“What if this was easy?”

I often get caught in the trap of thinking that anything worth doing “should” be hard. It’s a perfectionist tendency that I’m trying to unlearn.

Because of this tendency, I am prone to over-complicating things. I feel like I need to add a lot of steps to a process or features to a product before it’s ready for others to consume.

But when I look back at my career, simplifying a feature, product, or offer has always made an outsized impact on my businesses.

Because of this, when something starts to feel unnecessarily hard, I ask myself “what if this was easy?”

Not easy to escape hard work. Not easy that leads to hard things piling up and feeling overwhelming.

But easy as in fun. Easy as in cut out the fluff and simply do what actually needs doing, and not the other stuff.

What I’ve found is that we make things complicated and hard when we don’t know what we’re doing or what the “right” answer is.

There’s nothing wrong with building more than we need to. Over-engineering a solution, I believe, is often needed to understand both what is possible and what is necessary.

I find that even when you ask yourself “what if this was easy” you’ll still create more than is necessary.

That’s where editing comes into play.

For a blog post, I’d ask “how could I state this simply?”

For a software product feature, “editing” it means boiling it down to its essence so it’s easy to use and easy for us to maintain. Editing is how we get to the good stuff.

This is hard to do before we’ve already built something, though.

So if you’re starting out, allow yourself some complexity. You’re learning. You’re putting in the work, the hours, to try to find success.

Once you have something that works, whether words on a page or code on a site, that’s when you edit and simplify so that you keep what’s necessary and cut what’s not.

When something feels complicated and hard, don’t forget to ask yourself “what if this was easy?”

The answer is often quite clarifying.

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