The "If I can do it, so can you" bullshit

Wed, Aug 11, 2021 2-minute read

Raise your hand if you’ve recently read or heard any variation of the following three sentences:

  1. I just finished a two-week accelerated boot camp, quit my lousy low-paying job, and now I’m earning six figures. If I can do it, so can you!
  2. I lost 50 pounds eating only broccoli and crème brûlée. Mushroom coffee was a revelation! If I can do it, so can you!
  3. Three months ago, I was heavily depressed, but then I started staring at the sun and doing two micrograms of shrooms daily. I’m a new person now. If I can do it, so can you!

If your hand is hanging in the air, you’re not alone. Most likely, you’re in the majority. It’s hard not to stumble upon similarly crafted, cancerous click-batey headlines across the interweb.

People love to package their ascend-to-success stories as a series of steps that are easy to follow. One major problem is that they often assume too much about the reader. Sometimes, the only way you could follow the steps provided, and achieve what the author did, is to be their identical copy.

It’s cool to share experiences! We learn from each other’s experiences, and they help us grow, both individually and as a group. What’s not cool is to package your experiences as a factual, one-size-fits-all singular source of truth.

Anecdotes don’t qualify as scientific evidence. Be wary when incorporating someone else’s routine into your life. More often than not, you will have to iterate through multiple rounds of finely tuning the recipes you read to accomplish the task.

Heck, if I can be critical of everything I read, so can you!