In the last quarter of the twentieth century, business consultants were urging managers, supervisors, and those who wanted to be managers and supervisors, to concentrate in the big picture, look for the big wins, not sweat the small stuff. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” became a mantra to itself and spawned a variety of “Don’t Sweat” books by psychologist and motivational speaker Richard Carlson, tag-lining his titles with “and it’s all small stuff.”
Fast forward to the first quarter of the twenty-first century, and self-help experts are encouraging us all to pay attention to the small things, control the small stuff, focus on the little pieces. If we thought the way to run a family is like a business, maybe not sweating the small stuff is best, but we’d rather run a family like a family, and perhaps even run a business like a family, and concentrate on the little things that mean so much to so many.
How does one concentrate in the little things? We would like to suggest these:
· Live in the moment, love for all time
· Concentrate on being the best you you can be
· Be grateful for every sunrise, be awed by every sunset
· Spend some time every day enjoying nature
· Spend some time every day enjoying something you made, wrote, drew, painted, sang
· Laugh out loud
· Dance in the rain
· Dance in the living room
· Sing in the shower
· Smile at what makes you happy
· Tell people what they mean to you
· Pray, meditate, or commune with your God
· Be kind
· Share kindness
· Be empathetic
· Do what you love
· Focus on your passions
Once the chef and cookbook author Julia Child appeared on Fred Rogers’ Mister Rogers television show. When asked how she became so successful she answered, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” To that Mr. Rogers commented, “The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing.”
But what makes successful people successful? How do you define success? Naturally success means different things to different people.it even means different things to different “experts.” One can easily find a dozen different lists of common traits of successful people on an internet search. One common trait that appears on all the lists is passion. Passion is easy to define. It is a compelling emotion, enthusiasm, or “tremendous interest.”. You are not going to find these traits in someone looking only at the big picture. If one is passionate of something, that person knows all there is to know about it, all the details, all the little things that make something go, whether that something is running a multinational widget corporation, a restaurant kitchen, or a small suburban household of a family of 4.
The key to success is not to ignore the small things, but to concentrate on them, savor them, and know all there is to know about them. Stay interested in what you love. Enjoy the moments your family, your friends, and your passions add to your life.
Love what you do. Big and small. And be sure to sweat the small stuff.