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Easy is Over-rated

November 10, 2011

There’s nothing wrong with easy. And ease is an end unto itself. I love those moments, those days that flow effortlessly. I love those days that when I am challenged with something difficult (which is most days) and I am able to go through it with ease.

But I have a problem with easy. Is it just me, or do you sense that in our culture at this moment in history we are overly concerned with easy? Take it easy. Do the expected. Take the shortcut. Make it easy on yourself.  To me these seem the mantras of today. Yet choosing these will never lead us to our potential. And aren’t we here to reach our potential, whatever that may be?

I’m a word nerd. I love looking up words in the dictionary — even words I know —to get subtleties of which I am not aware. So I looked up “easy.”

Easy — Adj. not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort;a book that is easy to read; an easy victory. Free from pain, discomfort,worry, or care: He led an easy life.

Easy choices will not lead us to achieve our potential on this planet.

Joseph Campbell is one of my favorite authors and he has a lot to say on this subject from his many decades of studying, teaching and writing on comparative religion and myth:

  • “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.”
  • “A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.”
  • “What we are really living for is the experience of life, both the pain and the pleasure.”
  • “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”

Our members do not have easy jobs. They are tasked with big challenges every day. We asked the members recently how they spend most of their time at work:









I was struck by one comment in particular by our founding member Denny Dean, who is a CISO.

Denny wrote: “Great question! I am looking at a list right now of all the, what I call, “pop-up” projects and “side-bar” initiatives. I coined these terms to communicate what has become a significant component of my work (work generating results that I want my business sponsors to understand and appreciate). These are not wasted efforts, mind you. On the contrary, they are what one might consider “just-in-time solutions” or “serendipity enhancements”. Pop ups are mini projects (hours/days). Side-bar initiatives are micro projects (minutes/hours). All of them have two things in common:

  1. They are important to improving service or reducing costs, and
  2. The timing is right to get change implemented because someone is standing at my door and motivated to get something done.

“These evolutionary win-win scenarios help build great cross-functional cooperation models and great peer relations. Embrace them, communicate the successes, and see your successes in the company grow.”

Leadership is not easy. Denny embodies that embracing the hard stuff, the unexpected stuff that comes our way, is part of the same glorious life where the easy stuff is.  And there lies the opportunity to make a difference.

I am inspired by our members. Today, I’m inspired by Denny.


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