Day 404: Difficult/Easy

Before I get started on my usual ramblings about Whatever The Hell I Want To Write About Today, I’m noticing the number in my title.

Doesn’t 404 have a tinge of danger to it, dear readers? Unless I’m mistaken, I believe that “404” is a common way the internet tells us, “Somebody screwed up!  And I’m not saying it’s me or you. However, I’m not taking responsibility for this, so WHO do YOU think is likely at fault?”

Let me check my numerical memory, there:



1. an error message displayed by a browser indicating that an Internet address cannot be found.

Thank you, Google, for your support, for classifying “404” as a noun, and for having the guts to have a list of just one item.

Already, I feel easier than I did before I began writing this post. Yes indeed, blogging is my personal medicine.

Oh, and one more thing, before I really get this post started. Isn’t it amazing how the automatic, human distortion of mind reading can easily attach itself to anything, including the “thoughts” of the friggin’ internet?

Hmmm.  Getting started today is more difficult than I expected.

Hey!  I’m back on topic!

Yes, my dear denizens of the internet, today I would like to expound, ramble, riff, and otherwise randomly write about the opposite concepts of Difficult and Easy.

Want to come along?  Let’s go!

Random Thoughts about


My first thought about Difficult/Easy is that it represents a common cognitive distortion: Black and White (or All or Nothing) Thinking.  Yes, fellow humans, we can easily classify things as All Bad or All Good, Perfect or Useless,  All This or All That. However, most experiences, people, things, etc. are not in an either/or extreme. We live in a world of greys, where things shift and change, even if we naturally see things in absolutes.

Difficult and Easy are expressions of absolutes and extremes, aren’t they?

Let me take this opportunity to show you something in my office. In its first appearance in this blog (drum roll):


The Zero to 100 scale, on Ann’s whiteboard!!!

Wait. That’s too difficult to read and too difficult to decipher.  Hold on, while I crop that photo:


Ah. That’s easier.  So yes, that’s my all-or-nothing scale. It’s always there, on my whiteboard.  While everything else you can see in that first photo is gone, that scale remains.

Why do I keep that there?  Because it’s so handy, to have that Zero-to-100%  scale, when people talk about all-or-nothing concepts, including:

    1. Labeling themselves as worthless or any other negative extreme, losing sight of the positives.
    2. Believing that some decision might be all good or all bad, and feeling paralyzed and afraid to make the wrong decision.
    3. In general, seeing the OR’s in a situation instead of the AND’s.1

How do I use that scale, in my office?  I’m very low-tech, people. When I hear an All-or-Nothing statement that isn’t helping somebody, I take this sophisticated instrument (of which I have two):


… and move my hand up and down that scale on my whiteboard, challenging the all-or-nothing thinking.

Here’s what I’m wondering right now:

Why didn’t I write about that 0-100 scale before? I mean, it’s been up on my white board since way before I started this blog, I use it quite frequently, and people seem to find it useful. So why did I wait?

I probably thought it would be too difficult to explain.

Okay, before I end this blog post, I want to check out my stash of photos on my iPhone, because I know I have at least one cool shot I want to share. So let’s see how difficult/easy it will be, to apply some photos to today’s topic.

Here’s another photo from my ride into work during Wednesday’s snowstorm (which I wrote about, here).


And, yes, I expected that drive to be difficult, but it was way down in the other direction, on the Difficult/Easy Scale.

Finally, here’s a recent photo I took at a local ice cream place — Rancatore’s Ice Cream and Yogurt — that I liked so much, I tweeted it yesterday:


The caption for the tweet?

Usually I have trouble finding straws in take-out places. Not here.

In other words, finding straws  was in an unexpected place, on the Difficult/Easy scale.

Okay!  Time to wrap up this post.

Thanks to you.  Just you.  That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

1  I’m not sure how I feel about the Ford Fusion car commercials — about OR’s and AND’s — which I’ve been seeing a lot lately, including:

Do I love or hate those commercials? Do I think they’re good or bad? Usually, somewhere in between, depending on my mood, my thoughts, and the day.

Coincidentally, when snow first appeared, two months ago, I was considering the Ford Fusion as my next car. Why? I had read that it would be easier to drive in the snow, compared to my current car. What does my mechanic think?  He’s not so sure.

Categories: humor, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Day 404: Difficult/Easy

  1. Goodman Carol

    Challenging the binary !

  2. Alternate caption for that wicked dragon photo: I can never finish the large iced tea at this place.

    The whole AND theme of those TV commercials bugs me, Ann. Really bugs me. They’re 95 on my ridiculous scale.

    But I would take the mechanics word over the commercial appeal 100 times out of 100,

    Have a great Saturday, Ann.

    • Thank you for giving 100% in your comment, Mark.

      Oh, by the way (for some reason I’m rewriting my answer to your comment today) … My considering the Ford Fusion wasn’t based on either the commercial or my mechanic. I googled “cars handling best in snow” and the Ford Fusion was rated very highly, by some consumer group.

      I guess I want you to know that I didn’t consider that decision too easily.

      Also, what I like about that commercial? I prefer AND over OR, also.

  3. Both my father and I served on 404 Maritime Patrol & Training Squadron:

  4. I love that 0-100 scale idea, I may have to put it on MY whiteboard!

  5. I love love that 0 – 100 scale! Brilliant! Me too — can I put it on MY whiteboard? 🙂

    and — I dislike that ad btw. Not sure why but I feel discomfort whenever I see it.

    • Hmm. I wonder, too. There’s probably a good reason why it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe they are co-opting a helpful message, in order to sell something? What’s your best guess?

      And, YES, feel free to use that scale! Thanks, Louise.

  6. Good scale, Ann, did you know that 42 is the answer to the meaning of life? (according to The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy) , I haven’t quite figures it out why though….. 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend!

    • I have heard that about 42, Ute, and i don’t think we’re supposed to figure out why. It’s nice to have such a simple answer, though, isn’t it? Thank you for your kind wish and for visiting today.

  7. In my little words of existence, my philosophy is just this. IF I choose to do A. compared to B., and IF that choice doesn’t set well with me, then I chalk it up to a Life Lesson, turn around, and try again. There is too much pressure on OR for it feeds into the illusion that all is either black or white. Which it is not. There is a lot of grey zone, and in that grey zone, I have choices.

    Again in my little sphere of the world, I do my best to know that I really have done my best with all I do. Now, I must admit, I don’t always succeed in this, and one huge area is with my cats. I was so determined to bring my cats health when medicine has no answers and have worked very hard to bring that health to my cats. When I see their continual suffering, more so on some days then others, I find myself in tears wishing I had the power to help them more then I do. And I also question when is enough enough. To make THAT decision is THE hardest in the world.

    Anyways, Ann, loved reading your words. My final say, we all need to be less severe in our inner judgement on ourselves. As I wrote that, I looked at “judgement” and asked self if that was spelled with or without an “e”. My spell check is not working. Right there I caught the judge. And my answer is this: I spelled it with an “e” and with an “e” it stays. Regardless of what the “rules” say. There! Now I feel good about wrapping this up on that note!!!

    • I’m glad you feel good, Amy, and that you let go of judgment there. I spell judgment with no “e” but it’s perfectly fine to put that “e” in there, and I’m glad you did, and let go of any concern about what anybody else would think! Yay, Amy!

  8. I like that scale, and it is amazing when I think about the things I feel negative about, how far along the scale I am able to move.

  9. findingmyinnercourage

    “Whatever The Hell I Want To Write About Today” – absolutely love those words!

  10. Pingback: Day 565: Anyone can whistle | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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