This is a very personal story.
Last year in Colombia I had the chance to visit my godmother. Finding by surprise at her place one of the first “art projects” I ever did back in high school (that I had gifted her).
We were supposed to develop and present any art project of our choice that we had worked on and created over our last year at school. Feeling cocky about my skills at the time I decided to postpone it until the end, knowing I could pull off something decent within a week of the presentation.
However, I completely forgot about it until one day before it was due. Upon calling my friends I realized that they had all been working hard on some pretty cool stuff… and I had NOTHING! NADA! After freaking out for a moment I decided to look through all the notebooks I had from the all previous years and started desperately cutting out all the doodles I had done while bored in class (which happened to be a lot!)
Long story short, I bought a big piece of cardboard, pasted all the doodles and started filling in the white spaces with more doodles, trying to make it look like a deliberate piece of work in a rush to get whatever ready.
Once it was done I named it “NEVERMIND!” framed it and presented it…
Not bad! (I thought) Hundreds of extremely detailed little stories all over the place, an inner journey through the evolution of my doodles and what had been in my mind all those years. Yet I was overridden by an uncomfortable sense of mediocrity for what had just happened.
We underestimate what can be accomplished with the power of habit and investing a little bit of time everyday towards something we want. I’m definitely guilty of this myself, to a massive extent sometimes. We have been geared to want instant gratification in everything we do and we have forgotten the power of discipline and patience. We freak out because we’re not millionaires in our twenties, married with kids by our thirties, with a retirement plan by our forties, etc. and we give up on some of those dreams because they will take too long. We forget that to build a castle we have to lay down a thousand bricks, one by one, and after placing the first 20 we realize it doesn’t look like a castle so we quit.
I procrastinated my way into this serendipitous lesson when I was 16, but I surely don’t want to turn 60 and have to look through my life anxiously scrapping the doodles of whatever I might find left, having to put a mediocre compilation of memories and accomplishments, and fill the empty spaces with something meaningless just to end up saying: Nevermind, not bad!
No, not for me.
And I know you want it too.
Well, we’re bombarded with thousands of motivational videos and pictures, endless quotes about aiming for the stars, about conquering not ourselves but the world! about creating massive fortunes and posting endless sunsets at the beach pictures on Instagram. What happens then is that we get really pumped up about what’s possible, without a clue of what our next step is. The image we paint seems so big that we freeze not knowing where to start… and therefore we don’t.
If we could only see the small things in the same way, imagine what we could achieve! If instead of having the media bombard us with how extraordinary things have to be (sex, money, friends, knowledge, etc) we were able to have the same love and passion for the small stuff.
Love your house and take care of it!
Take out the garbage!
Clean up your dishes!
Love that good night and good morning kiss!
Call a friend!
Say Hi to your neighbour!
Forgive your parents!
And so on.. something like writing a love note, would soon turn to a paragraph, to couple of pages and then into a book. Most overnight successes took a really long time and that’s what we forget, we put passion and drive and motivation towards the really BIG and AWE-INSPIRING things forgetting that it is the small bits and pieces that make the difference.
For a Woody-Allen movie type of romantic, passionate and inspiring relationship:
Go outside. Say Hi. Be curious. Listen. Share. Be present. Kiss first. Kiss often. Invite him/her for a walk. Kiss goodnight. Kiss good morning. Prepare breakfast. Cuddle in bed. Smile. Have great sex. Have more sex. Kiss goodbye. Meet again. Be there. Open up. Love.
It’s really in the small things…
PS: If you enjoyed reading this and feel that perhaps someone in your life is freezing like a deer in the headlights by looking at the big picture, REMIND them that it’s the small things that count by sharing this 😉
PPS: Here’s the “Art” work I talked about
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