person has even started a product – they believe they are entitled to passive income?! Are they for real? How the hell did we ever get here? I personally believe the Life Hacking ideology has gone too far. Life hack this, life hack that. Wash your cat this way and you’ll never have to wash your cat ever again.

Save 0.7 seconds by peeling your banana like this!

The Journey is Often The Best Part

Life hacking has made people forget about the journey and have no time for it because they are in such a rush to get from A to Z, never learning vital the lessons learned along the way.

Maybe it’s Anglo Saxon work ethic guilt speaking here – but I think there’s still a lot to be said for rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck into some good old-fashioned hard work before you start thinking about cutting corners.

But that’s just not sexy anymore, is it?

I always tell people who have committed to starting something – travelling for the first time, starting their first business/blog, etc. that I am incredibly jealous of them. They usually respond in confusion until I explain to them that the start of the journey is the best part.

You’ll never be there ever again, feeling that concoction of emotions, growing each day, finding out who you really are and I urge you to not try and rush past it – unless there is a faster way of course. Again, I’m not anti-life hacking per se, I’m just worried about what it’s become.

Savour the journey. Fight, climb, fail, fall, stand back up, learn and grow.

You wouldn’t fast forward a brilliant, tense movie to the end, would you? Ok, so stop doing it with your life then. You maniac.

I even fall for the life hacking trap myself now and then. I’m often overwhelmed with a project and look for shortcuts instead of just cracking on.

Will I find a way to save time and get the same results?

It’s often not the case.

Then I get a grip and get to work, as I’m willing to put the graft in first. I don’t think I’m somehow entitled to success, just because I want it and I know I’m going to have to go through the journey in order to grow and get to where I want to be.

Embrace the journey, welcome the struggle – it’ll make you stronger in the end. But you’ve got to earn that strength.

Not where you want to be in life yet, but have some desire within you to change all that? Stop looking for the next life hacking shortcut, when you haven’t even gotten off your lazy arse yet (I say that with love).

Done. Now I’ll finish off on my favourite story about a man who wasn’t afraid to struggle and work hard to earn his success…

Anthony Middleton

A former loser who took a risk. I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand after visiting over 100 countries. Stay tuned for the next challenge against that clock!
Ultra runner walking in desert

Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

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