‘Focus on the big picture. That’s what matters. The mantra of getting successful before everybody else and more than everybody else.’
This is how society pushes us – to look ahead and not sweat the small stuff. And we, oblivious of what we truly want, get swept up in the wind of ‘grand things’ and forget to pay attention to small pleasures, small things.
But why do we do this? Is it just society that drives us in the wrong direction or are there other factors at play? Even we believe that we will feel ‘satisfied’ only when we own certain things.
So the pleasures we aim for must be:
Expensive – Buying a t-shirt or shoes with a famous logo is a massive ego booster for so many. Why? Because we like economic endorsement and find it hard to appreciate cheap things, regardless of their utility.
White truffles sound way more interesting than humble soybean. Don’t they?
Rare – Distinctions are made between ordinary and special. It is believed, not based on any observations, but due to some weird programs in our minds that things that are exotic, hard to find are intrinsically delightful.
Famous – What a strange world we live in. Out of millions living on this planet, only a handful of people are famous. We all want to be famous. But this skewed notion that only famous people are satisfied and ‘have made it’ is unfortunately propagated by media and deliciously lapped up by us.
Large Scale – ‘It’s your life. Make it large.’ It is a tagline of a famous alcohol brand. Not surprised that a man in a tuxedo with a wide grin on his face is flanked by ditsy girls who want to take a selfie with him.
So we all tend to focus on big and large. Big house, exotic travel destinations..nothing wrong with this but somehow it means that the familiar, the small-scale is inherently flawed and doesn’t deserve our time and attention.
Now that we know our bias against the simple, the ordinary is based on our misconceptions and propaganda churned out by corporates and media, here are a few reasons why little things matter:
They Improve Relationships
Big things matter. Marriage, Career change .. they define much of what happens in your life. But it is the ‘little things’ that add a sprinkle of fun and liveliness in our lives.
What about enjoying home-cooked food with your family and having a good laugh? Nice na. There are other gestures you can make to show that you care about your family, friends, co-workers. I feel a simple smile can not only make you feel lighter but can make someone’s day.
Why not take flowers home to your spouse or mother? I am telling you; small gestures go a long way in keeping relationships beautiful.
They Leave Us With Moments to Cherish
Appreciation and gratitude are two ingredients of a life lived well. But most of us tend to look for ‘wow’ moments that only reinforce our skewed thought process that only ‘big’ moments mean we are ‘living’ a life, not just surviving.
How do you feel when you know your favorite food has been prepared? Brings a smile to your face and you can’t wait to satiate your appetite.
I get a feeling of happiness when I try talking to my niece and she smiles and says something incoherently. These moments are precious and deserve our attention.
They Help Us Enjoy Life a Little More
Trying to think of a ‘not so important’ moment..
Yeah this morning, while driving to work I rolled down the windows to enjoy the cool wind. Not a big deal but it did improve my mood.
I believe such little things can be really valuable. What gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Or maybe someone did something to make your day. Somebody held the elevator door open for you or slowed down to let you change the lane.
Here is what you can do – give someone an unexpected compliment. Again, not a big deal but will definitely make somebody’s day more enjoyable.
They Keep Us from Getting Overwhelmed
Few things don’t go according to our plans. Or rather most things don’t. Ever lost your keys or missed your bus? Must have. I have.
Feels like someone is conspiring against us and wants us to feel miserable. It is natural to feel a little frustration when we bungle up small things. And that is where little positive things can work their magic, things we normally overlook.
They help us shift our focus away from the little misgivings of our life on this planet and let us appreciate the beauty of so many things around us.
They Lead Us to the Bigger Things
OK. I am assuming that one of the things you want in your life at this juncture is that ‘dream’ job. Now how do you get there? Little steps each day, learning and upskilling yourself, focus and dedication.
So anything big is a result of a lot of little things leading up to it. I mean anyone of you who is thinking of shedding extra belly fat knows that there is no magic formula. You won’t get up one day and see that all that fat just went up in the air while you were sleeping. It will require working hard, self-control and not making eye contact with that ‘oh so delicious dessert.’
Simple pleasures, unassuming moments pass by us every day but we either overlook them or don’t take the time to appreciate them. I mean not everybody would find listening to rain while lying in bed enchanting but neither is feeling restless synonymous with success.
Don’t concern yourself with unattainable levels of excellence. Look closer to home. Look at the sky. Answers to difficult problems come from modest actions.