A Tiny Little Art Lesson

I’m reading a really good book right now called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. It has me thinking about the little things and the bigger picture. What are the little things? The little things are small little every day efforts, or non-efforts, that either doing or not doing make no significant difference in the course of your day, but add up over time and either turn you into the person you want to be, or defeat you and your bigger picture. We paint our bigger picture with each tiny little brush stroke we make. What do you want yours to look like?

We all know how to be healthy right? Eat fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and limit red meat, alcohol, processed foods, etc. Oh, and we all know that we should fit some physical activity in at least 3-5 times per week, right? These are not new ideas. They’ve been around for quite a while actually. They are easy enough to do…but they are easy enough NOT to do, too! And therein lies the problem.

We are such an instant-gratification, need-results-now, kind of society that when we don’t get an immediate return on our efforts, it’s easy to disregard their importance. You worked out today…GREAT! Do you see results yet? NO! You chose the apple instead of the bag of chips…can you feel your heart getting stronger and your waistline getting smaller right now? Not likely. The same holds true for almost every aspect of your life. Saving a few cents today won’t mean anything until it’s done over and over again and eventually someday…down the road…your savings adds up to a nice retirement. These are all little things that go largely unnoticed in the short-term. However, all of these seemingly small efforts compound over time and lead you to the bigger picture. What is your bigger picture? In order to see it, you must pour yourself into the little things, the smallest details, and paint a little at a time…every day.

The opposite is true for NOT doing the little things. You won’t likely have a heart attack today, right after you eat your drive-thru lunch.  However, that choice, made again and again will eventually have a negative effect on your blood pressure and your cardiac health. You won’t gain five pounds today if you decide against working out, but a daily sedentary life will have a progressively negative effect on your overall health. Spending too much money today won’t likely land you in the poor house, but that trend will eventually contribute to your debt and your chances of retiring with a healthy nest egg. What will that picture look like? Is it unfinished? Would you want to hang it up for everyone to see?

I know that people can sometimes feel defeated if they didn’t make the right choice today, but you get a new shot every day to get it right. You can paint over the mistakes that you’ve made until it looks just right. The more you focus on the little things, and see success in your smallest victories, the more progress you will make toward turning those little things into a big and beautiful picture.

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