Success: A Thousand Small Things Done Well – Week 4

When we think of success, big accomplishments tend to come to our minds. In life, it could be moving out on your own, getting married, or perhaps having a significant impact on charity. Or in the business world, success might seem like owning your own profitable company or obtaining a position as a top executive. And although these things might each be a success, it’s important to realize that they were not created by accomplishing a few big things. Rather, the odds are in favor of saying that success is formed not by big accomplishments, but a thousand small activities done well, that when properly aligned, form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Like granules of sand slowly falling into place to form a sandbar, these micro-accomplishments are the atoms that make up each big success in life. But why is this important? After all, this might seem like common sense. Yet I still think there is a lesson to be learned here, and I’ve chosen three key words to describe the major driving forces of being able to do “a thousand small things well.”


Deciding on a goal and sticking to it seems obvious enough, but I’ll still mention it because, without unrelenting tenacity, anything else related to achieving a success becomes useless – including the next two key words below. In addition to simply staying the course, we also have to be careful not to change our goal (pivot) too much along the way. Don’t get me wrong, being flexible and adapting to change is crucial – but change your route too often, and you will never arrive at any destination.


There is usually more than one way to reach a goal. As many of us have learned in business, optimizing each set of activities to promote efficiency and shorten the critical path (“Project Crashing,” as it is known in the business world) is worth its weight in gold. But this same concept can be transferred to other areas of life including the pursuance of individual successes, regardless of if they fall inside or outside of business. Do begin this process, map out a list of the key milestones you think you will need to achieve your goal. Then carefully plan the sequencing of the activities so that there the process is completed in the shortest amount of time possible. For example, upon examination, it may become apparent that two of the milestone activities on your road map can be accomplished side-by-side at the same time. Since you’ll be completing more than one milestone at this stage, the entire length of achieving your goal will shrink by the time required for the shortest of the two activities.


Having the self-control to stay focused will be of critical importance in achieving success. Equally important to doing the things that need to be done is keeping yourself from wasting time on the things that do not contribute towards the goals. For example, if an athlete decides to train for a competition, eating a diet of 100% healthy foods will help her reach her goal the quickest. But if she decides to only eat 60% healthy foods, she will still reach her goal but it will not be as quickly – and the results will most likely be not as favorable. That’s why we have to stay focused and ask ourselves – which activities, hobbies, habits, or past times work towards the betterment of myself and others, and which do not? Be honest with yourself and you might just speed up your rate and quality of success.


What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

8 thoughts on “Success: A Thousand Small Things Done Well – Week 4

  1. Hello Austin,
    This blog hits home with me. It is all about time management and not letting it get away from you. How simple it is to know you must accomplish a stack of files on your desk and then someone walks in and a few phone calls and a quick lunch and you look at your watch and it is 3 pm in the afternoon. It can happen so simple and knowing what needs to get done and doing it is so important.

  2. To your excellent list I would add resiliency. I like the analogy of a sand bar. I would add that sometimes the sandbar breaks and everyone is swept out to sea. You can panic. You can fight against it and lose. Or you can realize what has happened. Swim sideways and then head back to shore so you can try again.

    My wife and I had the experience with small rip current recently (very small). It was really disconcerting to look up and realize you weren’t where you thought you were. But with slow steady progress you get back to shore and learn from the experience (and you learn to keep your eye on shore and pick up the undesired direction a bit earlier)

  3. Austin,
    Love your list and your explanations. I found pertinacity in one of our classes which is defined as dogged determination, a combination of persistence and tenacious.
    One of my new favorites.

    I would also add reaction and recovery. In the kitchen there are lots of things that can go wrong, burning and dropping food is at the top of the list.
    I always say “it is not how we react, it is how we recover”. In those moments and in any business when things don’t go the expected way, will a person over react or look at the situation and make the best decision at that moment?

    In Brad’s previous posts, he referred to climbing Mount Everest, is there a better example of a thousand small steps done well.


  4. Again, great job! I loved this topic, not only for my business but in my personal life too. I have always struggled with my weight, and I think it’s that one big magic thing I do that will make me skinny — yeah right! I have learn that persistence is my key! I can’t start something and expect to get instant results, oh how I love instant gratification! So, instead I do a lot of small things daily that will eventually add up to a huge weight loss. But, I have to work at it every day, and I mean work every day!!! So, my new word is persistence! And, now I have to take that and use in my business too. I may have to start calling my “little things” something else, because in fact they are so little, they will get me to my “big” accomplishment! Thanks for another great eye opener!

  5. Austin, I enjoyed all of the empowering words that you choose to present to us. The word Persistence really stuck out the most for me. I am definitely in agreement about the not allow yourself to pivot. Pivot is a great choice of words to use, most of all understanding by pivoting you will never get to your final destination is key to remaining consistent on your path.

  6. Austin,

    I feel that the small things really matter as well and also contribute to your path forward. With persistence sometimes I hold on to things too long things that aren’t working but I keep trying to make it work. I stayed in the golf industry for three years and keep trying to make it work and when I finally left it was harder for me to get a “real job” because my only experience was at golf courses. I think the key is to know when to pivot, not how many times you pivot. Great post!



  7. Austin,
    This message must be for me! lol
    I love the information about persistence – I think this trait also keeps you focused and on the right track.
    Thanks for sharing

  8. Of the three topics, I struggle with discipline i.e. time management. There are always things that suck up your time from work to friendships. It’s a amazing how we train children, but sometimes fall short because there are not enough hours in the day. I found that when I make a list or you give me a deadline, it gets done. And those little things call for a productive day.

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