Thursday, January 15, 2009

Being for Small Stuff

Often times we look for the big things to solve big problems. But often small things work much better and are the foundations for bigger progressive things. It is also the approach of such things that will ultimately make the difference. We often ignore small things and small approaches and opt for big cumbersome processes that down the road prove lacking in small simple details.

Let's consider, for example, some neighborhoods in urban areas. When I ride through them I am saddened by what I see. But then I begin to think of what these city dwellers themselves can do as well as city officials to make a difference. If the officials and neighbors would just do the things that they can do, like implementing regular clean ups by simply picking up the trash on their streets, and, of course, not throwing any down, that would be a great start to re-building these communities.

Many times we want to go for the major stuff or simply the stuff that catches the eye when the simple stuff, not to say at all that other stuff does not need addressing, would at least lead to the best beginning. It's all about that beginning, that mindset of change that makes the difference. Without the proper mindset and personal responsibility it is indeed difficult to build anything.

The City of Detroit opened up one of the largest, most beautiful museums to honor the accomplishments of African Americans. I was hired in the year it opened. It was marvelous just walking around that building. It's a marvelous design! Initially, there were many supporters, but as time went on the visitors tapered off.

Now, there are other issues for the tapering to be sure, as I witnessed it up front, as many other museums have had, including the DIA, the home of the extraordinary Diego Rivera murals. But what struck me profoundly was the necessity of doing the small stuff, such as picking up the trash in the neighborhoods that would carry over to honoring those who have gone on before. (Honoring yourself is key.) It's always the small stuff out of which larger more cutting edge stuff can be built for a surer foundation.

In this regard, let's sweat the small stuff.

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