The Hard Truth About Simple and Easy
Marketers love to offer easy or simple solutions to your pain points.
Here’s why easy is only a short term fix, and why simple is often anything but easy.
Easy is a quick fix.
There’s no preparation needed. It doesn’t require any real skills. While easy often comes at a premium price it rarely offers any lasting value.
In contemporary culture products and experiences are easier to access but we value and appreciate them less.
The meal you cook from scratch is usually more satisfying than the one you buy ready-made and microwave at home. Even when it doesn’t taste as good!
The relationship that builds and earns its way towards intimacy is often considered to have better long term prospects than the one that begins with a bang.
Some days you might not want to go to the effort of buying the groceries, preparing the ingredients and waiting for your slow cooked meal when what you really want is an easy mac and cheese. That’s fine, but the mac and cheese isn’t a story you’re going to want to tell your grandkids some day 😉
Simple can look too easy.
When you’ve been struggling with a problem you don’t want a short term or easy fix for, you can start looking towards complicated solutions. This is partly self justification of your behaviour until now. “I haven’t solved [my problem] because it requires skills or knowledge that I don’t have. This complicated (and expensive) solution will fix that.”
So you avoid simple and use the complicated solution as a way to hide from the truth.
But simple is often truth distilled to its most basic form.
- Want to lose weight? Eat less and/or exercise more
- Want to be a better artist? Practise your craft each day
- Want to improve your relationship? Make more time for each other, and listen better.
These simple solutions aren’t hard to implement but can be a challenge to sustain.
Why is that? Because maintaining simple habits like the ones above requires willpower – and willpower isn’t an infinite resource.
Building the simple, valuable solutions into your daily routine is the key to achieving mastery. Make your keystone habit the thing you do consistently every day and the results will follow.
TL:DR Easy or Simple?
If you need a short term fix? Easy.
If you’re looking for a long term solution, are willing to put in the effort and generate maximum value from your life? Simple.
Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
– Debbie Millman
If it’s not worthwhile…why bother?