As an older member of the PDXSX, I can offer this piece of advice — the small things in life matter more than the big things.
When I was younger, I thought the “big” things — like where I went to college or who I would marry — would define my happiness and success.
But the things that have really made a difference throughout my life are much smaller, like trying to wake up early every day, smile and make a good first impression, eat healthy, and other daily habits. (Key word — trying.) Studies even show that small changes in body language can be enough to make or break a job interview.
This is a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over — I still put too much weight on the big stuff, when I should be paying attention to those tiny daily habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” wrote Aristotle, some 2,000 years ago.
In my internship, I once again made the mistake of focusing on the big stuff instead of the details.
Finding the most badass story ideas — not that important.
Getting there on time, taking the time to talk to coworkers every day, expressing enthusiasm — much more important. Luckily I didn’t completely forget the little stuff, but I could have focused on it more than I did.
As a journalist, I have the delusion that I’m going to write a story that will make a difference in the world, as I wrote in my last entry.
But as a member of the workforce, the small daily habits are more important than the Big Story Idea.
I guess it all comes down to, “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others,” as a beloved professor used to say.
I have to be a productive worker and journalist before I can write that world-changing story. And in order to do that, I have to focus on the small stuff.