There Are No Little Things

by Lance Ekum on · 88 comments

Zen Water
Creative Commons License photo credit: darkpatator

“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.” ~ Bruce Barton

I think about this often.  Sometimes it is hard to fully comprehend. 

Our actions, and the ripple effects they have.  Today I think about all of this after reading Jen's thought-provoking post, Which way to go?.

Like as I write this.  If I wasn't writing this article, I would be doing something else.  Perhaps making breakfast.  Or driving to the grocery store.  Or going out for a run. A host of different things I might be doing if I wasn't here and writing, at this moment.  And how this action…writing this right now…is changing the course of my life.

And like right now.  Because I chose to write this article, you are here…today…reading it.  This one action of mine…writing this…is making a difference in your life.  Oh, I would like to think that maybe my words have some profound meaning and may alter how you view life.  I am fully aware, though, that this could very easily not be the case.  You are reading this, though.  Had you not read it, you would have done something completely different.  Maybe viewed something else from your computer.  Maybe have gone for a walk.  Maybe have made a telephone call.  It's hard to say, really.

Because I wrote this, my life is altered forever from what it might have been had I not chose to do this.  And because you are reading here today, your life, too, is altered forever.  And it seems so small.  A few words typed on a computer screen.  A few words read.  Can that really change our life completely? 

There are no little things.

Everything we do will alter, in some way, our life…and the lives of others. 

How does that settle with you?

This thought floats around in my brain often.  How seemingly tiny things can have such deep consequences.  Think about this.  I oversleep.  Because of that, I leave the house in a rush.  Because I am rushed, I am not paying attention to the car in front of me.  I have an accident.  Now I have just altered not only my own life, but also the life of the person in front of me.  And had I left the house just ten seconds earlier, or ten seconds later…the consequences would have been completely different. 

And that's just only one small example.

There are no little things.

Point 1:  We cannot control everything.  Some things will happen just because we are where we are, doing what we are doing. 

Point 2:  If we accept the idea that all of our actions, no matter how small or big, have a far-reaching impact, then does that change at all how we live our life?  While we cannot control exactly what will become because of our actions, we can still control the actions we put out into the universe.

What if…

What if we based even just a bit more of the things we do…the little things, the things we don't even think about…what if we based them on more awareness? 

Would that change anything?

Perhaps you question, how can more awareness change anything for some of these mundane things…pouring that cup of coffee in the morning, brushing your teeth, taking the dog for a walk, smiling…   They seem so simple, perhaps even routine.  Think about it, though, as you perhaps…smile.  What if that smile invites someone "in"….someone to come up to you who might not otherwise have done that.  And what if a wonderful friendship begins because of that.  All from a smile…. (or any of our actions, for that matter)

There are no little things.

In this moment you are making a choice.  Every choice matters….

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work March 30, 2010 at 9:40 am

Yes! Excellent thought. There are no little things. I like to say that simply, EVERYTHING COUNTS!
Every thought, feeling, word and deed counts for something. Thanks for saying it in a very insightful way Lance. You truly are a leader in the Jungle of Life.
.-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s Last Fabulous Post ..Four Ways To Be Who You Really Are =-.

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Betsy Wuebker March 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi Lance – This is such a good reminder, not to freeze us into inertia by the prospect of doing the wrong thing, but to keep us mindful. Looking back over my ever-s0-lengthening life, I am amazed by how the seemingly most innocuous, impulsive decisions I made have had the most profound effects. Everything does really matter. Thanks.
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s Last Fabulous Post ..How Can You Tell It’s Springtime in Minnesota? =-.

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Stacey Shipman March 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

There are no little things, I agree. I also believe awareness is the key to so many things. We may not “change” right away, but the awareness helps us recognize what parts may need modification. I still judge, but I notice it and can “catch” myself before it spirals into something negative. That’s powerful. Awareness is being awake to our life, the good and the bad…and knowing that we have more power than we think to live a life we truly desire. Awareness, I believe, also helps us relate more effectively and with greater satisfaction to others. Awareness is one of the three parts of the framework I often teach in my workshops…many models and “gurus” will tell you it is the first step. A big reason “just do it” doesn’t work is because you need to have awareness first. Every action matters. here is my smile to you today 🙂

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Jay Schryer March 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

And here *I* am, leaving a comment on your blog instead of a million other things. A comment that you will read, which will prevent you from doing a million other things…this is all really a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this myself lately. Every decision, every action has a million consequences. Some of those consequences can be huge, life-changing events while others might go by unnoticed entirely. And just as you’ve pointed out, we can’t predict what those consequences might be.

I think that’s why it’s so important to live in the present moment as much as possible, and to make conscious, “aware” decisions whenever possible. The more we act out of love, instead of reacting out of fear, the more we can ensure that our “ripples” spread positivity and love throughout the universe.
.-= Jay Schryer´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Pirate Looks at 40 =-.

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Nadia - Happy Lotus March 30, 2010 at 9:53 am

Hi Lance,

Bravo to you, my friend! Yes, yes, and yes….everything we do creates a ripple effect. When I was unconscious, I used to do things without any regard to those around me. However, when I started to learn that I create my reality and that my actions affect others, it changed my life around. Being conscious is a wonderful way to live for it makes us realize that we are part of a global community. Every action will in turn impact someone. We want others to be nice to us…well, then starts with us being nice to others.

And as Jay said, living in the moment is so important. We really need to be fully engaged in whatever we are doing for that can do wonders.
.-= Nadia – Happy Lotus´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wondering “If The Church Were Christian”? =-.

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Jewel/Pink Ink March 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

Hi Lance! I agree, big things come from little things. Being aware of how we may fritter our time away, or use our time wisely, is the first step to making the most of life.

Here’s leaving you with a virtual *smile*. Have a nice day!
.-= Jewel/Pink Ink´s Last Fabulous Post ..Spring (Heart) Break =-.

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vanessaleigh March 30, 2010 at 10:06 am

OUTSTANDING!!!! I am grinning, in this very moment, from ear to ear…… Thanks Lance!!!!
.-= vanessaleigh´s Last Fabulous Post ..Using a voice of truth. =-.

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Juliana March 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

Awareness, Consciousness, Intent… these are major keywords in my life now. Noting how yes, a “little thing” can make or break someone else’s day/month/year, how much easier is it to choose compassion?

Thanks for writing this. You have changed my day for the better. 🙂
.-= Juliana´s Last Fabulous Post ..Thursday Poetry: Eating Poetry =-.

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Chania Girl March 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

I love you and I love this post. It is another of the lovely posts that are truly touching my heart today. I have learnt so much over the past few years about how any action, no matter how small, has its effect — like the pebble dropped into a pool of water, its impact rippling outward.

Like you (and so many of the other commenters said) awareness and presence are the biggest keys to both appreciating and choosing our small things. Some things (it’s true) we can’t choose, but OH SO MANY, we can!!! Imagine what the world would be like if everyone knew this and everyone chose their actions — and reactions — accordingly! What a different world it would be!

So, it starts with us. All of us here, and slowly the little ripple will become a wave. I feel it! Who’s up for THAT surf?

Much love today.
xxx Carla a.k.a. Chania Girl
.-= Chania Girl´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Poem That is You =-.

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Lady Fi March 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

A profound and nourishing post!
.-= Lady Fi´s Last Fabulous Post ..What a load of waffle… =-.

