Circa 1645, famed samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote The Book of Five Rings, a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general. Within that book, he wrote of nine principles one can practice and embody to achieve the success that comes with grace and excellence. This is the eighth post in a series where I interpret each one with the lens of a creative entrepreneur.
Today’s principle is:
Do not be negligent in trifling matters
They say the devil is in the details. The little things often matter. When you misspell a word, which I chronically do, it can give people the wrong impression. Rather than understanding that I have dyslexia and sometimes switch out my letter, the reader may believe that I’m lazy or don’t care enough to give you pristine copy.
I read a story about how a dirty scrunchie holding up a professional woman’s hair ruined her first impression with a new client. She was immaculately dressed in all other areas, which is why the detail of the scrunchie stood out.
Let me tell you up front, I try not to let people’s minor faults deter me from working with them. But if too many details are badly handled, that can be a big red flag.
So do you best to proofread copy, make sure technology works … etc. Do your due diligence. But realize that stuff happens and no matter how much you may attend to “trifling matters,” things may still go wrong.
But, as this principle states, that doesn’t give you permission not to attend to them at all. Pay attention to details, even if you make a mistake, your tribe will still recognize your effort. And if you lose a prospect because of a small detail, that person wasn’t a member of your tribe in the first place!
Here are some things you can do to avoid being negligent in trifling matters:
- Create checklists of all the tasks required for a project. That way you won’t miss any of them. Keeping your to do list in your head is a recipe for not getting things done!
- If you can’t handle the details, hire someone who can. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
- After you’ve completed a project, step away for a day if you can. Then come back to it with fresh eyes. Review the details and then send it out to the world.
Now Its Your Turn:
How do you handle the “trifling matters” of your life and business? Do you have a technique you can share? Do you have resources others can use? Do you have a funny story that we can all learn from? Please contribute your wisdom in a comment below.
Did you miss the first seven posts in this series? You can read them here:
- Part 1: Do not harbor sinister designs.
- Part 2: Diligently pursue the Path of Two-Swords-as-One
- Part 3: Cultivate a wide range of interests in the arts
- Part 4: Be knowledgeable in a variety of occupations
- Part 5: Be discreet regarding one’s commercial dealings
- Part 6: Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all things
- Part 7: Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye