Small Differences Add UP

My last couple blogs have been about the large impact small differences can have. Over time, these small differences can grow to become significant differences. I have 2 examples for you to consider.

“Make your bed.” This could be something you remember hearing when you were a child, but as a commencement speech at the University of Texas?  Not a topic you might expect.

This, however, was the title and theme of Admiral William McRaven’s (US Navy Retired) address to the 2014 graduating class at the University of Texas. He then expanded his address into an excellent book by the same title. You can watch the video of his commencement address here.

Admiral McRaven’s point is that the act of making your bed every day, and doing it well, can give you the lift you need to get started. “If you want to change your life and maybe the world – start off by making your bed (p. 8).”

The second example is a short video by Stephen Morris of a domino chain reaction. We’ve probably all stood up a line of dominos then delighted in knocking them over, right? Stephen’s dominos, however, begin at a tiny 5mmX1mm domino and grow to the largest at over 3 feet tall and weighing 100 pounds. Each of the 13 dominos is successively 1.5 times larger than the prior domino in the chain.

Stephen’s point is that the energy in standing up and tipping the tiniest domino over into the next largest can eventually lead to knocking over the large 100 pound domino at the end of his chain reaction.

Small differences can grow to become significant differences much like the pace of a camel walking across the horizon significantly altered the course a colleague and I took while driving in the desert during the First Gulf War (see Camels, Compasses & 1% Better).

Your smile, your encouraging word, your small act of kindness may have a significant positive impact in someone else’s life. Just try it.

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