A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 12, 2009 • Issue 09:10:01


Little actions add up

It is a sad fact of human existence that many people are drawn to do things that are unproductive or even harmful to themselves and others. Some deeds are so out of line with society's norms that they are decried, and their perpetrators are scorned and punished; however, most harmful actions are little, day-to-day things that may seem inconsequential in the moment but can add up to lives of dashed hopes instead of fulfilled dreams.

As ISOs and merchant level salespeople, you make myriad little choices throughout the day:

  • You could get plenty of sleep each night so that you are refreshed at the beginning of each day, or you could stay up late watching television reruns and oversleep in the morning so that you're late to work.
  • If you drink gourmet coffee, you could smile, say a warm hello to the person who takes your order and leave a generous tip, or you could frown, gruffly put in your order and not even consider leaving a tip.
  • You could take a walk outside to clear your head, appreciate the beauty of your environment and get your blood flowing after sitting at your desk for several hours, or you could hunker down, slump in your chair and work until your neck and shoulders begin to ache.
  • At lunch you could stop eating when you are full, or you could gobble up everything on your plate and munch on cookies when you return to your work station.
  • You could coach a colleague who is going through a sales slump to see if you can help spot what the individual's weak areas are, or you could guard your knowledge, fearing you'll lose your competitive edge.
  • In the late afternoon, you could decide to make one more business phone call, or you could leave the office early and have a beer instead.

All of these small decisions, ones that are so easy to overlook, have weight. And it's not just at work where you make the constant little decisions that shape your future for good or ill:

  • As a parent, you could choose to spend time helping your child do a difficult homework assignment or stretch out on an easy chair and read the paper instead, leaving the young person to figure it out alone.
  • As a spouse or housemate, you could notice dirty dishes in the sink but elect to leave them because it's not officially your job to do cleanup.
  • As a son or daughter, you could keep in touch with your parents, telephoning and sending notes regularly, or you could think of them in passing but never make the time to check in with them.
  • As a community resident, you could receive notice of a clothing drive in the mail and go through your closets to gather appropriate items for those less fortunate than you are, or you could put the notice aside, forget about it and put it in your recycle bin months after the clothing drive is over.
  • As an amateur artist, athlete or hobbyist of any kind, you could devote a little spare time each day to your craft and seek out others with similar interests who will help support your growth, or you could lie back on your couch and think it's not worth pursuing something you love if you can't do it full time.

These decision, too, have import. So what do you want to do?

  • Do you want to be the one who is vigorous and radiant because you make healthy decisions about eating and exercise, or do you want to be the one who is sneaking an extra piece of pizza when nobody is looking and suffering the consequences?
  • Do you want to be the MLS who answers a merchant's call, even if it's late in the evening, and thereby win the merchant's loyalty, or do you want to ignore the call and deal with a disgruntled client the next day?
  • Do you want to someday be a senior citizen whose children cherish their childhood memories of you, or do you want to be someone your children think of as a stranger?

It's up to you. Day by day. Minute by minute. You can shape your life the way you want it to be. And each little victory, each positive decision you make when your emotions pull you in the opposite direction will be a boon to you, as well as to your family, colleagues and community. end of article

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