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The Easy Way vs the Hard Way

Excuse this short break from the usually nerdy commentary to discuss something important, but a bit off topic. I was directed to this amazingly hilarious Tweetstorm by the Kentucky Fried Chicken account:

“It is comparatively easy to prosper by trickery, the violation of confidence, oppression of the weak, sharp practices, cutting corners—all of those methods that we are prone to palliate and condone as ‘business shrewdness.’ It is difficult to prosper by the keeping of promises, the delivery of value in goods, in services and in deeds—and in the meeting of so-called ‘shrewdness’ with sound merit and good business ethics. The Easy Way is efficacious and speedy—The Hard Way is arduous and long. But, as the clock ticks, The Easy Way becomes harder and The Hard Way becomes easier. And as the calendar records the years, it becomes increasingly evident that The Easy Way rests hazardously upon shifting sands, whereas The Hard Way builds solidly a foundation of confidence that cannot be swept away. Thus we builded.”

While it’s obviously somewhat hilarious there is a great deal of truth in the comments about “the Hard Way” and “the Easy Way”.  The world is becoming a “what have you done for me lately” place. A world of 140 characters. A world where attention spans are a matter of minutes. A world where instant gratification is always expected. The Easy Way is becoming the goal of an increasing number of people and I have to wonder what kind of negative impact this mentality is having on all sorts of things.

The reality of the world we live in is that many of the best things in life don’t come in 140 characters or with immediate gratification (well, except maybe a bite of KFC chicken).  Many of the best things in life will come the Hard Way. This is as true in portfolio management as it is in life, love and all sorts of other things. This is a simple, but important message that more and more of us probably need to remind ourselves of in this age of instant gratification. So, thanks to KFC for reminding us that the best things in life don’t come easy.