The Little Details
About a week ago, I wrote a post about being a team player, and it, I did tell a little story which partly is about team playing and partly about paying attention to details. well, today, I thought I should write about the detailing part of the story… But let me quote the story down here, just in case you didn't get to read that part.
When I was quite little, I went over to a friend’s house to call her out so we could play since school was on holidays when I went over, she happened to be studying with her dad, well, practicing simple arithmetic. I was around 5 or 6 and she was a year younger. It seemed like she was having a little issue solving the problem when I went over…
Well, the Dad asked if I could solve the problem which I answered “yes” and got to work, I was able to solve it. When I was done solving it though, he asked “then, what next” and I answered confidently, “that’s all”. Well, that wasn’t all. He then went ahead to ask the daughter if there was anything else we needed to add which she said “yes” to, I gave her the pencil and she drew like a double line under the final answer. Yeah, that was the little detail I was missing, I actually did know that there was supposed to be a line there, but to me, that line wasn’t part of my answer
But well, apparently, if you don’t draw those lines, according to him, it gives an impression that you are not done solving the question, which he was right about.
My negligence to details dates back to since when I was a kid, it has always been there, I leave out the little details, Dad will bring it up when we are solving questions together or even studying but to me, he was just giving too much importance to what doesn’t really deserve so much importance… And a few times, marks were deducted for "negligence".
At different points in my life, I have been reminded of how important paying attention to details is and how I tend to be negligent about them. And well, most of those times when life happened to teach me these lessons, I was either paying very little attention, took it for granted or just didn’t even care. I mean, it is so little, right? Thank goodness it didn't take me a costly mistake to finally give detailing more attention…
There was this time during a class “surprise test” when a teacher decided to ask a random question, well, not so much of a random question for those who read line by line. It was an intro-tech class, and it was something he taught us about a week ago or so, luckily, I got to read it, but again, left out some detail.
He was quite strict so as soon as I was done, I was fast to submit, so I can get it over and done with. It was after submitting that the man realized that I was actually on track but left out a little detail. He called me back, gave me a “special seat”, actually, just a seat away from my classmates and he told me to complete it. In my mind, I was like, this man doesn’t expect me to write anything more, does he? Well, I spent the rest of my time staring at my classmates, sneakingly giving clues to some people and just generally staring at my paper, until it was time for him to go and he collected the paper.
So, what did I miss out? Well, His question, I can’t recall exactly but since I can remember my answer, I can say that his question was for us to state out how cast iron is being made. And I wrote…. “Cast iron is made by heating pure iron together with coke and limestone…” what I left out was “in a blast furnace called cupola” (I have no idea if I got the cupola part right, but it sounds so in my head).
One thing with me is that such mistakes I make that are often singled out stick with me for as long as it can. This happened when I was 12/13, that's like 10years ago, and I can still remember similar situations or times when I was corrected. The thing with me was that, after being corrected about a particular thing, next time, I apply it to that "particular thing" only, I wouldn't generalize.
Clearly, back then, what I needed to do was look into the little details I tend to leave out, but instead, I focused on not missing that last part next time. and so, such instances almost always repeat themselves… For example;
I had this Agric teacher who placed his wristwatch on the line, the thing was "anyone who can say out the process of the formation of an egg (in chickens) will get the wristwatch". It was something he taught us in the last class, most probably, most of us didn't study it. I was 15 then.
Well, a few people tried, some stopped halfway, some didn't go so far. I tried too, went far enough, but missed the last step, which to be honest, I didn't count as a step.
Once I was done, everyone started chanting that he should give me the wristwatch, and I was waiting to lay my hands on my "new" wristwatch when he said I didn't get it right.
Everyone was looking at him with disbelief, most of my classmates willing to fight for my "right". But he insisted that I wasn't done… He said when the chicken is done forming the egg inside of it, it lays it, right? Well, your chicken didn't do that. "And expels it through the cloaca" was what I missed…🤦🏾♀
And while I thought (and probably still think) that was a mere excuse for him to not let go of his watch, I do believe that if I did give that detail equal importance as I did the other steps, then he wouldn't have found a way out… That was it, Like a dream, what seemed like it was in my hands already, slipped away. But till today though, that process has refused to leave my brain…
I would have loved to say that after that incident, I did learn my lesson and learned to focus on the little details too, but sadly, I didn't. At that point, All I saw was a teacher being smart so he doesn't let go of something he happened to love. but then, it's clear that I didn't play my part so well too…
It really is easier for us to get hooked on focusing on the bigger picture, or what seems obvious to us, forgetting that the little details also count, pushing aside the fact that small details contribute to the big picture and without them, the big picture might appear incomplete.
One little detail omitted can alter something or make it incomplete. Detail reveals the beauty held within a particular thing, the hope something may hold and probably the deep story it tells.
I have become aware of the fact that I am not the best with details, I have (and still am) consciously working on being better at it because at the end of the day, it all counts. and if I do want to see what the whole picture really is about, then I have to consider all of them.
They are little, yet they contribute immensely. Just like all of us, we aren't as big as the earth, but every little step or part we play towards making the world a better place does count.
Remember that whenever we happen to leave out a detail, we stand a chance of distorting the whole picture. we might not be able to keep tab of all of it, but making efforts towards it will be worth it in the end.
Much Love — Audrey❤
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