Skip to content

🌲 Don't Minimize Difficulty

Easy in the eye of the beholder. But also, sometimes things really are easier than we think, if we just give them a chance.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I teach (& research) ancient civilizations, then write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history... which involves a fair amount of notetaking ;)

5 min read.

I always used to get by thru classes thanks to a combination of being interested in the stuff I learned and being very good at searching. The only exception was memorization, which I struggle with — especially numbers. I never really prioritized solving that, though — I know about flashcards, but I never needed them, because I figure a 90% is still an "A" and most of the time that's good enough.

Like Luhmann, I prefer to focus on things that are fun, not a chore.

That said, fun is different from easy, and one of the words I dislike most is "just." Not in the justice sense, but rather the sentiment that "all you have to do" is "just" this, or "just that." It's the minimization of effort that gets to me.

One of the things that I learned as a teacher is that trying to convince a student that something is easy, actually makes them resist doing the work more, because they know in their heart that it's hard and to hear that it should be easy, it's demoralizing.

And I've become particularly sensitive to this as a new parent, where people will tell me that all I have to do is shift this or do that, or anything that makes something seem easy, when really, it's not because every kid is different. I have made a real and genuine effort to not blog or write about parenting in general, because there are people who do that way better than I do and it's generally very high-stakes and stressful. But this phenomenon isn't just limited to parenting.

What I've noticed this in the tech adjacent communities that I'm a part of is that there's this idea that you can just spin up the ghost instance and it will be smooth sailing because it's so easy  (this went very badly for me), or all you have to do is use Git for version control for your writing (git took me close to a year to become comfortable with and I'm nowhere near proficient), or spin up a website with a static site generator no problem, or whatever. There are thousands of ways that proficient people make something seem easy because it's easy to them.

The metaphor for notetaking in general and Obsidian in specific is

Unlock full access to Obsidian Roundup and see the entire library of members-only content.

Already have an account? Log in