“10 tips to lose fat, today!”, “15 tricks to beat the winter bloat!”, “8 secrets to a six-pack!”, “The reason your donkey escaped (even though you gave him plenty of hay)!”
You don’t need more information.
If the snippets of more information is all you needed we would all be walking around at sub-10 body fat, self-esteem popping through the eyeballs. And we’d all live in expensive model homes with zero credit card debt.
But the solution to our problems is not a greatest hits compilation of tips, tricks and secrets. And if the greatest hits – approach was all you needed you didn’t have a true problem.
Why tips, tricks and secrets don’t work with real problems
To struggle with something for a long time means that the issue multilayered. Otherwise you would’ve already implemented a solution and moved on to another, more pressing problem.
Your solution isn’t knowing how many reps and sets to do. It’s not even knowing the exact number of calories you should eat. And it most definitely isn’t about the coolest new exercises on Instagram. These are quick fixes.
Quick fixes and popular solutions are the opposite of complicated and multilayered. They’re shallow. And to those who lack the deeper context, or the willingness to find it, these solutions are meaningless.
Quick fixes and already digested information gives you everything on a silver platter. It’s fun and easy information that goes straight through you with nothing left to hold on.
Fun and easy doesn’t make you think
When Bruce Springsteen first released his mega hit Born in the USA people interpreted it as a patriotic song about America. Catchy chorus that everyone could chant in unison. Reagan mentioned Springsteen in a speech and Chrysler offered him $12 million to use the song in an ad (he turned Chrysler down).
Everyone was contradicting the message in the song and only few understood that Springsteen was casting a shameful view on his own country by writing about the problems Vietnam veterans faced when returning home.*
But the 80’s production of the song made it marketable, fun and easy to consume, which meant that most of the audience were oblivious to the message.
And some willingly ignore it…
To get the message across Springsteen started his 2003 concert in Helsinki with a stripped-down, acoustic version of the same song (Iraq War had started in March that year). This time The E Street Band didn’t dress up the message with synthesizer and sing-along chorus.
So the audience who had waited years to see Bruuuuuuuuuuce! rip it up in Helsinki had to embrace the song and contemplate the meaning in the lyrics. Or, if you only came to hear the greatest hits and the fun and easy sing-along choruses, you went to refill your beer.
This doesn’t mean that the greatest hits don’t have meaning. But even the most meaningful shit loses its message once produced for what the people want.
To like what’s popular, fun and easy requires minimal effort in your part. Thus a meaningful change never comes from anything that’s made convenient to consume.
Convenience doesn’t lead to lasting change
You won’t remember that convenient instant coffee you had from a paper cup while checking your emails and rushing to work. But you will remember the single origin slow-drip filtered coffee you had while sitting at a cafe, deep in your thoughts.
That convenient two minute microwave meal you had while watching TV won’t leave a permanent memory stain on your tongue. But the three hour stew cooked with love (even if by a vegetarian) will be with you forever.
Those convenient 9.5 seconds in the bedroom are unlikely to be in your highlight reel for the rest of your life. But that romantic weekend getaway is burned on your retinas for years to come.
How often do you cultivate boredom?
We lack the patience and discipline to stay still and to immerse ourselves in topics that require deep thinking and self-searching. The world has conditioned us to hate boredom as we have unlimited access to entertainment.
Today’s average social-media-whoring-human’s attention span is somewhere along the same spectrum with a donkey lost in thought. When was the last time you felt bored, confused, or stuck and didn’t reach for the phone?
And so, this combination of lack of resiliency to deal with boredom and the influx of greatest hits information gives us the illusion of a solution.
Here’s how to start solving your problems
Fixing a problem requires you to go deep, to immerse yourself in the issue. Live it, breathe it in, take notes and have the patience to uncover some deep shit. Shit that will make you more uncomfortable than expecting to hear Hole in The Sky at a Justin Bieber concert.
Break your illusions. Acknowledge that the solutions you need are never in the easily digested greatest hits.
Deep thinking, feeling uncomfortable, asking questions and being willing to embrace boredom is the antidote to complicated issues. And because it requires listening to the deep cuts while ignoring greatest hits, only the few will succeed.
Also, the donkey escaped because it got sick of being straddled like a pony. Feelings, man.