What is hack?
(I'll give you a second to define it for yourself before we go on)
The is a term mostly associated with the stand up comedy genre. It pertains to an individual who uses someone else's jokes or material. However, this term does get bandied about in all circles of performance. In magic it gets a bit convoluted however as someone might get called a hack because they use another performer's material that has been written or published for mass consumption. Where do we draw the line exactly?
Personally I believe you should take an idea and make it fit who you are. Change the patter,props, cosmetics, etc so, while the idea may not be yours, the presentation is. I know many people who are great entertainers and make a faboo living by performing tricks they have purchased or read and altered a bit. Does this make them a hack? I suppose that's up to your definition of the word.
Personally, I think if you are doing the same stock lines/jokes and performing the same effects that 100 other people are throwing out there, then yes, you might just be hacking and wheezing your way thru life.
Whatever your stance on the matter is, take a good hard look at yourself. Make sure you are being who you are and not just taking the easy way and doing "what works". If everyone was jumping off a cliff...
I would be the one selling tickets to watch.