Incredibly Easy

Just saw this ad for Rice-A-Roni Quick Cook.  The tag line is “three minutes to dinner.”

For pasta??  How long does pasta normally take to prepare?

If you give me a pot of boiling water, some fresh pasta and a jar of tomato sauce, I’m positive that I can also create dinner in three minutes.

So what’s the point?

The point is that there’s a huge psychological difference between “easy” and “incredibly easy.”  This is why we’re better off asking people to do only one thing, because each subsequent step, no matter how easy, is nevertheless a step.

It’s not about how difficult the whole process is (cooking fresh pasta), it’s about how difficult the whole process is and how many perceived steps it has (Rice-A-Roni Quick Cook).

“Once and done” feels categorically different.

For example…

Goal “Easy” Incredibly easy
Make music portable Zune iPod
Cheap international calls Vonage Skype
Lose 10 pounds Stop eating dessert Eat only cabbage soup
3 minute dinner Fresh Pasta Rice-A-Roni Quickcook
Watch this video Articulate email followed by a video Email that just says “Please watch this video.”
Email this person? Here’s what you can write Here’s what you can write and her email address is incrediblyeasy@domain.com
Get a decision from your boss What do you think? Here’s what I think we should do.  Let me know if you disagree.
Get someone to make a donation We’d love if you could help in any way you can We need 10 donors to give $25,000 each to hit our goal.  We have 8 already.  Can I sign you up?

(And, to make this incredibly easy, click here for your very own, ready-made, “incredibly easy” chart to fill out.  Fill in the Goal and the “Easy” columns with the things that you’re having trouble getting people to act on, and fill in the “Incredibly easy” column with new ways to make these things Incredibly Easy.)

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