Advice on Having

Good Business



Little Things Mean A Lot
By: Dr Tim Ong


Each day, in the news, we read about the merging of companies, banks 
and multinational corporations into ever bigger entities. As they grew 
bigger, they gain more leverage, more control, and greater monopoly of 
the markets, thus assuring the slow but steady demise of small 
concerns. Thus we can easily understand why most people think big is 
better. So, why are we talking about the little things?


While thinking big may be good for corporations, the same does not 
necessary apply to a relationship. In a relationship, thinking small 
is better.

Thinking small means paying attention to details and taking the pain 
to make small gestures and actions count - something we often ignore 
when we deal with people, whether they are our loved ones, our friends 
or our colleagues. We forget that little things can mean a lot. 
Although deep in our heart, we know that we value them as significant 
people in our live, our behaviours and actions don't reflect that.

So, while we may go out of the way to remember a customer's birthday, 
we forget our spouse's birthday. We remember our client's anniversary 
but forget our own. We take the extra effort to plan for our client's 
functions but forget to plan for our child's birthday. We truly 
believe our family comes first, yet we behave as though our clients 
are more important to us than our family. What is wrong with us? Where 
is our priority?

We often console ourselves by saying that we'll make it up to our 
loved ones with our next bonus, or the next holidays but when the time 
comes, we never do.

Little Things Mean A Lot

Time and again we fail our family, yet they are always there for us, 
no matter what. It's time we re-arrange our priorities and do what we 
know we needed to do - put our family first.

It doesn't take a lot to make our loved ones happy. Very often, small 
thoughtful gestures mean more to them than monetary value. My 5 year 
old daughter, for example, would chose to have me read her a story 
book than to buy her a toy. My 3 year old son prefers a walk in the 
park. My wife is happy with a "I love you" card which I sent her 
occasionally, not just on her birthday or our wedding anniversary.

A Powerful Lesson

I learnt the value of small thoughtful gestures when I was 18. It was 
the year I represented my country in a student exchange program to 
USA. On a flight to New York from Los Angeles, an elderly American sat 
beside me. When he learned that I was in his country as an exchange 
student, he paid for my movie on the plane. Though the gesture was 
small, to me, his act represented an act of kindness to a complete 
stranger. It was my first impression of the American people. The 
impression stayed till this very day.


Caught in the rat race, we often forget that little gestures can leave 
lasting impressions - impressions that may shape the future thoughts 
and characters of our kids and loved one. Thus it is good to remind 
ourselves every so often to review our priorities and see if our 
actions reflect the priorities in our life. Remember the little things 
- they mean a lot to our loved ones.

Tim Ong is a medical doctor and author of the online "Build From 
Within" newsletter series. He is also the webmaster of The Self 
Improvement Site (, Klinik Ong 
( and Caring For The Terminally Ill (http:
// You may sign up for his free 
newsletter at

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