Last weekend, on my way back from helping my eldest daughter move into her new home, I was listening to an old Jim Rohn cassette tape (yes, you read that correctly) when Jim reminded me of this critical principle that it’s usually not the big things in life that take us down, it’s the little things.
I didn’t write his phrase down exactly (hey, I was driving), but the gist of it was
As he said that I thought, “Isn’t that the truth!” It’s rarely the big things that take us down (and if/when they do, it’s usually because we made a lot of small errors in judgment long before the big mistake). Failure is usually the result of a lot of small errors in judgment made over and over again.
- No one becomes overweight in a day. It’s a habit of small errors made every day that does people in.
- No marriage falls apart in a day. It’s a habit of small errors made every day that does a couple in.
- Likewise, no business falls apart in a day. It’s a habit of small errors made every day that does it in.
When you think about it, Jim was/is right on. When we choose to surf the web instead of making a marketing call, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time (hey, it pays to stay informed of our favorite shows :-). But when we do that day after day, we reap what we sow.
When we choose to let anyone with an email account control our day (i.e. when we answer email as soon as it arrives) so that we don’t work on a project that can actually produce new revenue, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at that time. But when we make that same small error in judgment, day after day, it does become a big deal.
On the other hand, the opposite of this principle is true as well.
- No one develops rock-hard abs in a day. They’re the result of a series of small disciplines practiced every day.
- No one develops a red-hot romantic marriage in a day. That kind of relationship is the result of a series of small disciplines practiced every day.
- Likewise, no one builds a fast growth business in a day. A fast growth business is the result of a series of small disciplines practiced every day.
Win or lose, it’s all about a series of small decisions made every day.
- Do I call a client or do I play Angry Birds?
- Do I stay at the office late or take my spouse out for dinner?
- Do I order the fries or ask for an apple?
- Do I monitor our daily cash balance or check my fantasy football league standings?
- Do I delegate out this task or do I do it myself?
- Do I create a new system or do I check my stock portfolio?
- Do I read a book or do I play solitaire on my iPad?
Win or lose, it’s all about the small decisions you and I make every day.
So, what small errors in judgment are you making every day? What habitual patterns of behavior are you engaged in that keep you from achieving what you want? We all have them. So what are yours (like checking email all day)? Take a few minutes to write them down (and then figure out how to deal with them).
Then, take a few more minutes and create a short list of behaviors that if you engaged in them every day would allow you to achieve more of your dreams (in both your personal and professional life). Oh, and one last thing. I hope you never forget, from this day forward, Jim Rohn’s sage advice
- “Small errors in judgment—made daily—lead to failure.”
- “Small disciplines—practiced every day—lead to success.”
To your accelerated success,
P.S. If you have some small disciplines that have helped you, add them in the comments section below. The rest of us would all love to learn from you.