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Joy Tanksley March 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

What great way to set positive intention in even the smallest things. One caution I would give is that the little things we perceive as mistakes, failures, goof-ups, etc. should be viewed with great compassion and curiousity. I could see someone (certainly not me – no way!) adopting this lovely belief and then feeling freaked out by all the little unkindess, moments of selfishness, etc. that are now NOT LITTLE. AAAAHHH!!! Of course, if we view them as opportunities to learn and grow and we keep our compassion cranked up way high, then it’s all good.

I love the way you write, Lance. A sense of peacefullness just oozes through your words.
.-= Joy Tanksley´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hooray for ME and Thanks to YOU =-.

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Lynn March 30, 2010 at 11:07 am

Exactly – everything we do or say affects ourselves and others and changes everything. You put me in mind of an automobile accident I had many years ago, in which the car that was supposed to get my (ex) husband and I through the rest of his grad school time was totaled. He ended up taking a summer job because of the new car payment and never returned to school. I always wonder the direction our lives would have taken if we had left the house seconds earlier or later and avoided that accident.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Shadows, grown tall and wahoo =-.

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Tess The Bold Life March 30, 2010 at 11:24 am

Lance,
This is so true…I had a stupid argument with my hubs yesterday and I didn’t beat myself up all day but I felt like sh– for a while. That one little moment of time when I chose NOT to keep my mouth shut, impacted his life and mine. I can’t take it back…that moment… but I can choose not to give up not even one (precious) more.

I also like to give the example of a restaurant server…if I leave a generous tip regardless of the service it will set the smile on the fact of a server that will be given to another customer and then another. Because I travel frequently I encounter a lot of people who count on my tips. My ego tempts me to ignore this or turn away, instead I’m prepared with extra cash and express my gratitude with a smile. I then reflect on those small moments and tips in time and how they effect the lives of people who will always be unknown. It’s a much more powerful way than cheating people out of what they earn or count on for a living. Because I believe we’re all connected, if I cheat them I cheat myself.
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..Create a Blog Buzz-How to Blow the Lid Off Ordinary =-.

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Julie March 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

Wonderful thought piece, Lance.

“What if we based even just a bit more of the things we do…the little things, the things we don’t even think about…what if we based them on more awareness? “ Well…

If our awareness is focused, we can go deeper into what is in front of us, reaping that much more reward from the experience.
If our awareness is unfocused, wide open and clean acceptance, we see (on many levels, even intuitively) so much more happening around us than we’d ever know by conscious thought.
If our awareness is such that we are in two places at once—being ourselves and observing ourselves—we’d be making better conscious choices.
If our awareness is not on ourselves at all, but on another person, we are engaged in fully giving ourselves to the other.
If our awareness…

So. For every door that opens into a new room of understanding, there are a multitude of windows we can still see through, in several directions, asking us to make more choices, allowing us to experience life even more fully.

Just as “There are no little things,” There are no ordinary moments, either. 🙂
.-= Julie´s Last Fabulous Post ..Life Changes =-.

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Caroline March 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

Holy crap Lance! I need to let this settle in the noggin today. This was so good to read just before heading off to the airport… Lot’s to ponder. 😉
.-= Caroline´s Last Fabulous Post ..Check this out…. =-.

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Greg March 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm

You’re exactly right. Even the most seemingly inconsequential of actions will affect people in ways we can never predict or imagine. Good reminder.
.-= Greg ´s Last Fabulous Post ..Eating In America — What Are We Teaching Our Kids? =-.

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Sid Savara March 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Hi Lance,

Great post =).

I love the point about how every moment we are making choices, and every one of those choices matters. I do often think back to years past, and this is sort of a tangent, but how many of my decisions in those moments that I thought were insignificant ended up changing my life or someone else’s life

Yet in that moment, I didn’t realize how important the decision was – it was only years later when I noticed the chain of events it had started =)
.-= Sid Savara´s Last Fabulous Post ..13 Ways To Improve Your Concentration With a Distraction Free Work Environment =-.

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Trish @IamSucceeding March 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I think you and my husband need to talk, he too can be quite paradoxical! 🙂
It does push one to think about how not only will each decision we make effect our lives but certainly others as well in the big scheme of things. Maybe then to take that extra second, even in the seemingly little things, to think things all the way through before making a decision.
.-= Trish @IamSucceeding´s Last Fabulous Post ..My #Mamavation Update =-.

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Evita March 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

So powerful Lance!

I so agree, there really are no little things and yes, everything matters. I remember once standing in line at the post office in a really long and slow line up where everyone seemed to have a problem. Thoughts of frustration and rush flashed in my head….I thought I needed to be elsewhere….I thought this should be going faster, and on and on. Until I reminded myself that maybe this is exactly where I am meant to be. Maybe I will have a conversation with a stranger in that line that will change our day. Maybe I am saving myself from an accident at this moment had I been on the road. Maybe, maybe…maybe.

Bottom line everything matters and how beautifully you have expressed that for us all!
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Conscious and Happy Approach to Working From Home =-.

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Lana - {Daring Clarity} March 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

This is a beautiful post Lance! We are all interconnected and I was thinking just yesterday, that not only the things I do, but my thoughts and attitude affect everything around me. I can do the best job in the world, but if the attitude and thoughts i had while doing it were not so good, those will affect people and affect me in an not so good way too. Thank you fr spreading awareness!

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Jannie Funster March 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Wow!!! This is soooo beautiful, Lance!

But first, geez you haven’t really had a car accident have you? I think that was just for illustration, right? A very impactful one (no pun intended!)

When I was out camping this weekend, at times I felt a bit on the outside one large clique of parents who seem really hard to break into and have these people actually converse BACK with me, (you ever experience that kind of a feeling?) So I made a point of going over to a couple of other moms and dads who were kinda on their own for the weekend with their kids too, to say hello. And you know what? I developed some new friendships because of my moments of reaching out to make a conscious choice to walk up and say hello. And I felt a lot better! And in my heart I wished all those “cliquers” love, I really did. That made me feel so much better too — fairly free, actually. Just a little thing, but big.

Yes, our thoughts and our attitude are ‘way ‘way bigger than most of us realize. Our energy reaches out, whatever our energy may be. So being mindful is a great gift we give ourselves and the world. Like YOU are a gift. 🙂

xo
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Spring Camping On The Texas Pedernales =-.

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Jannie Funster March 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Oh, and if I hadn’t been reading THIS article of yours, I’d have left another little hello on your previous post. 🙂 Then been on to another fine blog. 🙂 Where I now go in 3, 2, 1…

🙂
xo
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Spring Camping On The Texas Pedernales =-.

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Christy Goldfeder, Delicious Life Health Coaching March 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I think about this sometimes, too. Especially when I’m going to work on the subway. What happens if I leave the apartment 5 minutes later than I intended? Or 5 minutes earlier? How will my ride be different, how will it affect the rest of my day? And what if I smile at that stranger instead of trying to brush past them? What impact does that have?

Love this post.
.-= Christy Goldfeder, Delicious Life Health Coaching´s Last Fabulous Post ..You don’t have to be a coffee jerk =-.

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Tim March 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Hi Lance:

I enjoyed your deep, profound post. If there’s one thing I’ve learned and appreciated through the years is that life is really made of all the ordinary moments…yeah sure we’ll always remember the weddings, births and graduations…but as Queen once sang…these are the days of our lives. Most of our days are the ordinary ones…and we have the opportunity to, over time, create a pretty magical life. Thanks for sharing what you did today.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Weekend Video Diversion: Amy Sedaris Book Tour =-.

