The Paramount Difference Between Simple and Easy



Think about how often we use the words simple and easy interchangeably in our daily language. Phrases like: “It shouldn’t take you much time, it’s a pretty simple task….” or “That outline will be easy to draw up.” These sentences might seem common, even accurate, but are they? Well, it depends. The distinction between these two words might not strike you as all that important, but let’s pull back the layers a bit as to what each word really means.

Simple – Not complicated to understand, deal with, identify or use. A simple matter, simple tools, a simple solution.

In my line of work, the solutions and ideas I often share with business owners to help overcome challenges and obstacles and to refine their brand and grow their businesses are often quite simple. In some instances I might just be validating what they already know to be true. So what’s the value in that? Well, although marketing and public relations solutions might be simple for a business, rarely are they easy to actually implement- at least given a business’s current skill set, experience, capacity, and resources.

Easy – Not hard or difficult, requiring no great labor or effort. An easy task, easy victory.

Have you grasped the difference between the two words? Consider this example for a moment. Say, like many of us, you want to lose a little weight – even just 5 or 10 pounds or so. The solution? It’s simple. You likely know you need to examine and improve your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.  But is it easy? Not for most. We know what we need to do to improve our health or reach other goals. Those answers are simple, but the changes  and dedication required to put these simple actions in place are actually, sometimes really, really hard to stick with.

This is true for just about any significant change we wish to make, in our personal or professional lives. The answers are in front of us, staring us in the face, but implementing them – thoroughly and consistently are astoundingly hard.

In pointing out this paramount difference between identifying something as simple versus easy, my goal is this. I want to ensure that appreciation for simple solutions is not lost on the assumption that they are easy. Are they obvious? Maybe. But if simple solutions were also easy, wouldn’t we already be seamlessly incorporating them into our lives as soon as they proved to be needed to help us achieve our goals? Absolutely!

My Words of Wisdom to Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

When looking for advice to grow and improve your business, and someone presents you with a solution that is simple, try not to discount its worth. Pause before considering it trite or lacking merit just because it seems common sense and obvious. The best solutions usually are the simplest ones! But this does not mean they will be easy to implement. Consider the time requirement, cost, level of expertise, or network it may take to put these solutions into action. You may be surprised by how quickly a simple solution proves to be anything but easy. This is when you might want to weigh your options for outside help – outsourcing.

My Words of Wisdom to Anyone Hoping to Achieve Change

If  your goal is to achieve change on a more personal level, outsourcing is not usually an option as it is for business change; however, there is still good news. Keep in mind that those simple, effective solutions are likely right before you, desperately trying to earn your attention and say “Hey, look over here. I have everything you need to accomplish what you want.” But do realize (must I say it again?) that simple does not mean easy. Simple is wonderful in that we can understand why it should work and why it’s the best option, but then we become discouraged when we realize it’s not always a packaged deal with easy. Not matter what goal you aim to achieve, I can tell you this – it will take dedication, it will take sacrifice, and it will take hard work. But when you start to see results? There is no better feeling!

What are your own goals for either change or improvement in your own life – personal or professional – right now that you hope you achieve? In reflecting upon the difference between simple and easy would you say the actions needed to achieve your goals are simple, easy, neither, or both?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!