Doing the routine activities—having breakfast, lunch and dinner with one’s family at home.
Brushing one’s teeth.
Doing one’s daily exercise.
Going to school and putting in a quiet day’s work.
What are the ‘big things’ of life?
Taking a trip around the world.
Having a birthday bash.
Being chosen the school captain.
Winning the Best Speaker’s or Runner’s-Up trophy in the All India Inter-School Debating Contest.
When one says, ‘It’s the little things that count,’ does it mean that the little things are all that matters, and that the big things have no real value?
That, of course, would be nonsensical because there is no person on Earth who does not look forward to what he considers to be the big things in life—though these, obviously, vary from person to person. Therefore, what the saying probably implies is that, if one does not do the little things well, the big things don’t happen, or happen less often, or that one’s enjoyment of the big things, when they come, is diminished.
Let us take the example of doing one’s daily exercise. Doing it is a quiet, undramatic affair that involves a certain amount of effort that may mostly go unnoticed. No one will win a prize for it, and it will not find a mention in the school magazine, let alone the local dailies. But it keeps one healthy.
It increases one’s efficiency in whatever one may be doing; and when, ten years down the line, one gets a big job (getting which, in the books of most people, would go down as a ‘big thing’) that involves working ten hours a day, one does not break down after slogging for two months and make a mess of one’s career. Because little things are little, one does not blame their mismanagement when things go awry, but often that is the case.
Life consists of ninety-nine per cent of little things and one per cent of big things. It is similar to climbing Mount Everest. It takes many, many weeks to climb, and when one reaches the summit, one remains there only for a short while. And then the descent begins. Though it is not as long as the ascent, one has to be careful and it does take time.
All the time one needs to go up and come down, as well as the years of preparation prior to the attempt, may be called ‘the little things’ in the context of the climb; while the ‘big thing’ is the prized moments at the top.
There are people who live solely for the big things of life, who are bored by the little things and pay scant attention to them. They are waiting for big things to come, but chances are that they will never come, because the little things that make the big things happen have not been put to proper use.
All great works are basically accumulations of smaller units of effort over a period of time. The pyramids or the Taj Mahal were not created overnight. They are the result of hard perseverance and efforts of a mass of hardworking human beings over a prolonged period of time. Such efforts have helped to construct an edifice that has conquered time. As such I cannot but agree with the proposition that it is the little things that count in life.