Working on a Dream




Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why you should "SWEAT the Small Stuff."

I remember a popular book that made waves a few years ago titled, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." I am sure you have seen this book, since it has targeted every potential audience known to man:
-Don't Sweat the small stuff for men.
-Don't sweat the small stuff for women.
-Don't sweat the small stuff for cats and dogs.
-Don't sweat the small stuff for the criminally inclined.
-Don't sweat the small stuff for angry pre-teens.
If you have not seen this book at Wal-Mart (or a garage sale), at least you have heard the phrase being passed off as a witty spot of advice.

If you are like me, you have drank down that philosophy so quickly you did not bother to taste its poison ingredients. Today, I'd like to set the record straight on the dud of an idea that we are all so eager to embrace. See, the stark reality is that the so called "little things" in life will make or break you. They do so because it's the small stuff that actually makes up the BIG stuff.  Consider the minuscule Mosquito that is ever so small, but always ends up making a large impact.  In a similar manner, overlooking the seemingly unimportant details will come back to sting you.

Take this for instance:
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln's bodyguard, John Parker, left Ford's Theater during intermission to join Lincoln's coachman for drinks in the Star Saloon next door?
This small oversight left the President unguarded sitting in his state box in the balcony.
Seizing this BIG opportunity, Booth crept up from behind Lincoln and at about 10:13 pm, aimed at the back of Lincoln's head and fired at point-blank range, mortally wounding the President.

Taking a momentary break from guarding the president = small stuff.
Assassination of the 16th President of the United States & forever altering the course of human history = BIG STUFF.

The reality is that all successful men & women have figured out this paradox and by doing so, have learned one of life's greatest lessons. This is what Ben Franklin was getting at when he said, "Would you live with ease, do what you ought, and not what you please." Uber wise Franklin understood that sweating the tiny details -usually the overlooked & neglected items- would propel a person to a heightened level of success.

Take a moment and reflect on one or two successful people that you know; now ask yourself if they subscribed to what I am arguing for in this post? Of course they do.
They sweat the details, they are painfully aware of the minute and they understand that in order to be good at the BIG stuff, they have to first be great at the small stuff.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
-Vincent Van Gogh


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Ann Mullen said...

Anthony, that makes me feel better about trying to keep the details straight. I have to because I have ADDD--Attention-to-Details-Deficit-Disorder.