The Problem with Going After Low Hanging Fruit

I hear it often

Let’s do X because it’s the low hanging fruit.

Low hanging fruits are easy, and dull. They are the opposite of curiosity, creativity and innovation. They are in the realm of the obvious.
Dealing with the obvious doesn’t require you to take risks, or to explore the uncharted territories or to deal with uncertainty. There is no need to learn anything new because you don’t fail, you don’t fail because there’s nothing new or unexplored about the obvious. Follow the recipe, get the results.

Low hanging fruits are also where everyone else is lurking, and thus the question becomes “Who can pick more faster? Who ends the day with more in their basket?”, and as such it becomes a race to the bottom.
Even if there was enough justifiable value in going after them, which often is not the case, then because they are, by definition, within reach for everyone, and everyone is reaching out for them, the value margin will be driven to zero, and the game becomes “Catching up to others”.

The work that matters lies in the uncharted, the unexplored, the uncertain.
Going after low hanging fruits won’t get you anywhere long term, it is just a rational excuse to avoid the hard work. We avoid the hard work because we are afraid of failure, we want to believe we are in control, that we the circumstances are predictable and certain, that we have it under control.
We choose to get high on the illusion of control instead of being slapped by reality.

Real value is not in going after the low hanging fruit, instead we must aim for the top, go up where most do not because they are too busy doing what everyone else is doing.

It’s hard to defy the pressure when everyone is doing it, but ask yourself “Are you in for the long term?”.
The answer will shape your days to come, but before you do, remember that everyone who is working on something important, is working on something that might not work.
Choose to do the work that matters.