Big Change vs. Little Change
I’m a huge believer that you are what you do every day.
I’m also a believer in the cliche that actions speak louder than words.
I guess another way to say is that the only thing that matters in life are results.
That brings us to a challenge that many seem to face in life. And I’m no different.
The challenge is wanting to make a difference, talking about it, but not really accomplishing much.
Again, I’ve experienced this and still struggle with it. In many areas of life.
I want to do big things. So do many others. But the more I look at successful businesspeople the more I realize that they might have had big dreams, but they often focused on little things that led to their success.
People are very altruistic. We learn it at a very young age. We want to teach. We want to give money, time and energy. We want our efforts to make a big difference. Yet the little things often get the most accomplished. Maybe not right away, but over the long term.
And I think that’s where we get lost. It feels good to talk about big things. But that’s a form of procrastination. We feel good about our thoughts.
Maybe we even start doing little things. Cold call a prospect to jumpstart a business. Volunteer for a local charity.
But after a little while, maybe a few weeks or months, we get frustrated by what we’ve accomplished. It doesn’t match our big vision.
As a result, it’s easy to just give up and go back to what feels good: talking a big game and dreaming big dreams.
Focusing On Little Change
Talking to friends. Going on social media. Saying words like “we”, “should”, “society” and others are all about wanting big change.
I get it. I’ve thought it. Done it.
But it doesn’t do anything.
I guess it does make you feel good for a moment. Then the feeling goes away and to fill the void we start talking and typing again.
The cycle continues. Nothing big happens because nobody is doing the little things.
That’s where it seems that some people are in a secret about life. They stop talking. They stop dreaming. They start doing little things. Maybe even if they don’t realize why they’re doing those things or even know where they’re going.
Think of people you view as successful.
People that started businesses with nothing. Odds are good that they worked every day doing little things and slowly over time started gaining momentum.
The same is true for those that have given back to others. They likely focused on individuals. Starting by helping one person.
That’s where you can make a big difference in the world if you’re looking to do so. Maybe you’re bothered by the current state of education in the world. A good place to start would be finding a person that wants to learn what you know and teaching them.
Changing Yourself To Help Others
Sometimes it’s not even about helping others directly.
Humans are excellent mimics. I’ve often heard parents remark about how observant their kids are when they’re young. They hear everything. They see everything.
I saw an 18 month old boy recently and he was leaning against the wall with his hand in his pocket. We all looked at him wondering what he was doing and then his mom realized that her dad, the boy’s grandpa, would stand like that.
People pickup on everything. That’s why the phrase, Do as I say and not as I do…, is really worthless. Nobody listens. They pay attention.
What does this mean?
The first step to changing something in the world is leading by example. An example for others to follow. Even if it’s just those closest to you in life.
You Can’t Control People
Another struggle in this area is the urge to control people.
Trust me, I’ve struggled with this. I don’t think everyone does, but it seems like a good number of us want to change things and feel the urge to want others to want the same thing.
But even if you have good intentions…let’s say want to cloth the homeless. A great cause. Who could argue with that?
But would it be right to force others to want the same thing?
Talking about big change is frustrating. It’s frustrating because not everyone wants the same thing. No matter how good.
People do want good things. Just not the same good things.
So it comes back to what you control. Your own actions. The little things you can do.
You Always Have Options
Another item that comes into play with this topic is the idea that there are barriers in life.
The reality is that life is not fair. There are some barriers for some people. It may seem unfair especially if you compare yourself to others. It’s easy to find others that seemingly have little in their way in terms of success.
But when we do that we ignore what others accomplish when they seemingly have everything going against them.
There are no guarantees in life. For the most part, you get a chance. The odds of being conceived, surviving childbirth and living in general are incredibly long.
You’ve already beat the odds.
Unless you’re an extreme case, you can do anything you want.
The only barriers that matter are the ones you place on yourself.
If you’re frustrated because of something the odds are good that it’s just an excuse.
I wanted to use this post almost as a reminder to myself. A reminder that it’s the little things in life that matter most. Changing what we control: ourselves. Helping one individual that is looking for it. Doing the little things and building on those over an entire life.
We’re alive. We’ve already beat the odds. There’s no reason we can’t do anything we want. As long as we focus on the little change and not the big change.