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The Little Things

“I stick out my little hand, To ev’ry woman, kid and man, And I shake it up and down, howjido, howjido, Yes, I shake it up and down, howjido” Woody Guthrie

It is the little things in life that one does that makes a big difference, a smile, a friendly hello, a kind word. 

gems photoLet’s face it the news we are getting is all bad. There is, of course, the positive propaganda that is presented. The cute animal story, the latest video, or the heroic rescue. We are inundated with soldiers coming home surprising their children or spouse but hear almost nothing as to what is going on in the wars. Certainly, we don’t hear about the over twenty veterans that commit suicide every day. In fact, we have been conditioned to accept the bad news expecting nothing good.

Not only is the big picture grim but the small picture isn’t too bright for the common man. Most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Some work several jobs just to get by. We are a society under constant pressure. It isn’t this way all over the world. I have been to Grenada with my wife several times. There the people are kind, friendly and laid back. I recall hanging outside the house where I was staying and the elderly woman upstairs inviting me in for some tea and conversation. If you want to see anxiety look at a congested freeway during ‘rush hour’ or see the drones of professionals flooding the subways to get to work.

There was a local pizza place that put up a sign that read “No service if you’re on the phone.” Apparently many people would rudely talk on the phone while ordering their food caring nothing about the worker. That is another common trait in the workplace a grand indifference. That’s how I felt at the engineering company as a piece on a chessboard, an inhuman object waiting to be utilized.

Let’s talk about the engineering company. Every morning I would say hello to everybody. I would even stick my head into the office of the grumpy man who ran the company to wish him a good morning. We never had any nonwork-related conversation. One time I had to pick up the boss and his family from the airport. I had met the boss’s wife at a company party but I couldn’t remember her name. So I asked his assistant for many years what the boss’s wife’s name was. The assistant sat in the boss’s office all day. He didn’t even know. I guess in all their years of association they never had personal conversations.

There was one time where my boss called me into his office. He was very distraught. He was returning from a meeting in Atlantic City. He was driving up the New Jersey Parkway and it had been raining. The car in front of him spun around and smashed into the concrete barrier dividing the road. Why this troubled my boss so much I can only speculate. I think his own mortality flashed in front of his eyes. Why he chose me to talk to I can only guess as well. I believe it was because I treated everybody right no matter of their position.

They say nice guys finish last. Well, perhaps that is true because they surrender their place in the line. What I do know is that people appreciate it when you say hello, ask how they are doing with listening, share a pleasant smile, try to say something funny. People can be cold, rude and callous. It is obvious that all they are concerned with is getting what they want and no regard for another’s human’s feelings.

If you want to change the world it is done by a multitude of small steps done correctly. If you do every small step in the proper manner the big steps fall naturally in line. If we are to create a better world you must first become a better person. Learn to incorporate compassion in all that you do. The little things matter and in the end, all that we can do is control our own actions. If we were just kinder to one another things would get better.

Please check out my book of poetry “Murmurings Of A Mad Man.”

The Little Things

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2019). The Little Things. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Apr 2019
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