A friend once saw Michelangelo at work on one of his statues. Sometime later he saw the statue and seeing so little done said, “Have you been doing nothing since I saw you last?” “By no means,” replied the sculptor. “I have retouched this part and polished that; I have softened this feature and brought out that muscle; I have given more expression to this lip, and more energy to this limb.” “Well, well,” said the friend, “all these are trifles.” “It may be so,” replied Michelangelo, “but recollect that trifles make perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.”
Muhammad Ali, that great champion on boxing is attributed to have said the following telling and major statement:
“It is not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe”
That statement is so fitting to be made by one who “climbed mountains” the better part of his life. Another great and wise man, probably the richest man in all of history said the following:
“Catch the foxes, the little foxes, before they ruin our vineyard in bloom”.
—King Solomon (Songs 2:15)
Both these great souls are warning us to take note of the small stuff. They are advising us to actually sweat the small stuff. They are telling us that there is grave danger in ignoring the small stuff in our lives. Consider the following:
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything–or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.
A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue–it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.
My point is simple. Small stuff do account for so much. You choose to ignore them at your own peril.
You get my point.
I have seen some business books boldly advising “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. I am pretty sure that if looked in context, that advice could be taken to mean that you should not focus on trivial matters at the expense of the most important things that matter in business. What they are advising you is simply this: get organized.
However, in my experience, if I do not sweat the small stuff, there is no way I am going to get organized. Like Muhammad Ali admonishes us, it is these small stuff on a daily basis that will derail us if we do not harness them.
The following are the main reasons that I am asking you to take care of the small stuff
Small things are not necessarily prominent. But they make things count. Your little toe on your left foot was not in your mind until I mentioned, or until it pained. Does that make it trivial that it is not noticed? Imagine if you did not have its, would you be known as being whole? Hardly. Every little thing counts. So sweat it! Take care of it.
You cannot make a million without one zero…or even without one digit. A client of mine missed Government sponsorship for University by 1 point, and ended up in a massive struggle for 3 whole years. Small things do make a difference. One famous scientist said,
“When a bird alights upon a tree, the whole world is affected thus”
The biggest Genius in creation was making things to operate in parts! The moon has is its own part but affects the earth massively through its gravitational pull. The earth is its own part. The same applies to our bodies. One thing about parts is that the small ones can be neglected. You have heard the story of the player of a small wind instrument that gave up to play in an orchestra because he thought he was not making any difference. Immediately, the conductor of the orchestra noticed! Nothing small is insignificant!
Small stuff have their own purpose. Management by the way is the art of maximizing the contribution of each part in a system, whether big or small. Hellen Keller said,
The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.
So if you neglect the small parts, you are not just trivializing that part, you are trivializing the productivity of the whole system.
The eighth wonder of the world, Albert Einstein said, is “The Compound Effect”. For the most part, [ictt-tweet-inline]the compound effect is brought about by small stuff, seldom the mighty big shoves[/ictt-tweet-inline]. That is why the battle of a rock and a drop of water is always lost to the drop of water over time because of compound effect. [ictt-tweet-inline]One can be a millionaire from one dollar due to compound effect[/ictt-tweet-inline]. In fact [ictt-tweet-inline]the reason why many people are not wealthy and productive is because they are not sweating the small stuff.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
Details matter. Remember what Michelengelo told his friend? By the way, if we are talking about branding, small things such as the appearance, color size and so on communicate a lot more than the big ones. People will know that [ictt-tweet-inline]if you can have time to sweat the small stuff, then you really have built value.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
This goes without saying. There is no way you can attain excellence by neglecting the small stuff.
[ictt-tweet-inline]You want to see a confident person? It is he who knows that every detail is covered[/ictt-tweet-inline]. The person with shifty eyes is those who have things to hide…details that are pending and un-catered for…small stuff that has not been sweated.
Steve Jobs comes to mind. He said that he cared about the inside details of his machines just as he did the outside. He sweated small stuff. Last time you check, his company Apple, is one of the most profitable Tech companies in the world.
“How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?”
Again Steve Jobs comes to mind. Generally people want to cut short cuts and therefore, very few people do sweat the small stuff. So [ictt-tweet-inline]the easiest way to be on top of the competition is to sweat the small stuff.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
A brother of mine was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. This means that the condition was developing in the background over time. This means that it was in incremental nature and that it could have been arrested if we sweated the small stuff. [ictt-tweet-inline]Most health issues that end up being terminal could have been arrested earlier if we sweated the small stuff.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
[ictt-tweet-inline]Nothing creates laziness and apathy like neglecting the small stuff.[/ictt-tweet-inline] Once you neglect, their cumulative force starts working against you. Before you know it, something that was easy to do is now so hard to do because it is no longer small, but has grown large due to its cumulative effect.
Well, We all know what to do now, don’t we? If you cant do it, find someone who can, but by all means sweat the small stuff