The Little Things You Do Add Up to the Big Thing We Need

Do you ever use the “this isn’t big enough to make a difference” excuse? I do.

I want to be a farmer. I want to grow food in partnership with Nature, using sustainable methods that are reciprocal and allow me to leave the land better than I found it. I want to inspire and teach others to do the same. I want to provide nutritious food for my family, friends and neighbors. And, I want to make a meaningful income doing it.

Our home sits on three quarters of an acre. That’s a lot more land than we’d ever have imagined living on just a few years ago, but it’s not enough workable space to make the kind of money we’d need for it to sustain our current lifestyle. We’re still learning how to grow, harvest, and preserve enough food for our own family, let alone enough to nourish our community.

Sometimes, especially when I’m tired, confused, or feeling defeated, I throw my arms in the air and (momentarily) decide to wait until the work I’m doing is “big enough to make a difference.” This is a common inclination, I think, for perfectionists like me. It’s also a feel-good excuse; I get to tell myself ‘I’m not being lazy, I just don’t have the right tools right now. Shrug.’

What’s the cure for that negative attitude? A grateful heart. Inevitably, after stumbling over that pile of sad energy, my mind wanders back to that little garden outside.

My daughter asks for a snack of rainbow carrots, reminding me that the various colors in her bowl represent unique nutrients that her body needs to grow big & strong. She learned that from me.

A friend puts $3 in the chicken money jar and eggs from our happy, healthy flock on her family’s breakfast table the next morning. She got them from me.

Our compost pile takes food waste that would hurt Mother Earth if it ended up in the landfill and returns it to the land, who will use it for good next season. That pile was turned by me.

And those little things? They matter. They matter a whole lot. And, to stop doing them because they aren’t going to change the world, win a Nobel Peace Prize, or replace my salary would be an injustice.

The world needs everyone to do the things that set their soul on fire, without regard for fame, glory, or wealth. The world needs all of us to use our positive energy to take tiny steps forward instead of simply falling back.

Don’t let the hundred acre orchard of your dreams keep you from planting the few trees you have room for today. Don’t let your quest for perfection remain the enemy of all of the good you have to offer.

Don’t let the misguided belief that the little things you do today won’t make a difference be your excuse for not taking action. Because those little things we all do add up to become the big thing our world so desperately needs.

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