The View From My Study – 3rd March

It was St David’s Day on Wednesday and you might have seen me wearing my daffodil. Unfortunately, in the rain and wind it withered quickly which was appropriate, since St David was born in a storm on a Pembrokeshire clifftop (supposedly).

St David was a preacher and his last words to his followers in AD589 were, “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.” Consequently, this notion of ‘doing the little things’ has become a tenet for many people in their search for a successful life. But what does it mean exactly?

To me it means that regularly practising the fundamentals will lead to good habits which then makes it easier to learn the more complex tasks and routines. But never overlook the fundamentals – they’re important and keep us grounded. And by maintaining the discipline of doing the small things, big things will happen as a result.

It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one critical event or one “big break” while simultaneously forgetting about the hidden power that small choices, daily habits, and repeated actions can have on our lives. When Jessica Ennis-Hill won her gold Heptathlon medal for the first time, everyone could see her talent, but underneath was a dedication to training, preparation and discipline. She had spent hours focusing on the fundamentals, and that was why she was successful.

The American basketball coach, John Wooden, famously used to begin the first session of every new season showing his players how to put on their sports socks and trainers. It didn’t matter whether they were a rookie or a celebrated star, he showed them all. His point was that if you don’t put your socks on properly, you might have wrinkles in them. Wrinkles can lead to blisters. Blisters can lead to injury. Injury leads to time-off and time-off leads to losses for the team.

Wooden was one of the most successful coaches in the NBA and he focused on the little things because he knew of the impact they could have on the big things. Whether it is sport, music, academic study or relationships, working hard at the little things will lead to better results. St David knew this. And hopefully the Welsh rugby team can put their socks on correctly next weekend too!

HM Bacon Butties will be served from 8.15am tomorrow morning as usual. If I don’t see you, I wish you all a very good weekend.

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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