HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsBig things are a sum of small things

Big things are a sum of small things


AS 2020 comes to a close, I will share with you some pieces I have written over the years that will stimulate you and position you for victory getting into 2021.


Today’s piece was originally published by NewsDay on Saturday July 6, 2013 titled small things matter. I have added some new lessons in it but the original import remains. As you finalise your new year resolutions or fine tune your strategic life plan, consider it please. From the date of first publication, how have you fared?

The 2013 Instalment reads. Some months ago I was in a supermarket and wanted to pay the cents part of my bill using South African currency, the rand at the prevailing exchange rate.

The till operator told me that they didn’t value the coins at the same rate they did for notes. For example if R100 note converts to $12, they would convert R5 coin to $0,50 which is a skewed exchange rate. According to this scenario R100 in coins will not add up to $12.

I asked the till operator if she had a child to which she applied in the affirmative. I further asked her if she regarded that child as a person or she will do so when the child attained majority age. To cut long story short, dollars are made up of cents and children grow up to be adults and are people even at a young age. Big things are a sum total of small things.

My message today was birthed out of this supermarket experience. I began to wonder how much in life we ignore and brush aside the small matters that are the components of the big thing. Sometimes we are brought down by the little things that we fail to deal with while we focus at the so called bigger picture. The bigger picture cannot be perfect if the minute details are imperfect.

It is wise to be able to start counting from one. If you remove all the small pieces that make up the big thing, you will be left with nothing. Learn to appreciate the individual power of each component in the sum total. Pay attention to detail; the small things inside the big thing matter. They are the essence and substance of that great thing. Dollars are made up of cents or in elementary commerce you learnt the rule; take care of cents and dollars will take care of themselves.

Do yourself favour by avoiding big things if you have not yet mustered the art of handling small things. The principle is that if you succeed in handling small things you will be promoted to manage big things. Don’t expect a higher level before you pass at the lower level.

Jesus says in Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” If you are faithful and sincere in managing a small portfolio, God will trust you with a larger enterprise.

If you cannot manage one dollar you should not expect a million dollars. Don’t expect to supervise a whole department, company, ward, constituency or country if you cannot supervise yourself.

I have lived to see people falling from great heights because of small things that they did not address. There are people that bite more than they can chew only to be choked. They eventually spit it out thus incurring losses.

Some people try to make too stretched strides that they end up failing to walk. Don’t try to make the quantum leap without paying attention to the little things in your life. Eli Stanley Jones concludes, “We grow small trying to be great.” Become great by attending to the small things in your life. Many successful companies are thriving on small margins. They capitalise on volumes. You don’t need a shovel to use up a packet of sugar; a teaspoon can do it.

God will add to and multiply the small things you do. Failure is not due to the fact that we face complex issues but because we don’t address the small things in the complex matrix.

Greatness should be a progression through a series of victory in small battles. You know people that despised the life in the ghetto, the small cars or the local secondary schools. They ended up failing to sustain the life at the top and sheepishly returned to ground zero. If you skipped the necessary procedures and processes and you are now shaking there at the top, start now to address those small things. Maybe nepotism got you the job without the relevant qualifications, humble yourself and learn from your juniors and enrol for further studies.

Stardom is born out of the few minutes you set apart per day for your devotion and exercise. You don’t just wake up great. If you systematically and intentionally work on the small things, you will grow into greatness. Greatness isn’t competition with neighbour but measurement of your performance against your capacity.

Ronaldo (Ronaldinho) de Assis Moreira, the Brazilian soccer star understood this concept. He said, “No matter who you are it’s the simple things in life that lead you to believe that you can achieve anything.” Ants, which are not as advanced and sophisticated as you are, build hills one step at a time, bit by bit.

The small things matter and are the ingredients of greatness and stardom. Undertake the small tasks and leave the great things to your great, mighty and awesome God. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.

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