Atomic essay #24 – easy

I have a tendency to overcomplicate things. In a job like teaching, there’s often so much going on that it’s easy to stall. The job is fertile ground for procrastination. When things are complicated, it’s hard to start and easy to avoid them.

Atomic essay #24 – easy

I have a tendency to overcomplicate things. In a job like teaching, there’s often so much going on that it’s easy to stall. The job is fertile ground for procrastination. When things are complicated, it’s hard to start and easy to avoid them.

This might seem rich for someone who has just been posting about an elaborate research system, but today’s post is about a simple question I’ve started to ask myself:

If this were easy, what would it look like?

This question belongs to Tim Ferriss. I haven’t read any of Ferriss’ work – I only really know ‘of’ him – but having come across this question in a YouTube video it resonated with me. How often had I spent too long doing things that looked like or felt like the thing I was supposed to be doing, but – if I were honest with myself – not actually the thing I was supposed to be doing?

We can confuse ‘important’ with ‘complicated’. But asking, ‘If this were easy, what would it look like?’ brings us back to importance. If we start with the idea that something is already easy, rather than assuming that it will be hard, we can strip away a lot of unneccessary things.

A lot of how we function is the acceptance of things at face-value. It is easy to get swept along and assume that the way to do something is the way because … it just is. But there are no rules, not really. Everything is made up, in one way or another. Things can be done differently; a lot of the time, that ‘differently’ can be ‘easily’.

I watched Mad Men years ago. I don’t remember much of it, but I remember Don Draper (I’m not suggesting one should model much of anything on his character, by the way) saying this:

If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.

That’s why I like Ferriss’ question.

There’s always a different conversation.