Simplifying things is an essential part of being human. There’s only so much complexity we can handle, after all. Like all things, this has positive and negative consequences. On the bright side, we have the ability to stay sane despite the many many things we’re exposed to in any given day. We do this by making all sorts of snap judgments that help us decide what we should focus on. The downside is that it is this ability that often makes us xenophobic, for example, and, often, closed to diversity.
One such consequence of simplification is that we greatly over-estimate the effects of the big bang versus the drip. We love thinking of the big product launch, the epic road trip with friends, the huge award, the incredibly viral post, the prestigious letter of admission and the all-important round of funding. However, as a close friend put it, it isn’t the big decisions that change things. It is the collection of many many small decisions.
Great companies, strong relationships and people of character are built with consistent daily effort.
In the final analysis, the big moments may be worthy of a place on the highlight reel. But, it is the constant drip of effort that will determine how long the highlight reel is.. and, perhaps most importantly, how happy we are when we look back and take stock.