The Little Things
People often talk about the little things. We may hear people say that the little things matter the most. Yes, but what are those little things? Words and language often end up meaning a variety of different things to different people.
Ed Thomas taught me, as well as many young people, that the little things in sports were the fundamentals. Fundamentals must be worked on daily in any sport– things like your stance. This involved the position of every part of your body. Next you focus on how you step or move. Head position, eye focus, relaxed jaw, hinge joints flexed, arm movements, knee lift, and on and on. Who thinks about all this stuff? Well, our young people did through repetition and drill every day in practice. In time, they saw that it led to success in their sport. It is possible to practice “the game” every day and never work on the fundamentals, but that is often a recipe for failure at some point. Fundamentals are constants that lead to success over long periods of time– not just momentary wins. Eventually, that habit will create a winning tradition or expectation.
Someday sports will end for everyone. What about the little things or fundamentals then? Does my stance matter? Ed Thomas also taught the conversion from sports to life. Each sport has specific fundamentals, and so does life. Our practices included working the life fundamentals each day as well. Fundamentals in life are many, many, many little things that matter. Things like attitude, preparation, perseverance, respect, hard work, effort, being accountable, honesty, punctuality, doing your job, showing appreciation to others, using good manners, teamwork, prioritizing your life, and on and on. Like in sports, the fundamentals of life must be drilled and repeated daily. These habits become our character.
Over the long haul of life, the little things allow us to become successful on most days. I believe that if you look at people and organizations that have long-term success, you will see, in most cases, that there is repetition of the little things. Daily repetition of the little things creates people and teams that we know we can count on with regularity.