Winners DO Sweat the Small Stuff
It has become popular in recent times to dismiss the importance of details and the “small things”. Politicians such as Donald Trump and Michael Gove have claimed that people are tired of “experts” and details. Meanwhile self-help books such as Richard Carlson’s bestselling “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” claim that the only way to become stress-free is to stop worrying about the minutiae of our day-to-day lives.
These approaches imply that we should only ever be concerned about the larger picture and avoid getting bogged down in the details. A necessary conclusion from such a philosophy is that abstract and conceptual thinking always prevail over single-minded focus and dogged determination.
And yet when we look at the greatest inventions, the most successful organisations, high flying CEOs, Media Personalities and Sportsmen and women, their successes and achievements always emanate from their tireless efforts and concern upon every last detail. Winners do in fact sweat the small stuff, because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.
With the Paralympics at the forefront of our minds and television screens, it is apparent now more than ever, that unparalleled success can only be achieved through determination, dedication and focus. This is a key finding from Zircon’s most recent whitepaper, Winning Attitudes. To hold a Winning Attitude, you must have single-minded focus, dogged determination and realistic optimism – the ability to turn a negative into a positive.
Great Britain’s Paralympians all have inspiring stories as to how they have got to where they are now: the adversity they have had to face, the obstacles they have had to overcome and the dedication they have had to put in. But one thing they do have in common is that their success comes from dedicating every fibre of their being to their goal.
Ellie Simmonds is a name most of us are familiar with. With an OBE, four-times Paralympic Champion and numerous World records to her name, Ellie shot to fame at the age of just 13 when she won her first Paralympic medal. Ellie went on to achieve the youngest winner of the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2008 and at the time, the youngest recipient of an MBE at the age of 14, and she has since achieved unparalleled success in the world of sport. Ellie’s mother Val Simmonds, in an interview about her daughter, stated:
“Right from being a toddler, whatever she did, it was whole-hearted with total focus and you just had to go with it… and when she focused on that (school work), she would shut everything else out.”
In the seminal book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell observes a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement, suggesting that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any given field, a relatable finding to our Paralympians who dedicate their life to achieving mastery. Annie Williams, an Australian Paralympic swimmer winning Gold in the 2012 games, once said in an interview:
“Victory is what happens when 10,000 hours of hard work meet one moment of opportunity”
Although Richard Carlson in his book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” makes important observations, as our Paralympians and our research has shown, in order to reach the heady heights of unprecedented success, we have to sweat the small stuff, because those details could be the difference between success and failure. So put the hours in; keep running, swimming, inventing, evolving and pushing, because your high-quality time, dedication, focus and determination is getting you ever closer to your goals.
Written by Catherine Sinclair