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Can Little Things Really Make a Difference?

TIGNUM Thoughts

March 2nd, 2019
By Scott Peltin

There's a question we're often asked during coaching: "Can all these little things really make any difference?" This is a totally logical question because in our busy, over-filled, and often chaotic lives, it's hard to believe that the answer to multiplying our impact could actually stem from something little.

This question takes me back to the first fire I ever went into during firefighter training. The officer kept yelling, "get down, stay low." I got onto my knees and thought to myself, mission accomplished. Then he yelled again, "I mean GET LOW!" Suddenly, as the fire burned the skin on my ears, I realized just 12 inches was the difference between staying safe and getting myself into a life-threatening situation. As I quickly learned, the job of firefighting is made up of a bunch of little things (fundamentals) that, when executed well, save lives, save property, and allow firefighters to return home at the end of our shift.

The most recent time I was asked about little things making a difference, I started doing some simple math. If you take just three flights of stairs (10 stairs/flight) every work day, you would climb 150 stairs per week and 7,500 stairs each year. Knowing the impact that just one flight of stairs can have on activating your neurological system, your cognitive function, your immune system, and your energy levels... this is a big deal.

If you did just 15 push-ups every day and never went to a gym, you would do 3,750 pushups a year (even with two weeks off for accuracy). Compared to someone who does nothing, that is huge. Especially when you think of the impact this would have on your core strength, your posture, the maintenance of your muscle mass, and more.

If you were to add just one more vegetable to a meal every day, you would eat 250 more servings of vegetables in a year. When you consider the impact this has on your microbiome and gut health, your inflammation, your cognitive function, and your energy level... this is huge.

Imagine if you were to go to bed just 15 minutes earlier a night. You would get 5,475 more minutes (91 hours) of sleep a year. Knowing how important sleep is for memory, creativity, problem solving, and your immune function... this is huge.

Finally, what if you were to set clear intentions before one work event and while coming home each night, spending just 5 minutes visualizing this before you entered the room/house? These intentions could include how you want to be perceived, what you want the participants/family members to know, and how you want them to feel. This would cost you 2,500 minutes (10 minutes/day), but imagine the moments of impact you would create with those you want to influence and those you love. This is roughly 230 purposeful interactions per year you would create both at work and at home that you may not be creating right now. Suddenly, this doesn't feel like such a little thing anymore.

Life is made up of moments. Success is about multiplying your impact in these moments. This doesn't sound like a little thing to us at TIGNUM, but these impactful moments happen by doing the little things.

As always, I would love to hear what you think.

Other Thoughts

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