If you want a great quote, a good name to Google is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In addition to writing some classics, and having a really cool name, he produced a fountain of verbal gems. Here’s one of his quotes that I find particularly relevant as I wrap up this series on the “little things”:
One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, speak a few reasonable words.
I can’t say it any better, but that’s never stopped me from trying before, so here I go.
The simple point I (and my friend Kevin Henry) have been blogging about this week is that little things matter. Most of the time, little things matter more than big things. Because the things we often think of as big are usually not, and what we overlook, dismiss and take for granted are the things that actually do matter. Someway, somehow, we just get everything inside-out, upside-down and backwards.
I think Goethe is right – a little song, a good poem, a fine picture, and reasonable words mean something; and we should partake of them everyday.
But how often are reasonable words spoken nowadays?
I had to stop watching “TV News”, stop listening to talk radio, and stop reading bumper stickers, because the arguments got tiresome and the words got unreasonable.
And as far as I’m concerned, hearing a little song, reading a good poem, and seeing a fine picture are all more important than arguing about politics. I’m not saying political systems or viewpoints are unimportant; but most of what politicians and political commentators do and say sure is.
Getting something useful done is better than drawing a line, picking a side and arguing about how it’s supposed to be done.
It’s not just politics, though. Here are some other thoughts on what’s really important and what isn’t:
Having a career isn’t as important as doing what you love.
Getting rich isn’t as important as living a rich life.
Having the best stuff isn’t as important as producing your best stuff.
Impressing the “big boys” isn’t as important as making an impression on the “little ones” (aka your kids).
All those hours you work to “take care of your family” aren’t even close to being as important as the time you actually spend with them.
Winning the race isn’t as important as running it with integrity.
In fact – sorry, Coach Lombardi – winning isn’t everything, and it isn’t the only thing, it’s really not much of anything. Because there’s a big difference between winning and success.
Life isn’t a game to be played. It isn’t about winning and losing. It’s a about living and learning, and about learning how to live.
Lesson number one: the little things matter.