Of course simple doesn't necessarily mean easy...

People, when faced with a problem, challenge or dilemma of any sort, tend to seek out solutions that are either easy (the quick fix, duct tape approach) or complex (complexity giving the solution a sense of credibility or proportional importance to the problem). 

More often than not however, what we should be seeking is the exact opposite.  Most of the time, solutions that work (on both the small and large scale) are simple, not complex.  Unfortunately, we automatically associate ‘simple’ with ‘easy’ and so we get turned off because either:

  • "So simple a solution could never effect my very difficult problem."  The subtext here is: "...if it were simple, clearly I would have already fixed it."

Or

  • We joyfully attempt the ‘simple’ solution assuming that simple is, in fact easy, and the quick fix is right around the bend - and we give up frustrated when nothing changes.  

My favorite example of this is Nike’s brilliant Just DO it. campaign. The answer to your personal fitness level is incredibly simple, you just have to do it.  But you have to do it every day.  And that, as we exercise impaired understand, is not easy.  

And so, how do we embrace simple but not easy?  

Here are 3 things to try:

 

1.  THINK SMALL, THINK NOW

Rather than attempting to figure out everything at once, choose one small thing that you can do to get you started today.  A favorable outcome (even a tiny one) will give you the energy and inspiration you need to take the next small step.

In fact, by keeping yourself from looking too far ahead you'll not only avoid overwhelm, but also keep your mind open to new ideas that emerge from the incremental successes along the way.

2.  USE WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Boy, do we spend a lot of time and energy reinventing the wheel!  

Make a list of all the things you're good at and another one of things you've accomplished that you've proud of.  Search through those lists for hints of how you can attack your current dilemma from a point of strength.

3.  LET IT FLOW

Avoid judging yourself or your progress each step of the way.  Practice looking at this process as a continuous flow from which you will learn and shift as you move forward rather than a series of starts and stops.

 

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