To be happy, make your life easy. Breakdown your goals into small chunks, develop healthy habits and improve your life by doing small things daily. Mastering smaller things in life will have a compound impact and you’ll get a turbo boost in your life. Here’s more about why little things in life matter the most and the six things that you should start focusing on right away. ~ Ed.
You’re cast into this big ball of blue. Filled with curiosity, you explore the world, the people you live with, and yourself as days pass. Soon you come across this concept called goals.
The idea of exhausting yourself to reach some arbitrary standard – it’s here that you’re carried away by the big picture.
Your fantasies of becoming a famous basketball player or CEO fail despite your best intentions. What could be worse than failing to reach your dreams?
Tying happiness to the success you aim to achieve by pulping the last drop of life out of you.
I’ve got an argument to make: “Little things in life matter the most.” Focusing on little things helps you achieve your goals and contributes to your happiness.
Have you ever set big goals with complicated plans, but never even get past step one?
The problem with goals is that they’re often huge and may become overwhelming. But habits are small, easy to do, provide a surge of motivation every day.
For instance, it’s unrealistic to try to learn touch typing all letters in a single day. But the daily practice of typing 30 minutes per day is far more tangible and doesn’t cause burnout.
English novelist Anthony Tropelle wrote a quarter of every hour. He sets a timer for fifteen minutes and writes around 250 words.
Fifteen minutes now and then throughout the day. That’s it. Using this technique, he’s been able to publish 40+ books, several works of non-fiction, and a few plays.
Though typing thirty-minutes each day isn’t anything to brag about, it builds up.
You’re more likely to fail if you plan to write a book or become a CEO. Break them down into little chunks, achieving them becomes more comfortable.
It’s those little consistent acts that matter the most.
Weddings and fancy vacations are the glamorous parts of our life. You reckon it’s these moments that make us happier. But the little moments matter the most.
Calling your old friend, making a cup of coffee for your spouse when you make one for yourself or celebrating your 9-year-old’s victory in an ice-cream parlour. These little moments amount to a lot.
The next time you go to work, try smiling at the watchman as you enter. You are immediately put atop of a pedestal in his heart amidst a dozen others who walk away as if he didn’t exist.
Marriages and vacations are one-time events. But the consistent act of taking care of your friends and family, making time for them – it’s these moments that matter the most.
Our identity inflates with our goals. Talented artist, successful businessman are examples of inflated identities. You think you rise to the level of your personal identity.
But these identities never make us happy.
- Achieving this identity often takes years of effort
- These identities involve factors that are out of your control (Despite working hard you need some luck or opportunities prove yourself)
- Very vague
But having little and mundane identities makes you happier in the long run. Instead of trying to become a successful businessman – become a guy who is curious about business.
When you stack many of these boring identities, you become better. For example, instead of having an identity like – I’m a successful businessman, with tons of money, who also has an athletic body, create identities like – I’m a guy who is curious about business, money management, and works out thrice a week. I’m also kind, hard-working and put friends, and family above everything else.
The latter identity;
- Doesn’t take much effort to achieve
- Doesn’t involve any factor other than yourself (You don’t need anything outside of your control to be kind or curious)
- Provides a direction to follow
Because your behaviour adjusts based on your identities, and broad identities always tend to overwhelm you, a small shift to a mundane identity makes a difference.
The Boring Parts of Our Life
You wish you could live in the happy moments of your lives forever – Holidays, Road trips, or Weddings. But you often underestimate the importance of the boring parts of your life.
Sleep, Self-discipline, Money management, taming your distractions, personal hygiene… these are the unsexy parts of your life that make us better. Getting good quality sleep is nothing to be proud of, but it’s these little things that make us better.
Money management is monotonous. But without it, even a million bucks would seem trivial.
Lack of proper financial skills is akin to a hole in a ship. And getting a larger ship never solves the problem. Fixing the holes does. Here’s another example. Nobody likes you regardless of your Gucci belts and Rolex watches if you smell bad. Personal hygiene is an ordinary yet dominating aspect of our life.
