Simple vs. Easy

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned from my Grandmother is how to distinguish the difference between simple vs. easy.

I was lucky to have grown up just through the block from my Father’s parents. Our homes, which my Grandfather built with his own hands, were connected by our back yards. I spend a lot of time with them and learned a lot about life and perseverance to be successful.

When I was 12 years old I was watching my 80-year old grandmother mow her lawn with a manual reel push mower. For those of you not old enough to remember this invention you can still buy one today but they are not commonly seen because they are difficult to push to get enough momentum to cut the grass. I’ll never forget her pushing that mower over her ¼ acres of grass, which took about three hours for her to complete. Despite the hat and scarf she was wearing her sweat always dripped off the end of her nose when she did this task once a week.

I felt it was just too much work for her and I begged her to let me cut the grass for her since I was on summer break from school. At the age of 12 I was finally tall enough to wield that mighty beast and she said sure.

After what seemed like hours I finished raking up the cut grass and proudly went inside to tell grandmother I had finished. She came outside and inspected the job and put her arm around my shoulders and said, “Very good job, Randy, but it’s not finished.” – I was so discouraged – I thought I had done everything necessary. She then said, “The edging is not done, the dandelions are still in the grass, and the weeds are still in the flowers next to the house.” After another hour I had finished the job the way she showed me and she and I enjoyed some lemonade to celebrate my accomplishment.

Over the lemonade I told her it was so hard to do that job, but when watching her doing it, it appeared so easy. She then said, “Randy, one of life’s greatest lessons is learning the difference between simple and easy. What is simple is not always easy to do.” That message has stayed with me all my life, and I’ve always started every day looking for the simplest way to get a job done because the simple way is always better than the complicated way, but that does not mean it will be easy to do. Nothing can replace a “hard-work” ethic. It created a “work smart – AND work hard” mentality that has helped me persevere and be successful at almost everything I have put my mind to do since that day.

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