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Joy March 30, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Lance,
It settles well with me–indeed.
There are no *littles* means that I am accountable for each thought, each action, each particle of energy I choose to emit. It means that I need to live in this moment, not the previous, not the next, but *this very one*. It means that I can choose to squander, or choose to create. It means that even if I think I have nothing, I have a kind word or a smile and *that* can change a life. Which also means when I have lots–well, theoretically *that* could change the world. It means that acting as one, I may make an impact, acting as *all* wow think of what we could do!
It means that this moment is precious, and as always I choose to celebrate that!
.-= Joy´s Last Fabulous Post ..My weekend with Tess, Megan, Jodi, and Jay…. =-.

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Kimberley March 30, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I am glad I chose to read this. Very thought provoking.
.-= Kimberley´s Last Fabulous Post ..Tomorrow is Market Day =-.

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J.D. Meier March 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I happen to be reading The Paradox of Choice, and the irony is that the key to a better life, is giving up lots of the little decisions and just focusing on a few key things (giving up choices at lower levels, to free yourself up to focus on a higher level.)
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..My Top Ten Lessons In Life – Ali Hale =-.

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lisaschaos March 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

When I think about things like this it taxes my brain and I’m unable to make any decision, lol. I’m a very bad decision maker as I fear altering things for the worse.
.-= lisaschaos´s Last Fabulous Post ..Which road do you choose? =-.

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Hilary March 31, 2010 at 12:58 am

Hi Lance – wonderful post and comments .. every tiny butterfly kiss spreads across the world – Hilary
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Chess, one of 100 objects, Northern Sea Trading Routes, India and Persia … =-.

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stephanie laura March 31, 2010 at 1:14 am

It feels like I’m with my family, as I read through these posts eagerly nodding and smiling, wanting to comment on each and every one! I think the statement “there are no little things” sums up what my life-practice is becoming. I’m discovering that paying attention is why we are here. Strange how this simple twist of AWARENESS (turning into the curve or our deeper presence) actually frees us. We are released from bondage to distraction and preoccupation. Truly paying attention (a revolutionary action) shows us that nothing else EVER exists but THIS, right now. And IT deserves our total focus. Such a way of Being dissolves Time itself. And yet at the same time, it also opens up Space until it becomes clear that everyone and eveything else is already ‘there’. I like Chania Girl’s image of a pebble dropped in water. Ripples. Lovely ripples. Isn’t that just exactly what is happening here?
.-= stephanie laura´s Last Fabulous Post ..WONDERMENT NOW =-.

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Mindful Mimi March 31, 2010 at 3:07 am

OH Lance, I so totally agree with you and you know it. Drops of water and all that 🙂
I love your train of thought and I often have the same way of thinking. When I hear my son use the same adult words I do and I think he can only have learned that from me and that I am surprised at what they pick up although I have read all sorts of reports about that. And it makes me feel guilty, or sad, or afraid that I am not the parent I should be. And then I stop thinking that because little thoughts change things as well and I want to be a happy person and I know I am not perfect and I teach my children that. And my husband tells me that they will ‘hate’ me in adolescence anyway and that that is healthy. So I stop worrying and that little thing changes my life as well.
And your posts, and our exhanges, little drops in the wide ocean. It is nice to know that basically, deep down, we are all the same, with the same fears, guilts etc.
Thanks Lance for sharing.
M
.-= Mindful Mimi´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunday laugh =-.

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 5:07 am

@Tom – I love it, Tom — EVERYTHING COUNTS!! All of it…our thoughts, our actions, everything else…every bit counts in creating our life and the lives of those around us (and even those not near to us, too). Great to have you here, my friend…

@Betsy – Hi Betsy. The word “mindful” is so good here. For me, that ties very much into this thought of awareness too. Being mindful of what we are doing, not only in those big moments but also even the tiniest of moments too, really touches upon how impactful our lives are. And looking back, I agree so much on how the littlest of things have had such a deep and profound impact. Thanks much, Betsy…

@Stacey Shipman – Awareness. The longer I am here on this earth, the more I too believe in just how key that is. I think there’s one thing to be here and “do” (whatever it is we happen to be doing) and another altogether to more fully realize the impact (or maybe really – realize how difficult it can be to fully grasp the impact). Stacey, you have really stated it so well – in being awake to our life. And…to you, awesome friend…your smile brightens my day! And here is mine back to YOU 🙂

@Jay – Hey Jay. I am grinning!! And NOW, here I am…responding to YOUR comment!! The viscious cycle!!!! Ahh….but maybe if in the reading and responding to this, if I am taking something away…it is not so viscious after all! What I am drawn to is the word “million”. As in – our actions – how ever big or small – can have consequences we never ever know about. And there can be so many – and I think that fits so well, too, to how connected we are all on this earth. So…acting out of love…a beautiful place to come from. While there is no way we can fully even grasp how far-reaching our thoughts and actions are, when done with love as a base…we are setting in motion love out from us…and that’s a great thing to send out into the world…

@Nadia – Hi Nadia. I tie the words “conscious” and “aware” together…and I think it makes sense. By being more conscious of our life and our actions (and thoughts), we become more aware of how we are all connected – you, me, everyone. And how what we do can affect others in this world – from those we know, to those we don’t know or have never even seen. It starts with us!! So true…and reminds me of a Gandhi quote: “Be the change you wish to see in this world”. Nadia, you have a beautiful way to touching upon what is truly important in life. Thank you so much for being here…

@Jewel – Hi Jewel! Ahh….the big things that come from seemingly little things. Such a great point! It’s so easy to see something as little, or maybe not even important at all. And the truth is – that little thing could be something really big later on, or to someone else. And that all fits SO well with the idea that there really are no little things. Wonderful thought! And you brighten my day today, Jewel!! I am smiling right back at you, dear friend…

@Vanessa – Thank you, Vanessa! And your smile is contagious!!! I feel lighter and happier as I read your comment today! Great big smiles of love to you, sweet friend!

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 5:38 am

@Juliana – Hi Juliana. Those words (awareness, consciousness, intent) are beautiful words to have in your life. And when we think about how these “little things” can make or break someone else…coming from a place of compassion is one that feels so right. When I think of the word “break”, and how we can affect others – that is very much a place I don’t want to be at – where I have in some way made someone else’s day worse somehow. And yet, I know I have. Perhaps that’s all part of this journey…a deeper understanding into our connectedness with each other. Juliana, thank you so much for sharing here today. 🙂

@Chania Girl – Hi Carla. And the thing about love is that it just feels so good. So, I read your comment today, and the first thing I feel is a stronger bond to you, dear friend. And that is because of how freely you share your love. And in doing that, my day is brightened, and you make this easier for me to share love. So, know too that I love you and your presence in my life. And having you here is a complete joy. The pebble and the ripples it sends out….Carla….you send out beautiful ripples, always. If all of the things we do came from a place of awareness and love…wow, what an even more beautiful place this earth would be. You, amazing friend….are creating wave that are filled with much love and beauty. And that is a wave that today washes over me, and touches me to my soul. Carla, peace and love to you…

@Lady Fi – Thanks much for being here today!

