We always try to see the big picture. We can’t help it. We always look for the big achievements. We want to celebrate those milestones and we should. Important milestones are to be enjoyed and applauded. Yet, is there a chance that we might miss the little achievements that lead to the big achievements? One of my personal heroes, a man that I admire for his speeches and work ethic, United States Navy admiral William McRaven once said, in a speech “IF YOU CAN’T DO THE LITTLE THINGS RIGHT, YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THE BIG THINGS RIGHT”. That is why the little daily victories matter.
We celebrate milestones and we should. You bought a new house, you finished your bachelor’s or master’s degree, you got your Ph.D., you got married, you had a child, you got that new job you were gunning for, you got a book deal, you opened your own company and so many more significant achievements. God only knows the time, the energy, the money, the sweat and blood it took for you to succeed and get to those significant milestones.
I have a request though, if you would be kind enough to indulge me: DO NOT FORGET THE LITTLE VICTORIES THAT LED TO YOUR BIG ACHIEVEMENTS. During your journey towards success, you encountered many obstacles and some of them were a daily occurrence, if not a daily nuisance. You were able to go through them, not without fighting, however. It wasn’t easy, it never is. Remember you lost some battles, but you learned valuable lessons towards your way to success.
You run out of money. You fought depression. You had anxiety attacks. You doubted yourself. You had a family emergency that messed with your mind and you couldn’t study. You had a difficult breakup that left your heart smashed in pieces. You had to take care of a family member and work at the same time. You faced discrimination because of your gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, political views, etc. You were let go from your job. You came close to a professional burnout or you got burnt out. You had to deal with a death in the family. You had health issues. You were discouraged everyday by people who didn’t believe in you. You had to face a long commute to fulfill your dream. You cried, screamed and cursed out of desperation. There is a near-infinite list of challenges that one could face, I can’t name them all.
Yet you prevailed. You didn’t win every fight. You didn’t get everything you wanted. Things didn’t always go according to plan. Well, that is called life. Nothing ever goes according to plan anyway. You lost some but you won some.
Some of you had to face those issues daily, weekly or monthly. You prevailed, let’s not forget that. Perhaps at the time, you didn’t see the little victories, perhaps you paid them no mind, you were too busy looking at the big picture. Perhaps you were busy fixing the urgent problem and forgot the long game where the important tasks matter even more. Perhaps you were afraid to call it “victory”, fearing you might jinx yourself, fearing screaming “victory” would poison your energy, fearing it might push you to decrease your work ethic.
Well, I am going to take it upon me to congratulate those who fought the good fight everyday and won. I am here to applaud you for winning everyday, those tiny victories that strengthen your character and show your resolve. I would also like to congratulate those who fought and lost. I congratulate them for fighting in the first place, for trying, for having faith in themselves. Keep fighting, learn from your defeat and do better next time. That is how winning is done. If you focus just on the defeat and you become negative and nothing else, then life will always kick you in the gut because, in this life, losing happens more often than winning. You better learn how to handle defeat.
You are fighting today, and you might not see the end of the tunnel. I would like you to keep your eye on the ball but do not forget to clap for yourself everyday. You must congratulate yourself for beating the odds you face everyday and be happy that you won. It isn’t easy to clap when you have 4 or 5 problems happening at once, yet, you could smile or clap for yourself once you are in bed, before you close your eyes, just as a reminder of your martial spirit and to tell yourself that tomorrow is another day.
You win everyday without knowing. Yes, you do. Perhaps, one day you accumulate more defeats than victories and you feel like shit. It happens. Yet, that is no reason to stop fighting. You win everyday, whether you like it or not, I strongly believe in that. Moreover, focusing on the good things is a good exercise to fight hopelessness, to fight anxiety and to keep that positive energy flowing in your mind and body.
Every day you don’t succumb to your troubles, that is a win. Every day, you wake up and try again, that is a win. Every day you get better, it is a win. Every day you improve is a win. Every day you try something new, that is a win. Every day you manage your stress and fatigue, that is a win. Every day you accomplish a task, a simple and mundane task, that is a win. Every day you create something, that is a win. Every day you study, exercise, laugh, love, smile, forgive, apologize, listen, express yourself, that is a win. Little daily victories matter. Their importance is paramount. Do not discard them. Do not ignore them. Instead, value them. Embrace them. Understand them.
A new day is a win; it means you are given a chance to try again. Those are the little daily victories. They might not be massive victories, but their significance is tremendous. The consecutive victories train you to seek victory and to keep going forward.
Please appreciate the little daily victories, be thankful for them, allow them to give you a boost, enjoy them and keep eyeing the big picture.
One last suggestion: Smile when you win everyday, winning will taste even better.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile, enjoy the daily little victories and go on with your day.