The Little Things Matter

Whether we are talking about big business or close relationships, the little things definitely matter. We all know that it matters that we remember a family birthday or wedding anniversary, and we know, on the other hand, that small details matter when we are using the services of big business.

I love my Starbucks coffee, and I expect the same service wherever I go, because I have learned that even when it is a franchised Starbucks outlet, the standards are the same – even if the price is higher in a franchised coffee house. The same is true of hotel chains; we expect the details to be the same wherever we go, therefore keeping those small things right matters to the managers.

We can make others feel good about themselves by paying attention to details. Making the coffee in the office makes the stressed-out staff feel that someone cares. Thank-you cards and e-mails tell people that we aren’t taking them for granted and that we appreciate what they have done for us. Kind or complimentary comments make others feel good about themselves and maybe cheer up their day.

Anyone who makes anything will know that every word of instruction must be heeded. I like to knit, but have often been caught out with instructions by missing one phrase or sentence. I occasionally come across an instruction which says something like, ‘Decrease one stitch at each end of next row and every following fourth row ,’ so I begin, and then realise part way through that the next sentence said, ‘At the same time decrease one stitch on every other pearl row.’ The difference is a small number of stitches, but it totally changes the shape of the part of the garment I am knitting.

What is true in this rather insignificant area of life is also true in the important areas.

As John Wooden said,

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

When we holidayed in Cyprus a few years back, we started to learn to sail a catamaran. Beside the jib is a ribbon or small piece of fabric attached in order to show which way the wind is blowing. It is tiny and yet it can be the difference between sailing or capsizing.

There are many examples that I could have used, but if we take the time over the small details in whatever it is that we are doing, then we will reap the rewards in success or deepened relationships. Swami Sivananda said,

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.