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“If you take care of the small things, the big things…” (Great Work quote)

“If you take care of the small things, the big things…” (Great Work quote)

“If you take care of the small things,
the big things take care of themselves.
You can gain more control over your life by
paying closer attention to the little things.”
~ Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

I spent much of my English degree writing bad facsimiles of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. My attempts were short and with lots of dashes – but sadly, they lacked her ability to capture the essence of things so wonderfully.

I’ve been playing with paradox recently – some deep paradoxes live at the heart of Great Work – and I think this is one of them.

I agree with “don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff.”

And I agree with this too.

Worry and don’t worry about the small stuff.

Worry and don’t worry about the big stuff.

Mainly, I think, don’t worry.

3 Responses to “If you take care of the small things, the big things…” (Great Work quote)

  • Joe

    “don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff.”

    So, basically, what that statement implies is “…the details don’t matter…”

    If there is a five, ten, or fifty step procedure and any one of the steps is left out, either by the step not being correctly relayed/transcribed or skipped by the person performing the procedure, everything will still work correctly. Is that the gist of it?

    If you call 911, and the dispatcher or EMT gets your address off by one or two numbers, or a North or South, etc., there should be no concern about that “small” stuff?

    • Michael Bungay Stanier

      Joe – point well made. “devil’s in the details” vs “don’t sweat the small stuff”

      It’s knowing which one of those matters in the circumstances, I guess.

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