Doing Things the “Easy” Way

Last week Jocelyn and I did some hiking in Western New York. The trails were immaculate, the views, spectacular.

At one point on our trek through the Letchworth State Park, we came to a sign that presented us with a decision. We could take the long way down to the falls, a way that included steep and often wet steps to get a close-up view; or we could take a more direct and leisurely stroll to observe the scenery from a distance.

Jocelyn advocated for the route fraught with stairs, snakes, spiders and spray from the raging falls; I advocated to have Sherpas carry me to the Easy View of the Falls 1000 feet away while fanning me and rubbing my feet.

Needless to say, Jocelyn got her way. And I’m grateful. We were rewarded for our efforts by seeing a pristine waterfall and a sight dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

How many times do we cheat ourselves by cutting corners? In the morning, we hit the snooze as many times as possible before getting up late, scrambling into the shower and then driving to work like lunatics…all because we wanted to treat ourselves to an easy morning. We are rewarded by spilling coffee on ourselves and getting a ticket…

At work, we get weary before our task is completed so we just phone it in, doing enough to get by while hoping no one looks too carefully. But someone looks carefully. You end up having to stay late or causing others to stay late, all because you didn’t feel like giving things your best effort. So much for taking the easy way. You’re rewarded with a label: UNRELIABLE. Or LAZY. Or maybe even RIF…

In life, you find yourself trapped in a miserable relationship, one that takes far more than it gives. But it’s familiar, it’s known. So instead of acknowledging that it’s toxic and that it’s killing you, you stay put and learn to tolerate the intolerable. Years later, the relationship ends poorly, but not by your choice. You might be wishing now that you had not chosen to take the easy route. Because you’re rewarded with being older, more weary, jaded and cynical…

The easy route may be many things. But easy rarely translates into better or more rewarding.

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