Sweating the Small Stuff

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I would like to pay homage to the Heroes of Daily Life, the Organisers, the Checklist Managers, the Taxi Drivers, the Late Night Cooks, the Early Morning Encouragers, The Caregivers. Without you and your effort and dedication to causes that are not your own, and the loss of personal time you suffer, the world would not advance.
I wonder how some people become experts on anything in this life. How do they find the time? As far as I know, to excel at something you must invest time and effort, probably years. Meanwhile, if you are an average human with no huge bank account, you need to do things like cook, clean, shop, run errands. If you are busy achieving your goals, you will have to have what is known as a ‘support system’.
That means, in ordinary language, that someone will have to do for you what you can’t do for yourself. You know… that stuff that needs to get done but is boring and time consuming and has to be done at the most inconvenient moments, like when you HAVE to train/ write/ paint/ sing/ rehearse, etc.
The people who do these things are the unsung heroes of the world. Without them, there would be few stars in any field of knowledge or art. In fact, there would be few lawyers, doctors, engineers or any other demanding profession. Some studies show that the tasks required to run a home and care for a family would have to be paid anywhere between 2.000 and 5.000 euros a month. Not many people can pay that amount, or think it ‘logical’ to pay so much for ‘housework’. After all, it’s easy, right? Everyone does it. You don’t need a degree or training.
I wonder what would happen if all the ‘support’ disappeared. Who could dedicate themselves to greater causes while caring for an elderly relative or a baby? Who could expand their knowledge, create art, run a business in between shopping and cooking? What would happen if people had to pay more than a minimum- or just pay – the people who support them for free, like family: mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, fathers, brothers… or friends and neighbours?
I consider that this is often overlooked. Everyone cheers the achiever but many forget or simply don’t value the work that others put into these achievements.
It’s all about the small stuff. Little gestures and simple occurrences that ease the way to success. These gestures are carried out over time and are the difference between the world progressing or not.
Capitalism needs the unpaid work of millions of people- mostly women- to continue advancing at such an unstoppable pace and creating millions. If all these people had to be paid a regular salary, what would happen? They are -we are- the very base on which capitalism sustains itself. However, that doesn’t mean we are appreciated, understood or valued.
Perhaps-this is just a personal view of mine- the Revolution the world so desperately needs has to be started by those who bear the brunt of the mindless, daily chores, the encouragement and the ‘leaning in’ when they will get little recognition for their contribution.
Perhaps some of us need to ‘sweat the small stuff’. In the end, the small stuff is what makes the world go round.

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Rob Myers

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