Author Mark Manson mentioned; improving your life is not hard, just repeat these every day for years.
- Talk to a friend
- Don’t eat garbage
- Be productive for a few hours
This makes it simple.
You overlook the smaller yet-meaningful moments aspiring for the big ones.
Little things and compound interest go hand in hand
In commerce, there’s a concept called compound interest. It works the following way.
You deposit the initial amount (principal) for a specific rate of interest. For example, if you deposit $1000 with 5% as annual interest, then you would have $1050 by the end of the first year.
Our life works based on the concept of compound interest.
Learning to take care of your body and personal hygiene are time-investments that you put in to reap the rewards. Now add in money-management and mental health.
The principal amount increases, and your reward increases. Invest more and more little things in yourself, your self-worth raises at an exponential rate with time, down the road.
These small efforts compound over time leads to great results.
Smaller things in life often overlap with each other
Getting a promotion provides momentary happiness. But little things in life overlap with each other.
Say you work on your body for becoming fit. Besides becoming healthy, you are energetic, feel good about yourself, and look attractive. Consider another example:
You work on improving your social skills to make new friends. Besides making friends, you speak with confidence (especially on dates), become a great negotiator (a valuable skill in business), your relationships deepen, and there’s a lesser chance of miscommunication.
Working on a single skill impacts many fields. What if you double down working on mastering the smaller things of life? You get a turbo boost in your life.
Why should you let go of improving something that has several benefits?
What happens when you avoid the smaller things
Avoiding the small things in life accumulate like debt and impact you in the long run. Failing to get a job promotion or win a tournament is one thing.
But if you ignore smaller things, like personal hygiene, you’re never going to work there in the first place.
Avoiding working on smaller things impacts several fields at the same time. Lack of personal hygiene hurts your relationships, your career, and your ability to make new friends. It’s going to pile on top of one another ready to crush you down your throat on one fine morning.
You don’t want to genocide many facets of your life. Do you?
6 Small Things You Should Start Focusing on Right Away
We’ve been talking about focusing on the smaller things, but where should you start?
If you think you take care of your personal hygiene, let me ask you a few questions.
When was the last time you flossed? How about cleaning your tongue? I doubt you wash the dirty area behind your ears. How healthy is your hair?
The point of this is not to call out people as dirty couch potatoes. But to realize that we don’t know a lot about personal hygiene. I didn’t. Start learning about taking care of yourself, you’ll find yourself attractive.
Health (Exercise, Diet and Sleep)
Sleep at least 7 – 8 hours a day. It rejuvenates your body like nothing else. A year back, I was a typical workaholic. Sleeping less than 5 hours left me depressed and sad all time. But my life improved as I slept a lot more.
Also workout or play a sport at least 3 times per week. It refuels you full of life. Cut back on junk and make sure to eat your veggies.
This opens you up to a wide variety of opportunities. Becoming a good communicator helps you deepen relationships and communicate well in general.
How should you behave in restaurants? Should you gobble as soon as your food comes or should you wait? What should you do if food sticks to your teeth? These are small things that are fun knowing. And public etiquette includes restaurants, meetings, offices, and a lot more.
Did you know that walking with a straight back conveys confidence? About 50% of what we communicate is through body language. So it’s worth developing.
Something they fail to teach in schools. We’re often pushed into this world without the slightest idea of money. Should you spend it all or should you save it? What about investing? This is an invaluable skill that plays a crucial role in how well you live your life.
There’s nothing wrong with having big goals but never ignore the smaller things in life. Because smaller things;
- Impacts positively or negatively in multiple dimensions
- Lead up to the significant moments in life
- Builds up like compound (either as asset or debt)
Master the boring parts of your life, sculpt them one-block at a time. Good things will follow over time. Take a peek into the following list and identify areas you could improve upon.
- Personal hygiene
- Public etiquette
- Body language
- Social skills
Embrace the little things in life and become better.
Over to you
What is the smallest thing that you could do right now to improve your life? Do you have any other tiny ideas that create profound impacts? Share your thoughts in the comments. Let’s help each other become better.