How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

Jordan Brown

There is a phrase that can sum up anything you do.

It's a pithy phrase that packs a punch.

You may not have heard it or read it before, but once you do, it changes how you see the world.

At least it did for me.

That phrase?

"How you do anything is how you do everything."

Let me explain why it's had such an impact on my life.

How You Do Anything - The Small Becomes the Big

There's been many a time in my life that I've been bogged down in details, frustrated that I wasn't getting anywhere.

Why am I making this call? Why am I doing this stupid task for this stupid person that I don't like?

This kind of defeatist thinking saps my energy, but I was guilty of it--and I still am, at times. Before I learned this phrase, I hated the small stuff most of time. It felt like a waste of my life. It felt like the small stuff never got me anywhere. It felt like I was copying and pasting my way through life. How tedious.

But then the pithy statement got me thinking because there's a sort of power packed in short statements. "How you do anything is how you do everything" gets to the heart of the matter. And there's always a heart of the matter. And that heart, it's always made of tinier hearts.

When I was working in mental health as a care coordinator, I never knew which call would get the person through the doors for much-needed care. If I didn't succeed the first time, maybe I was setting the stage for a future visit. Maybe my call only planted the seed of an idea that later sprouted a month later. Still, that's something small can that have a huge, positive outcome down the road.

You and I never know the impact we make, have made made, or will make one day. And it's not up to us to know. It's up to us to continue to put in the work.

How You Do Everything - Pieces of the Whole

No one action changes the entire world. At least not at first.

The biggest actions aren't big because of their dominance and brute force. They're big because they're back by thousands of tiny actions. They're built on a foundation of minuscule momentum. Small actions beget other actions, and before you know it, there is a crushing cascade propelling you, and the growing world you've created, forward and forward.

How can you take tiny steps forward today? How will you do "anything?"

Want to start a habit? Start small. Want to begin a creative project? Begin with just a brushstroke or a tap of the fingers on the keyboard. That's all you can do anyway. Then one tap becomes two. One brushstroke becomes the background of a great painting.

Here's a list of other projects made up of tiny actions:

  • Raising a family
  • Reading an epic novel like War and Peace
  • Building a fence
  • Calling three of your friends
  • Sending a thoughtful text to those same three friends
  • Doing the drudgery at work until you're known for your reliability and work ethic
  • Becoming someone's "best friend"

All of these require that you pay attention to the small things. All of these actions are made up of hundreds and hundreds of moments of the "anything" in life.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

It's more than a statement.

It's a way of life.