Complicating the simple
Marginal Revolution highlights this post by a 18-year old wunderkind entrepreneur , Ben Casnoch, listing four actions that are purportedly over-complicated by society. Some of these in my opinion are also related to finding happiness in life and is often the topic of off-line discussions with friends. So I thought it might be useful to look at the list in detail (and chime in with personal observations).
1. Losing Weight — There are only two things to remember: Eat less and exercise more. If people followed these two, basic rules, I guarantee you’d lose weight. Instead, people read books and watch videos and read studies and adopt trendy diets…
Totally agree. South Beach, Atkins et al might help you lose some quick weight – but the secret to long-term weight control is to simply eat less and exercise regularly. Also remember that eating less does not equal eating less variety – no need to give up the ice-cream. Simply everything in moderation. Has helped me personally.
2. Becoming a Better Writer — Read more and write more. Period. Instead people buy books on writing, take writing classes, and do most of their "writing" in PowerPoint…
This is only somewhat true and with caveats. I do feel an improvement (incremental though) in my blog-writing from the days I just started. This is both from reading more blogs and writing more. However, a technical writing course (free of course, paid for by the University !) has helped me immensely in my profession-related scientific writing. Additionally, I suppose he is not talking about literary writing, which no amount of practice can improve. I can read and write till FSM makes his noodly appearance, but shall never be able to mold sentences like this guy does.
3. Becoming a Better Entrepreneur — Be an entrepreneur. Do entrepreneurship. You may mess up, but I guarantee that by the act of doing (and failing, or succeeding) you’ll become a better entrepreneur. Instead prospecitve entrepreneurs think about it, read books about it, go to conferences, mull it over….
No personal experience here – but sounds like good advice. But, as one commentator has noted, it might also help to learn from other’s mistake.
4. Being a Good Parent — Parents should offer love and freedom (emotionally) and room and board (physically). Everything else is trivial. But the massive parenting industry, by perpeutating the "nurture" myth, now says the job includes Baby Einstein cards, daily note-taking on the mood swings of your child, endless tutors, and on and on and on…
Unsurprisingly, this point is the most controversial among the various commenter’s at both blogs (and note that this is an 18-year old speaking!). I am not a parent yet but would love to follow the simple advice when I get the chance. However, there are many intangibles and external factors involved in bringing up a child – friends, family, TV, school etc. While parenting, you are responsible not just for yourself (as in case of losing weight or writing) but another human being. And that can’t be too easy.
Eventually, I think that simplifying or complicating any facet of your life depends as much as on whether you are performing the actions for your own satisfaction or whether you are seeking a certain degree of validation from the society.
Meanwhile, Tyler Cowen says that happiness is over-complicated by society. Well – the pursuit of happiness is what it boils down to, essentially.
On the flip-side, one action that seems relatively easy, but I have found damningly difficult to execute: playing golf.