You have probably heard the tale of the 3 little pigs. Threatened by the big bad wolf, the pigs had to think about building shelter. The first one built a house made of straw, while the 2nd built a house using twigs. The 3rd one made a house made of bricks, and when the wolf came huffing and puffing, it was the 3rd who obviously made the right choice.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but this children’s story sheds some light into different scenarios that happen a lot today. The 1st and 2nd pigs evidently chose simple solutions to a complex problem. In the end, it was the one who chose the harder way out who emerged victorious.
Seeing that simple does not always mean success, why do people still prefer simple answers to complex problems?
The Tech Connection
Technology probably plays a huge role here. I can still remember what “research” meant back in high school. You had to go to the library and browse through tons of books just to get a report together. I fondly looked back at this moment when a friend called me one day, telling me about how her daughter was freaking out because their Internet was disconnected. She had a report to finish, which was due in 2 days. Now, her entire year’s performance hangs on the balance.
In the past, we would allot a month or so to work on a complicated project. Today, every student knows that all they need is a few taps/clicks, and they can create a comprehensive report in a couple of days.
It is this ease of access to just about anything that made people complacent and lazy. And this has led to people bringing that complacency and laziness even to the way they think.
A Sense of Mastery
Of course, there’s always a different perspective to look at. Albert Einstein couldn’t have said it better —
“ If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
Remember how you used to find it hard to add or subtract 2- or 3-digit numbers when you were a kid? Or how the multiplication table used to drive you nuts? Now, you probably do everything in your head without even blinking.
Mastery of a certain subject can make things that are complex to others seem simple for you. At the end of the day, what matters is that your chosen solution gave you the same end result. 1 plus 1 will always equal 2, regardless if you’re a kindergarten student who has to use their fingers or a 30-year old who can do it without a second thought.
Technology, although mentioned as a trigger for lazy thought, can also be a good thing in this regard. Just imagine how life would be like without electricity, or without your smartphones. You’d probably be manually doing everything, from writing that report due tomorrow by hand (yes, all 10 pages), to sending someone to deliver your letter 2 towns over. Yes, technology offers simpler solutions, but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Progress is about making things better and simpler. Looking at it this way, simple can be good, as long as it gives you the right output.
So does giving simple answers to complex questions pay off?
Sure, it does! As long as you make sure that the output is the best possible result, then opting for simple things is not that bad. Now if you were in the same situation as the 3 little pigs, that’s a different story altogether. But if it’s all about comparing a 30-day solution to a 30-minute one, as long as the results are the same (or better), then go for it.