Each day, in the news, we read about the merging of companies, banks and multinational corporations into ever bigger entities. As they grew bigger, they gain more leverage, more control, and greater monopoly of the markets, thus assuring the slow but steady demise of small concerns. Thus we can easily understand why most people think big is better. So, why are we talking about the little things?


While thinking big may be good for corporations, the same does not necessary apply to a relationship. In a relationship, thinking small is better.

Thinking small means paying attention to details and taking the pain to make small gestures and actions count - something we often ignore when we deal with people, whether they are our loved ones, our friends or our colleagues. We forget that little things can mean a lot. Although deep in our heart, we know that we value them as significant people in our live, our behaviours and actions don't reflect that.

So, while we may go out of the way to remember a customer's birthday, we forget our spouse's birthday. We remember our client's anniversary but forget our own. We take the extra effort to plan for our client's functions but forget to plan for our child's birthday. We truly believe our family comes first, yet we behave as though our clients are more important to us than our family. What is wrong with us? Where is our priority?

We often console ourselves by saying that we'll make it up to our loved ones with our next bonus, or the next holidays but when the time comes, we never do.

Little Things Mean A Lot

Time and again we fail our family, yet they are always there for us, no matter what. It's time we re-arrange our priorities and do what we know we needed to do - put our family first.

It doesn't take a lot to make our loved ones happy. Very often, small thoughtful gestures mean more to them than monetary value. My 5 year old daughter, for example, would chose to have me read her a story book than to buy her a toy. My 3 year old son prefers a walk in the park. My wife is happy with a "I love you" card which I sent her occasionally, not just on her birthday or our wedding anniversary.

A Powerful Lesson

I learnt the value of small thoughtful gestures when I was 18. It was the year I represented my country in a student exchange programme to USA. On a flight to New York from Los Angeles, an elderly American sat beside me. When he learned that I was in his country as an exchange student, he paid for my movie on the plane. Though the gesture was small, to me, his act represented an act of kindness to a complete stranger. It was my first impression of the American people. The impression stayed till this very day.


Caught in the rat race, we often forget that little gestures can leave lasting impressions - impressions that may shape the future thoughts and characters of our kids and loved one. Thus it is good to remind ourselves every so often to review our priorities and see if our actions reflect the priorities in our life. Remember the little things - they mean a lot to our loved ones.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Ong is a medical doctor and author of the online "Build From Within" newsletter series. He is also the webmaster of The Self Improvement Site (, Klinik Ong ( and Caring For The Terminally Ill ( You may sign up for his free newsletter at