There's an expression that I'm sure many of you are familiar with that goes like this: "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way."
It gets tossed out frequently in movies, usually in which somebody is prepared to interrogate another person. We all know what's considered the easy way in this scenario: Just talk and nothing else will happen. And you can guess what would be the hard way.
But perhaps there's another way we need to think about the easy way versus the hard way.
The easy way is that everybody should just conform to whatever one sees fit. The hard way is recognizing that everybody is different and not insist people conform to everything you think is right.
The easy way is to embrace one solution that takes care of everything because it sounds good to you. The hard way is recognizing that most issues are complex and there is no single solution that will solve everything.
The easy way is to expect every problem be solved in a short time span because we have things ranging from the microwave to the Internet that can get things done quickly. The hard way is to recognize that solving most problems takes time, much like it takes time for a tree to grow (and in some cases, it's a long time).
The easy way is to stick by your principles, no matter what. The hard way is recognizing that, while you can't bend on a few principles, refusing to bend on them all is going to make things worse rather than better.
The easy way is to pretend that if every human being just followed one set of rules, all the world's problems would be solved. The hard way is to recognize that every human being is flawed to a certain degree and no one set of rules is going to keep every human being from making mistakes.
The easy way is to insist you are always right. The hard way is to admit you might be wrong.
The easy way is to demand instant gratification. The hard way is to recognize you can't always get what you want.
The easy way is to do things the way they have always been done. The hard way is to recognize that, while not everything needs to change, some things to do.
The easy way is to refuse to adapt. The hard way is sometimes you need to adapt if you want to keep moving forward.
The easy way requires little to no thought. The hard way requires you think about what you are doing or saying.
If you think about it, the easy way as referenced in my opening example is actually the hard way. It's hard to wait for someone to talk until they are ready. But it's easy to do something vicious to get that information out quicker.
Anything easy doesn't require patience. Anything hard does.
So the next time you think about that expression, "we can do it the easy way or we can do it the hard way," ask yourself what you really want. Chances are, the easy way isn't what you think it is.