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Simple is not easy; it's simple.

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Maybe the difference between simple and easy is not as widely understood as it should be.

Simple speaks of comprehension; or how much energy is needed to understand. Easy, on the other hand, speaks of how much energy is required to act.

For example, human bodies all work the same. We ingest calories, and nutrients, through the food we eat. If we eat an excess of calories; if we intake more fuel than we need; what is not used is stored as fat. This means the more I eat; and the less I do; the bigger my waist becomes.

Simple, right? In order to loose, or maintain weight, all I need to do is balance the amount of calories I eat with how much energy I expend (Kirk et al., 2003; Thivel et al., 2020; Hu, Nguyen, Langheier, & Shurney, 2020). Why is weight management difficult for so many? Isn't simple; all that is required is a balance of inputs and outputs?

The answer is simple; in order to balance calories I have to forgo the pleasure of eating or engage in the pain of exercise. And because humans are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain (Martín-Consuegra, Díaz, Gómez, & Molina, 2019); we often avoid those things which are required for our success. Therefore, like many other things in this life, an understanding of what it takes to create success can be very simple, and perhaps even easy to understand; actually doing the work is what’s hard and where most people fail.

Let’s pause our conversation for a movement so we can define what success is; success is nothing more than simple task, or goal, completion. Real success is a collection of things that can't be bought, sold, or inherited. That's it; the smoking gun; the grand secret; that thing everyone seems to know but doesn’t understand. Success is accomplishing an object of design; success is becoming more; success is walking a path which leads to what I can be; success is as simple as becoming who I can be. What we are discussing relates to my “hidden” potential or that which I can do; but I have no clue I can do; this seems to be the very definition of potential.

To illustrate my point, let’s look at a simple seed. Think of any seed; think of something small like an apple or a grape seed; or think of something large like a coconut seed. Regardless of the size, all seeds carry within themselves the potential for growth. The phrase; “…that which I can do; but I have no clue I can do”; speaks of my growth potential; or the seed of what I can do; but I have no clue I can do.

We use the metaphor of a seed because regardless of the size, a seed begins much smaller than it ends. Meaning, when any seed is planted it grows into something larger than it was. And here’s my point; my personal seed of potential allows me to grow into something larger than I am right now; but reaching the full measure of my potential does not come as naturally as some might think.

Think about it this way; as humans, we grow for about nine-months and then we experience birth. From birth, our physical bodies grow at the same time as our minds. This growth occurs very naturally and seemingly with little effort. But when do we stop growing?

Our physical growth peaks in our late teens or early twenties. The growth of our minds continues throughout life. Under most circumstances, humans experience what can be called emotional growth from birth until death; and perhaps even beyond. Therefore, this concept of becoming; all I can be; speaks of far more than simple physical growth or physical strength. Becoming me--all of me--is more of a concept of exploration where I discover what I can do and what I cannot do.

To illustrate my point, think about what you can do today that you could not do 6 months ago, 6 years ago, or at birth? More specifically, what can I do today that I though was impossible yesterday? What did it take to create this growth; or this success? Did it come naturally or did it take work? Perhaps the ease of this growth matters less than an understanding of what potential I have left. Meaning, have I grown into everything I can be; or is there something left?

To be clear, asking these questions takes strength. The reason is simple, life upon this planet has evolved into a competition where some believe they are better “because”; better because of race, because of gender, because of culture, because of social status, or physical strength; better because of education or opportunity; better because I am right and you are wrong; or better because you are not me.

Let’s be very clear; and despite what history says; no human has ever been better than any other human. It doesn’t matter what we do, where we are born, who we are, what we eat, where we learn, or where we sleep. The only thing which separates one human from another is a willingness to explore the full measure of growth potential.

Think about this for a moment. The entire human family exists as individual seeds of potential. The only thing which separates one from the other is accomplishing the full measure of our individual capacity.

This has nothing to do with increasing value; in reality my value, your value, individual value does not increase or decrease--it remains constant regardless of any outcome. Why? Because human value has more to do with growth potential than any other thing. And what potential do we have? More than any other life on this planet; because in addition to a capacity for physical growth we carry the potential for emotional and intellectual growth. Think about it, regardless of circumstance, as a human species we can grow through experience. Other species have this ability; but not like humans. Only humans can increase individual capacity to do more today than was possible yesterday.