@Joy Tanksley – Hi Joy. What a wonderful addition here today – this idea of how we view the little mistakes/failures in our life. When we look at these with compassion – even when things haven’t gone as expected – and maybe that has also led to hurting someone else in some way – we can see maybe what has caused this, or how we could maybe “be” different in the future. And to your second point: when we witness little (or big, really) things in others and how we perceive them…it can be easy to fall into that trap of “why are they doing that” – and maybe we accuse, or gossip, or avoid, or a myriad of other things. And really, that is taking us away from the compassion that is within our soul…and perhaps it’s in these moments….when we touch upon the human spirit. Easy to say…hard to do… Joy, your comment today is one of those that reaches to the soul…and touches upon really what I think is a beautiful way to live – based upon compassion and love. It is great getting to know you, and having you here sharing in the comments…

@Lynn – Hi Lynn. The story you have shared of your ex-husband is one that rings so deep to exactly what this is all about. A few seconds…a mere few seconds – and look at how it changed things. It’s hard to look at that and say if it was good or bad. Who knows? We never will. And the other thing – because of this – and your husband not returning to school – that set in motion a whole new set if experiences/moments that would never have happened had grad school continued. As well, all the grad school moments didn’t happen – including interactions with professors and students that would have happened had your ex-husband continued on. Wow. While there is no way to know what might have been different…it is just so amazing how seemingly little things ( a few seconds) can make such a difference. Lynn, thank you so much for sharing this story here today – it is just such a true example of how “big” everything is….

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suzen March 31, 2010 at 8:11 am

Hi Lance! Beautifully insightful, my friend! Where did I recently read that life is in the details? Hmmm – yes it is made up of moments, simple present moments – it’s really all so connected, this ripple thing, because we are really all One. It is always easier to see this a la hindsight – how everything we do, every choice we make, affects not only US but others. It’s step one into conscious living!
Hugs
suZen

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Karl Staib - Work Happy Now March 31, 2010 at 9:11 am

When we believe little things don’t matter we stop noticing little things. It’s those little things that can bring us a lot of joy. Sometimes the smallest flower gives me the most joy. It’s tiny struggle to actualize itself is just as important as that huge flower in the field around the corner.

Every interaction is a chance to give joy. If we forget this then life whooshes by without us really appreciating it.

Thanks Lance. I needed this post this morning.
.-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Myth of Discovering Your One True Calling =-.

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord March 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

Lance, this is such a powerful post – from the words you wrote to the image you chose. Wow…!

I really do believe that the little things matter, for all the reasons you stated. With that in mind, while I sometimes get stuck in “autopilot” mode, I remind myself daily to infuse all of my actions with love. That way, even when I do function from autopilot, the energy of love is guiding me subconsciousy, and going out into the world to positively affect others. I’ve found that this loving intention automatically brings a smile to my face more often, or helps me slow down so I’m not rushing, or puts a light & happy skip in my step, which others feel.

Little is the new big (pass it on!). (smile)
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..Being Open To The Moments =-.

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 9:30 am

@Tess – I wonder if sometimes the most challenging arguments we have are with those closest to us. And I suppose that’s because of the emotion that can come with these arguments (whether they seem stupid or not). And what you bring up reminds me of moments within my own marriage and family relationships…and how one small moment by one can affect so many. And what you have shared on how you treat the wait staff when you are visiting a restaurant…Tess, what I draw from this is how a small thing – even just an extra dollar – how meaningful it can be to someone else. And think – because you were generous in your giving…that person may go home after a long day of work…and feel moved to share a kind word, or make a phone call, or who knows what kind of “good”….and it just keeps spreading! And that is all sorts of wonderful!!! (just like YOU!)

@Julie – Hi Julie! What you have shared here today is incredible! There is so much depth and care in all of this – and how we view life, really, through the eyes of awareness. And as we more deeply become connected to our own awareness, life really is experienced more fully. Every moment…every single one…is a gift. Julie, it is a gift for me to be typing this reply to you, right now, and in that I feel a deeper connection to you, and of your presence in my life. You are a dear friend, and I am honored by all that you have shared, and the depth to which it is taking me…

@Caroline – Wishing you safe travels on the journeys in front of you, Caroline. And thanks so much for being here and reading….

@Greg – That’s really it, Greg! And we will never fully realize how these seemingly inconsequential things will somehow affect another…

@Sid – Hey Sid! Great having you here today. You know…that tangent…doesn’t seem like that much of a tangent at all. Looking back (…maybe it’s that whole thing … hindsight is 20/20 ) we can see things that occurred in a whole different light. And how, what seemed small or insignificant, was really something that made a huge impace on our lives. Great thoughts! And thanks much for addding to the conversation…

@Trish – Ha!! Okay…meeting with your husband (…well, and YOU, too!) sounds like fun! In just taking that extra second – which reminds me of something I read in Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits” book – this idea of the time between stimulus and response – if we pause just for even a second – we can become more aware, and respond in a way that is maybe more connecting with who we are, and how we want to reach out to the world.

@Evita – Evita…dear friend…I just want you to know that having you here, and sharing your thoughts on this post is very meaningful to me. I have so often had these thoughts. Where I think: “what is the purpose for me being here” – and maybe even deeper – if I wasn’t at this spot, now, where am I not? Of course, in this great big world and with everything going on – and everyone where they are, right now, for some reason – it is really all just so amazing to me. How this whole sphere of how our life interconnects with everyone else – how we truly are all one…and how things happen…wow. Evita, thank you for being here…

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 10:02 am

@Lana – Thank you Lana! And you are so right – it’s not just the things we do, it really is also our thoughts and our attitude that affect everything. People can feel these, too, and the vibrations we give off are very much noticed (even if we think they are not). Wonderful thoughts to add to this discussion, thank YOU!!!

@Jannie – Jannie! Well…I HAVE had a car accident. Hmmm…actually, there have been a couple. One was very close to what was described – and it was only a minor fender bender. Still, I kept beating myself up (the bruises!!) – on what if…(I had left a few seconds later, I hadn’t been so rushed, I had left five minutes earlier, etc, etc). I really remember thinking about how even just a few seconds would have made a complete difference in that one day. Now – to your camping weekend: Jannie, you are a GIFT! What a wonderful way to not only develop new friendships, but also to really make others feel welcomed and warmly received. I think about this too (as I think I typically fall outside of any clique’s) – and – are they aware of the vibe of “closed off” that they give? And – while I say I am not “clique-ish”, I am sure I have been in these circles…and what have others thought? You know. Do I lack an awareness, sometimes? (I am sure I do) Anyway – Jannie – I mean that very much – you are a gift here (and to so many). What a bright and shining whirlwind of love and joy YOU are!

@Jannie – Hi Jannie!!!!!!!!! (waving enthusiastically)

@Christy – It can all change…with just a few minutes. Really, so hard for me to fully comprehend. And perhaps that is because there is no way of knowing how it all could have been different. And – what impact can we have?? I suppose we may never fully know – and all we can do is what feels “right” in our heart – and be aware the impact we truly do have. Christy, it’s great to meet you, and thanks for joining in the conversation!

@Tim – Hi Tim. Those seemingly “ordinary” moments…moments which really are OUR LIFE. So…maybe these ordinary moments aren’t ordinary at all….each one of them special in some way. The “days of our lives”….and there are many, many magical moments within those days….the days that become our life. Thanks much, Tim! Wonderful, wonderful thoughts today, my friend!

@Joy – Hi Joy. And you do emit such wonderful energy and love out into the world! Unity. It’s something I am very much drawing from your comment. There is a unity amongst us…and when we really let that become what it is possible of becoming – wow!! What a beautiful place to operate from – and what amazing energy that would be spread through our world! Joy, you bring so much of this – and in that – you DO connect with many – uniting this energy for amazing good! Wonderful friend and kindred spirit…thank you for shining your light here today…

@Kimberly – Thanks so much for reading today Kimberly….

