Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Importance of Small Things

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Does the smallness of the step or the bit of work you feel capable of or the insignificance of the recipient keep you from doing?

It does for me.

I dream of doing big things. Award-winning, game-changing, havoc-wrecking things. I want to start the biggest charity. I want to run a billion-dollar company. I want to be the biggest, the greatest, the shiniest, the most important.

  • I don’t want to be a role player. I want to be Lebron James.
  • I don’t want to develop a website. I want to start the new Facebook. (Like we need that.)
  • I don’t want to write a book. I want to write a New York Times Bestseller. Three years running.

As I stare and gaze at all of the big things of this world, I loose sight of what really matters. I lose sight of the small things.

photo by Ed Yourdon

It Doesn’t Seem to Matter

When we do small things, they are so miniscule, it hardly seems to make any difference at all.

Does my small monthly donation to Half the Sky Foundation really matter? It barely helps one child, much less make any real dent in how much is needed to done.

Does exercising for only 30 minutes today really help  me? I barely break a sweat. How could it matter?

Does choosing to smile, in spite of what I feel inside, help anyone at all?

Does recycling my water bottle really make any kind of difference in the environment? It is only one bottle.

Does choosing to love really matter? Will anyone feel it? Will anyone care?

Does any of this make a difference?

Adding Up

The crazy thing about doing the small things every day is that it all adds up.

I’m sure you’ve heard of compounded interest. Put $100 a month into an account that compounds monthly. Average a 6% return. Do it every month for 30 years. Guess how much money you will have in that account.


Average a 10% return and the sum goes up to $227,932.53

Although the percent return is out of your hands. What you can do is choose to do the $100 a month.

What matters more than money, though, are the small things we can do for people.

It Does Matter

Don’t just do the small things expecting that some day it will add up to so much that someone will finally notice. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t.

Chances are, nobody will ever notice all of your small things. You will never be featured on 60 minutes. You will never be the Person of the Year. You will not win a Grammy or an Emmy or an Oscar.

Getting noticed doesn’t matter. What does matter is the person at the other end of the small things you choose to do.

It matter for you. It matters for us. It matters for the few people who benefit from the good things you do.

Every single little thing you can do today matters. It is worth it.

Have you ever experienced the importance of small things?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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17 Replies

  1. This might sound weird but blogging has helped me notice the little moments and how the small things matter since anything can become blog material. Once I’ve written a story (and rewritten and rewritten for blogs), I’m more likely to remember it and realize how it truly did make a difference in my day, life, thought process, etc.

  2. Intentional steps…that’s the goal.

  3. No matter how small or insignificant. Good stuff, Eileen.

  4. lhoenigsberg

    Jeremy, I couldn’t believe it (but I could, actually) when I opened up your post this morning, just after I prayed about this very thing. God has given me a creative mind, and that creative mind is always imagining BIG things. This morning I asked him to separate the wheat from the chaff…help me to know when he has given me a fabulous idea that will further his kingdom and when it’s something I want to do because it will be HUGE for me…and that includes my writing of what he has done in my life! Thanks Jeremy…have a great day!

  5. MJ

    You inspire me to be a better person. Thank you. Your small thing mattered to me today!

  6. Sabine

    Yes, offering a flower to a colleague in distress, caring for the lady sitting on the street, giving a Bible to a doctor who doesn’t know anymore how to handle that much suffering, all these are little things and i want to believe that they make a difference…

  7. Big is important too. Little is the way we get to big.

  8. Janae Bower

    A great reminder, thanks for sharing. Just wanted to let you know that your writing is noticed today, may not be a best seller, but it’s made a difference in my life!

  9. Thank you. Helping you matters to me.

  10. Small adds up to big over time. Thank you for this simple reminder to be and love consistently.

  11. Charles Horwitz

    Boy, have I ever been the benefactor of small things. I was a foster child growing up. Many of my foster siblings didn’t fare very well since then… I remember a turning point in my life. I was sent to see a psychologist as a young boy. In my presence the psychologist said to the adult that was escorting me, “this is a smart and talented young man. He can go far.” It was as though someone put a big star on my forehead! From that day my self esteem grew and my self-limiting beliefs faded. Several years and a few college degrees later (and a career as an Army Officer behind me) some would say I am a successful corporate executive. I say humbly, that God has provided me the guidance and direction but it’s no secret to me that He also provided me that moment long ago when I received someone’s confidence in my potential. That lady had no idea what she did…

  12. Ed Yourdon

    What a wonderful blog posting! Thanks for sharing it with us, and thanks so much for including one of my photos to illustrate it. Here’s another photo that I think you might enjoy, which illustrates the related concept of the “kindness of strangers”:

  13. Thanks for making the photo available for use.

  14. Harold

    A very timely reminder!

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