The popular adage, "Don't sweat the small stuff," seems to be good advice. After all, why get worked up about something that ultimately won't matter? I'm all in favor of keeping perspective, and focusing attention on things that bring long-lasting joy. However, I think it is a grave error to discount the importance of "small stuff."
Consider the following examples of "small stuff":
In elementary school, we learn our basic math facts and how to read simple books. Yet, we continue to hone those skills as we progress to more complex math and greater pieces of literature.
If we want to maintain our physical health, we exercise. When I first decided to run a 10 K, I was not running regularly, but by starting slowly and working up gradually, I was prepared in time.
Recently, I read an article in the newspaper that mentioned the results of a study of married couples. Those couples who went on a date at least weekly, were three times as likely to report being happy in their marriage than those who didn't.
I think it is human nature to be very impressed with big accomplishments, but to disregard the simple habits that, when consistently applied, lead to success. However, we would be wise to remember that little things matter.
A Book of Mormon verse comes to mind:
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. (Alma 37:6)The parable of the mustard seed also applies:
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31)
I find that whenever I feel stressed or want the world to just slow down, I need to reflect on the small stuff--the little things that make a big difference in my life. At the most basic, for me that means daily scripture study and daily prayers. When I ponder and pray, the rest of my day seems to go more smoothly. I am better able to take care of my family and other responsibilities, and I often find time for myself, too. When how I spend my time reflects my priorities, I feel at peace, even with a busy schedule.
Little things do matter. They create the rhythm of life, forge memories, and ultimately shape us.
We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny. (attributed to various sources--I'm not sure of the correct origin)
What "small stuff" makes a difference in your life?
Thanks for freedom to set our priorities, and time in which to pursue our goals.