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Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker March 31, 2010 at 10:56 am

Lance, if I had never clicked on the link of your name at whatever site I was on when I read the first comment you made that resonated with me, I would never have found you and your blog. Just a little step that lead me to the beautiful, inspiring person that you are. Awareness is so important to our growth and you give me plenty of that.

Another small moment that changed my life: This older lady (older than my mom by several years) sat down behind me in a biology class my second year at a junior college. She smiled and said “Hi.” I shyly said hi back to her. That was the beginning of our friendship.

At the end of that college semester, when I told her I had to leave home to keep my sanity, she offered to take me into her home for the summer and help me get my first job. The rest is history—my first step out of the abuse of incest. God put that lady in my life. I will ever be thankful to Him and to her. I could have found myself out on the streets— hungry, homeless and desperate. I was more afraid of my dad and losing my sanity than I was of becoming a street kid. My entire life could have changed if not for that first “Hi.”
.-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Dysfunctional Childhood =-.

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Trece March 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm

So many comenters have left so many ripples of their own. I like the parallel of Ghandi, and the idea that even a moment makes a difference. What immediately sprang to my mind however, was “Despise not the day of small things”. So many things are begun in a small and simple way, like choosing to smile at a stranger. Or, one of my favorites, gently touching the arm of an overwhelmed mom with a screaming child and telling her, “You’re doing a great job”.
I guess it all comes down to slowing down and paying attention. Thanks, Lance, for the reminder.
.-= Trece´s Last Fabulous Post ..Will this count for Eternity? =-.

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Trece March 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm

(sorry for the spelling error – commenters)
.-= Trece´s Last Fabulous Post ..Will this count for Eternity? =-.

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm

@J.D. Meier – As I read this, what I’m drawn to is that maybe it’s about not only giving up lots of the little decisions, but also in being aware, in our moments, what we are “being”. Hmmm….

@Lisa – Hey Lisa. Maybe it’s like J.D. said up above…that we give up some of the decisions in our life, yet still focus on just being aware of our moments. I see that as a real key to all of this – just in that awareness of our being.

@Hilary – Hi Hilary. Butterfly kisses…a beautiful gift to spread across the world! And that is indeed like the comments here…and how they are touching many (and most definitely me). Thank you, Hilary, for your wonderful support.

@Stephanie – A “family” feel…I like that. What is so wonderful about the comments here is how they are all shared with care and meaning. So…paying attention…and the awareness that comes with that – in the moments of our life – what a truly connecting place to be. And as easy as it is to talk of it here, actually doing this, in our moments…without the deeper presence, so easy to neglect. Ripples…

@Mimi – Oh, Miranda…yes, I do now that you “get” this. So – parenting mode here: I think, as a parent, we have all said or done things in the presence of our children that may not be what we want them to do. And that can lead to feelings of guilt and sadness – thinking of what we might be inadvertently teaching our children – when our awareness “slips”. And it’s a journey, right. Sometimes we are going to do or say things that we may later wish we hadn’t. And yet, I know you, Miranda. I know that you care and love your two boys very much. And I know, as well, that you ARE putting so much good into their young lives…and you are teaching them through your beautiful example of living. Adolescence is an interesting time (we are there!). Your boys will not hate you. They will question more, of that I’m sure. And have their own ideas on life and living. And life will be. Miranda – you are most definitely doing good in these kid’s lives….good that will stay with them. Keep being the awesome mother that you are! And even beyond that – know that I am deeply grateful for your friendship, and that – in this great big ocean in which we all swim – that our pebbles have made ripples for each other…

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm

@Suzen – Hi Suzen. We are One! It’s such a beautiful thought, isn’t it! And if we all embraced this, and let the whole idea soak into our being – just think of how profoundly this could affect us all. Living a conscious life would take on a much deeper meaning…

@Karl – Hey Karl. Well, that’s an excellent point – on how what be believe matters is also what we notice. And if it all matters – EVERYTHING – then we just notice so much more…awareness…in action. So – what are we missing, right? What are we missing, when we let unawareness creep into some of the moments of our life? Karl – this is a deeply thoughtful response, and very much appreciated…

@Megan – You know, Megan…what I witness in you is exactly this – that you are very much in touch with those little things. I have personally experienced this with you, and in that – I feel such a deeper connection to all that you are. And then – to look at this all enveloped in love…wow! And again, this is so exactly what I see in your actions – LOVE. So, Megan – I just want you to know that I see you shine all of this at a part of your being. I am honored to call you a dear friend. And I know that my life has been beautifully impacted by our paths crossing. And…I AM passing this on (little is the new big!). Have a wonderful day, awesome friend!

@Patricia – Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker — Patricia, thank you so much for sharing your story here. Honestly, it gives me chills as I read it, and think about the power of a simple “hi”. What you have shown here is truly that there are no little things…and that everything DOES matter. I am so grateful for you being here today, and really – for you being in my life. Today that takes on even greater meaning to me, as I want you to know that all you have shared here is touching me at my core. It is an honor to walk beside you on this journey…

@Trece – Hi Trece. There really are so many ripples contained here within the comments…ripple of love and care. Thank you for sharing your own here, as well. It really is those small and simple things that can make all the difference…and I think…also show our own compassion and care. In our society…it is so easy to “rush”….when what we really need is to put the brakes on, and really look around…at all that is right here beside us. A wonderful thought….

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Chase March March 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm

That quotation is what started my commonplace book. It is such a powerful thought. I really love it and completely agree that every action has a consequence. Of course, a consequence is not always a bad thing.

This is the first quote to ever go in my commonplace book, which I’ve spun off into its own blog Thoughtful Cacophony. Up until this point, I haven’t seen anyone else featuring this quote of their blog too. Good looking out!

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Jenn March 31, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Lance, this is great and definitely what I have been subconsciously thinking of lately in my life. I was thinking how when someone I don’t know is so gracious and kind to me it just blows me away and I am like wow! Like a cashier the other week at a Walmart store. I don’t forget it and feel immediately reverenced by the sacred of life. OR if someone goes out of the way for me like today I forgot my sushi in the store and this kind person took extra steps as they were heading for their car to come to mine and tell me just as I was realizing I might have left it in there and was double checking. It was small, but to me it was important and I knew that it would bring many smiles to my sweetheart to know he has sushi waiting for him after work! so it was just really neat! I do a lot of small things for others but I think often we forget just how much it ripples out. It has continued to draw me in deeper to be even more polite, kind, considerate of others and go the extra mile. So, that is my experience of what you shared today and why it resonates so much. Thanks for sharing! And Lance, you make a plenty difference here! 😉 my intuition nudges me over here when I need more aligning grace or a bit of fun/humor 😉 take care. ~Jenn
.-= Jenn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Strawberry Shortcake & Tea, Plus Videos & Living Transparently =-.

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Jim Greenwood March 31, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Hi Lance, Thanks for this post. Life is made up of little things (small things, incremental things, tiny things, etc.). Appreciating them is the source of great reward. I think you find everything in the little things – small steps. Perhaps Lato-tuz said it best ….
Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.
.-= Jim Greenwood´s Last Fabulous Post ..Write On – The Value Of Privacy =-.

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What would you do in heaven? March 31, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I can’t agree with you better, Lance. 😉 I am reminded of the book by Malcolm Gladwell as he says “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push — in just the right place — it can be tipped.”
.-= What would you do in heaven?´s Last Fabulous Post ..Your Graduation Day =-.

