Why Your Smallest Actions Define You

One of my all-time favorite sayings is “how you do anything is how you do everything”.  It’s amazing how true this adage is and critical for each of us to become aware of how the little things we say and do play a direct role in the bigger picture of our existence. 

Here are five areas you can examine and take note of the link between “how you do them” and the greater landscape of you life:

1) When Given a Task…

Whether it’s from someone at work, a spouse, or someone you just met at a party, ask yourself “when someone asks me to do something, how well do I complete the mission”?  Honestly query yourself if you are the type of person who likes to cut corners and find the easiest and quickest way to complete the task, or if you take time and put full awareness to each duty.  The happiest and most successful people we know are the ones who put their best effort into every situation no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to the overall picture.  Their success in life is a direct mirror to their success in small situations. 


2) Home Organization

The home is a great place to begin observing how your modest actions parallel your greater situation.  Is your house in constant disarray, are there clothes strewn about, do you pay your bills in a timely manner, and is your sink always filled with dishes?  If your place is consistently disorganized then chances are many other areas of your life fall in the same category.  Apply this philosophy to your office, car or any area where you spend significant time. 

3)  Environmental Concern 

The spread of sustainable environmental practices is a wonderful occurrence in our time, and there is no shortage of information about what we as individuals can do to contribute.  But do you ever stop and ask yourself:  am I really doing my part?  Do you not shut off the lights in your house when you leave (even for a short time)?  Do you keep the water running in the shower while you talk on the phone for 15 minutes?  Do you generally feel “oh, what’s the difference my tiny little actions don’t make a difference anyway”?  If so, notice how this attitude permeates other areas of your life and begin shifting your beliefs and realize that every action counts!


4) Effective Morning Routine

How you begin your day is often a clear indicator for how the rest of your day will transpire.  Not having a consistent pillar of activity in the morning can translate into scattered and fragmented experiences over the coming hours.  When you get up in the morning do you have a similar routine or is the start to every day completely different?  To establish greater focus and a more productive outlook, it is critical to implement an effective morning platform; this can certainly lead to more success and fulfillment for the rest of your day! 

5) Relationships

Examining how personal relationships affect our well-being can be very complicated—there are just so many emotions involved!  It is easier to see “how you do anything is how you do everything” when looking at the dirty laundry sitting on your couch as opposed to the inter-personal communication you have with friends and loved ones.  However, if you tune into the manner with which you have relationships you might become aware of parallels with the general direction (and overall feeling) of your life.  Yes, its true, how you speak to your mother is directly related to how you do everything else!

In conclusion, for effective personal development to ensue it is necessary to shed awareness on the smaller decisions and situations we abound ourselves; they tell us a lot about our habitual “ways of being”.  Do the little things with as much awareness and effort as possible, and the

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bigger issues will follow suit! 

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15 Responses to “Why Your Smallest Actions Define You”

  1. Geoff says:

    Well this doesn’t help in any way – it just highlights that I have an issue… Dealing with the issue is not simple – if you have a problem with say a messy house, someone saying you should build a routine to keep it clean does not help – its often a deeper root cause such as discipline in building and following a routine… Some people are better at that, others have to work at it, but if you’re not good at routines it doesn’t mean you are an unsuccessful person as this article implies – society needs all types of people to attain the diversity of input that we have…

  2. Todd says:

    Hey Geoff– thanks for the honest feedback. The main point I was trying to make is how it is great practice to start noticing how you do “the little things” and see if it translates into other, “bigger” areas of your life. Although I do believe in routines, it is not absolutely necessary to have them to be happy; but paying more attention to your everyday actions may illuminate habitual patterns you might not have notice!…thanks again!

  3. Carlos says:

    Hi Todd – thanks for your post about how smallest actions define us – you make me think a lot about that. You will keep me thinking ..how you do anything is how you do evrything ? and is interesting how you make me connect with the taking care of small things you will take care of big things ….not to much to share today but a lot of thinking here …
    thanks for your blog

  4. Todd says:

    Hi Carlos- Thank you for the kind response and I am glad this article “got you thinking”!

  5. I read this article with great interest, thank you for posting it.

    You say;
    The happiest and most successful people we know are the ones who put their best effort into every situation no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to the overall picture.

    I had to think about this and I feel there is a great deal of truth in what you say. I would like to add that the happiest people are those whose efforts are rewarded and recognised. We can all put in our best efforts but if those efforts go unrecognised or unrewarded by our noss or by ourselves even, then we are likely to become discontent and stop giving our best.

  6. Todd says:

    Thanks for the comment Doug. Really good points…!

  7. Paula G says:

    This is a great point. It illustrates the concept that every part of our life is a microcosm of the greater whole (the macrocosm). That is, how we show up in one area of our life is probably the way we are showing up in others. Do small things with great integrity and you instantly flow towards a life of full integrity.

  8. Todd says:

    Thanks Paula for the response…I didn’t mention the word integrity in the article, but I should have! That’s the whole point ;)

  9. Jonathan says:


    I came to this blog via Brian Clark’s The Butterfly Effect. This is topical because it is environmentally related.

    I’m working with a coalition to make sure Congress sends the president a strong energy bill with meaningful changes for our environment and planet. This legislation would be a monumental step toward stopping global warming. Please go to http://www.energybill2007.us and sign the petition.

    Congress finally has a chance to pass meaningful energy legislation. The bill they are about to pass includes the best fuel economy standards ever (35 mpg by 2020) and a renewable electricity standard (15% by 2020) that guarantees the growth of renewable, clean energy. But there is a chance these two key advances won’t make it through to the final bill. This is our chance for real progress, don’t let Congress back down!

    Thanks very much and your post is a great read.

  10. debbie says:

    Hi, If I put my best effort into every situation I would be sooo behind. I think it is a nice thought, but I bet someone is taking up the slack somewhere in your life so you can be so perfect! Try working outside the home, making all the meals, laundry, shopping, yardwork, and the other run around chores like taking the kids to the dentist. I have friends that do all this and farm as well. Give me a break, I do everything half ass and hope to get back to it later.

  11. Todd says:

    Hi Debbie– Thank you for your response, and I think that many people feel the same way– that its just NOT possible to put the best effort into every situation they find themselves! But the point of this article is not to drill down into the details of every day activities, moreover to make a general suggestion for a shift in attitude that can help you be more efficient, successful and happy. Regardless if you try “half-ass” or full throttle you are still spending TIME making the food, bringing kids to the dentist, farming, etc…try for ONE day to put the best effort into each circumstance of your busy life…just for a little test and see what happens…? Thats all Im sayingQ Thanks again for the great comment Debbie!

  12. CBlokland says:

    Seems like you take a very Zen-like approach to things. Being mindful of the moment.

  13. Todd says:

    Thank you so much for the response Cornelis. I try and have a Zen-like approach to matters like this, and I am glad you enjoyed the article!

  14. Vatan Gupta says:

    Hi Todd,
    Thanks for this (Why Your Smallest Actions Define You) nice and useful artical. But I think here that its not mandatery to do evrything in well manner. We should focus on the things which are the most important, not all the things. Because if you focus on all things in your life, there may be sitution that you could differ sometimes on certain things which have greater importance in your life.

  15. [...] A name is defined by actions. Through a sufficient amount of time and effort, it begins to emanate a reputation. Care should be made in its maintenance; not in the interest of anger but in the interest of courtesy because it is courtesy that will later inspire respect. [...]

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