It’s the Little Things

In life, it’s the “little things” that make all the
difference. We like to think that choosing a spouse or a
career or influencing our children is the result of
careful, well-thought-out decisions, but it rarely
works that way.

Careers grow out of conversations over coffee or beer or
lunch. They happen because we need a job or because a
friend has a friend in the business. Marriages grow out of
casual flirtations at a party or because a friend set us up.
The BIG stuff never starts with a bang; it starts as small
and only later do we look back, astonished at what mighty
oaks from tiny acorns grow.

Both achievement and failure are like that.

To get rich, make the small decision to save a few dollars
every week. Invest in safe, boring mutual funds, let
compound interest work in your favor, and there you go.
Unfortunately, going broke is just as easy. Make a few
small decisions to buy one of these, and some of those, and
pay the credit card bill next month. Over time, there you
go.

To gain weight, eat a few extra calories every day. A
scoop of ice cream or an extra sandwich should do it.
Fortunately, losing weight (for most people) is just as
simple: Run or bike or hike a few minutes every day, skip
desert, have a salad for lunch and there you go.

The keys to success are almost NEVER dramatic. High
achievers might get up a few minutes earlier or make one or
two more phone calls every day, but that hardly qualifies
as “dramatic”, does it? Winners train slightly harder or
slightly longer, but not so that anyone would notice.

Unfortunately, the path to mediocrity is just as ordinary.
Henry Thoreau observed that “most people live lives of
quiet desperation” not because they made big mistakes or
fail any great test. They simply make the same small
mistakes, over and over, day after day.

Here are some suggestions for small steps that create huge
pay-offs over time:

1. Eliminate the little annoyances. Everyone has their
personal list, and we tolerate them precisely because they
seem so “little”, but they rob us of energy, passion and
confidence. If you need a new desk, buy one! If your
car’s a mess (and it bugs you), clean it up! It if annoys
you, fix it.

2. Do one good thing for yourself, every day. Read a good
book or watch a video. Soak in the bath, or go for a run,
but do something enriching and satisfying and fulfilling,
just for YOU. Every day. It’ll make you strong.

3. Take one extra step in the direction you want to go.
Rarely does “the good life” require courage or drama, but
it does require that we move in the direction we want to
go. Make one more sale, write a letter, make a call.
Exercise or read or play with the kids. Every day, do one
“little thing” that moves you toward success.

4. Invest in your relationships. “We get by with a little
help from our friends”, and the love of family and friends
makes all the difference. And, once again, it’s the little
things! Give her a call, write him a note. Invite a
friend to lunch, call a buddy to keep the friendship alive.
These “little things” make life more fun!

Success and failure are the result of small steps, taken
over time, one after another. Magnificent mansions are
built of lowly bricks, one on top of another. Marathons
are completed one step at a time. What do you want? What
sort of life would you prefer? You CAN have it, one day at
a time. But you must walk in the direction you want to go.

–> by Dr. Philip Humbert

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