Saturday, February 14, 2015

Game of inches

I've been reading about the criminology Broken Windows Theory and it's made me appreciate a perspective I've tried to stay away from.  Basically, the idea of Broken Windows is fix the little things and big problems will get better.  In New York, the theory was put into practice a while back to clean graffiti and make sure people paid for the subway.  Little things as far as crime in New York goes.

There's lots of statistics that are attractive and lots of data out there saying that this was a good idea. The evidence-based thinking appeals to me a lot.

For a long time, I've been trying not to 'sweat the small stuff'.  I've tried to focus on the big and material things.  Figure out what's important and don't worry too much about the rest.  I am rethinking that.

This theory obviously extends beyond criminology.  The things that stay with me and probably everyone else are the little things.  Every interaction is a chance, an opportunity, to have a great interaction...or a not-so-great one.  Each interaction like a possible baby step to something better; each one a chance to be a better husband, dad, and person.  After a bunch of baby steps I can end up in a very different place.

Maybe the better way to think about everything is pretty much the opposite, 'sweat the small stuff'.


Alifiyah said...

Interesting viewpoint. As I was reading, I thought of a similar saying - "watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves". But then I recalled another phrase: "penny wise, pound foolish", which says exactly the opposite....I wonder if it's that both viewpoints can be useful, depending on one's circumstances...? Or do you think one is better than the other?

Taher said...

I think they're both the essentially the same view. We divide things into "big" and "small". What fits into those groups is really up to us.