Surely you’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
That’s all well and good … in principle. But in practice, a life of “not sweating the small stuff” must be a life in disarray, a life filled with late appointments, unmet expectations, shoddy work.
I confess, I DO sweat the small stuff. When the small stuff goes right, then everything goes right. When I take time to write an excellent, error-free paper, I’m minding the small stuff. My clients will tell you: they’re glad I do. When I take time to clean the house thoroughly, I’m minding the small stuff. What good is vacuuming the rug but leaving that big, nasty “unvacuumed” spot that shouts, “Hey, you forgot me!” When I push myself to get out the door ten minutes early so I can be on time for my appointment with you, I’m minding the small stuff.
So the small stuff does count.
However, what is needed, in addition to sweating the small stuff, is flexibility. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy wondering why others DON’T sweat the small stuff.
Case in point is when I applied for my passport. Because time was of the essence, I sweated the small stuff, or so I thought, reading every jot and tittle on the application form to avoid possible delays. Yet despite my sweating the small stuff, I still got it wrong. Ultimately I did receive the passport in time, but not without headache and heartache.
Another case in point is when I flew cross country to Los Angeles and then internationally to New Zealand. I sweated the small stuff by reading and abiding by the airlines’ baggage rules, even though it meant I had to buy new travel gear to do so. Then, when I traveled, I quickly learned that the airlines don’t sweat the small stuff, even though they wrote the rules. So many people were breaking the rules that I felt like a fool for trying to follow them, even to the point of spending money I didn’t have.
In any case, I’ll continue to sweat the small stuff on my end. But I won’t sweat it too much when others don’t.