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Audra Krell March 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Great post, there are no small things. We can sit back and let things happen, or we can live with intention. I love that Jannie made new friends over the weekend. She consciously and with intent, invited new people into her world. And boy are they in for some fun! Lucky them-
Thanks Lance. I appreciate you intentional and truly thoughtful you are. I always say the world could use several more of you!
.-= Audra Krell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Found Art =-.

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Lance March 31, 2010 at 9:35 pm

@Chase – And I love this quote, Chase. So…very awesome it’s in your book! All of our actions definitely have consequences…good or bad. And that’s a good thing for us to remember…which really, I think, goes back to the idea of awareness. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.

@Jenn – Thank you so much for sharing some real and concrete examples from your life. And it just shows that it doesn’t take much to make a real difference…and that these little things really do matter so much. It IS easy to forget how all these little things ripple out (both the good and the bad). Jenn, you are a sweet and caring friend….and it is a gift to have you here. Always. Be well, shiny friend!

@Jim – Hi Jim. There really is so much in the small steps of our lives…more that most realize, I think. And what a great quote you have shared – that really says so much. Thanks for being here and for sharing all you have.

@Jocelyn – Hi Jocelyn. Wow, that is powerful…what you have shared from Malcom Gladwell. There is so much truth in that statement…and it really does take so little to make such change….

@Audra – Audra….sweet friend. It is good to have you here (a visit from you always brightens my day…). And, you know, I think that when we sit back and let things happen to us – that is a choice, too. Probably one with less intention and awareness, but a choice nonetheless. And…I asked my kids (the teenagers…) – they aren’t sold on the idea of more of me!!! Maybe I need to have them talk to YOU!!!!

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Linda @ Self Help April 1, 2010 at 12:28 am

Great article, Lance! Thanks for posting this. I agree with you that small things mean a lot; they exist for a reason. A person’s life is made up of little things, and these little things contribute to a person’s growth. A person tends to overlook or even ignore these small things, but I think that at the end of the day, it’s the small things that make up the large ones.

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Cheryl Paris April 1, 2010 at 2:43 am

Hello Lance,

Very thoughtful and profound post. Everything big or tiny has ripple effect and that is true. If I had not stumbled upon an article on “Confidence” I would not have changed my life and I would have been stuck where I was.
Kudos 🙂 my friend.

Cheers,
Cheryl
.-= Cheryl Paris´s Last Fabulous Post ..How We Grew With An Acorn- N is for… =-.

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Katie West/The Levity Coach April 1, 2010 at 7:06 am

Lance,
I know you know how much I would love this post. 🙂

It feels like the whole spirit of the car dancing thing too….just a little bit makes a difference to make us feel lighter, healthier, holier even. We can convince ourselves that it doesn’t make a difference, but it just isn’t true. It does, it makes all the difference.

And sometimes we cannot know the difference until years later when we look over our shoulder at the path we have walked and we see that small moment as the catalyst for magnificent change.

After all a seed is just a seed until it becomes a flower.

You are dear and this is a perfect post for my day.
Katie

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Laura Neff - Life Leadership Coach April 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

Hi Lance and Everyone!

I just took a huge breath of fulfillment…the community/family/friends/thoughtful folks you gather to you here are just the best! I love reading the comments ALMOST as much as reading your posts, Lance! 🙂

And I *totally* did a happy dance in my seat when I read this entry, because I am a FIRM BELIEVER in the power of our teensy, tiniest of choices. The huge choices in our lives…the ones that define our eras (school, entering/exiting relationships, moving, starting/leaving jobs, etc.)…are so important, but also are so few in comparison to the number of tiny choices we all make every single day. And to me, there’s no such thing as someone who can’t make decisions, because we’re all deciding ALL THE TIME. One key to the ultimate impact of those choices is consciousness, as you so beautifully explore above, and another is self awareness. The more self aware I am, and the more awake I am for my choices (tiny to huge), the more I can choose in alignment with who I am and what fulfills me…and the more I do that, WOOHOO! I learnlearnlearn, and life gets better and better and better!

I could go on and on, but you get the jist. 🙂

Also, has anyone ever seen that old movie with Gwyneth Paltrow called “Sliding Doors”? It’s exactly about this whole topic and is really good, from what I remember! Worth a watch.

Lots of love and huge hugs and so much gratitude, Lance!

Laura

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Zeenat{Positive Provocations} April 1, 2010 at 8:12 am

HI My Friend,
It feels like deja vu just reading this today. More so cause for the very first time i spoke about my love for the ripple effect when Evita asked me those wonderful questions.
I agree withy ou completely on this..adn I love what Megan siad too…Little is the new BIG!
Little loving pebbles that are just put in the pond have a ripple effect too…we just cant see it….but it can certainly be felt…
And being here today…this is exactly what i was supposed to read. This feeling WILL stay with me for a very long time.
Thank you Lance..as always for stirring my soul in the right direction.
Much Love,
Z~
p.s.sorry i came here so late…..was so preoccupied with the flu and compiling the ebook 🙂
.-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s Last Fabulous Post ..To Build A Vibrant Relationship =-.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills April 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Hey Lance, this is such an important point, and you made it so nicely. In reality, most big things are the sum total of lots of little things, A lifetime is nothing more than a whole bunch of seconds all joined together in succession. If we make those seconds count, it adds up to a truly meaningful life.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s Last Fabulous Post ..20 Ways to Create More Time =-.

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Davina April 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Hi Lance.
I had to smile as I saw all the comments and then your avatar dressed in the way that makes you look like you are about to go for a run; taking off on a run to answer all your comments, lol. I enjoyed this piece. It is a great reminder to be aware of the now. I know that sounds cliché, but that’s what it reminded me of.

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Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations April 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

love this Lance. Our minds are on the same wavelength these days. I did a post last week called Little Great Things. The point being that it is the little things that we do for each other that have the greatest impact.

These are the things we remember long after the big things have faded away, those little moments of choice when someone took a second to choose…us.

And how often we can make that choice and make a little difference- that really isn’t so little- for others.
.-= Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s Last Fabulous Post ..Little Great Things =-.

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Patricia April 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

My ride is here – I am going on a silent weekend….I think my awareness will return with the volume turned way up…Thank you for sharing this….important reminders

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Chris Edgar April 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Hi Lance — I think that’s an important reminder — that the difference between big and small things in life is really only in our minds, and we can never be fully sure of how far-reaching the consequences of something we do will be. Thanks for this.

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Jarrod @ Optimistic Journey April 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm

This reminds me about the choices we make. Sometimes it’s easy to put ourselves first. Like yo said you could have went out for a run or made breakfast but you chose to sit down and write an article that would help so many other people. Our choices in life have more than an impact on us but on others as well.

Great article, thanks for sharing!

Jarrod

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Lance April 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

@Linda – Thanks much, Linda. The small things….they exist for a reason. How true! And I love that thought. And it really is the series of small events that lead us to the bigger things. So interesting….to really think about how we have led ourselves up to these bigger events – and to see what a large role all the very tiny thing had…

@Cheryl – Hi Cheryl. What you have shared is really a powerful and uplifting story! And that also reminds me, that in the gifts each of us share – we never fully know the impact they may have. What a beautiful reason for putting out into the world the light that is in our hearts…

@Katie – Katie. Would you believe that I thought of you, as I was writing this? (I did) And of the car dancing movement, too. And to that – not even so much the whole video that was created – more that just the little things we do (like a few arm movements at a stoplight – and how that can be a very positive or a very negative vibe that we send out). A few seconds. How will we use them? For good? For other? The choice IS ours. And…just so you know…you are a lovely blooming spring flower! …and…I am happy our paths have crossed – that, too, was some small chance thing happening out there in this great big world.

