These three words probably don’t seem like they would describe a living room, and at first glance, they don’t fit mine. However, my family (myself, my wife, and two little girls, 9 and 4) is in the middle of a massive household purge on our way to becoming “minimalists.” Very simply, this means we have been ridding ourselves of the vast amount of stuff we’ve accumulated over the years in order to focus on what’s really important (“Do I really need 250 t-shirts?”). I can assure you that this process has been incredibly hard, but also overwhelmingly effective at giving us freedom from “stuff.” What’s left is simple and elegant, much harder to mess up, and thus, much easier to clean, and leaves more time and money to focus on “the important stuff.”

But the reality is that this “Simple, Hard, Effective“ stuff plays out in our lives in many more ways. In my own life, it could even be a tagline, or maybe a tagline for what I hope my life will represent. I’ve found, in my 35 years of life, that the most effective way of accomplishing virtually anything important is a combination of “simple” and “hard.” Now, some would say those words are at odds with each other; but, if you give it some thought, you can see they aren’t at all. The opposite of “simple” is “complicated.” The opposite of “hard” is “easy.” Most people want simple and easy, but simple and easy don’t accomplish anything. What people end up doing is usually a combo of “complicated and easy,” or its more ambitious big brother “complicated and hard.” Neither of these are the most efficient. “Simple + Hard” is the trick. Want to lose fat or get stronger? It’s not complicated at all – but it certainly isn’t easy. Want to get in shape for a marathon? Same thing. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all, but it does have to include hard work. The best nutrition advice is simple and hard. The best training is simple and hard. The best business practices are simple but hard.

What we find when we push to accomplish the simple and hard, however, is an incredible amount of freedom. Freedom from being owned by our stuff. Freedom from slavery to food and obesity. Freedom from weakness and lack of fitness. Freedom from stagnant relationships, business practices, and poor finances. Effectively “fixing” these issues isn’t complicated. Its Simple, but Hard, and wildly Effective.

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