On Easy Answers

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We’re lazy.

It makes sense when you think about it from an evolutionary perspective. Conservation of energy is incredibly important when food sources — sources of energy — were in short supply, or their availability wasn’t guaranteed.

Better to do less, to need less, just in case you had less.

While it might have kept us alive on the plains, or in the jungle or forest, it doesn’t always serve us well today.

I’m not talking about the motivation to get things done. Rather, laziness is at the root of our desire for simple answers.

We don’t want to think — that takes energy. We want simple. Yes or no. Good or bad. Friend or foe.

The problem, of course, is that there are no easy answers.

When we take the lazy approach and fail to consider the possibility of complexity and nuance, we often make poor decisions.

More importantly, we fall victim to those who tell us they can provide the easy answers we would prefer. By encouraging us not to think about it, they provide the simple yes/no we’re looking for. In so doing, they lead us down paths we might not choose for ourselves had we been thinking.

This is true for sales and marketing, and even more so in politics and governance.

Pandering is the result.

Give the people the simple answer they want to hear, even if it doesn’t match your own beliefs or intent, to gain trust and support. Part simplicity, part confirmation bias, people eat it up and believe what they want to believe, regardless of its relationship to reality. It’s easier than thinking for yourself.

The world simply isn’t that simple.

Almost every issue, every question, every opinion, every event is significantly more complex and nuanced than we’re prepared to give thought to.

We might conserve mental energy, but at what cost?

3 thoughts on “On Easy Answers”

  1. No one, this morning, on awakening, had to turn on their brain-it just happened. And, the sky was lighted by the sun and the very air that filled my lungs was present-it did not have to be
    summoned. So much of life is easy.
    Many people really don’t think, use words that picture their practiced character and just move
    around their prejudices.
    There are reasons why we don’t eat sharp-toothed lions or sharp-taloned eagles. There are
    reasons why we all are inclined to behave conservatively, too.
    Of course. Practice is fun. If it’s not, we leave the planet.

  2. Thank you, Leo.
    This article ties in nicely with the one on Opinions.

    I appreciate your guidance and wisdom.


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