In today’s challenging times, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, it’s often the baby steps that put us on the path to delivering a true competitive advantage. The real secret to getting ahead in life and in our careers is to refocus our attention on the small details that, if disregarded, can sabotage a multimillion-dollar ad campaign or undermine your most important relationships. Kaplan Thaler and Koval show how to get more of what you want with surprisingly less than you’d imagine.
In their book, The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make all the Difference, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval argue that bigger is not always better. In fact, these authors challenge all of us that our smallest actions, words, and gestures often lead to our greatest long-term rewards and outcomes. In short, our kindness, willingness to help, attention to detail, attitude, desire to offer a positive word, or our simple “please” and “thank you” responses will make all the difference in building strong personal and team relations.
Abuela Claudia is the matriarch of a Latinx community in Washington Heights, Queens, New York. Although she does not have any children of her own, she has become the unofficial grandmother to many, offering advice, comfort, and love to her neighbors. As she sings in one song, she lives with “Paciencia Y Fe” — patience and faith. She is a mentor especially to the young women and men in this neighborhood.
One of them, Usnavi, pays tribute to her practice of gratitude:
“She sang the praises of things we ignore: glass coke bottles, bread crumbs, a sky full of stars. She cherished these things. She’d say ‘alabanza.’ Alabanza means “to raise this thing to God’s face” and to sing quite literally ‘praise to this.’ “
To Practice: As you go about your day, notice some little things you usually ignore. Pause and praise them by chanting “Alabanza.”
Why are the little things in life important?
The little things are essential because they comprise the vast majority of our lives. Significant events occur sporadically. Small ones happen from moment to moment. When you neglect the little things, you miss out on enjoying a considerable swath of your life.
Thinking only about the big things without appreciating the little things can even be detrimental.
There’s an outer and inner pressure connected to grand achievements, and being under a lot of pressure negatively affects your mental and physical health.
Feelings of anxiety, sleep difficulties, a compromised immune system, and unexplained aches and pains are not uncommon symptoms of being overly stressed.
Always wanting more instead of enjoying the simple things we already have can lead to a very unsatisfying life.
While goals and dreams certainly are beneficial, an insatiable desire to have more can leave you feeling dissatisfied and resentful. Continually striving to get further ahead removes you from joy and gratitude in the present moment.
This type of mindset removes the focus from what you have and puts it on thoughts of lack. However, a grateful heart allows you to see the good in appreciating the little things happening right now.
For a moment, I want to ask you to centre yourself for a mindfulness and think about some of the positive qualities of child like that we want to remember even as we grow older:
- Joy and Wonder – kids have an amazing sense of fun, adventure and excitement. As we grow older, we can easily lose this and become increasingly negative and cynical about life.
- Receptive and Open – kids are teachable and eager to learn. As we grow older, we can become less teachable and more resistant to change.
- Emotionally Honest –kids express their feelings fairly quickly and unselfconsciously. As we grow older we can tend to freeze up more and hold in our real feelings.
- Simple Trust – kids’ natural tendency is to trust others without analysing and questioning everything. As we grow older we can tend to develop a fair amount of (inappropriate) suspicion and fear.
- An Adventurous Spirit – kids love action-orientated activities, even if they are dangerous at times. As we grow older we can tend to play it safe more and choose to avoid risk (staying in our comfort zones).
- Freedom to be themselves – kids are very real with few inhibitions. As we grow older we can tend to wear masks and play the game of what we think others want us to be.
- Thank Someone for the Small Things
When someone does something for you, big or small, recognize it.
We all get wrapped up in our own lives, so it is pretty impressive when another person goes out of their way for you. You can say, “Thank you,” at the moment or perhaps send a thank you card to them afterward.
Not only will the other person feel good about being acknowledged, but also you will feel good too.
3. Compliment Someone For The Small Things
Be as specific as possible to make it more meaningful. The people around us have so many attractive characteristics worth admiring if you take a moment to notice.
You may be surprised by just how many when you start actively seeking them out.
4. Appreciate Yourself For The Small Things
Don’t forget to extend this attitude of thankfulness to yourself, too. Compliment yourself for the smallest accomplishments or efforts.
We all need to regain some of our childlikeness! After all, the world doesn’t need more negative, cynical, closed off, fake, suspicious and risk-averse people who take life too seriously!
Most of all – don’t forget to play. Honour your inner child. What does he or she do for fun? What do they love? find out! And when you do celebrate and know you are forever a child inside and when you play, laugh and love you do so with all the other children at once! At Rise and Shine we honour the inner child and most who visit get to meet an reunite.
What makes your day beautiful? What do you think about when you go to bed at night? Do you smile looking back at something that happened during the day? It might be a small thing, and that’s where the beauty lies.
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day…