You generally don't notice these flaws when reading an article on a subject unfamiliar to you, but they're almost always there. There's no way a 500-word article can replace a few years of education and experience.
Sure, sometimes it doesn't need to. Sometimes, you do just want to boost your Wi-Fi reception without learning everything about the entire electro-goddamned-magnetic spectrum. But these tip articles have a hard time distinguishing between the two, invariably blending simple advice with oversimplified advice. You see those a lot with computer tips, where the process is quick and simple if everything goes right, and nightmarish otherwise. Here's a story of me completely detonating my computer in part because of some bad advice I got from someone else's sloppily-assembled guide.
Nothing is my fault, ever.
What if that had been something actually consequential? What if I'd done something truly insane, like follow Internet medical advice? I'd have collapsed like a dying star. Which brings me to the final problem ...
A Lot of "Simple" Lifehacks Are Insanely Difficult
We've all seen them. Click-friendly articles full of tips which breezily underestimate the amount of effort necessary to complete them.
"Building your own sphinx is a fun project you can complete in an afternoon."
The worst of these are the ones that require lifestyle changes, which is always far harder than most people realize. Just about every article about how to lose weight (and keep it off) is destined to have a 95 percent failure rate -- losing weight over the long term is almost impossible without significant surgery. The lifestyle changes are just too massive to get over. But even less imposing subjects pose the same problem. Those New Years' back-to-the-gym articles? Doomed. Tips on how to make vegetables more palatable? Doomed. Tips on how to stop procrastinating? Do...................
......omed. Any article which casually suggests you should change your habits has no idea how deeply ingrained those habits are. Which is why you should definitely give up your addiction to lifehacks, like I just casually sugges-- ... oh.
"That's OK. I love calls to inaction a lot too."
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and a shambles. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
For examples of disappointing lifehacks, like the pant clip -- just be an adult and buy yourself some new pants -- method, check out The 5 Least Effective Life Hacks People Apparently Use. And only the laziest of sloth-based lifeforms would use the tips found in 4 Lifehacks For People Who Haven't Discovered Adulthood Yet.
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