Little Things Make a Big Difference by Gary Eby

Gary EbyThis is so powerful!  Bruce Barton once said… “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things… I am tempted to think… there are no little things.” There was once a ship that would never sink. It could never sink! We all know that ship as the Titanic! On that fateful night… as the rich and famous enjoyed their palatial surroundings… something awful happened! The unthinkable… the unimaginable… happened. Of course we all know the story. The ship hit an iceberg. But now… as the great Paul Harvey would say… the rest of the story. The Titanic was designed to be the greatest achievement of an era of prosperity, propriety, and confidence. It was 883 feet long… that’s 1/6 of a mile, 92 feet wide and weighed 46,328 tons. She was 104 feet tall… 35 feet of that was below the waterline. She stood taller above the water than most buildings of the time.  NULL

This ship was huge but little things doomed her. On the night of April 14, wireless operator Phillips was extremely busy sending numerous… meaningless… passenger’s messages to Cape Race, Newfoundland, so, they in turn could be relayed inland to friends and relatives. He received six ice-warnings that night, but didn’t realize how close Titanic was to the position of the warning, and he put that sixth message under a paperweight at his elbow. It never reached Captain Smith or the officer on the bridge. But that’s just a “little thing.” The White Star Line employed professional lookouts… seamen specially trained for the job. Binoculars were absolutely essential to their task. Unfortunately, the binoculars employed during the sea trials on April 2, were apparently misplaced between that time of the trials and the actual sailing. Using only the naked eye, lookout, Frederick Fleet, did not see the iceberg until it was a mere 500 yards ahead, only 37 seconds from impact. But not having binoculars was just a “little thing.” This “unsinkable ship had 16 water tight compartments. It was determined that four of them could be punctured without the ship going down. And that would NEVER happen. But when they hit the iceberg the 5th seal was punctured. It only had a little hole… about the size of an icebox. That’s just a “little thing.” This was a 46 ton vessel! Yet, history tells us these little things… all put together sank the biggest cruise liner in the world! During that night of terror and tragedy… and heroism, 705 lives were saved, and 1502 lives were lost… because of “little things.” Little things make a big difference! Termites are little, but given time, they can eat an entire house. A match is a “little thing” but it can burn and destroy an entire forest. The tongue is a little thing but life and death are in the power of the tongue.

“Little things” can destroy a business, a marriage… and a life. But, little things can also turn a life around!

The difference between a million dollar horse and a hundred thousand dollar horse could be one inch. Can you imagine the difference in value in the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the runner up? The winner is probably worth 50 times as much. In reality, is he fifty times better? Absolutely not! A ‘little’ better makes a lot of difference. When Muhammad Ali won the Heavyweight championship for the first time the radio reports rang out “Last night Muhammad Ali became the greatest champion of all time.” That was way off. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he wasn’t a great champion. The phrase I’m debating is “last night!” You see, he did not become heavyweight champion on that particular night. He was “CROWNED” heavyweight champion on that particular night. He became champion months and months and months ago! He became champion when he got out of bed and did 100’s of miles of roadwork. He became champion when he pounded the punching bag for what seemed like an eternity. He became champion spending day after day in the gym sparing and jumping rope. It was years of paying attention to the “little things” that finally paid off that particular night.

By and large, success and failure are big doors that swing on small hinges. Little things.

Little things make or break a career. Little things like being on time. Little things like pressing your shirt or blouse. Little things like remembering a client’s name. Little things like reading a good book instead of watching a sit-com repeat for the 3rd time. Little things like watching your language and guarding your tongue. Little things like going the extra mile and giving more than is expected. Little things make or break a family. Little things like saying “I love you!” Little things like going to a soccer game instead of playing golf for the 4th week in a row. Little things like going to the third grade play. Little things like building a playhouse. Little things like “taking” the kids to church rather than “sending” them. Little things like flowers, a surprise date night, or a “singing telegram”… delivered by you! Yes… it’s the little things that make a difference. This is so powerful! Little things can make a big difference. Our choice of words can be so important. It’s like this old boy who had to explain to his six-year-old son, “When you talk to the neighbors, just say your aunt likes to crochet … Don’t call her the happy hooker.” Yes, little things make a big difference.


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