The Best Life Hack I've Ever Learned Cover

The Best Life Hack I’ve Ever Learned

In 2001, my biggest dream came true: I used my Christmas money to buy the brand new PlayStation 2.

It wasn’t a dream come true because it was new, or because of the latest games. I was excited because it meant I could finally play all of those old PlayStation 1 games I used to play at my neighbor’s house or sit next to and watch.

One of the first games I bought was, of course, Tomb Raider III. I got a used copy, because it was cheaper.

When I opened the case to take out the CD, a little piece of paper fell out, with some weird scribblings on it. It looked like this:

For a while, I didn’t understand what it meant, until I realized: those were cheat codes!

They were the sequences of buttons you had to press to unlock all weapons, medikits, flares, get unlimited health, etc (and yes, the one I wrote down works).

I was so pumped. I spent hours running around the first level, which is Lara’s huge mansion, blasting, jumping and monkeying around with all those cool gadgets and weapons.

Of course I found more codes, that let you skip levels, beat bosses, and, if you want to, finish the game within a couple minutes.

I tried them all. I “beat” the game. And then I realized: this was really, really boring.

So I went back and started over. No cheats. Just me and my gaming skills. Level after level. I can’t remember if I ever fully beat the game, but I do remember this:

It was a lot more fun to play it the right way.

Finding life hacks is also a game. I used to play it for a long time. Always looking for the next cheat. A better way to do this. A quicker route to get to that.

However, like Tomb Raider, one day, the cheats got boring. There was always another hack, but never one that left me fulfilled inside.

To hack is to cut, to dissect, to rip apart. Don’t hack life. Savor it. Be patient. Don’t look for shortcuts so much. Just keep driving. The right exit will show up at the right time.

That is my cheat code for you. A cheat code in the game of finding life hacks.

I hope you’ll use it. Because I think I’ve won. And I want you to win too.