Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why small things matter...or...changing the world: one small animal at a time

puppy with elizabethan collar
Puppy in hospital. (She is wearing an Elizabethan collar because she rather enjoyed eating her intravenous line. She had severe gastrointestinal disease but made a full recovery with treatment). 

I'm as susceptible to an inspirational quote as the next person. These are from a fantastic book, humbly entitled How to Change the World by John-Paul Flintoff.

“The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy was one of the first to observe that history should more accurately be considered to consist of the combined effect of the many small things that ordinary individuals do every day: ‘An infinitely large number of infinitesimally small actions’...and its not only the things we do that make history, its also the things we don’t do.”p8
“Changing the world is a job that never ends. In that sense, its not so much a job as a state of mind: attentive to the way things are, willing to share responsibility for it..People engaged in this work will try to look for the upside, find resources where others might overlook them, and recognise allies in sometimes unexpected places. They focus on the long-term but always think how to take small actions right now. They are compassionate and even humble, but experience life as an adventure, rather than a series of oppressive incidents entirely beyond their control. And rather than complain that the work never ends, they see reason to be glad: there will always be something else to do.”p128

I think as vets sometimes we can forget the importance of the little things we do - interacting with patients, learning a bit more about their owners. But all those little things make a difference to our patients, our clients and to the kind of people we become.

Of course, Flintoff's book is an excellent read if you want to change the world in bigger ways as well. I just like these quotes about paying attention to details.