Mosquitoes Do Bite
by Jim Stovall

You have often heard it said, "Don't sweat the small stuff." When it comes to undue worry, everything is small stuff; however, when it comes to paying attention to details in your business or personal life, there are no small things.

One of my favorite titles for a book is "Elephants Don't Bite." In this book, the author describes how big things are rarely what you have to worry about. It's the small details that trip us up. Elephants don't bite, but mosquitoes always do.

Think of your last positive experience in a restaurant, hotel, or on an airline flight. If you really examine what made this a positive experience, you will discover that it was, quite likely, a series of small things or even one small extra detail. The unexpected kind greeting or warm "Thank you" makes all the difference in the world.

When I look at the list of what I consider to be my favorite restaurants, one of the details that will get an establishment on the list is to know and remember my name. The waiter, waitress, or host may have simply checked the reservation book before greeting me by name; but in the final analysis, it really doesn't matter as much that they know my name as it matters that they go to the extra effort to discover my name and greet me like a valued customer or friend.

When it's all said and done, we are each in the people business. If you are having your oil changed in your car, even people in the automotive service business would have to admit that one oil is about as good as another. What really makes the difference is the prompt, professional, polite service you receive during the experience. And imagine if you received a thank you note a few days later or a postcard to remind you of your next oil change. We live in a consumer-oriented society, but what people value more highly than the goods and services they purchase are those intangible, small things that add up to a great experience.

The Golden Rule is golden because it is profound and practical. To succeed personally or professionally, treat others as you would like to be treated.

Today's the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author, columnist, and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082, or by e-mail at

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Copyright 2002 by Jim Stovall. All rights reserved.

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