At 212 degrees, water boils. Boiling water produces steam. That steam can power a train. At 211 degrees, water is very hot, but not boiling. A good question to ask is what is so special about that one degree? What is it about that 212th degree that is so special? So powerful? So different from all the degrees before it?
That 212th degree is no different than any of the degrees before it. What makes it so impactful is that it builds on all those other degrees. While it appears that it is that 212th degree that makes all the difference, it’s just one more degree that, on top of all those others, creates the incredible difference.
Have you ever had a situation when you were struck, out of the blue, with pain? Maybe while twisting a certain way, lifting a heavy object, or doing something as simple as drying off your feet, lifting a laundry basket, or merely getting out of bed? I have seen thousands of patients in my office in severe pain, baffled by how they could feel so badly, without some cause greater than a mundane act that they have done hundreds of times before. They are convinced that their problem just started.
With the help of a more detailed history, full examination, and x-ray images, it becomes very apparent that these problems were building over time. Many are shocked to see how much damage was present in their spine, some with advanced degeneration, arthritis, and bone spurs. And to think this damage and degeneration was occurring slowly and silently over years, without them ever knowing it was there.
I once had a bodybuilder who was lying on the floor in my consultation room, literally crying from the pain. He was unable to sit or stand. He told me that he had never had lower back pain before, yet while bending down to pick up a penny, felt sharp, stabbing pain in his lower back and down his leg. He told me that had deadlifted, bench pressed, and squatted thousands and thousands of pounds over the years with no pain at all, and asked how picking up a tiny penny could cause so much pain.
My first question… why were you picking up a penny? (He wasn’t amused!) Second question… do you really think picking up that penny is what caused your problem? I explained that it was all of the wear and tear he had put on his spine, over all those years, that slowly built up, with his body managing it as well as it could, for as long as it could, until bending over that moment was the straw that broke the camel’s back (no pun intended).
The things that happen in our lives, good and bad, are always the accumulation of uncountable, unimaginable, and unnoticeable events, circumstances, and decisions. Big outcomes are the results of many little outcomes. The little outcomes accumulate over time, build up, and eventually result in what appears as a surprising outcome. Everything we see happening around us, and the things happening in our own lives, are anything but the result of just one thing.
People don’t get fat by eating one bad meal. Spouses don’t leave because of one bad fight. And people don’t usually struggle financially because of one bad investment. On the flip side of that, strong, fit friends of yours didn’t get that way with one workout class. The top salesperson in your company didn’t get there by having one big month. And the people you know that have retired with financial abundance didn’t get there with one successful investment.
Many huge successes and catastrophic failures appear to come suddenly. They often surprise those watching them happen. The little things eventually turn into big things. So, pay attention to the things you are neglecting, those little things that don’t seem to make much difference, and get to work on those. Do less of the negative things, do more of the positive ones, and you’ll see, over time, your life get better and better. It won’t be random, it won’t be luck, and it certainly won’t be just one thing that did it.