Nobility of Small Things

All of us would become much more broadly, deeply and enthusiastically engaged in life if only we had more NOBLE enterprises to pursue.  Mundane things like “chores” and “homework” and everyday maintenance flotsam and jetsam don’t really “light our fire” … they’re not really benchmark engagements for which we’ll get any credit or reward or from which we’ll gain any sort of satisfaction, and are hardly worthy of any effort beyond trying to AVOID them as we wait for BIGGER things to materialize!

And, so, we end up languishing, unenthusiastically uninspired, “waiting for our ship to come in” with flags unfurled and brass bands blaring to launch our truest Destiny.

Waiting …

If was really important,

wouldn’t someone ELSE already be doing it?”

However, it turns out there is a paradoxical conundrum to consider here.  It so permeates the universe that it appears in the Biblical narrative as follows:

He that is faithful in that which is least

is faithful also in much.”

Luke 16:10

“ …  good and faithful servant!

You have been faithful with a few things;

I will put you in charge of many things.”

Matthew 25:21 

Now THAT is how to FLOAT YOUR BOAT!  

Or how about this:

If you want to change the world,

start off by making your bed.”

Admiral William H. McRaven


It’s not at all intuitive.  Perhaps that why so many don’t catch on until an overwhelming number of Defining Moments catch up with us. 

Bottom Line:  Little things matter!  Consider this infamous “Myth of the Marketplace”:

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”        Commentary from Mike Fisch

            [“Weekend Edition” with Liane Hansen, November 21, 1999, National Public Radio]

Sometimes when I’m copying a double-sided government document, there’s a paper jam.  The two pieces of paper rest deep in the innards of the copier, hiding from me like scared animals.  I say a swear word that sounds like ‘ship’.  That’s when somebody says, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff, Big Guy.  It’s all small stuff.’

But what the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” brigade seems to have forgotten is that my job is sweating small stuff.   I get paid to sweat.  My [time-lines], [edits], memos, faxes [VMX call returns], and double-sided copies are bran fiber for a constipated bureaucracy.  As soon as I stop sweating out the fiber, I cease to exist …” 

George Foreman didn’t start out as a heavy weight boxing title contender or a Grill Master marketing genius:

“Before I was a boxer, I was a dishwasher.  I was great!  I was the best dishwasher ever.  I’d get through doing my job; my dishes were so nice and clean … so I’d mop the floors.  I out-mopped the floor mopper.  Then I would help the cooks peel the potatoes.  I was the best there was.”

That’s “Nobelizing”!  

So what’s the point here?  The point is this: The more we take on the mantle of noble endeavor, the more “natural” it becomes, the more “automatic” it becomes, the more INTENTIONAL we become, and the more satisfaction we derive from ALL of our efforts.  If you’re having a bad day but you have at least made your bed, you at least have ONE thing to celebrate!  [And, aside from anything else, don’t be surprised if somebody else notices!]

So how do we go about “Nobelizing” the mundane?      

  • Make things challenging
  • Find ways to make them interesting
  • Make things more efficient
  • Reorganize your work space
  • Make things better than you found them
  • Be creative / Invent a new tool
  • Enhance your negotiability
  • Redefine what is “rewarding”
  • Make stuff “sparkle”!

Above all, stop whining and complaining! 


Don’t wait for “Noble Endeavors” to show up on your doorstep.  Nobility has a way of finding where it belongs.   Quartermaster

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