Meaning, a willingness to become, who I was always meant to be, is the grand secret to increasing what I can do. Based on this, the only thing that really separates one human from another is a willingness to explore the full measure of what I can do. This is the reason we say success is a construct of task or goal completion; this is the reason we say success is nothing more than growth within myself first; and within community second.

In reality, no human was ever meant to traverse this life alone; and no human can reach the full measure of their potential alone. We simply are not built to be alone (Inagaki & Ross, 2020; Sheldon, Abad, & Hinsch, 2011; Seidman, Langlais, & Havens, 2019). So why do we try to do things alone? Reasons differ from person to person; but regardless of the reason no one has ever achieved widespread success alone!

If you think about it, success is actually very simple; all we have to do is develop a desire to become all we can be. I would argue any task completion, any growth, or any success begins with a real desire to engage in the challenge. With this desire we are more likely to discover how growth is achieved.

Sound too simple? Remember, simple and easy are not the same thing. Simple speaks of how much energy is required to understand; while easy speak of how difficult a task is.

For example, one of the hardest things, I have ever done, is accepting I am a combination of both strengths and weaknesses; that which I can do and that which I can't do. This is important because the strongest barrier to anyones success lies within me. How many people understand this?

In my journey through life, I have discovered four kinds of people. The first doesn't care to do anything different; the second, is thinking that different might be good; the third is learning what it takes to be different; and the fourth is actively becoming all they can be.

Many recognize something is missing, or they do not like the way they feel. This is a great start; because many people struggle to move past their first self; their self which doesn't care to do or become anything different than I am right now.

Think about it this way; what if that guy, who did that great thing, was simply content with who he was before he learned how to accomplish that great thing? What if that guy. who did that great thing. didn't care enough about who he could be. to learn how to do that great thing? What if that great thing was never done; what would the world be like?

What if you can become someone better than you are now; are you worth the effort or the difficulty? Have you ever wondered what it actually takes to become my best? The answer is simple; we have to first want this outcome. Remember our 4 types? The first doesn't care or doesn't want to become better. These folks fail only because they don't want anything different.

So here's the point of this specific blog post. Simple is not easy; it's simple. In my life I have found the simplest concepts are the hardest to achieve. But with desire, time, and effort, I have always found a way to do something great; all I needed to get started was a desire to be more than I was.

What do you think; too simple? Remember, simple only speaks of what it takes to understand. Once we know what to do the next step becomes harder; what's next requires action to see what's inside my own seed of potential.

So, what's your next move? Is something missing? Do you want something more than you have right now? Do you desire to become something more?

I could ask a thousand more questions; perhaps the most import question, and maybe the simplest, asks what are you willing to do to become your best? Perhaps the most important questions asks if you are you willing to start with simple. What do you think; are you willing to start with a desire to become better? If yes, your off to a great start. If yes; then whats next? What action will you take to learn how to become your best?

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Kirk, E. P., Jacobsen, D. J., Gibson, C., Hill, J. O., & Donnelly, J. E. (2003). Time course for changes in aerobic capacity and body composition in overweight men and women in response to long-term exercise: the Midwest Exercise Trial (MET). International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders, 27(8), 912.

Thivel, D., Fillon, A., Genin, P. M., Miguet, M., Khammassi, M., Pereira, B., Boirie, Y., Duclos, M., Drapeau, V., Blundell, J. E., Tremblay, A., Finlayson, G., Mathieu, M. E., & Metz, L. (2020). Satiety responsiveness but not food reward is modified in response to an acute bout of low versus high intensity exercise in healthy adults. Appetite, 145.

Hu, E. A., Nguyen, V., Langheier, J., & Shurney, D. (2020). Weight reduction through a digital nutrition and food purchasing platform among users with obesity: Longitudinal study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9).

Martín-Consuegra, D., Díaz, E., Gómez, M., & Molina, A. (2019). Examining consumer luxury brand-related behavior intentions in a social media context: The moderating role of hedonic and utilitarian motivations. Physiology & Behavior, 200, 104–110.

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