'Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.' - Vincent Van Gogh
Have you heard people say:
- Small is beautiful?
- Take baby steps, or one step at a time?
- Break it down into bite-sized pieces?
- Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves?
There are lots of sayings and proverbs that share the age-old knowledge that if you take care of little things, one at a time, they can add up to big things. And we know this: anyone who has given up smoking, dieted, studied, or struggled to form or break a habit takes one day at a time. Often, if we look at a whole issue, we can become overwhelmed and know not what to do, and often we find ourselves frozen into inaction, and instead, do nothing.
- What difference will a penny make when you have £100 to find?
- What difference would my smile make when no one else is smiling?
- What difference will one tree make when so many are being cut down?
Imagine if everyone in the UK put a penny in a pot. We would have 66 million pennies. If everyone smiled, 66 million smiles (which might be a bit weird! But it would feel very friendly). If everyone planted a tree: 66 million trees….
Small gestures and small steps can mean so much more than grand ones. Simple pleasures, little joys, acts of kindness, sharing smiles and laughs, or receiving a genuine ‘thank you’ or compliment can make us all feel a part of the world — and know that we matter, are noticed and seen.
We believe everyone can make a difference, even if it’s a little difference; a small, ordinary but beautiful interaction or connection. And if all 66 million people did a small thing every day — brought together it could be amazing.
Here are a dozen small steps in the right direction:
- Smile at people you don’t know
- Let someone on the bus, tube or train before you
- Plant flowers, fruit, vegetables or trees
- Phone someone you haven't spoken to in a while
- Send a hand-written letter or postcard
- Lend a stranger a helping hand
- Share the things you find so funny they make you laugh out loud
- Take time out to talk to someone new
- Say thank you — and mean it
- Carry someone's luggage or shopping
- Offer to babysit
- Spruce up public spaces by picking up rubbish