Simple Solutions

Before 1859, thousands of children and adults were dying from drinking milk all around the world. Diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria and scarlet fever, seemed to appear from nowhere. In U.S. cities, the death rate of children was at 50%!

Desperate and useless cures spread around the world. For example, chanting, breathing through the clothes someone who had died, drinking potions of opium or silver, moving to the mountains and so on. No one realized that these diseases came from milk that was produced in filthy conditions. 

But then Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, discovered a simple remedy for the problem. Heat the milk to 161 degrees for 15 seconds to kill the germs that cause the diseases, and then quickly cool the milk so it is not ruined. Pasteurization stopped people from dying from the diseases in milk.

Perhaps the most complicated problems in the world can be solved with this idea:


For example, you feel depressed and consider dramatic solutions. “I feel so bad, maybe I should just stay in bed forever. Maybe I need to drink more vodka. Maybe suicide would solve things.” However, if you use a light remedy, such as treating yourself to a delicious meal or being grateful for everything you have, or even just forcing yourself to smile, you feel better.

As another example, children who are energetic, inattentive or difficult to control are given powerful psychiatric drugs to make them calm down. Certainly not a light remedy! Yet when smart teachers or doctors discover a child is actually brilliant, but bored, the condition is easily solved. They simply give the child schoolwork that is more interesting or more challenging to the child. A light remedy prevents a lifetime of prescription drugs.

Many of the world’s most successful people began their journeys to success from humble beginnings. None of them used desperate solutions, like complicated loan deals, government programs or con games. Instead, their paths to the top started with simple solutions.

For example, Apple began in a garage with the simple idea of building home computers. also started in a garage with the simple idea of selling books online. Microsoft started with a simple program for controlling a computer disk. Walmart’s success began with the simple strategy to charge less than all the other stores in town.

Five Ways to Solve Bad Conditions with Simple Solutions

1. You get into a big argument with your spouse. You consider your options: ignore him or her for a few weeks; go argue with more force than ever; hire a marriage counselor to referee the fight.

You then think, “What is the lightest remedy I can use?” and come up with a solution. You simply apologize. All is well.

2. You do not have enough time. You are extremely busy and fall behind. You can’t seem to get things done. You consider screaming and throwing things or just giving up.

But then you consider light solutions and have a bright idea. “I’ll keep a time log to see where I spend my time.” You discover three people are wasting dozens of your hours each week. You gently remove them from your life and you suddenly have enough time to do what you want to do.

3. Your boss is angry with you, but you don’t know why. Your work has not gotten worse, you show up on time and you have not caused any problems. You think of getting angry at your boss or getting your coworkers to hate him.

Instead, you think of a simple remedy. You ask your boss, “Are you angry with me?” He says, “No, sorry I snapped at you. My darn car won’t start.” You feel relieved.

4. You are drowning in debt. You made too many financial commitments and are now unable to pay everything you agreed to pay. You think of robbing a bank, going into hiding or ruining your credit reputation with bankruptcy.

You ask yourself, “What is the lightest remedy I can use to solve my money problems?” You realize, “I just need to focus on making more money, all day long.” Or “I just need to sell some stuff.” Or “Starting now, I will spend less than I make for the rest of my life.”

5. You are frustrated and confused by a government regulation concerning your business. You consider hiring an expensive attorney, bribing a politician or going underground to avoid the rule.

But then you remember a simple remedy and get out your dictionary. You carefully read the government regulation and look up each word you do not understand. You suddenly understand the regulation and realize you are already complying with it.


Whenever you feel frustrated by a condition that is getting worse and worse, do not look for desperate, difficult or complicated solutions. Instead, ask yourself questions like these:

1. “What light remedy can I use for this bad condition?”

2. “What is the simplest, most obvious solution?”

3. “How could I solve this with the least amount of time, work or money?”

4. “What obvious solution, if it worked, would make me laugh?”

5. “What is the lightest way to handle this problem? What’s lighter than that? What’s the lightest possible solution I can imagine?”

You might be pleasantly surprised to find your worst conditions can be solved.