Friday, December 31, 2010
Let it snow, in December and in your life
This Wednesday, I began a series of services in Spokane, Washington. To my surprise when I arrived at the airport in Oakland, they announced that I might not be going to Spokane at all due to all the snow on the runway. Needless to say, when I arrived in Spokane there was snow everywhere, which I would normally welcome...had I not left my jacket in California.
Looking at all this snow, I'm reminded of something that Malcom Gladwell writes in his book The Tipping Point. Gladwell reminds the reader that the difference between water and snow is just a few degrees, not several degrees, and that small difference can be responsible for big changes. I think this way of thinking is so valuable for those of us looking to make big changes in 2011. So many times we assume that everything in life is proportional, henceforth, we assume that big changes are brought about by big differences. When in reality the opposite is true, as in the case of snow. Maybe our New Year's resolution should be to make a lot of little improvements. There's so many benefits to making little improvements. Consider the following,
1. Although this may sound strange, I think it's worth discussing. When someone fails at making a small change, they don't tend to feel so deflated about the whole thing. In fact, it's much easier to bounce back from small losses than it is to bounce back from big ones. It's important to consider how we're going to feel if we fail because very rarely do we get goals right the first time around.
2. Small changes cultivate humility. Contemplating small changes in life inevitably helps us to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. In my personal opinion, it's a much more sober way of seeing ourselves. I've seen people accomplish BIG things by making BIG and drastic changes, but sadly this often results in them seeing other people as inferior and weak. So while they may have kicked bad habits, and lost weight, they also kicked friends to the curb, and lost any semblance of humility. Victories are only sweet when we have someone to share them with.
3. Small changes build our confidence. For example, when people are trying to get out of debt they often use what's known as the "snow ball effect." In the snow ball effect, people pay off all their small debts first, even if the small debts have smaller APRs attached to them. From a financial perspective, it makes more sense to pay off debts which have larger APRs attached to them. However, when someone sees little debts disappear, it bolsters their confidence to pay off bigger debts, and that's something money can't buy. I think this way of thinking can be applied to many things in life. When we see that were capable of tackling the little things, the big things don't seem so big anymore. Small changes help us to shake off the "I give up", and the "I quit" attitude.
Small is the way to go for 2011, and quite frankly it's the way to go from here to eternity. Jesus reminded heaven's inductees that they were entering the kingdom because they were "faithful in the little things." Anyone looking to get into heaven must remember that God's looking for people that have mastery over the small stuff because it's the small stuff that makes a BIG difference.
Posted by A. Prado