Life Hacks and Tips Fix Symptoms, Not the Problem

I asked my personal trainer if I should buy Gravity Boots.

“Tim Ferriss uses them to alleviate back pain,” I said. “You hang upside down to extend your spine after a hard workout.”

He answered my question with a question:

“Will Gravity Boots fix the symptoms or the root cause?”

“The symptoms,” I answered sheepishly.

“Exactly,” he said. “Your back may feel better for a while, but those symptoms will return because you haven’t addressed the root problem, which is sitting at a desk 50+ hours a week. Get the boots if you want, but lets fix your issue with stretching, exercise, and planned breaks.”

Damn... he’s good.

Here I was, looking for a shortcut to hard work, hoping to skirt my pain with a quick fix.

It’s not just me though. My wife, while working with a child in her speech clinic, was asked by a waiting mother to cover the lollipop jar so her other kid would stop stealing suckers.

Uhhhh, no. How about your child controls himself? Every two year old with a brain knows you get only one sucker at the doc. Your kid is seven.

(My rant, not my wife’s 😁)

I get it. It’s almost always easier to find quick fixes for symptoms. It’s easy to believe that some new gadget or hack will alleviate your pain, increase your productivity, or make it easier to build a business.


This past week I read countless articles on the upcoming do-not-disturb functionality in iOS12 — how it will return humanity to a time before connectivity when we weren’t mindless phone-zombies but productive contributors to society.

At first, I got excited, as I do with all tech. But do-not-disturb is yet another tool that treats the symptom (spending too much time on, ahem, Instagram) and ignores the root problem (no plan, lack of sleep, or any number of other deficiencies that make it easy to get distracted).

Gadgets are fun. Hacks and tips are interesting. Some even help. But most just fix the symptoms and ignore deeper, underlying causes.

If you want to be productive, get jacked, build a business, or make a ton of money, stop looking for a quick fix. Identify the root cause and attack it relentlessly with all the determination, willpower, and hard work you can muster.

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

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