@Laura – Hi Laura. You know…I have to agree with you – the comments here from all these amazing people just really give such life to the post. What a beautiful thing! Today, I’m thinking a bit more about those bigger choices in our life. And I keep coming back to the idea that, as big as they are – we have gotten to these choices because of all the small (teensy) choices along the way. And I agree wholeheartedly about that we all make choices ALL THE TIME. Even when we do nothing – that IS a choice, too. And being in alignment – thank you, Laura, for bringing that up. I really see this as a gift that you help people with – is this idea of getting more aligned with who we are – and that very much involved a deeper awareness in our being. (…and I DO get the jist…you have shared so beautifully, my friend) The movie: I am not familiar with it – sound like a great one to check out!! Laura, it is so good knowing you! Love and hugs to you, dear friend…

@Zeenat – Zeenat, dear friend. It is so good to share this “ripple” with you today. (and what a wonderful interview at Evita’s site!) And when we have love behind this “little pebbles” of our life…what a beautiful way to really connect our moments to our hearts. Much love to you, sweet friend…

@Jonathan – Hi Jonathan. And yes…I completely agree. How have we reached these bigger things in our life?? From the small things along the way that have taken us on this journey we are on. And I love how you have summarized life as a series of seconds. In that – it really is the choices we make, in those seconds, that make such a difference…so little….and yet so far-reaching…

@Davina – Hi Davina. Hmmm….and I probably SHOULD go out for that run!! (and I will this weekend…I promise!) Today…I am running through the comments (…or maybe “meandering” might be a better term…). Being aware of the now…maybe it is cliche. It still does fit so well, though. And I like it!!

@Wendi – Hey Wendi. Gosh, I missed that piece of yours! Being on the same wavelength as you, though…that is pretty great! The big moments probably stick with us to some degree…the details possibly fading away. Those little things…the one that touch us deeply…they last. And they are not big or extravagant. They are just shared from a place of great meaning…and that stays with us because it touches our heart. Wendi…I want you to know that you have made a beautiful difference in my life…your being here…your writing…your caring…

@Patricia – Enjoy the silent weekend, Patricia. And moments like that are a great way to really bring our own awareness back into the forefront. That is a wonderful place to be!

@Chris Edgar – Hi Chris. That’s such a great way of looking at this. If we can really get into our heads, and convince our brains that everything matters, and that everything is indeed big….how might that change how we go through our days? I think this could be profound. Wonderful, wonderful thoughts!

@Jarrod – You are so “right on”, Jarrod. What we do, the choice we make…they don’t affect just us. They can affect many, many people. And really alter the course of the future by what we are about to do now. That’s pretty deep stuff, really. To think about how our actions can be so far-reaching, and affect so many …today…and into the future…. It’s great to have you here today!

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scheng1 April 2, 2010 at 7:52 am

Agree. On the same note, I would say that all words are powerful. Even when we jokingly say that someone is “stupid”, that remark will stay in the head of the person forever.
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to spend less without being miserable by Richard Templar =-.

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scheng1 April 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

I think the same applies to words, written and spoken. A single word can bring hope, joy, happiness and grief to the listener. “Yes” and “No” are not “little things” either.
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to spend less without being miserable by Richard Templar =-.

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Lance April 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

@Scheng1 – Our words, little that they may be…can be used for much good or much bad…all in what we say and how we say it. Just a few words can do so much. Great thoughts and important points to remember….

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vikum April 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Hi Lance,
An excellent post. You have illustrated it simply, clearly and cleverly. Things we think to be simple, creates ripples of action and finally they change the world even. In the end, when we turn back , we see there are no little things.
So I think we must take, even the smallest actions, that we can, to make a world a better place. Because those actions will continue to grow and make a difference since there are no little things.
Cheers !
.-= vikum´s Last Fabulous Post ..That will put you ahead =-.

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Deb Dorchak April 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@Lance: No little things indeed! All those little things add up to big things!
.-= Deb Dorchak´s Last Fabulous Post ..Writing Kata =-.

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Nate Chastain April 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

This is a really eloquent expression of a point that I’ve been trying every time I have to convince certain people of time management’s value. Very few lifetime goals are accomplished in one sitting: in order to be accomplished, they need to be broken down into what’s required on a daily and weekly basis.

EX: If you want to run in the Boston Marathon, you should run 6-10 miles in on the treadmill or outside, daily. If you need to miss one of these running sessions for whatever reason, at least you recognize that it (on a very minor scale) puts your lifetime goal in jeopardy. Realizing how your actions affect or contribute to your goals can really help you make informed decisions about how you should be spending your time.

I also like that you mention the reality that each of our “little things” can affect others MAJORLY.
One way to improve the lives of others is to dedicate yourself to charity and charitable purposes.
Another way, and something that’s often overlooked, is to focus on spending your time achieving your goals. It is NOT selfish to spend all of your time playing the guitar if your life goal is to become a musician. People will either benefit from the music you produce (I really believe that some bands have influenced my life with their music) or, in a very subtle way:

Here’s my food for thought: Most of the injustices in the world are committed by unhappy people. Work on making yourself happy without doing mental or physical harm to others and without breaking any laws, and you’ll actually be doing society a service. You may even inspire those around you to be happier people or seek a lifestyle that brings them more happiness.

On the surface, this article appears to be about psychology, but I think there’s a lot of time management advice buried within it. If you or any of your readers want any help getting started with a comprehensive time management system, I founded a time management consulting company that might interest you. I’ve only had this as my full-time job for a few months, and I don’t feel comfortable charging a fixed price yet so, at the completion of the 30-day program, clients pay me whatever they feel the service was worth. You can reach me at nate [at] cumalu.com if you want to discuss this further.

I apologize if that last paragraph is misinterpreted as spam. I just see a lot of people wrestling with issues that a time management might solve, and I wanted to invite you to consider getting involved a program like this.

I really enjoyed reading this article.

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Betsy Henry (zen-mama.com) April 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I totally agree with you. I love this quote: “If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves.”-R. Reese

Isn’t amazing how life works and how one thing leads to another? I’m constantly surprised and amazed! I’d love it if you’d read my post the power of a smile: http://www.zen-mama.com/www.zen-mama.com/Zen_Mamas_Blog/Entries/2009/9/11_The_Power_of_A_Smile.html

Thanks, Lance, for the positive inspiration!!

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Farnoosh April 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

“There are no little things” is definitely interesting – I think surely that the little things in life that make a big difference are not so little, because quite obviously they have such a great impact in our life but then there are, in one way of thinking about it, “little things” such as the small stuff over which we make a fuss – that is the stuff we should consider little and inconsequential in the grand scheme of life itself….Anyway I really enjoyed reading the articulation of the thought here….great job as always, Lance!

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elegantnodes April 2, 2010 at 10:03 pm

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Lance April 3, 2010 at 5:52 am

@Vikum – Hi Vikum. Yes, we DO change the world…each one of us. And in ways we will never fully see or understand. And that really does show just how truly big all these little things can be. Great to have you here today!

@Deb – Yes…yes, they sure do add up to big things, don’t they! Thanks much for being here Deb!

