Don’t confuse simple with easy

Working On Your Business

Too often I have watched business owners stumble over solutions because they think “it can’t be that easy.”  What they mean is that they don’t believe a powerful solution can be as simple or as obvious as it really is.  

We live in a culture that glorifies hard work to an extent that makes us skeptical of the simple solution.  We’ve grown up believing that if it isn’t hard to get, it’s not worth having and that if something is worth having it’s worth working hard to get it.

The point of beliefs like that is to give ourselves permission to keep moving towards our goals and find the courage to stick with the plan even when we encounter resistance. The point is NOT to create resistance where there is none.

When I was in high school, I took Philosophy in my senior year. It was a mandatory class and one that had been posed as the crowning jewel of our classical education; meant to equip us with the final sharpening of our minds as we set forth into the wide, wide, world.

I was the Valedictorian of my class and, still, essay after essay, exam after exam, I bombed Philosophy.  And so did my classmates. Hard. Really hard.  

For years we had been told that Philosophy was reserved only for seniors because it was so hard and complicated. Only the smartest of the smart girls did well.

We were so wrapped around the axle about needing to prove just how darn smart we were and how amazingly we could untangle even the most complicated of intellectual knots that we could not seem to find the end of the shoelace to undo the bow.  In terms of that class, I don’t think that any of us could have poured water out of a glass if the instructions had been on the bottom…

For example, if we had been asked something as simple as “If 1+1=2, then 2-1=…?” we would have given outlandish answers that included square roots and negative numbers and equations to the nth power and all sorts of craziness.

We refused to accept that the answer was just 1.

It was too simple. We thought it was a trick, that it couldn’t be easy, so we always found a harder way of getting to the wrong answer.

Of course, the problems weren’t mathematical, but the answers really were that obvious.  We just complicated things unnecessarily because we thought that was how it was supposed to be.

You see, when we approach our businesses with the mindset that it’s going to be hard and complicated and that you’re not going to know what to do, that is exactly what you’ll experience: an uphill battle both ways full of overwhelm and confusion.

If, on the other hand, you’re always on the lookout for the simplest answer to get your problem solved, you’re much better off and already far closer to the solution than you might have imagined. 

Don’t be fooled. 

Where there is a simple solution staring you in the face, don’t be afraid to accept it as the answer. Because it’s still going to be plenty hard to put into action, I promise you!

Simple can be right. In Philosophy. In Business. Always keep an eye out for the simple solution.