Tiny Things Make Us Happy

(and Convince Us to Buy)

by Glen Stansberry

Tiny Things Make Us HappyMy wife and I live in a modest two room apartment. We drive a used car, don’t eat out a lot, and we have a solid budget that we (usually) stick to.

Yet there are still a few things that we splurge on. For example, instead of buying regular plastic carton milk, I like to buy the locally-made organic milk that comes in a glass bottle. This typically runs $1.50-$2 more than the traditional plastic carton version, but I buy it anyway.

Why? Who knows! I know I love it, and even though I’ll maybe have a glass a day and maybe some in my cereal, it’s not a critical part of my life. I could easily go without the ritzy milk.

But I don’t. For whatever reason, this small, insignificant part of my life seems better when I have milk that comes in a glass container. The aesthetics of pouring milk from a glass container as opposed to a plastic carton are quite different.

When I’m creating, there are some things that have to be exact, and some that don’t. I’ll carefully consider the perfect pen and notebook, but I could care less about the location of where I’m creating. I’m really particular about the time of day that I write or create, but hardly ever give a second thought to what I wear.

Sometimes the things that I think mean a great deal never amount to much. Oftentimes it’s the smallest things in life that make me the happiest. The sound of my newborn nieces and nephews sleeping (my sister recently had triplets!),

Does this make sense? Not at first glance.

Think about it this way: if you were going to create something incredible, sometimes the small things make all the difference in the world.

Smart companies like Apple understand this, and even market their products to highlight these tiny things. Take, for example, the redesigned aluminum body on the new Macbooks.

Sure, Apple’s marketing made sure to showcase “nuts and bolts” improvements on the hardware: the new graphics card, the new processor, and longer battery time. Yet they also have a page dedicated (with a video!) to the new process they use to create the aluminum chassis for the laptops. The page highlights the length Apple goes for the small improvements.

Why go to all the trouble to highlight small improvements?

These small, insignificant “features” make people feel a certain way. And emotions are what drive sales, not facts. Tiny, almost unmeasurable details can play more heavily into our thought processes and decision-making than we give them credit.

We are irrational people, after all. Or, at least I am 😉


It’s interesting to learn what small things really matter to me (like shmancy milk), and what bigger things don’t (like owning a house or a new car with all four hubcaps).

Anyway, this is what rolls through my head during a Saturday morning. What do you think? Why do the small things seem to matter so much? All I know is that they do.

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Glen StansberryGlen Stansberry writes at LifeDev, a blog that helps people make their ideas happen. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Glen Stansberry




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No Comments

  1. manu on August 24, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Absolutely agree with you! In fact small things may become the cause that leads a product or an idea used by a few into a fashion. That’s at least one of the key ideas of this book: the tipping points that I recommend you to read :-))

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