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Statements I hate: “it’s easier said than done”

cheap-talkOne of the blogs I follow is Harsh Reality by a blogger who refers to himself as Opinionated Man.

The site description reads:

My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.

One of yesterday’s posts was about how much the author hates the phrase “We come from similar backgrounds.”

In a nutshell, he finds it pretentious, insulting, and flat-out false.

If you want his full thoughts on the matter, you can read it for yourself here.

After reading his post, I started to wonder if there were any statements like that for me.

Without much effort, I was able to recall several popular statements that make me cringe.

Today, I’ll share the one cliché that stands at the top of my list:

“It’s easier said than done.”

If I could eliminate just one phrase from the English language, “it’s easier said than done” would be my unquestionable choice.

Here’s why:

Regardless of the topic of conversation, “it’s easier said than done” contributes nothing to the discussion other than the proclamation of a self-evident truth that literally applies to everything.

In and of itself, the phrase is not a bad thing. I understand what it’s supposed to mean and I acknowledge the sincerity of those who use it.

However, when this statement is typically invoked, it’s usually only uttered as a response to an invitation to do something constructive or creative.

People love to say “it’s easier said than done” as if it’s some sort of linguistic trump card that uniquely softens the blow of inspiring messages and healthy suggestions.

But here’s the deal: EVERYTHING is easier said than done.

Going to bed is easier said than done.


Going to bed might be easy, but it’s a lot easier to say “I’m going to bed” than it is to actually walk over to the bed, lie down, and fall asleep.”

Making toast for breakfast is easier said than done.

Again, making toast is quite a simple task, but it still involves activities like opening up a package of bread, removing a slice from the package, placing it in the toaster, setting the timer properly so it doesn’t burn, and so forth. Merely uttering the words “I’m going to make toast for breakfast” is a heck of a lot easier.

On so many occasions,  “It’s easier said than done” is triumphantly or fatalistically asserted as if it were a reason to reconsider or reject some important proposition.

But it isn’t.

It’s a relatively empty cliché that sounds more revelatory than it actually is.

Any decision that requires action, however small or insignificant those action-steps may be, is easier said than done.

The notion that some things are easier said than done while others things are easier to do than say is an illusion.

All of the hundred and one little choices you make on an average day are easier said than done.

Whether you’re making toast, training for a marathon, brushing your teeth, fighting for your marriage, tying your shoes, changing your diet, checking your voicemail, learning a new language, surfing the internet, taking a shower, or trying to change the world for good, it’s all easier said than done.

We unnecessarily, unfairly, and unproductively depreciate the demands of doing when we arbitrarily compare it with the ease of talking.

If you’re one of those people who loves responding to practical suggestions by saying “it’s easier said than done”, I offer you my response:

It’s better done than said.

So, just do it.

if you don’t want to do it, then do something else.

Because no matter what it is you decide to do, it’s always going to be easier said than done.

This Post Has 7 Comments
    1. Thanks, Opinionated Man! And thanks for stopping by the blog too. I love the work you’re doing. You may have inspired a new habit of “philosophical venting” for me. lol Cheers!

  1. Where to start….being human we learn to automatize many
    day-to-day tasks so that we don’t even have to think about
    doing them. We just do them. Or we would stall our lives on
    just the basics of survival, eating, sleeping, moving, etc. Our
    (developed) habits in this free us up to get on with the more
    important accomplishments. A momentum builds.

    That is the payoff of showing others, especially our children,
    mainly by example. Doing the simple tasks automatically,
    cumulatively. So that we can get on with our better lives.

    (There are those still mired in the basic survival tasks, I
    suppose, which suggests that they may need some good
    psychological assistance.)

    When I wrote in a previous post that “It’s always hard…til it’s
    easy,” I’m referring to taking on new worthwhile endeavors.
    And our developed habits in other areas will help us with this.

    If we’re still stalling in those new endeavors, sounds like we’re
    talking about procrastination. More aptly: Fear. And yes,
    after all is said and done, more is said than done. This is most
    definitely a “stalling tactic.” But why?

    So, how do we “feel the fear” and do it anyway? For sure we
    can start with James Clear’s “2-minute Rule.” This is a very
    significant tool. ( And effort doesn’t always equal pain.)

    Here’s what I think happens: We wait for the feel-like-it
    emotion to kick in to start. That’s not going to always
    occur. And if we start, it doesn’t sustain us. If we learn
    that, in due time though, we’re re-training our emotions,
    we see a positive payoff. It starts to become automatized
    and more effortless. And can take us to new endeavour/s.

    When Elton John was asked to do the music for The Lion King,
    he hesitated. He was at the top of his game with 30 years of
    success. If he failed now, more was at risk. Until he got it: It
    was fear. Leaving a comfort zone for something new. So
    what if he failed. He’d get past it. He had years of good
    music habits to fall back on, and that helped to carry the day.
    Same reaction and results when he was asked to do the
    music for the stage production of Aida.

    What we start to experience are adventures, not obstacles.

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