@Nate – I think you bring up a very great point. When we are doing those things which bring us joy, which make us happy, we are touching upon a deeper part of our soul. So, if we really are focusing on our goals (and they are goals that are spoken from the heart), then we are very much shining our ligth out into the world, in small ways and big. And if it is all very much a passion for us, others can sense that – which is something that might seem so small…and yet can have such a beautiful impact. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts on all of this.

@Betsy – Hi Betsy. Wow, I LOVE the quote you have shared! And yes…life is pretty amazing – especially when you think of all the events that took place to get us where we are today!

@Farnoosh – Hi Farnoosh! It’s great having you here today!! Yes, all these little things, things we might think as inconsequential – DO make a difference. Even taking the time to walk back into the house and grab something you forgot – because it has now changed completely the interactions that will happen after that. Wow!! Every time I think of this, it’s just so amazing to me. And…Farnoosh, I want to thank you, as well for taking this a step further. You bring up such a great point – that there is much “little” stuff that we just put way too much focus on, and in the grand scheme of our life (and the lives of those around us) that just do not matter. Thanks again, and it is wonderful to have you here!

@Elegantnodes – Thanks much for stopping by.

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Lisa (mommymystic) April 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Wonderful Lance! This made me think of a children’s book I read recently called The Three Questions, by Jon Muth. In it, a little boy asks three questions, ‘What is the best time to do things?’, ‘Who is the most important one?’ and ‘What is the right thing to do?’ As he is wandering through the forest contemplating these things, there is a big storm, and he ends up finding a hurt panda bear and helps the bear, only to discover she is missing her cub, so he goes out and find the lost cub and reunites him with his mother. And the whole idea is that he gets the answers to all his questions, because he was in exactly the right place at the right time, and paying attention to the most important person in that moment (the panda in need) and acted from his heart to help the panda which was the right thing.

Not sure that all came across as well as it does in the book, but the basic idea is that as long as we are open in the moment, and living from our hearts, the moment, and our choices in each moment, will always be exactly right.
.-= Lisa (mommymystic)´s Last Fabulous Post ..Mandalas, Mandalas, Mandalas =-.

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Laura Hegfield April 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I haven’t dropped by in a while Lance, as I have been engaged with many “little things” in my life…each one opening my heart, mind, ears and eyes to new awarenesses (even old things becoming new through clearer seeing…I hope)….anyway…I am so, so, SOOOOOO pleased to have stopped by to read this…I believe this to be so essential…paying attention to the little things, the small blessings and opportunities to connect, to respond with more compassion, to smile and giggle and shed tears when something reaches deeply into our hearts (my heart).

such a beautiful post Lance. thank you.
.-= Laura Hegfield´s Last Fabulous Post .."There is no freedom without awe"~Heschel =-.

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Lance April 3, 2010 at 9:09 pm

@Lisa – Hi Lisa! This book sounds wonderful! And – I think you have done a beautiful job of summarizing what it’s all about ( I very much get the idea of what it is all about). Being in the moment and aware is really about recognizing what is going within us and around us – and “knowing” in our heart what we can do (and then being aware enough to do just that). Lisa, thank you. It’s sometimes in just a simple children’s book that wonderful lessons can come for us all.

@Laura Hegfield – It is great to have you here, Laura. And this is wonderful to read, about the many little things that have been happening in your life. Reaching deep in our hearts….this is such a beautiful place to “be”. And Laura, I see this so much in you. Peace and love, dear friend…

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Natalia Burleson April 4, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi Lance!
Very thought provoking post. So true. This is so important to remember. There are no little things! Great post Lance!

Hope that you are enjoying your Easter with the family!!!

Natalia

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Lance April 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Hi Natalia,
Everything matters. And you know…it’s easy for me to forget that, and to just let some of the routine things happen on auto pilot. Still, when we really think about it….even these things matter, and can be life changing…without us even realizing it. Thanks so much for being here, Natalia! And YES, we are having a wonderful Easter…and just sent our oldest child off on a school band trip…to Disney World! (you probably know where that is, huh!). Happy Easter to you and your family!

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Angelia Sims April 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm

When I first “met” you online. I thought how crazy it was where you lived and where my former company’s home office was. A little part of me wished I still worked for them, in case I might travel your way to the home office.

Never in my wildest dreams did it seem possible. For me there is no doubt finding your blog was truly a little thing. A little thing that would change my life and my thinking forever.

Your positiveness and upside thinking, your amazing commenters and blogger friends. ALL play such a big movement in my heart to always strive for the better. It gave me hope from day one and continues to do so.

I am so glad you write and share your blog, to reflect, and to grow. The little things are amazing!
.-= Angelia Sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Bunny Grinch that Stole Easter =-.

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Jodi at Joy Discovered April 5, 2010 at 9:38 am

Hi Lance!
Wonderful topic and I love all of your thoughts about it. I think when we go through life believing there are no little things, we are better people and the world becomes a better place.
Hope you are well!! Best, Jodi
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Origin of Fear =-.

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Lance April 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm

@Angelia – Hey Angelia. It has been a complete pleasure to “meet” you here (and on your site)! And seeing you in the mall, and in your car, and just picturing you with your kids! All so, so wonderful! And it’s what also amazes me – how easy it could have been for our paths to have never crossed. Because they have, though, we are meeting in so many ways! It’s so good to know you, dear friend…

@Jodi – Hi Jodi! Yes! When we see EVERYTHING as something much bigger – I think we do look at the world a little differently – and in a way that is more focused on compassion and care. And that most definitely makes our world a better place. Jodi – YOU make our world better…and I am so honored to know you!

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Farnoosh - Prolific Living April 15, 2010 at 4:41 am

Lance, I play this game with my husband about what my life would have bee if my parents had never returned to Iran from the US before having me (my mom was 2 months from delivering me)….and I draw up these beautiful scenarios and possibilities – and he tells me it is IMPOSSIBLE to even guess remotely how it could have been because every action leads to the next event and changing a single action in the past could have led to just as many good things (what I like to think it would have) to as many other not-so-good things. Sometimes it’s hard to shake the mistakes we made and how we should’ve done otherwise….but alas, who knows what else could have happened if those mistakes were not made. Thanks for such great philosophy (at the crack of dawn for me too :))!

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Lance April 15, 2010 at 5:30 am

Farnoosh,
And that is really it – every little action in our life can completely alter how everything is shaped going forward. And – we’ll never know how things may have been different. We can think sometimes of how things may have been if different choices had been made….although the real truth is – that we never know exactly how that all could have turned out – because of every little action of ours – and how it does affect us. Farnoosh, it’s great to have you here, and at the crack of dawn, too!! You are most welcome in this space any hour of any day!

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Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 17, 2010 at 2:44 am

I think there is a level where everything is as you say it is but there is also another level where actions are small as in useless like sitting around watching TV instead of going for a run. You’re right though every action does affect us and karma will bring that back to us.
.-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s Last Fabulous Post ..Tabata Intervals : Day 30 (Post Mortem) =-.

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jen July 10, 2010 at 7:44 am

I just realized this was here…wow! Thank you. Great Post!

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Emergefit December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Sharing this Lance, http://contemplativefitness.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/from-many-fingerprints-comes-a-tribesman/. Not because I want to prop up my blog (way too late on the comments for that), but because I want to share that we are thinking similarly — yet again — the universe works, yes…?

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Lance Ekum December 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Yes….the Universe works in some pretty amazing ways…

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