We Have Forgotten How to Take Care of the Small Things

In our current fast-paced society we seemingly think that we can accomplish big things without ever attending to the small things. What gets lost in all of our big plans is that, if you want the big things to last, you have to start small and build a foundation first.

We are sadly so divided as a society today, that instead of looking for consensus and achieving a high degree of buy-in to our plans… we just take the might-makes -right approach, and shove our plans down each other’s throats.

This shortsighted approach rarely (if ever) works out in the way we hope; think of the law of unintended consequences. You cannot legislate behavior, but that is what both sides of the aisle in American politics are trying to do these days.

Commanding people to do things is counterproductive because they have not had a chance to buy into them. This causes a backlash and usually makes things worse in the long run. Instead of starting small and allowing things to grow the way we want, we take the expedient approach of making more laws whenever we have problems or inequities in our society.

There has never been a successful and well-respected company that got there by commanding people to buy their products or services. To launch a successful product or service you first need to do all of the small things that show people why it is in their interest to buy said offerings. Once that is done, you must continue to offer the same or better experience going forward.

According to statistics for the year 2020 (the most recent available as I write this), Amazon was the most beloved retailer. The most beloved brand for household and personal products was Clorox, and the number one for television, movies, and radio was Netflix.

What do all of these brands have in common? They all started small and only sold one product! Amazon originally only sold books, Clorox only sold liquid bleach, and Netflix only rented mail order DVD’s. Once they got good at doing all the little things customers wanted from them, they began to grow into the behemoths they are today.

This is how effective and lasting change happens. Start small and achieve success on the small things, and that will lead to bigger and better things. When things are forced on people they do not work, whether what is being forced onto them are products or ideas. It seems like we have forgotten how to work towards consensus or at least how to comprise.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our public representatives could put their and their partisan’s desires aside and start accomplishing some small things together? I remember when I was a child and my best friend’s family voted for a different presidential candidate than my family supported. Once the election was over, I asked if they were sad that their candidate lost and they said no, because what made this country special was that regardless of who won, we supported them and got another chance in four years if we didn’t like the way it turned out.

Regretfully, that’s a novel concept today, because both sides think they have a monopoly on all of the right answers. If you look at history, it becomes pretty clear that both parties have done a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Maybe we’d all be a lot happier and more cohesive if we were not so stuck on getting all we want and instead focused on getting small things first. As I counsel all of my clients to remember: “The worst thing that happens to you today may end up being the best thing that ever happened to you.”


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


Comments are closed.