"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes
are truly endless."
-- Mother Teresa
Some very wise motivational speakers have argued that having
one major goal is THE big decision every adult must make. Some very smart people have told me I should define my life's mission, and then faithfully pursue that mission through the years.

I would love to do that! If I knew where I wanted to be in 30 years and could spend my life pursuing that vision. I would do it! It sounds so simple and powerful to know where I'm going and then "stay the course" for a lifetime!

Unfortunately, I never seem to know what I want for dinner, let alone 5 years from now! I do have some pretty clear dreams of a world filled with healthy, caring, productive and prosperous people, and I LOVE living that way and helping others be more effective, as well. But what does that really mean in terms of on-going personal and business goals?

I don't always know! How do those values and dreams translate into a 5-year plan for my business, for my marriage or my life? I simply don't know, and most other people don't seem to know, either.

What I do understand is putting one foot in front of the other, and moving forward one day at a time. I know about trying to have fun, do something useful, and using each day well. Since I don't have a 30-year plan, I use the wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous and do it just one day at a time!

I am convinced that for most of us, the key is making each day just a bit better, a bit more productive, slightly more fun than yesterday. If we can do that, my hope and prayer is that the 30-year plan will take care of itself.

In that sense, I am a huge believer in the "Law of Small Differences." This is a "law" I observed over 20 years ago, and it basically says that if I can do things just slightly better, faster, cleaner or with a bit more "style," in the long run, things will work out just fine.

The Law of Small Differences says that saving just a little each month for 30 years is a small thing that can be worth millions in the long run. The Law says that successful people get to work just a few minutes earlier, or do things just slightly faster or just slightly more effectively than failures. It says that, even if I don't know the BIG secrets to life, I can do the things I DO understand and trust that they will make a difference.

What I CAN do is make my bed each morning, kiss my wife, eat a healthy breakfast, return my phone calls, pay my bills on time, read a few pages each day, and exercise a little. I can encourage folks, smile a lot, listen well, be kind, and try to make the world a better place. The Law of Small Differences says that even if these things don't transform my life over-night, they are likely to make me more successful in the long run.

What I observe is that the differences between highly successful people and all the rest are very, very small. Highly successful people pay just a bit more attention, have slightly more self- discipline, live slightly clearer lives. They tell the truth, practice a bit of humility, listen and learn from others, and do their best every day. They keep their appointments, practice generosity, and laugh a lot.

It would be great if I had a major life-time goal, but in the meantime, I just do what I can, and let the Law of Small Differences work in my favor.

The key to success is not being a genius or winning the lottery or making the one BIG deal! The Law of Small Differences says success is the result of doing the right things, in the right way, every day. Today, do one thing that makes a small, positive difference, and if you like the results, do it again and again and again. Over time, the Law of Small Differences will make a huge difference in your results!

Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, professional coach, author and popular speaker. For information and over 250 pages of tips, tools, humor and resources for your success, visit:
Copyright (c) 2002

1. Choose one way to practice the Law of Small Differences
this week -- doing the right things, in the right way, every day.
2. Do the practice for one day.
3. Assess whether you liked the results.
4. If yes, continue. If no, go to #1 and begin again.
5. Practice for one week.

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