I have an odd theory that likely sounds paradoxical upon reading/hearing: All simplicity devolves into complexity and all complexity is made of layered simplicities, so the real determination of knowledge, understanding, and realization is having the fullness of both an open (i.e., changing and willing to change) perspective and a willingness to explore the unknown simply because it is unknown.
There is no end of the distractions that humans can create, particularly if the above statements are accurate; I would think the true determination of whether or not an activity is effective toward a particular goal is simply whether or not its pursuit takes you closer or pulls you further from it. I may take considerable time and explore many paths of divergence and nested complexity to reach what I believe and think to be “the answer”, or I may leap from concept to concept, like stones across a river, simplistically, and arrive there quickly. Which path gives me greater understanding? At a glance, the slow and longer one, but this presumes I have never made this particular journey before, doesn’t it? Which one gets me there quickest? At a glance, the shorter one, but this presumes where I arrive is actually and precisely where I thought I would, doesn’t it?
(Perspective, I think, is key — at the end of any given day, we determine our status as well as judge our results so, in many ways, we are responsible for how we think about our efforts as well as what they return to us.)