The Easy Way Out
Many years ago I was conducting a sales meeting to a group of radio sales executives. I had drawn a picture on the flip chart of a wall, on one side was the radio salesperson and on the other was the target that they were trying to attain. The wall consisted of all of the obstacles that we had to overcome, from our own shortcomings to the objections that the client would throw at us. My point was that it is better to work thru the obstacles and learn to enjoy the process, that would build a sustaining work ethic and reputation. At that point one of the young men in the group raised his hand and asked if he could approach the drawing. He grabbed the marker, drew a ladder and said that he would rather find a way over or around and avoid all of the hassle. Well of course the young man got a bunch of laughs and almost as many shouts of agreement, yet, is that the right way to approach things?
In my time on the earth I have seen many people try to find the easy way out of a variety of situations. In many situations finding a solution that is the easiest way out might also be the best way out. Though, I will challenge you to look deeper and see how many occasions the slow and methodical process is the right way to move.
For example, I have utilized diet pills to lose weight, they work and you can lose a lot of weight very quickly. If you are diligent, you can actually keep the weight off for a while. It takes some effort, but you can do it. Eventually though, most of us, put that weight back on. Why? Because we really did not fix the problem or change the cause. We took the easy way out, diet pills, instead of having a change in our lifestyle.
I remember when I was in high school and we had to do book reports. The process was, we were given a book to read and after reading it we had to write a report meeting certain criteria. Some of my friends would never crack the book, instead, they would go to the store and find the Cliff Notes to the book. An abbreviated version touching on all of the key points and usually something that would get you by and even get you a good grade, on the book report. The problem arose when the teacher would slap a pop quiz on you and they could tell with just a few questions if you knew the book or not. Again, easy out but not the right way to go.
So if your goal is to lose a few pounds quick or get a good score on the book report, that easy option can buy you a ticket to the good life. What it does not do is get you through that wall, it gets you over it, around it and under it…it might get you to the other side, yet in reality it is just a facade. To really conquer the challenge you have to learn the process, practice the process and make the process part of your everyday world. In sales, learn all of the parts of the sale and learn to master them. In dieting, change your lifestyle, do the exercise change what you eat and when you eat, also change the portions you eat. If you are writing a book report, learn to love the art of reading, it can pay wonderful dividends down the road too.
Sure there are some places when taking the easy way out is the right choice, learning to enjoy the process is so much more rewarding in so many ways. The sense of accomplishment. The pride in knowing that there was a challenge at hand, you accepted the challenge and you methodically worked your way through that and reached a positive end result. That in itself is a great feeling. You also set an example for those around you, expecially youngsters. The work ethic and the perseverance that you exude is something that is admirable and learnable, going through life with shortcuts is too.
Doing the right things fits into this category also. A few years ago there was a group of us that were involved in a situation at a hospital. We had a friend and family member who were staying there for an injury and many of us had to stay at a local hotel. Every day we had to go to the parking structure at the hospital and park our vehicles. This one person was bragging that he had basically cheated the hospital and was parking every day for free, while I was paying $5 per day to park. For some of the young folks there, that was cool, this guy was so cool that he cheated the hospital, though they saw it as being slick, whereas I was thought of as the dummy paying the five bucks…
I will let you judge who was and who wasn’t smart, it is not up to me to set that bar. I do know that it would have bothered me to think that I cheated any organization, especially one that we were trusting to help our loved one get back to good health. It is what we do on a daily basis that makes a difference in our life and so often we have the choice to do the right thing or not, to work through a problem or take the easy way out. I choose the methodical way of working through the problem, it is a damn good feeling when you get to the end.