Wise Words from KFC.

by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.

I was eating lunch at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) the other day, and the placemat had a bunch of ‘brain games’.  Naturally, I figured they were kids games that wouldn’t challenge me at all.

Oh, I was mistaken.

Not only was there a rather difficult maze, and a challenging connect the dots, but a very difficult ‘find the word’ game.  You have to find the word ‘chicken’ among hundreds of c’s, h’s, i’s, k’s, e’, and n’s.  And let me tell you, there were more than a fair share of icken’s, chicke’s, hick’s, and chick’s!

No wonder they called them “Finger-Lickin’ Brain-Trickin’ Games”!

There was also a crossword puzzle.  It was not like any crossword puzzle I had ever seen.  It had just one across, and one down.  Two words!  That’s it!

Here are the clues:

  1. Down: All of our ________ are raised on U.S. farms.
  2. Across: Something Colonel Harland Sanders once said.

Okay, you probably can answer the first one without much difficulty.  The blank space look like this: _ _ _ _ _ _ _.  If you can’t figure it out, remember where I was eating! 😀

But alas, the second clue?  Far more difficult.

Here’s a hint.

The blank space looks like this: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

In other words, it’s a realllly long sentence.

Needless to say, I couldn’t figure it out either, and had to turn the placemat upside down to find the answer.

Ready?

“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.” – Col. Sanders

Wow.  Let’s forget the placemat, and the games, and just focus on the wisdom contained in that quotation.  He’s basically saying, “Stop thinking short term!  I know it’s painful to avoid the shortcuts and take the time to do something right, but in the long run, doing it right is going to serve you ten times better, and to such an extent that you’ll find doing the right thing becomes easier and easier to repeat and support!”

And this applies to everything: your job, friendships, romantic relationships, starting a business, running a business, faith, love, making money, whatever.  The people that use the shortcuts are rarely (in the long run) going to be able to sustain their success:

a) Truth is often painful in the short run, but more often than not, results in clear skies for the long run.

b) Lazily keeping track of marketing and sales data can work fine in the short run, but in the long run, you’re going to be overwhelmed unless you create a proper sales management system / database.

c) Trying to make a quick buck in the stock market without truly understanding what you are doing might be ‘efficacious and speedy’, but can you keep that up in the long term without properly educating yourself and creating a system that reproduces results?

d) Losing a great deal of body weight over the course of a month is possible, but will you be able to keep that up in the long term?   It’s easy to lose some weight in the short term, but keeping it off in the long term (which is arduous and long) will certainly have better results.  And in time, your new eating and exercise habits become second nature, i.e. easy.

I can go on with other examples.  The point is clear: sure, you can start doing something imperfectly to get it off the ground and moving (and in fact, I fully embrace the “Good now is better than perfect never” philosophy) but… eventually, you need to accept the slow and arduous long road to success.  And not just success, but continued sustainable success.

Right now, we here at Break Diving, are just getting our sales efforts truly off the ground.  We’ve been managing donors and clients in an imperfect ad-hoc way for the past year, but recently, we applied for and received a grant from Salesforce.  And the backend set up is maddening to say the least.  But even after setting it up, it requires daily and weekly work on the front end, in the form of a sales management team.

Honestly, I don’t ‘want’ to take all this time learning how to use Salesforce, and particularly when I already know how to use Pipedrive (another sales management software program).  Worse, Salesforce has a steeper learning curve.  And all the time spent training on Salesforce is time lost actually finding and cultivating clients and donors.  Ugh…..

And yet, when I read (present tense: reed) that quotation from the Colonel, it is clear what I must do and continue to do.  I must press on.  Yes, it’s true that “the easy way is efficacious and speedy.”  We can just continue doing things on paper and don’t have to set up Salesforce.   And yes, it’s also true that “the hard way is arduous and long.”  Indeed it is.  We’ve got Salesforce set up only about 75% and there’s still a ways to go.  And we still don’t fully know how to use it.  “But as the clock ticks,” says Colonel Sanders, “the easy way becomes harder and the hard way becomes easier.”  And so it is.  Three months from now, we will be humming along with Salesforce and will laugh when we remember that first year when we managed all donors and clients via our imperfect homegrown manner.  As long as we are willing to sacrifice speed in the short run, we will end up with efficiency, organization, and speed in the long run.  And that makes perfect sense.

So don’t be so quick to push forward beyond startup without the proper infrastructure in place.  Don’t be so quick to tell a lie, because the longer that lie lives, the harder and more difficult (and more painful) it will become to keep that lie alive.  Don’t be so quick to find the “quick road to riches”–because 99 times out of 100, it doesn’t exist.  Are there some people who cluelessly strike it rich in the stock market?  Yes.  Are there some who randomly win the lottery?  Yes.  Are there some who make it rich from the first business idea that comes to their head?  Yes, there are.  But the truth is that these are all the exceptions, and I want you to succeed despite the exceptions–because odds are, you won’t be the exception.  But that doesn’t mean you still can’t be exceptional.

All you need to do is recognize that for most success stories, there is no shortcut.  So spending an extra day, or an extra week, or month, or year getting things properly set up will probably serve you far better than foolishly jumping the gun in eager anticipation of what’s to come.  Before you lie, consider the cost of having to keep all the details of that lie up to date and at the forefront of your mind.  Before you look for the shortcut, consider all the time wasted that would better have been spent staying on the long but proven road that leads to victory.

Do we all seek shortcuts?  Of course.  Do we all lie sometimes?  Of course.  But as you do, consider that you might also want to make preparations for what is to come as the same time.  Maybe you won’t find the shortcut.  Maybe the lie won’t stand up.

All I can say is that the satisfaction of success from taking the long and arduous road is… finger lickin’ good.  Remember the Colonel’s words.  And I’ll see you at KFC!


Break Diving, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
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