alt text image of an advertisement for snake oil

On Snake Oil and Medicine

The people who sell snake oil stand on boxes and shout about it’s great value, how it has changed lives, how you will never be the same. They promise fast, effective, easy answers to serious problems. They’re great at their pitch. These hucksters want you to believe that the snake oil is going to cure what ails you, just like it has cured all the other people who have tried it.

The snake oil itself often comes in a pretty package. Not only do the words sound good; the packaging is amazing. There are excellent graphics, inspiring images, and tons of facts and figures that the snake oil salespeople point to in order to prove that what they sell can and will help you. It’s a compelling picture.

And, the snake oil tastes good, too. It’s a happy, bubbly, sugary substance. It’s high octane, and you can almost feel it working at first sip. You try it, and you want more.

It’s easy to believe that there are easy answers. But for difficult, important, and serious issues, there isn’t.

The medicine that heals you is different. Most of the time, your health is greatly improved by doing things that aren’t nearly as attractive as the snake oil. There is nothing sexy or magical about eating right, exercising regularly, eating well, drinking more water than you want to, and not drinking too much alcohol. There isn’t anything particularly sexy about making your calls, either.

When you do need real medicine, it doesn’t come in a pretty package, and it doesn’t taste good. If you wait too long to take your medicine, you can miss the opportunity and suffer worse outcomes from failing to deal with a little discomfort when you had the chance.

One of the reasons snake oil is so attractive is that the real medicine you need to take is so unattractive. But the snake oil will cost you time, money, and the overall results you really want.

When you haven’t been doing what you should have been doing, you need to take your medicine. You’ve never heard anyone say, “You need to take your snake oil.”


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