A few months ago back in my home town a guy approached me. He had a warm smile and a familiar look but I couldn’t recall his name. He seemed so happy seeing me that I had to hide my shame and ask who he was. I knew he was somewhat disappointed but the joy on his face wouldn’t completely go away. He recounted a story of me helping he and some of his mates when they were preparing for an examination back in secondary school. They were in a junior class and I in my final year. He seemed to know a lot about me. Too much for a stranger I’d say. As he recounted the story I kept trying to see him in the picture to no avail. Luckily he is a cool guy or he would have surely lost his cool before me. I’ll not forget his name. As we parted, I was still rocking my mind when the thought ‘ little things matter’ seemed to become clearer to me. The few minutes I invested in he and his mates had paid off. I managed to smile as I moved along, half-happy and half shy.
“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” — 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Every little thing that is done be it in secret or in public has effects though many never seem to be aware or are aware but chose to ignore them. It could be just that smile you put on the face of a desperate person. It may be helping kids cross a busy road, giving out to the needy, sponsoring a less privileged kid, or just placing a few things in the right place (like your trash). Whatsoever that “small” act is, it’s not worthless. People may never come up to you to appreciate your efforts or to pay you back (we humans hardly ever do) but it shouldn’t matter. Just keep doing what you do. You and I are what or where we are today because of others doing “little things” in our own lives too – and we hardly ever appreciate them for it too. A few months ago I tried to break the character in me, I decided to always thank everyone for whatsoever I receive from them even if I deserve what I received. Its still hard but I am making a conscious effort.
Click here to watch Barbara A. Glanz’s video on the simple truths of appreciation.
I shared the story with a friend who laughed and said I was lucky the guy didn’t say he knew me because I skipped class or did something worse. It sounded funny at first but then I thought again; maybe he knew me for some little things I didn’t do right too but just didn’t tell me. There are a lot of people I saw and some I still find hard to see in a completely positive light due to some of their “little things” I saw or even experienced. Not that I am holy myself but just that little thing I saw them do has blinded their vision in my sight. It may be because they bullied a junior one, made a biased remark, refused to give help or maybe just a small statement they made. The funny thing about this is that most of these aspects that make us perceive others as bad are often perceived wrongly.
Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Sometimes I am tempted to feel worse knowing that someone somewhere too has me deeply engraved in their heart for probably the wrong reason, say a comment made somewhere or for some “little” act done. The word is simple: keep no one’s (perceived) wrong deeds in your heart and forget about those that keep you in theirs for the wrong reasons too. Yes the mistake might have been made but dwelling on the past takes you no where safe. I hear it shortens lifespan lol. The ability to move on for me however is no excuse to do wrong.
Little things matter. Yes they truly do. Just like the “little people who do them. The man at the car wash, the security guy that opens the door to your office or your car for you and stays awake while you sleep, the shoe clearner, the lady at the fast food joint, the nursery school teacher to whom you hand over that troublesome kid every morning, the maid that cleans your home for you, the man who carries out your trash for you every morning… the list is endless. They do all these valuable services for meagre wages, and get little or no attention.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. – John Wooden
Zoom in. Take a closer look and you will see what they do. They build economies, they sacrifice their lives for ours, keep our families together, save us time… what don’t they do??? Literally speaking, they make the world go round. They are life’s building blocks, life will be hell without them. They may be small but they matter.
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