Very often it is the small and simple, even commonplace tasks and decisions … that have the greatest positive effect on our lives. In most cases those simple decisions also affect the lives of others and even things of the world that so often relates to where we are today in life.
Former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana wrote: “The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds and thousands of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.”
Those “seemingly insignificant” private decisions include:
- how we use our time,
- what we say to others,
- what we do for exercise,
- what we read,
- what food we choose to consume during the day,
- what we seek for entertainment and leisure time,
- how we apply our commitment to be honest and truthful,
- and being civil and cheerful in our personal interactions.
None of these desirable small and simple things will lift us to great things unless they are practiced consistently and continuously. I believe that our lives are made up of little, simple circumstances that amount to a great deal when they are brought together. And those circumstances sum up our entire lives.
In 2004, I decided to change my career and go into helping hospitals for children and their doctors drive new income streams. It all started with a small and simple question: “Will you come and help us with one of our programs, since you have miracle girls?” At the time, I was thinking, “Well I have a lot of things going on right now, but I will do whatever I can to help kids and their families.” We have six children, with two sets of twins in the mix, and both sets were born premature. Our second set of twins were girls, and they were born at 28.5 weeks at 1 lb 12 oz and 1 lb 14 oz. When you’ve held a child that small, it changes your perspective on life. I decided to head the offer and help out, and so I started on a journey in healthcare that has now lasted 15 years.
From that small and simple question, and the many small decisions made along the way, we were able to generate over $1.3 Billion in healthcare for children. That legacy continues on today as we come up with programs to take out to the people in the form of better healthcare options at my company Rx2Live (#Rx2Live).
Small and simple things can also be negative and destructive to our progress. Like weak fibers that form a yarn, then a strand, and finally a rope, these small things combined together can become too strong to be broken. We must always be aware of the power that the small and simple things can have in building a better life. At the same time, we must be aware that others may use small and simple things to lead us into despair and misery, if we are not careful.
Failing to do the small and simple things can cause wavering faith, hope is crushed, and progress towards the goal is first put on hold – and then begins to unravel. Seeking after prosperity and winning as a team, is replaced with personal agendas and ill-guided ambitions. Soon, everything we had hoped and planned for can begin to be undermined and unravel very quickly.
I remember reading a plaque on a wall when I was a teenager that read: “Be not weary in well-doing, for you are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceeds that which is great.” Our job is to recognize that we actually are laying the foundation of something big, something important, each and every day that we wake up. It could be for us personally, for our family, for our friends and loved ones, even for our community, country, and our company.
A few years back, I wrote down what I believe are 30 Traits of Leaders, and although several of these fit our discussion today, here is one that I’ll share:
Leaders possess a winning, positive attitude and are not afraid to make decisions.
Having a winning, positive attitude is a simple choice. Choosing to decide which path to take is also the right of every one of us. The challenge becomes – making the decision quickly and being committed to see it through, verses taking forever to decide on something, and then changing your mind easily. Have a committed heart and choose to stay committed – even when it gets tough, or when others may disagree with you.
When it comes to your health, the small and simple things you do each day make a big difference – both short and long term. What you eat matters. How often you exercise matters. Your personal hygiene matters. The supplements you take matters.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) further clarifies by specifying that activity must be at least 10 minutes in duration to be effective. So, whatever you choose to do, do it for at least that long!
One of the goals for this discussion is to educate and encourage you to get moving! Whether it’s in 10 minute, 20 minute, or longer chunks, any exercise you do is a building block leading to a fitter, healthier you.
Experienced fitness professionals understand that developing active lifestyle habits/behaviors (i.e. exercising regularly) takes time, flexibility, and effort. The pathway to improved fitness is usually filled with a combination of successes and setbacks. However, be aware that as your fitness improves a fortunate and timely transition usually coincides: you will freely choose to participate in more physical activities. Having the option to, and then freely choosing more physical activities in your day may be the greatest benefit of improved fitness.
Yes, a short workout of 10-20 minutes matters. Any and every bout of physical activity/exercise contributes to a fitter, healthier – and, very likely, happier – you!
As you go about your day, realize that those seemingly insignificant decisions or acts that you make are actually making up the sum of your life. The small and simple things matter, and they add up over the years. The kind act…the action you take when others don’t…the phone call you make…the letter/email/text that you write…the smile you offer – all make a difference. They may just make a huge difference in your own life, and in the lives of others!
Brian Hazelgren is an American business leader, motivational speaker, author, and father. Brian is the CEO of RX2Live – a medical services company dedicated to helping people find their optimal health and helping businesses to grow! You can reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can also visit Brian’s personal website at www.brianhazelgren.com. #Rx2Live.