Just One ‘Little’ Thing

A single grain of sand can bring a large wheel to a standstill. One little thing can completely STOP something from happening. One voice speaking out. One missed piece of code. Just a fraction of a degree off a right angle on the wall of a new building. Just one little thing.

Changing just one little thing, one little habit will alter the trajectory of an entire life.

If it’s true that there is no neutral, that everything we think, say, or do either adds or subtracts from the quality of life, then it comes down to those little things we do, or don’t do, that make a life of meaning or one that feels somewhat wasted.

Think back to a turning point in your life. There —you can see where just one little change in your thinking, one response to a life event, one decision, one point you came to— life changed.

To live a meaningful, successful life, we need to take charge of the little things we do every day. Those little things that are easy to do and… easy not to do.

Here’s the one little thing to begin today, and to do every day for the next 7. You have to track it, too. Write it down — I find paper is better than digital for this— on a calendar or on a small chart with 7 boxes after it. Check off each day that you succeed. Release the inner critic when you don’t.

Every day for the next 7 days, stop for 5 minutes and sit quietly. Set a timer. Just sit. In nature if you can, looking at it if you can’t, looking at a beautiful image if you’re in a cubicle. Breathe and watch your breath.

That’s it.

If you want the premium version, at the end of the day, as you lie in bed, ready to sleep, do a simple review of just that practice. Did you do it? What did you observe?

You’re done. Sleep well.


Gee, Thanks, Aristotle!


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

going ‘old school’ with the quotes book.

Just passing through a notebook of collected quotes. I started it around the time we carried our lives around in a Filofax and not on our cell phones and it has sat on a shelf for years, in a magazine holder, with other similar notebooks, and I’ve pulled it out from time to time.

Of course, I wasn’t so organized that I catalogued them all under categories; there was no such thing as tagging or  clouds or memes. It was also in the day when you could be pretty confident that if the quote said, Aristotle, it was, indeed, from Aristotle. And, it was in the day when this little notebook was “printed and published in the USA” and “assembled in Mexico.” The early days of outsourcing.

Excellence is a habit. The repetition, over time, of a behaviour. Mediocrity is also a habit. Certain behaviours, repeated over time created unpleasant outcomes, too. Darren Hardy talks about this, too, in The Compound Effect, but it’s not, clearly, a new idea.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu.

And a teacher of mine, Martin Muller, used to say:

If you’re sitting down, you have no choice. If you get up and take a step, you can always change direction.

Actually, THAT quote has been one of the keys to conscious change in my life… but that’s another post, I think!

The thing is, you just need to shift your walk, your vision, your thinking, your behaviour by a weeee little bit and stay on that  course, repeat the behaviour daily, and over time, you achieve….excellence or mediocrity.

Will you add just that weeee little bit more effort to:

  • make the meal look spectacular
  • clean that last little corner
  • walk those extra 100 steps
  • stand that little bit taller

And if you’re not quite up to excellence will you do a very simple thing:

  • get off the couch, walk out the door and walk to the end of the driveway and back
  • put just a little LESS food on your plate… just for today
  • take 3 seconds to put the spoon in the dishwasher
  • bend down and pull up just 3 weeds

Sometimes this is all I can manage. Today, for instance, is my day to drive 65 km into the city and work out. I have a goal to go to Good Life 3 times a week and go through the machines.  Sometimes I have to cajole myself. Sometimes I have to give myself a stern talking to. But I’m going.


Aristotle, I don’t know what happened that brought you to understand the power of habit 2300 years ago. The quote has stuck, as you can see. We’re still working on getting it. We become what we surround ourselves with. I’m off to the gym. Your words will ring on as I do battle with the little voices inside me that push me to exercise and pull me to… well, not exercise.

Have a good one!