“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort.” – Humphry Davy
It is tempting to look upon our lives in terms of great achievements, milestones reached or heroic efforts to secure some lofty goal or ideal. However in reality life is just not like that. Yes there will be the occasional really big moment here and there but our lives are really made up of a long series of seemingly inconsequential events. Yet it is these moments which make up the majority of our lives so we should pay them more attention.
Taking the time to smile, to say “please” and “thank-you” and to be polite to others might be little things but they are also things which serve to brighten up the lives of others and you can do this at absolutely no personal cost to yourself.
I found another example which illustrated how it is the smaller and less significant events in our lives which can be more important than we give them credit for when I read a newspaper report titled: “The top five regrets of the dying” and I was struck at how ordinary the things on that list were. The top five regrets were as follows:
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
These regrets are all very telling especially the first one. Your life is your own and nobody else’s so it follows that you should be true to yourself. There is a huge difference in being true to yourself while respecting the lives of others around you and in living a life you think that others expect of you. If you can do this while getting the little things right then not only will you be a happier person but others around you will think better of you too. The little things in life really do matter but sometimes in our fast-paced world we can lose sight of that fact.