You Can’t “Trick” Yourself Into a Better Life

“Five simple psychological tricks to improve productivity.” “One simple trick that will win over the opposite sex.” “Trick yourself into being creative.”

We’ve all seen the headlines. Well, actually, we’ve clicked on them. There’s something we find addictive about “simple tricks” that can turn our unpredictable psyches into predictable engines of the things we want.

There is some real value in understanding and then messing with your own routines and triggers. There’s a reason these headlines work. But there’s also a danger to this way of thinking when people carry too far, as people who are into self-improvement are unfortunately prone to do.

When you start thinking primarily of your life in terms of the dozens of individual levers – love, productivity, self-reflection, health – you can manipulate with dozens of individual “tricks” or “hacks,” you lose sight of how integrated all of your emotions and thoughts are.

Everything you do feeds into everything else, and domains are not unrelated things which can just be manipulated independently. What you attempt to manipulate in love will come back to you in the form of lowered integrity. The productivity trick you use one week will lead to burn out the next week. The attitude and confidence hack you used will lead to you being exposed as a fraud.

Real attractiveness comes from self-esteem comes productivity comes from integrity comes from courage. You can’t simply hack your way into age-old flows of cause and effect like this with some trick you learned on the internet, no matter how good it is at any one of these given stages.

Don’t take short cuts – or rather, don’t take the ones that “simple tricks” offer you today. Becoming a better and more sustainably happy person is far simpler than the “simplest trick “and far more complex than the most complex life coaching program.

You can’t trick the whole you into enlightenment, or wisdom, or life or any of the states of ultimate value for human beings . You can’t even trick the whole you into productivity or creativity or attractiveness. Anything this universal is going to demand a lot more from you than that you follow a few steps in an internet self-improvement article.

Speaking of which, what are you here reading this for? You have a lot of work to do. Use the tricks you have to move you further to that full-life transformation you want, but don’t idolize your own toolkit.

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James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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