"In a major matter no details are small."
- Paul De Gondi
This column from Andrew Malcolm is great. Why? I'LL TELL YOU...
Some things, which might in some ways be considered self-evident truths or readily apparent facts, tend to slip our notice. Perhaps you don't take New Year's resolutions too seriously, but a lot of people see them as a jumping off point, a chance to make a psychological break with a past behavior and adopt a new one. But in so doing some seemingly obvious truths tend to pass beneath notice for a great number of people.
The problem, according to psychological research, is that most of us focus only on the results of the resolution. Yes, we’d like to lose weight. Yes, we’d like to eat healthier. Yes, we’d like to work out regularly.
But we skip concentrating on the most important part: The process of that change. If we don’t consciously change the behavior that leads to the bad result, we’ll never achieve the good result.
So, instead of focusing on losing weight, for instance, resolve to wake earlier, eat a lighter breakfast and work out.
The devil is in the details. And it is details, steps, the actual process of doing something, that people forget about. Or simply don't properly consider or weigh.
Perspective, you see, is almost everything, when you decide to act. I can't tell you how many writers I know who don't understand this. As an editor, I have seen dozens of potentially great bloggers, commentators, pundits, or columnists trip over the first obstacle and never recover. They don't take the steps to write.
Next time you sit down to do something, focus on the first detail, not the overall task. This is obvious advice most of us (non-millennials) have heard a million times in a million contexts, and maybe even advice you've given to others. But the other things that tend to slip our notice are things we already know.
Which is why we need reminders. Which is why Andrew Malcolm's column is great.
See? Wrapped it up in a bow for you.
Now, go sit down and figure out what you have to do first, not what you want to achieve. Step one is to think about steps one and two and three...
For you millennials: You've probably been told your whole life to keep your eyes on the prize, to follow your dreams and think big and want it more and yadda yadda yadda. Think small for a minute. It might change your life. Or at least your new year.