So often we’re told that the small stuff is just that: small and insignificant. We hear that it’s the big stuff, the big picture, that really matters. And that by looking at the bigger picture, you’ll have direction and joy.
Maybe that’s true some of the time.
But I really like to look at the small stuff.
I don’t mean fretting and worrying about every little thing.
What I do mean is that, by taking the time to see the small stuff, to do the small stuff, to care about the small stuff, you’ll go a long way to have a joyful life. In taking care of the small stuff, you’ll deal with the big stuff, too.
- All big stuff is made up of the small stuff. Most of the time big stuff feels overwhelming. If your building a tiny house, looking at the whole picture is good, but if you don’t know much about carpentry or electrical wiring, or roofing, a tiny house can seem just as imposing to build as a 2000 square foot home. You know that there is a lot you don’t know. You know that if you do the wrong thing at the wrong time, or even the right thing at the wrong time, it can cost you a lot of time and money to fix the mistake. So what do you do? You gather information, you build relationships with people who know what they are doing. You create a step by step plan, deciding what needs to be done first, what needs to be learned first, how much money and time you have, and then you get started. You take one project at a time, perfect it, then move on. It’s slow going at first, but afterwards, you start getting a little more confident. You get a little more skilled, You get a little faster. You learn another skill. You get more confident. You experiment, you get creative. You keep going. And finally you get it done.
- Life is just a series of small things strung together. Your day to day life, your relationships with loved ones and friends, your interactions with people you meet on the street or during your work day, are all little moments in time. During these moments you can have positive or negative results The choice is yours. Each of these moments or interactions, have an effect on the rest of your day, week, or even your life. My time with my hubby is special to me. He is my best friend, my companion, my lover. He brings out the best in me, and hopefully, I do the same for him. But it isn’t easy. Lots of time we don’t feel like being our best. Maybe we’re mad, or just tired. It’s hard to be “on” all the time, so, maybe we say things we don’t mean and feelings get hurt. Greg and I both hate that feeling of separation that being mad brings and we try to be aware when we are falling into that anger trap and mitigate it. The other thing we do is to remind each other daily, how much we care. Maybe it’s doing a chore for the other person when you see that they’re tired, or just giving a hug, or sending an “I love you” text. It’s about being kind to each other on a regular basis. We stay honest with each other. Lies as well as anger can create feeling of separation, so we’ve decided that we’d rather hear the truth, the “hard” stuff from one another, then a “white lie” to make us feel better. We root for each other’s goals. We pay attention to the little things. In doing this, Greg and I have a foundation of respect and trust, that can stand up to what the world throws at us. We also do this with the other people we interact with during our day. Maybe it’s opening the gate for our neighbor’s dog to let them back in their yard, or saying hello to the guy who bought the house on the corner and taking a minute to answer a question or too. These interactions let others know you care, that you “see” them, and that they matter to you. It may not seem like much to you, but they then take that feeling of being cared about, with them, along their way.
- A lot of people each doing a little bit can achieve big results. This is another reason not to overlook the small things. Just think about results “ Kick Starter” and “Go Fund Me.” The money raised in just a few days for a Facebook “ Go Fund Me” for RAICES ( a non profit group that provides legal aid to underserved immigrants), topped 500,000 donors and over $20 million in just a couple of days. That amounts to roughly S40.00 a donor. Small amounts of money, joining together to create a big result. Or look at an old fashioned barn raising. Neighbors would get together to put up a barn. A potluck meal was prepared and people came from all over to help get the frame up and the roof on the barn. Why? Because they knew that coming together as a group would make a month long job happen in a few days. They also knew that these same people, would help them when they needed it: maybe to help get a crop in before a rain, or plow a field. It was the relationships that mattered and that commitment of being in this together.
The next time you think a project is too big, it’s too overwhelming, or you think that you alone can’t do much, I hope you’ll reconsider. Think about the little things you can do, and take a step. Build a relationship. See how it goes, then take the next step. Keep going. You will make a difference. You may make a new friend, achieve a dream, or make someone else’s come true.
It’s the little things that make big change happen.