Sebastian has a post today, Nothing Magical: "There's a certain tendency to look for magical solutions...The thing is, the[re] usually isn't a magical thing."
I'll go a bit farther. It has served me well for many to years to state and believe: There are no Solutions. Except in chemistry. There is only continuing struggle, effort, achievement, mistakes. There are no "solutions" for health, time management, willpower, productivity. Every type of action in the world requires some sort of ongoing, time-indefinite application.
The worst misuse of the word is by the political class, who propose "solutions" to poverty, ignorance, laziness and obesity. There are no solutions government can offer, only individuals taking action to improve. Conditions might be improved, but this is not a solution, and never can be.
Just leave it at four simple words. There are no Solutions. Believing it can help to free your mind for more effective actions.
"I feel stronger." Years later, the line still randomly comes to me, unbeckoned.
It was from one of the most odd and intriguing video games ever made -- Planescape: Torment. You woke up in the morgue as a scarred and battered man who didn't know his name. When you got killed, you would… wake up back in the morgue. You were immortal. You couldn't die. Your goal was to figure out how this happened, who you are, and what you should do about it.
It was beautiful, well-written, and immersive. But the point that still stands out to me is that line.
"I feel stronger."
It happened when you leveled up. The levels up weren't something you chose; they just happened when you accumulated enough experience. It's an interesting metaphor -- you wake completely ignorant, but as you accumulate experiences, you feel stronger. Not "I am stronger." I feel stronger.
There's a certain tendency to look for magical solutions.
Maybe this has happened to you.
You tried to get a fitness program going, then fell off, and you're trying to restart now — what do you do?
Most people will want to look for a magical solution.
They'll find something. Maybe Starting Strength or Stronglifts, or maybe Crossfit, or high-intensity interval training, or whatever. And they'll get excited —