I recently journaled a list of the most influential people from my past and present. I attempted to record how their life has impacted mine and what I learned from each. While there were a few common denominators, one really stood out amongst them all; each taught me that the little things in life matter.
It seems each influential person in my life attempted, in his or her own way, to encourage me to take care of the small matters because they add up and make big changes in our lives. My parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors all stressed this principle and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have found that much of my success in life is due to this very simple truth.
Now, as a coach, teacher, father, and speaker, I pass along this valued lesson. On the football field we stressed the importance of each and every step and motion of the body to running a play successfully. The athletes had to actually complete a stop-motion series of steps, and they had to call them out as they progressed. In the classroom, the successful student is the one who takes care of the small matters in an assignment or project. At home I have taught my daughters to take care of problems before they get a chance to grow. Even in my relationships, the greatest affection and interest has always come from the small matters of thank-you notes, phone calls, and small pleasantries.
Truly, taking care of the small things in life has much to do with compassion and discipline. Be compassionate enough to allow the small things to matter and be disciplined enough to see them through. The good habits of exercise, saving money, prayer, reading, and eating healthy begin with the very smallest of beginnings.
Years ago I read a great book by legendary basketball coach John Wooden. In the book, Coach Wooden explains how his first lesson for his top NCAA basketball recruits (each of whom was recruited by countless schools, and each having played basketball incredibly well since they could run) was to teach them the proper way to tie their shoe. Yes, tie their shoes! Coach Wooden knew a shoe could and would come untied during a big game, at a crucial time, and that single factor could decide the outcome. It’s the little things that truly matter most.
One of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, focuses heavily on this theme. Tim Robbins plays the part of Andy, a wrongly imprisoned man who impacts the lives of everyone at The Shawshank Prison through his small, yet consistent actions. Andy makes some amazing accomplishments and an incredible escape simply by focusing and mastering the smallest of details. Watch it.
Let us be reminded that the smallest of snow flakes that land on the mountain top combine with others building layer upon layer, melting and moving downward to become some of the most powerful rivers on the planet. These rivers carve their way through stone, and over time they leave their lasting impression on our planet. Small things really do add up. Little things really do matter.
As we give thanks this month for our many blessings, let us focus on some of the small details that we have been overlooking. Let’ give these small matters the attention they deserve and wait and see if they do not in fact lead to an amazing change in ourselves.
One of Mother Teresa wisest lessons, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
What are some of the little things in our lives that need greater attention?
What small thing can you begin today that will make a difference over time.?
Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. His presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and numerous other venues where people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.