On Charlatans and Other Con Artists

There is a certain sort of person who sells a dream, a vision of something that you want, by making it appear that you can have that result without actually paying the price necessary to obtaining it. The results are promised to be transformative, removing time, energy, and effort from the equation. There is always a story about how they discovered the secret, the magic that allows them to produce a result that evades others.

The modern charlatan also uses a straw man, something to push against to make their case. The straw man is the enemy and worthy of your contempt. The charlatan plays on your confirmation bias to speak to the part of you that wishes things were easier. They speak to the part of you that resists change, preferring not to have to do anything uncomfortable or anything that will stretch you beyond what you are right now.

The snake oil the charlatan sells is like magic. You need merely take it and you will have the results you want now. Without the need to change. Without having to pay the price in full. Without it taking time to produce the result.

There is no way to have what you want without paying the price in full to obtain it. If you want a certain result, you have to do the work necessary, without shortcuts, without hacks, and without any attempt to make it easier to obtain.

There is no way to improve your results or your competency without woodshedding, spending the time doing the work to transform yourself from an amateur into a professional, into a craftsperson instead of a dabbler. The quiet work, the work no one sees is what builds the competency for later—better—work.

There is no way to do what you have always done and produce a different result. If you want something to be different, you have to change before that outcome is available to you. The charlatan, the snake oil salesperson, the con artist would have you believe otherwise.

If the advice you are given doesn’t require that you change, if it doesn’t require time and effort, if it suggest that results are easy, look askant at that advice and seek your answers elsewhere. Look for someone who promises you that you will have to change, that you will have to work, and that you will have to pay the price in full.

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