I like looking for easy answers. I like shortcuts, and life hacks. I even wrote a book called Uni Lifehacks. These methods promise the path of least resistance, which the human brain is predisposed to seek out.
But I realised, I've been going about it all wrong. Instead of looking for the easy answer, I should have been looking for the simple one.
There's a difference between simple and easy.
Easy requires little effort and can be completed without specialist skills and knowledge. Simple is something that isn't complex and is easy to understand or do.
Shortcuts and lifehacks are the easy answer, and marketers have been exploiting this for decades.
"Get a six-pack in just six minutes a day!"
"The one thing you need to do to reverse hair-loss"
"A 5-step process to anti-ageing"
Unfortunately, these don't exist. They are marketing fluff.
There are no easy answers. Instead, there are simple answers.
Looking for the simple answer requires breaking things down to first principles.
First principles are the basic fundamentals that form more complex problems. Once you know the fundamentals, you can use them to reassemble the problem at hand.
This way of thinking was used by everyone from Aristotle and Socrates to Richard Feynman and Elon Musk.
The simple answer to weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn. Your body is an input/output system.
The simple answer to hair loss is wigs, hair transplants or going bald.
The simple answer to anti-aging is ... death?