Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Hacking your way to the top…

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To hack…
1- To cut with rough or heavy blows
2- Gain unauthorised access to data in a system or computer
thunderbirds safe
– Hacking gone crazy – 
You don’t have to search for very long on the internet before you will encounter all manner of sites and articles advising and giving tips on how you can ‘hack’ your way to where you want to be…
Maybe you want to know how to lose weight really quickly?
Maybe you want to know how you can be able to coach people tomorrow instead of training for the next 3 years?
Maybe you want to set up your own business and know how to earn 10,000 in your first month?
Maybe you’ve seen a course that will get you that qualification in a weekend?
We’ve all been a position where we desire to have something NOW, versus having to wait for it (see my post on self regulation/delayed gratification).  It’s difficult to wait for something sometimes when we know we desire it now and that the path to getting to where you ultimately want to be feels so far away.
It takes long term commitment to lose weight the ‘old fashioned’ way.
It takes time to learn how to coach people.
It takes experience and building a community to know how to grow your business and make money.
It takes dedication, and money, to study for a qualification in your chosen area.
We live in a society however where people are quick to give advice on how we can all achieve these things quickly by merely learning how to ‘hack’ our way to where we want to be.
One Google search on ‘hacking’ revealed the following sites:
17 Weight loss hacks that have nothing to do with diet or exercise:
9 weight loss hacks:
Forbes: 9 money hacks:
This list goes on. These were just a few selected examples of the kind of help and advice you can get if you search for a quick way to achieving your hearts’ desire.
– So what’s wrong with hacking? – 
Well, you may argue that there is nothing wrong with getting a foot up.  A little advice on the side that might help you achieve what you want, to have a little help from those that have been there and done it.  But let’s look at what is really happening here when you enter the world of  hacking.
You are missing out on the journey of discovery
Arguably the whole point of doing something, is to experience it.
It is our journey that makes us who we are and it is our journey that allows us to figure out on the way what works for us and what doesn’t work for us.  Tis the path of self-discovery.
By merely ‘hacking’ your way to a result or end game, you have missed the entire journey of discovery to that point. Take any of the examples I have given here from losing weight through to making money in your own business.
The person who takes a weight loss pill, or who uses diet hacks to lose weight is now reliant on that as the ‘process’ to achieving weight loss.  This is versus the person who learns to regulate their diet in a healthy way.  To learn what works and what doesn’t work for them.  They will also learns what exercise suits them and what helps them retain any gains in the long run.
Hacking might get you to the end result, but you will the be reliant on that process, which is what a hack is.  It is not a process that allows for healthy growth as all you would have done is followed someone else’s blueprint to get there!
You are missing out on the detail
Following on from the last point, and by missing out on the journey, you are missing out on truly understanding what works, but also more importantly HOW it works FOR YOU.
Human beings are all entirely different and that is why when we make a model of something, that model really only acts as a starting point.  A good one maybe, but nonetheless something that is not bespoke to you.
Take my work in psychology.  If I assumed that everyone was exactly the same, and everyone experienced things in exactly the same way, I would treat everyone in the same manner regardless of what they told me.
In hacking a process you have forgone your ability to problem solve and figure out what works for you, to assimilate that knowledge effectively into your own life and ultimately make any adaptations that will allow for a long term life of success in that area.
Basically its a quick fix, that has a short life span.
You are missing out on making important connections
When I studied for my degree in New Zealand, I was surprised to find out when I returned home and worked for HM Prison Service that my lecturers from NZ were known to some of the people that I worked with on the Offending unit here in London.  I was then even more surprised when, while working at Rampton Hospital, we had a visiting guest speaker come over from Australia who had also been a guest speaker on my course in New Zealand and was also friends with my old supervisor in NZ….
Those connections continue, through to my work as an Academic here in the UK.
The people I knew in NZ know that people that I have worked with here at home in the UK in all of the settings I have have entered bar none!
One of the important things to note here is that those connections have served me.  Not only because I have been introduced to some important people in my field which have led on to great things, but because I have learnt from the right people and made super important connections for my future and therefore future success.
You CANNOT achieve this by hacking…nuff said!
You are going to piss off your community
 So, it’s taken me over 20 years to get where I am today.
I’ve pursued my passions.
Worked hard to get qualified (and paid out tens of thousands of pounds for these pieces of paper that represent my hard work).
I’ve worked hard to get to know people, to learn from these amazing giants in my field.
I am humble.
I am considerate.
I am a life-long student willing to learn from everyone at all times.
Why would I want to ‘hack’ that…and why should someone else want to hack that from me?
Think about what you’ve taken a lifetime to learn. What has taken your time.  Your blood, sweat and tears and then imagine that someone stands before you wanting in at the top!
You are gonna piss off your community and I’ve illustrated in Point 4, the world you are entering is much smaller than you know….
…piss them off and see what happens!
– Know when to step away form the hack – 
I hope that you see the serious and the amusing side to this conversation about hacking.
I’m certainly not here to make you wrong for trying to hack.  It’s human nature to some degree to choose the path of least resistance.
I suppose the important thing is that we know when it might be appropriate to take a short cut and when it might actually not serve us in the long run; in fact it may even cause more damage to us and those around us….
…ultimately we have to know when to hack and when to step away from the hacking!
I’d love to hear from you about your experience of hacking.  Have you hacked where it’s back-fired or maybe someone has tried to hack your business brain?
I look forward to reading your comments as ever.
Til next week!

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