When everyone is a superhero – noone is.

It seems that humanity desperately expects some magic trick to exist, a magic “Turbo” button on the Hardware, “FASTER” hint, some specific shortcut that will bring us in front of the crowd. You will meet people in the real life asking for this ultimate trick, the forums on the Internet are full of such questions and it looks like the majority of this planet population somehow magically was tricked that there is always some kind of a trick/hack.

Breaking News: There is no Lifehack.

There are no lifehacks.

There is a hard work, grind, sweet and tears. They do not have to be physicall but if you want to create something worth talking about – it will involve doubts/fear/huge efforts, there is no doubt about this and though there will be exceptions – please bear with me: “You are ain’t one”.
This is why any titles and awards are given POST-FACTUM, AFTER someone achieves something (and that’s why they naturally reflect the past, and not the present moment where way too many people simply rely on their status rather on their creativity).
In the generation of my grand-parents seems hard to find a person who is unaware that hard work over prolong period of times would be bringing joy and great results.
You plant the seeds, you take care of them – year, after year, after year … after year … Until one day, you will have some fruits/vegetables that you were “working on”.
Pro Tip: Hacking the nature results in hacking yourself and humanity – your genentically modified “food” will hunt the future generations living on this planet.

This is how things function especially in the current economy – find/create your thing and keep building it up, do not try to hustle your way up, what you are doing is already on the internet and the most of the people are not suffering from excessive forgiveness (meaning you better be kind).

There is no lifehack, especially if it is published on the popular website – because everyone will take this shortcut and the relativity of the path will still be equal for everyone and the newer generations will not understand the existence of the old path.

One particular good example is the restaurant business and the way I know a lot of people are treating incredible restaurants: go there but do not publicise them.
Once a family restaurant becomes a major franchise, the food quality is long gone and the quality/calmness of the place is gone ages ago.
I do not share the best restaurants with everyone, I do not vote them up on the social media – I keep on going there and bring my friends and relatives, making sure their restaurant business is successful, but not popular. Making sure they have enough money to keep on with their mission.
One particular example is my currently favourite restaurant – they are open only for certain hours during the day and they do what they know the best – delivering the best food on this planet. They do not do real advertisement, but if you go there 30 minutes after they opened their doors, you might have to wait for quite some time … maybe coming back on another day will be a viable option. Those who come there, want to return times after times after times. I love it when my friends go for a meal with me there and exclaim: “Dang, I NEED TO BRING MY WIFE HERE”. This restaurant prices are not very low, but their food quality and their cooking are beyond anything reasonable and it is super-cheap when comparing with any Michelin-Stars restaurants. And no, I won’t name them, because there are no Lifehacks and because I want them to keep being successful (they could have expanded years ago, but they turn any such suggestion down, to my knowledge).
Smart people do understand and do know what they want and money is not the final wish/target for a real human being.
This place exists for almost a decade and what they have achieved did not happen over a night, they repeatedly delivered high quality food and they pour their hearts into what they deliver. They really believe in it and you can absolutely see it and taste it. They worked for this time to achieve something extraordinary. No Shortcuts. Trust me, I am their regular client for the past 6 years and probably occasional client since for 2 additional years – they worked their way up and they still do.
Step by step.

Switching the gear: consider a technical solution, once it is published – after a couple of months/years it won’t be a hack/shortcut anymore, because it will be a known and acceptable path for doing one particular task. Trivialisation. It will erase “the hack” status.

Here is the quote from one of my all-time favourite Pixar Movie – the Incredibles, when the psychotic villain “Syndrome” explains his plans to “defeated” hero “mister Incredible”:

Syndrome: … And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super… 
[laughs maniacally]
Syndrome: …*no one* will be.

Syndrome’s plan was hugely based on the principle of scarcity and that’s what you will get when you read those Lifehacks / Shortcuts on the web: they are popular and known paths for something, they are not unique, they won’t bring you fortune and fame.

When everyone is using the “lifehack” – there is no life hack. And everyone are using it.
When everyone is a superhero – noone is.

4 thoughts on “Lifehack

  1. Paul

    Great Blog post Niko. I love the Incredibles quote. We nicknamed our daughter after jack jack… to Jet Jet … because her mother couldn’t pronounce Jess-Jess. I am experiencing these super hero issues as we speak. Having one superhero tends to bring about a weakness to all around. I’ve found it sometimes to be a race to keep competitive as age and experience progress and the other abilities I used to have like memory and desire begin to wither. Sometimes, your value as an old super-hero like Mr Incredible, actually is an advantage and can continue as long as you can keep pulling a new magic power out of your hat, just as he did with his offspring. I’ve found knowledge and hard work to be my success. I can remember my first wife saying “you spend to much money on books” to which I would reply “that’s what keeps food on the table” and you driving your fancy car. The old time IT super hero, who was generally a jack of all trades and was forced into this world of specialization, is falling to Syndrome and his clones. Some new ones are very talented. But there’s an old fashioned thing called hard work as you said, and dedication, that most of the clones don’t know about yet or cringe when they consider it but its the only way to maintain the notoriety and legacy.

    1. Niko Neugebauer Post author

      Hi Paul,

      thank you for the kind words! Jet-Jet is a brilliant name for a kid, hahaha! :)
      Most of the clones do not understand that they are being cloned, and that’s a huge tragedy for our society. They do not understand that they are taught to copy some actions, to copy and paste – and nothing beyond that.
      Regarding the specialisation vs jack of all trades, I believe in understanding and exploring the generic, but specialising – I wrote a blog post on this topic:

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

      Best regards,

  2. Kamil Nowinski

    Nice post, Niko. It’s hard to disagree, especially about superhero and restaurants. However, if you are on holiday (abroad, I assume) it’s easier using smartphone and app to find out the best restaurant around. Sometimes they are overrated and crowded, but sometimes you can hit really shiny pearl.
    Anyway, I fully agree in terms of local restaurants.

    1. Niko Neugebauer Post author

      Hi Kamil,

      I am confident that you will agree that easier is not exactly the more correct in so many situations :)
      In my books, crowds are getting less answers right than just a couple of smart people.

      Best regards,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *