Thursday, February 16, 2012


I use the word easy a lot, a real lot.

Oftentimes when I use it, it's misunderstood.

The misunderstanding is understandable. You see, easy has two really different meanings, meanings that are often lumped together into one.

The first meaning of easy is simple. To say something is easy is to say that it's straight-forward and clear.

The second meaning of easy is effortless. To say something is easy is to say that it requires little time and effort.

The problem is that you have things that are both easy and hard. Running every day is easy (clear and straight-forward). You put on your sneakers, you walk out the door and you run. Yet, most would agree that running every day is hard. There are motivational challenges. There are physical challenges. There are scheduling challenges.

So, when I say that running every day is easy, people often look at me as though I were crazy or just full-of-shit.

It can get very confusing. Specially since I pretty much think that everything is easy.


Yeah, pretty much. Most things are relatively simple. They often get cluttered by people trying to make a buck through education, training, coaching, planning, etc. However, when you strip away the clutter, things tend to be pretty darn easy.

Dieting? If you consume fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight.

Playing an instrument? If you practice everyday with a metronome and never play faster than you can play well, you will become a great player.

Running? Get up every morning, put on your sneakers and jump on the treadmill. Walk until you feel like running. Run until you feel like walking. After an hour, get off the treadmill.

Easy, right?

Yet, in my experience at least, people tend to make things hard (complex) and from my perspective, unnecessarily so. And as they say, "It ain't necessarily so!"

I've come up with two primary reasons for unnecessary complexity, or perhaps to better illustrate, the unwarranted complexitization of tasks otherwise deemed to be less than trivial. The first is teachers. The second is wanting an out.

Most teachers (at least those that follow the traditional pedantic method), don't understand what they teach. The follow a prescribed method and adhere to a prescribed format. They answer questions in a prescribed manner. They teach, but without understanding. This phenomenon extends to the writers of most educational textbooks. The people writing the books know a lot about the topic, but they don't understand the topic.

The topic could be math, language, history, science or music. The result is that they make what they're teaching overly complex. Rather than teaching a few elemental facts from which a student might derive the rest of what can be learned, they teach each of the derivatives as though it were something to be remembered. If you grew up taught in that way, you likely believe everything is more complex than it is.

Even if you didn't, making things overly complex is a great out for something you don't feel like doing. Since most people are complexity biased, it's not a hard argument to sell.

Dieting is so difficult; you have to consider the nutritional components of everything you consume as well as the interactions among them to ensure that you're getting all you need.

You've got to be careful running. You could really hurt yourself. Better make sure you have the right shoes and it's good to get a personal trainer.

You can't just play the piano. You first need to learn to read the notes and to use proper form. Otherwise you'll develop bad habits that will limit your playing.

Anyway, it's easy to make things difficult and to get others to agree with just how difficult they are.

But they're not, their easy.

The funny thing about the first easy (simple) is that it often leads to the second easy (effortless).

What's hard for you today?

Happy Thursday,


  1. Happiness is my case of difficult. I've taken 6 courses at the OI, talked about doing it at length, didn't see the miracle, judged myself repeatedly, even started the Google Group, but still feel bad. Sure there is my ill, but I tried many magic heal -ings and -ers and judge myself for being the obstacle to my own cure. Plenty of promises, se arches for EASY, and insane expectations :o)

  2. Zhenya, it would seem to me that perhaps you're still basing your acceptance of you (and subsequent happiness) on whether or not you've been successful or were right.

    What if everything you ever tried were "wrong", i.e., didn't work or were never accepted? What if you woke up tomorrow morning and everything you invested in, everything you though was right, everything you believed in, was wrong? Would that be damning or freeing?

    I think the key to being happy regardless of circumstance is to be free of any circumstantial requirements, to decide that no matter what, it's all perfect and you are perfect.


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