Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.
– Gilbert Keith Chesterton
The small stuff matters, and it’s what makes change. I’ve even blogged about it before.
Ever thought that this law works across many other areas in life and work? Is this idea like gravity?
Take ladder-climbing, corporate-world success (if that motivates you). It’s been said that the difference between the person in the corner office and the person in the cubical isn’t a huge spread in IQ, or the big breakthrough ideas. It’s the difference between one small decision a day. Doesn’t sound like much. Until you add it up. Thousands of little value-adds across a 10-year career are what make the difference.
Take one of my wife’s mentee’s (please). He seems quite convinced that he’s the exception to the rules of moving ahead. That the formula doesn’t apply to him. That he can sneak in and around the hard work of follow through, showing up, sending thank-you notes, being on time.
Most importantly he doesn’t own anything. Mistakes have excuses. He can’t seem to get through his head that people don’t want to hear why (why it happened, why not). We want to hear how (how it can be fixed, how it won’t happen ever again).
I’m afraid that it’s adding up on him. Drip, drip, drip. He’s creating a hole he’s gonna have a tough time crawling out of.
Another area where this might apply: products and services.
Take my Mac (when you pry it from… etc.). I’ve always had a tough time explaining why the machine makes such a difference in my working world. I usually throw out a vaguely arrogant-sounding brush off (you’ve probably heard it too) when I’m forced to explain why I’m so ardent about using a Mac: “It’s a Mac thing.”
I’m starting to wonder if the hidden secret sauce in a Mac is all the little things. The tiny, friendly things a Mac does that never show up on a features comparison matrix. That one keyboard shortcut. That one personalized setting. That one scrolling speed enhancement. The small difference in a windows organizing behavior.
The small things in our pockets that we carry around and take for granted. They matter, and make the difference.