Tuesday, 25 September 2007

It's the little things

I went to a pharmacist conference last week, or rather, prescribing advisers conference last week. The only session that i enjoyed tremendously is a 45 minutes talk by Roy Lilley, and author and a presenter. The title was quite vague ;" Everything you ever wanted to know about anything". He gave that title to the conference organiser mainly because he hasn't really thought about anything to speak and he was approached. You can't go wrong with a title like that.

Basically the take home message was it's okay to be proud of NHS, in spite of all the defects and imperfections. The one interesting analogy was when he compared his access to his local GP surgery with his local fish and chips shop. It was hilarious. He woke up in the morning, walked past his surgery, it was closed. Him, together with hundred and thousands of people on the train/tube station are the statistics that can't access GP surgeries without taking time off work. When he went home, the surgery was closed too. On the other hand, when he goes home, there is it, his local fish and chips shop , open and know him by name. A fish and chip shop is more accessible than ouru local GP.

Anyway, one message that struck me was when he said it's the little things. Everyone can do great things, but not the little things. This reminds me of a quote that says : do small things in great way. More biblical, love is the finishing touch of everything we do, especially the little things.

I get upset by someone the other day, well, yes in the grand scheme of thing, it's very minor. But it is the little things! The way you respond to your client, the way you speak to your colleague, the way you accept criticism, the way you respeond when others have lost their temper. Yes, the matter of the disagreement could be just a small difference in opinion and perspective, but it is the small little things that affect us. In fact, when a lot of small little things about a particular person happen one after the other, the cumulative effect is no longer little. Those accumulation of small little things is enough to harbour grudge, bias and frustration in us.

Few little things happenedd over the past week, a single phrase of "lack of respect was intended", or "why are you so useless" or issue over sharing the cost of toilet roll are all small things but i was greatly affected by it.

I was affected mainly because i hold on strongly to the principle that we should treat each other with respect as human beings, we should not demean another being with words like stupid or useless, because we are not. Another principle is since you havea a share in using toilet roll, you should have a share in the cost as well.

The challenge here for me is this: Not to be affected by small little things, yet , be attentive and sensitive to how i respond and handle these little things so others do not suffer due to my carelessness. In order to do that, i have to let go of my expectation and the illusion that others are perfect. If we reflect on the reasons of our frustration and anger, it's mainly because we have this illusion that others are perfect, hence we have a minimum level of expectation of this perfect human beings.

Once we realised again and again that perfection is an illusion and that weaknesses and sinfulness are real, we begin to realise that we too, are part of the weaknesses and sinfulness. Then, we can learn how to let go and forgive the big impact that others have on us from those small little things and yet learn to be sensitive to how we ourselves handle those small little things in life, a smile, a frown, the choice of words, the tone of voice, an e-mail, a phone call.

Small little things make big differences. Let us learn to be forgiving towards others, realising we ourselves are far from perfect and pay attention to how we do those small little things in life.

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