“It’s the little things”, he told me. I knew what he was talking about, of course. It is those little things that accumulate so much, to the point where it isn’t little any longer. It becomes huge. Lau Tze, in his Tao Te Ching, says that the sage takes care of the bigger problems while they are still small. The toughest problems in the world began as simpler ones. The larger began as minor. The sage knows how and when to address his life, in a way that “the sage does nothing, yet nothing is left undone”. This is the epitome of Lau Tze’s teachings, and perhaps the epitome of the Chinese concept of “wu-wei” – movement and non-movement. The art of doing little, and affecting a lot.
“It’s the little things”, he told me. He was talking about a phone call he needed to make for the past six years, to the Canadian authorities. He simply never got around to it, and now it has been so long that it has accumulated the ol’ “pain in the ass” factor. And the more he put it off, the bigger of a pain in his ass it became. And now, it has come to such a degree that he is somewhat frightened of making the damn call. I am not even sure what it is pertaining to, but he seems reluctant to make that call. It’s the little things that do you in.
Little things that grow and become much more than they are, whether in reality or in your mind. They affect you, they preoccupy you, and they gnaw at you. So, the question is asked: what do you do? Well, the go-to answer is fairly obvious – don’t put things off. Don’t let them accumulate. Don’t let them grow. Don’t let them become more than they actually are.
The best way to start is not with the messes you’ve already amassed, but rather with the future ones which are bound to crop up. The next time something happens, do not put it off. Make a conscious attempt to see to it, then and there. And from then on, make a choice to continue to do so, even at the cost of temporary discomfort. You know what happens otherwise. You’ve been down that road. Where has it gotten you? How does it make you feel about your life and your mode of being? That’s right. Now consider the alternative.