Simple And Easy Are Not Synonyms - Grasshopper
The best example is the game of golf – It’s simple but not easy – simple to understand, not so easy to play. Ask any golfer.
Simple can be broken down into step-by-step instructions; easy takes dedication.
Look no further than Malcom Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS and his 10,000 Hours rule. Paraphrasing him, it takes about 10.000 hours of practicing something to become really adept.
Advertising has led us to believe that “simple” translates to “easy.” The goal is to get us to equate the concepts as twins that were separated at birth. That’s negated by the old English proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” What you need needs practice to make something look inventively easy. That concept is conveniently left out of the ads.
“it’s so simple, even a child can do it easily.” Yes, a child who’s practiced quite often before the cameras began to roll.
This isn’t a rant against advertising; it’s a reminder that simple and easy are not the same and that we would be better served if we knew the difference, because it would help us better manage our expectations once we had a glimpse of the reality.
America in my estimation is a shortcut society. We are always looking for a faster way of doing things. My mother-in-law had an expression she used for the duration of cold sores: “Three days coming, three days here, three days going.” Look at the number of cold sore medications on the market that claim it will happen quicker. One even has that concept in its name – “Abreva.”
In spite of the advertising claims and “FDA approval,” it seems my mother-in-law’s maxim is still the case for most people.
I’m all in for a genuine, faster way of doing things but I’m reminded of the old sales admonition regarding these three variables: time, quality and cost. You can only have two, not all three. If you want it quicker and at the best cost, the quality will suffer. If you want the best price and the best quality, you will have to wait. If you want the best quality and you want it fast, it will cost you. It’s a long way of illustrating that there is a tradeoff.
There is a tradeoff with shortcuts. One of those shortcuts suggests that simple is easy. Experience shows me it’s rarely the case.
Here’s the title of the best selling book that I’ll never write: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A 5-MINUTE JOB.
There may be a dispute where the quote “Nothing worthwhile comes easy” comes from, but there is little dispute on its accuracy.
Final thought: Simple is easily confused with easy. The way to remove the confusion is to simply practice.
All the best,
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