You won’t believe these incredible, step-by-step secrets to achieving your dreams. You may think that success means hard work, but the reality is, anyone can make it with these simple hacks!
Those phrases are from copywriting 101: how to grab people’s attention and get an emotional response. You’ll see these tropes everywhere now, and hopefully they won’t have as much power over you.
We’re being manipulated. According to this article, you’re bombarded with 300-700 marketing messages every day! (A New York Times study used to say 5,000, but this other author did the math; our brains can’t even take in that much information in 16 waking hours.)
The “clickbait title” may go down in history as one of the most obnoxious and damaging marketing tactics we’ve ever invented. It attacks human nature. No matter how smart you are, everyone wants easier and simpler shortcuts to whatever we are trying to achieve. Here are a few reasons to ignore these articles moving forward.
1. YOU DON’T ABSORB ANY INFORMATION
These lists with bold headings (yep, just like this one) promote quick scrolling and scanning of the page. You instinctively keep moving down the article, looking for that “one secret” they promised. Instead, you usually get 10 obvious and generalized pieces of advice you’ve heard a thousand times. The title’s aren’t necessarily the problem… It’s that your expectations are raised and dashed repeatedly.
2. THEY PROMOTE THE FALLACY OF THE HACK
Here’s an article by the very-respected Neil Patel called “How to Start a Blog That Generates $3817 a Month.” The actual material in the blog post helps you pick an industry and the blog platform you want to use. That’s it. Thank you for the good advice, but now how do I start a blog that generates $3817 a month?
There are worse offenders out there, and you’ve seen them. Who doesn’t want to read: “How I Make Millions Doing Nothing, with No Boss, and Travel Around The World, And Generally Put No Effort In! (Ultimate Secret Guide)” I sure do!
There are no shortcuts to this. You’re not going to change your habits or your business overnight with an illuminating blog post. We all know this, but we still fall for it.
3. YOU GET USED TO IGNORING HARD WORK
Head over to The Atlantic and try and read one of their featured pieces. Some of them take a good thirty minutes to finish, and they don’t have any lists. Can you get through it? Did you start scanning quickly for the bullet points?
That might work fine if you’re trying to find a tutorial or some news updates, but if you really want success or positive change, you need to put in the work. You need to read well-thought out articles like Farnam Street or Brain Pickings. If you can’t make it through a detailed post, how are you going to make it through the thousands of hours it takes to achieve your dreams?
4. THEY DEMOTIVATE YOU
After reading dozens of these articles over time, you might be asking yourself, “How can everyone else do this so easily, and I can’t even get started?” Well, in this case, they might not be trying to trick you.
Once you reach a level of success, and pass through the years of trials it takes to get there, it becomes pretty hard to break that strategy down into quick digestible lessons.
If you watch an HGTV show on how to flip a house, they make it seem pretty simple. But there’s no mention of the hundreds of phone calls, the poor contractors, the disasters, the bad decisions, and the manual labor.
Instead, the best a successful speaker or writer can do to keep you motivated and interested in taking action is to give you the bullet points. But if you get too many bullet points and never make it past level one, you might just give up.
You need to know that anything truly worth achieving generally sucks to get. It’s messy, and arduous, and filled with hangups.
That’s great news.
Because if you happened to find the three step-by-step secrets to achieving success, you’d be hollow. Your skills and your mental state wouldn’t hold up in the long term.
Of course, there is the occasional goldmine article with a clickbait title. We all need to compete in the industry. But never forget that you need the grind. So next time you see a top ten list, you can probably just ignore it. If the topic is interesting to you, read a book on it. Master the subject, and then get to work.
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