An alarming trend in our modern society is the obsession with easy. We want everything to be easy, as if a challenge is a punishment. I’m here to convince you to drop this philosophy, and try to learn things the right way before you learn the easy way. What is the right way? The right way is the way that gives you the least assistance so success or failure is in your hands.
The Easy Way is Often Just Easier to Learn
This is a fact that’s become blatantly obvious from my years driving stick. After all this time, I’m still learning and I’m not even convinced it’s a skill that can be mastered. On the other hand, I mastered driving automatic before I even drove on public roads. Despite this, I feel far more in control, and thus safer, when driving a stick. Learning to drive automatic may have been exceedingly easy, but driving stick became the easy way once I reached a point where I could call myself “skilled.” This is the case because of one simple point;
The Right Way Puts You in Control
The easy way isn’t easy because it limits to possibility of failure, it’s easy because it limits the possibility of variation. Consider an attempt to build a table. If you do it the right way, using raw materials from your local lumber yard,your skill will determine the quality. If you don’t know a hammer from reciprocating saw, the table will most likely collapse when your wife sets that scalding hot pot of soup on it so everyone can get some delightful third degree burns. If you’re a middling carpenter, your table will be able to hold that soup but will probably look like it was built by a blind monkey. If you’re more skilled, your table will not only be sturdy but a beautiful complement to your home’s existing decor. If you go the easy way and buy a kit from IKEA, you’ll end up with a sturdy table that looks professionally built but it’ll also be very generic.
The Easy Way Doesn’t Help You Improvise
If you only know how to do something the easy way then your only options when things go sideways are to find someone who knows how to do it the right way or give up. However, if you learned how to do it the right way then you most likely know some of the principles behind it. In that case, you can apply the scientific method and use some informed trial and error to find a solution.
It’s Easier to Learn Than Relearn
There’s nothing wrong with learning to do things both the right way and the easy way, but if you learn the easy way first you’ll find it’s a hard habit to break. We all know, humans are creatures of habit, we’ll often do something for no other reason than having done it before. So, we’ll tend to do something the easy way even when we want to do it the right way. However, when you’re trying to go the other way our natural laziness will keep us on track, and if the right way is in fact easier then you’ll easily be able to stick to it.
Next time you’re looking to learn a skill, start with the hardest method people still use, it’s probably the right way. Teach your son to use hand tools before power tools. Learn to cook on the stove, or better yet over a fire, before learning to cook with a microwave.