The Problem with the Search for a Simple Answer 2


Millennials all over have been labeled with the word “entitlement”. A word we all hate and choose to disagree with. As a millennial, I certainly don’t feel entitled. Nor do I think it’s that simple.

What people are really seeing is a generation with mismanaged expectations on a wild goose chase for a simple answer (and a poor relationship with money). Well, that defines me pretty well at least. Not because I deserve great things or feel entitled to them.

The simple answer fallacy leads us all to believe that there is one. But asking what is the right or wrong decision/answer is the completely wrong question to ask in times of a decision. And to find the right questions, one must learn to develop a better decision-making process.

In this article, I hope to show why we should abandon the idea that there is a simple answer.

Why do millennials (I) think this way?

Throughout our lives, we are taught that doing X will get us Y. Life is full of opportunities. Go to college, get a great job, house, and life. Work hard and you will be rewarded.

We grew up in a world filled with noise, marketed quick fix solutions, get rich quick internet schemes, noise from social media, phones, consumerism, you name it.

A world filled with instant gratification. Just google it, bro.

simple answer

Why would you think we wouldn’t feel “entitled”? The system made us this way. Yet, we get judged by others that grew up in an entirely different time period where the world didn’t work quite like that. But judgment is beside from the point (despite the fact that stereotypes can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Shhhh.)

We are taught from an early age that the sky is the limit. We can do ANYTHING! OMG, look at all of the opportunities out there! Pick anything and work hard at it then you will be rewarded. But we know that if you dream too small, you miss out on life. Be too cautious and you have managed your expectations.

The non-entitled (safe) view.

It is not the entitlement that you are seeing. It is how we manage our ambitious and “realistic” expectations.

Of course, you know this. It’s so simple! Can’t you see how simple it is? Just do this and this will happen. Thus, beginning the wild goose chase for the simpossible.

The search for a simple answer

“Simple is a chosen outlook. Not a reflection of equipment.” – Rob Bell

What is the right or wrong decision right now? For my future?

The search for a definitive answer to this question haunts me and can distract me from making a long-term commitment. To embrace the unknown and build an experience instead of worrying about the rightness.

My desire to simplify everything comes with the expectation that there is a straightforward answer which in most cases is a disillusionment. No decision is simple nor is it inherently right or wrong.

And part of the problem is that some of my decisions thus far have been based on the time frame in which I think about the future. And the need to have a simple, understandable solution is only a defense mechanism to help me cope with the fear of the unknown.

Part of the process that solves this part of the equation lies in one’s ability to be more resourceful. Even if I had all of the money to choose what I want, what would that get me? Abused power and entitlement.

And the solution

Stop looking for a simple answer to problems that aren’t as simple as you think they are.

“Start with what you have and what you have is enough.”

Maybe the approach is to not have one at all. Maybe I stop trying to put a known to unknowns and “expect magic” at every interaction or experience. To attract an abundant life by trusting that no decision is either right or wrong and have faith that a solid process will eventually lead me there.

Because the search for that one answer would forgo the important lessons in resourcefulness along the way and how they lead to resilience needed in life. Both of which are necessary for finding what is most important to you in life.

simple answer

Eliminating errors and mistakes preventing success can be just as powerful as building new skills or habits. Thinking about the problem from an opposite perspective, an important skill that no one ever teaches us, (the inversion technique) you can better identify the things that are preventing success.

That is, avoiding what you know won’t get you instead of chasing something you think will.”

So instead of dealing with the problem as it arrives, think instead of how to reframe the question. Where in my thought process am I wrong? How can I begin to identify the root cause of my indecisiveness?

The action step is learning to develop a bulletproof process (check out this PDF from the book Decisive) and understanding that no matter the outcome, you’ve done your due diligence. Because each choice is merely an experience that sets us up to make increasingly important ones in the long-term.

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