Simple and Easy Are Not Always the Same

By Jimmy Warden

There are a lot of things in life that we may label as simple, or easy. If you were to look those words up in the dictionary, you would see they have similar definitions to each other, and if you were to Google either of the words; the other word would come up as a synonym. The interesting idea that I have learned over the years is that despite their similarities, simple and easy are not always the same.

The goals that we often hold are simple. Get in better shape. Improve our relationships. Work a bit harder at our occupation. Whatever it might be, the idea of what we want is simple. The contradiction is, achieving these goals, and maintaining a respectable level of effort while trying to achieve them, is not easy. It is not easy because doing something with ease usually implies that there is not a large amount of concentrated effort being put forth. Most times, achieving these simple goals is the opposite of easy. It’s harder than we ever thought it would be because we need to put forth a consistent amount of effort across an extended period of time. When we don’t get to our destination by a certain deadline, we feel that we’ve failed at doing something easy, when in fact; we’ve actually just failed at something that is simple, but challenging.

This concept can be brought into any area of our life that we are trying to improve. Most often the action plan is simple, as well as the actions that need to be taken during implementation, but this does not make them easy. The more that we can understand that those two concepts can be split; the better mental approach we can have on our quest for self-improvement. The more that we understand our actions are simple, but must be repeated across time, grants us the opportunity to engage in what a lot of people refer to as “the process”.

The process is the day in and day out physical and mental deposits that people make in order to take steps closer to achieving their goals. The process is something simple, but not something easy. It is simple because of the equation. Take specific steps each day, multiply those steps over a succession of weeks and months, and the result often is you get to where you’d like to go. People think that it’s easy because it is not complex. The main reason why it’s not easy is because of how these physical and mental deposits deplete our physical and mental resources. When are resources are depleted, our decision making tends to flounder, which then puts us off the beaten path of the process. This is another reason why simple does not always mean easy. It’s a simple idea to try to continue to push through, but it is not easy to do that when resources are depleted.

When this occurs, the action steps and process often get overanalyzed and become more complex due to a lack of patience with the original process. The individual felt they should have accomplished their goal sooner, but didn’t, so they feel the need to re-create a new implementation plan that is overly complex. In reality, they could have exercised more patience and eventually experience their successes. It is vital to have patience when engaging in the process because nothing meaningful ever happens overnight.

So before thinking something is going to be easy, just because it seems simple; think twice. Upon reflection you might come to realize that the simplicity of the tasks ahead does not quantify them as easy. If you find yourself in that situation, remain patient because that is most likely the antidote you need to start experiencing the changes you were envisioning.

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