Easy Come, Easy Go

Easy seems great, but what doesn't come easy often means the most.

“Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing?” — Donald Trump

Things easily gained don’t mean as much as things hard won.

If something you desire comes easy, it may feel great in the moment, but that same feeling quickly rings hollow. There is no challenge, and with no challenge, there is little meaning.

The phrase “easy come, easy go” is a phrase I’ve used myself over the years, but I didn’t truly understand it until recently. It may be overused, but dig a little deeper and it is profound.

What comes easy tends to disappear quickly. You assign little value internally and feel emboldened to engage in risky behavior.

  • Win some money at the casino vs. working hard and making sacrifices for the same money. The former gets gambled away while the latter is treated as a precious gem.

  • Getting a participation trophy vs. the trophy you get defeating your arch nemesis in a battle that took years of training at great cost. The former is packed away in a box while the latter is displayed proudly.

What comes easy tends to be treated poorly. Since you assign little value to it, you bare little to no cost if it breaks or if it is lost. You may feel the slight breeze of annoyance in the moment, but both the feeling and the moment is fleeting.

  • Public property vs. private property. It is no surprise people treat public property (or someone else’s property) poorly compared to their own.

  • A quick doodle vs. a work of art. The former is used as scrap paper while the latter is framed and hung over the mantle.

My thinking on this topic has led me to the following levels of meaning:

  1. A thing easily won

  2. A thing won through difficulty

  3. A non-thing

  4. A non-thing won through difficulty

Generally speaking, what comes easy is treated poorly and tends to disappear quickly. We value what is difficult to acquire. We value most those non-things rare in occurrence, highest in meaning and greatest in personal cost.

“Easy come, easy go” may be cliche, but it is full of wisdom if you peek below the surface.