It’s Easy… Or So They Say

Recently, a relative delivered some furniture to my apartment that requires handiwork to be properly assembled. He explained to me a few times how to assemble it and bolt it to the wall. His description involved words I didn’t know, as well as instructions for me to go and buy more equipment of which I was also not familiar. As I am sure its already obvious, I am not well versed in “handyman” type work. Nonetheless, he kept insisting, “its easy…Really, it’s no big deal.”

Upon further reflection of this encounter, I thought about how his insistence of it being “so easy” was actually quite insensitive. What if the tables were turned, and he wanted to “get in shape.” Imagine I were to drop off a couple kettlebells and say, “it’s easy.. just do squats and deadlifts one day, and some rows and presses another day. Additionally, make sure you appropriately mobilize beforehand and periodically mix up the tempo with which you are lifting.” Sure, this is easy for me because I have years of repetition, trial and error, and technical awareness under my belt. However, it lacks social and emotional awareness for me to assume this is easy for someone else whom doesn’t have any of that accumulated experience and skill comfort that I possess in the fitness domain.

What constitutes easy?

For something to be considered easy, it must include the following:

  1. Requires more doing than thinking.
  2. The task is primarily repetitious with very little, if any, variation in execution.
  3. The consequences of doing it wrong, if any, are quickly repairable.
  4. There is no learning curve beyond following linear instructions.
  5. There is a low barrier to entry, i.e., the task is very accessible.

I encourage you to exercise caution when referring to something as “easy.” Easy is a relative term that often requires one to have pre-existing knowledge and familiarity for it to be true. Instead of assuming something will be easy for someone, be curious and inquire about their pre-existing knowledge/familiarity as well as what limiting beliefs he or she has about completing the task. Depending on their answer, offer to help in ways that helps him or her to fill the gaps in their ability as well as their comfort level.

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