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Aug 2011

The EASY way, is the HARD way. The HARD way, is the EASY way.

This week’s tip isn’t technical. It’s philosophical.

I had a mentor who once said to me: "The EASY way is the HARD way. The HARD way, is the EASY way."

What the heck is he talking about?

Here’s an example. I live in the city, and I own a scooter.

I usually take my scooter to the scooter shop all the way across town. A whole 12 minutes away! I’d also need to be "picked up" and wait half the day to get it done. OMG, who has time for THAT !?

So I figured, okay, why don’t I just bring my scooter to my corner car repair guy — who is awesome and reasonably priced, and does great work on my cars. He says he can do my oil change in a ‘jiffy’ (oil change pun intended.)

I take the scooter over there. Its a mere 60 seconds from my house (maybe less.) And he says "No problem I can just do this while you wait."

"Awesome!" I think.. "All the TIME I’ll save."

Then he starts taking various things apart. The WRONG things apart. I literally see a spring pop out of the whatever-the-heck-he’s-working-on and it (no joke) rolls down the street.

He gets the spring, puts it back together and says.. "Oops.. that wasn’t it."

Then he does end up finding the right oil drain. And drains the oil to transfer to an Eco-Friendly recycle vessel.

He comments: "Oh wow.. this oil weird. Its green! That’s wild.. I’ve never seen that before."

Now I have sinking "pit of my stomach" feeling that I’ve just done something wrong. Wrong guy — wrong tools — wrong skills.

"So, Jeremy, what kind of oil does it take? 10w-30 ?"   Arrgh.. I’m NOT the car / scooter professional. How the heck am I supposed to know?

So, now I’m finding holding the owners manual, flipping thru it, and it says "HP4 oil only" which is apparently a Honda-specific thing, and.. so, he pokes around his shop, and, of course, doesn’t have what I need.

I -could- have scooted to Pep Boys and maybe get it myself, but now my oil is drained out the scooter — rendering it unscotter-able, and I’m stuck there. Grrr.

"Hmm.. Pep boys can deliver it to us.. will take most of the day to get it." he says.

What started at 9.00 AM is now done by 5.00 PM. Fine, all fine. We got what we needed and it’s all done and fine.

But… What’s the moral of the story?  

The EASY way was the HARD way.  The HARD way was the EASY way.

So, when we try to take the EASY way, it quite often "ends in tears" (as a friend likes to say.)

We TRY to take a shortcut.. using the wrong tools, people or technology to get the job done. Hoping to save some time, or a buck.

And what do we get? Sometimes, you get lucky and it works out great. But, if you’re like me, any "easy" shortcut ends up hurting — painfully.

What would the "hard" way have looked like:

  • Using the RIGHT place — the scooter shop.
  • Using the RIGHT people — the professional scooter dudes.
  • Using the RIGHT tools — the right OIL they have in stock.

The "hard" part about this would have been to get picked up or just wait the hour to get it done at the RIGHT place. Indeed, the HARD way really wasn’t that HARD at all, now was it?

And, going the "hard way" — I would have saved the heartache of seeing my scooter "spring apart" by the wrong guy.

Oh sure.. the scooter is fine now. But was it worth the risk of going the "easy way?"

Next time you have an important decision to make remember: The EASY way, is the HARD way. The HARD way, is the EASY way.

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