Don’t Fall for the Quick and Easy Solution
by: Jim Urban, LPC.
Back in the days of the “Wild Wild West” the snake oil industry was booming. The promise of a cure for headaches, kidney stones, melancholy, even “female problems” as one salesman labeled it, was very tempting to a lot of people. The extensive list of ailments it claimed it could cure are seen today as incredibly false, misleading, and manipulative; however, back then many consumers bought it hook, line, and sinker.
While the vast majority of us would agree with the statement that “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” we may be surprised to find that we still sometimes fall for the lure of quick and easy solutions. We find these oversimplified solutions in many places: social media, advertisements, vacation video reels selling “life changing relaxation,” and even in conversation with well-intentioned friends. The truth is, a convenient solution is usually a woefully inadequate one, and we end up being disappointed.
Here are some examples of well-intentioned, yet inadequate “quick and easy solutions…”
- If you write down your porn problem and nail it to a cross at your church’s revival your problem will vanish.
- If you buy the latest “total transformation” book you will find the key to health, wealth, and happiness.
- If you pray hard enough your depression and anxiety will disappear.
- If you attend 2 marriage counseling sessions you and your partner will be “cured.”
- If you take your children to church, the youth pastor, whose job it is to do this, will ensure your kids turn out OK.
Now be honest, how many times do these quick, easy, convenient solutions address complex issues and problems? The chances of one simple step like the ones above working are probably the same odds you will win the Powerball. They are bound to disappoint, discourage, and fail you.
The truth is, there is something required of us that we often resist when it comes to truly changing our lives: good ole’ fashioned hard work, determination, grit, resilience, and humility.
Here are some more reasonable solutions to the problems listed above that aren’t quick and easy:
- If you surrender to accountability, and go to any lengths necessary, you can recover from a porn addiction.
- If you invest in people, delay gratification, do hard things, and persevere when you feel like giving in, you can find the keys to happiness and joy.
- If you pray AND seek professional help (and hang in there with your treatment) you can recover from depression and anxiety.
- If you attend marriage counseling to its completion, and apply the insights and techniques you’re learning (while focusing most on changing yourself), you can transform a marriage.
- If you parent intentionally, consistently, diligently, and lovingly (AND take them to youth group), you give your children much better odds at turning out OK. (there is no guarantee)
If we want to address a complex and multi-layered issue such as the ones listed above, it’s a good idea for us to foster a healthy skepticism of the promises of quick and easy solutions. Reader, if you are dealing with a complex problem, and aren’t finding help in what you’ve already tried, perhaps it’s time to step back and take stock of things. Perhaps you’ve fallen for the lure of the “snake oil salesman,” perhaps you’ve been trying self-help books for years but haven’t seen progress, or perhaps your life seems too busy to take the “hard road to recovery.” No matter your reasons, please remember that the easiest solution is rarely the best one. Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself: what lengths am I willing to go to in order to address this problem? If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and persistence, and find the right support, you can reap the rewards of a changed life.