The Short Answer

I am guilty looking for quick answers…


You know. Answers that lead to successfully have a great life, finances, raising a family, career, how to be a good friend…whatever. The one that caught my eye yesterday was the concept of having a Short Answer on how to be a successful leader. Read all the books. Get a degree and certification. Or, simply care for others and let them do their job!

That’s the answer I was looking for!

Sometimes there are short answers, but the reality is that short answers only come after you have exhausted every option of finding success. You pound the pavement following long success trails. Then you collapse all your knowledge into that very brief way of restating what brought you the success you worked so hard for!

This is what attracts us to so many different flimflam communiques, webinars, and get rich quick schemes. In fact, this is how it is often sold: “I will teach you what I’ve worked hard at learning so you can get there quicker! Let me give you the shortcuts!”

There are some presenters that will give you the inside scoop, and it will work if you apply yourself to their technique. But the reality is often we do not find “their” success in “our” experience.

I listened to a news talk show the other day attempting to identify the success to marriage. Of the 4 or 5 talking, only one had been married over 2 decades. The others less than 15 years, and only one less than 5 years. The short answer to a successful marriage? According to them…

  • Never go to bed angry (this is a scriptural thought from the Apostle Paul, and it applies to many areas of life: Ephesians 4:26)
  • Be the roommate you wish the other person was…
  • Be your spouse’s best friend
  • Do your fair share of the housework

After a number of references, and some I do not remember, I never got a short answer that sounded like it would be the greatest success for anybody, or everybody… My wife is my best friend, and at times she seems to be my only friend, and that’s what keeps us strong for each other. Besides. The Short Answer is that we are committed to each other. During the good times. And the bad times. That’s the Short Answer!

Here’s how a New Yorker cartoonist paints a political picture and relates how one spouse has the upper hand and uses it to their advantage…


If you have God in your life, then it seems the best “short answer” is to put God first (Matthew 6:33). That shows my commitment. This is the same way I treat my wife. Seek her input first before I commit to anything. And vice versa. Of course, we both struggle with this since we have different directions, careers and schedules. Sometimes I surprise her with a task or a duty. We work it out, fix the schedule, and then pursue thinking of the other first before doing anything…. That’s the Short Answer!

The other day I got to thinking about why so few call me out of the blue with a moment of conversation. There are many people that only have this valuable amount of my time when I initiate the connection. I never get the same consideration, but I value them enough to just overlook their inability to call. And call as if I’m returning their call…. That’s the Short Answer!

keyboard-shortcutsWhen we know a subject, we often use a Cheat Sheet to remember shortcuts or codes needed to make the work go faster. At least until they become second nature. I’m good at Keyboard Shortcuts. You know, those combination of keys you press to do something faster with your hands than it would take with the mouse. Since I type 110 wpm, give or take, it’s easier to keep my hands on the keyboard and simply type the commands… Over time I’ve had to learn shortcuts unique to a piece of hardware, operating system, and application. Man… I’m fast! Cheat Sheets, known and used, are my Short Answers!

I’m sure every career has a Short Answer to just about anything needed. I know many mechanics and chef’s that know a shortcut to make something go faster. You can take the long route, or you can do it faster via the shortcut… Which will you chose?

So. When you want to find something to answer a question, short answers often give you exactly what you need, at the time you need it… All you had to do was ask!