“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” —John Wooden, the winningest NCAA basketball coach in UCLA history and an English teacher
Much like a powerful, all consuming wave consisting of a multiude of drops of water that gradually strengths its momentum, velocity and power, so too can the small details in our lives have a great impact.
It happened this past month – a realization of a seeminly small change that has now cultivated a great positive difference in my life.
Last year, in episode #197 of the podcast (and in #9 of episode #187), I shared that I had begun incorporating the morning ritual of listening to classical music. Up until that point I had recognized that my choice to listen to news from morning until evening and watch somewhat regularly the daily news, was not elevating the quality of my life. Wanting to remain informed, and continuing to read my selected newspapers throughout the week, I made a significant change to my morning and school schedules regarding what information I absorbed directly or indirectly.
As you might have guessed, it was far less news and much more classical music.
Each morning I now turn on my WRTI app which is a classical music station (jazz is available as well – they have two separate stations) and begin my day with Gregg Whiteside and Breakfast with Bach. As my day unfolds, I am playing either my TSLL Classical Music playlists in the background while at school during my prep period or listening to more WRTI. As each day wraps up, and especially on Fridays, I tune in to KUSC – southern California’s station for classical music (on Fridays between 3-7pm Pacific time, Rich Capparela’s KUSC at the Beach is one of my favorite programs, as it gently eases me into the weekend), and on Sunday, with Oregon’s classical music station KWAX, their Sunday Baroque is a favorite as well.
Gradually, the above daily and weekend routines all came together, and within 12 months, I knew which shows I enjoyed, which hosts would be on when as I find myself learning a tremendous amount about the history and musician as well and thus enjoying the commentary as much as the music itself.
As this daily routine became habituated, I found my mornings beginning with more smiles and less subtle angst. My mood lifted and my days filled with more appreciation and less dread or worry. Now this may sound too extreme – how could simply listening to classical music and watching or listening to less news make such a difference? But the truth is, my mind is no longer consumed with more of what I cannot control.
And while episode #187 dives deep into staying abreast of the news, but not consumed by it, I wanted to share this aha moment to bring attention to the power of the small changes we make in our daily lives. In my case, more peace, joy and tranquility.
As John Wooden states, little things do indeed make big things happen because it is the strength of the many repeated small things that habituate in our minds a new approach, a new practice, a new focus, a new use of our energy, that with time, cultivates a change that we may not recognize for some time because it is gradual.
How to begin incorporating the little details that will make a big and powerful change:
- Be conscious in what you want to change and why
- View a list of posts about determine what change you wish to welcome into your life.
- Focus less on the outcome, once you know your new habit is the right path to achieving it, and instead, focus more on the daily practice.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” —Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh is right, it is the choices we make consciously and done repeatedly that will eventually lead to the great outcomes we desire. We don’t always know exacly how they will materialize or precisely in what form they will reveal themselves, but so long as it is a conscious choice, we can rest easy and simply focus on the day to day.
“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” —Mark Twain
Seemingly simple changes — sleep schedule, approach to eating, how we speak to ourselves, how we engage with others, the thoughts we let ourselves entertain, exercise regimen, the books we read, what we purchase — in which ever area of your life you would like to see lasting change, consider what simple adjustment you can make today, and simply do that seemingly small change each day. After a while you won’t miss what you use to do, after a while you will miss the new change if you forget it one day and in time, you will reflect and see you have traveled quite far indeed.
~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~episode #237: 7 Life Lessons from The Tao of Pooh