virgin islands scene

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
-- Edith Wharton
 

 

Friday, December 1, 2000

Simple or easy?

There’s a big difference between simple answers and easy answers. Simple answers are usually powerful and effective, yet challenging. Easy answers are usually appealing, but not very effective, and can even be dangerous.

Let’s say you need to lose weight. The simple answer is -- get more regular exercise and eat a more nutritionally balanced diet. That’s simple enough, and though often difficult to follow, usually effective. The easy answer is -- take this pill and eat anything you want. Very appealing, but it probably won’t work.

You can spot an easy answer because it is something you want to hear. Even though it may not make much sense, if you want to hear it badly enough you can make yourself believe it. You can spot simple answers because they seem so obvious, even though they may be a bit challenging.

When there’s a simple answer and an easy answer, the best choice is almost always the simple answer. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is probably what you need to do.

— Ralph Marston

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