Pa-ZIG-ative Thinking

People who are doing better than good will be sensitive to the needs of others and do the little things that make a big difference.

Sometimes little things can make a big difference. One morning at IHOP, one of the places at which the Redhead and I periodically enjoy a late breakfast, we were served by a lady from India who was pleasant and effective. A brief conversation revealed that her husband was a medical intern and as we enjoyed our visit together we experienced a delightful breakfast.

There was then a moment when the Redhead excused herself from the table. The waitress brought me the check. I signed it and included a $10 tip. The cost of breakfast was less than the tip. When the waitress returned from the cashier, I was seated in quiet contemplation. She approached me from behind, leaned over and gave me a brief kiss on the cheek, saying, “Thank you, Sir! Thank you so much!” I was delightfully surprised.

Then it dawned on me that for me the $10 amounted to a simple “thank you.” For her it might have meant the meeting of an obligation. I always tip at least $10, regardless of whether the bill is less than that. The reason is because each of my three daughters served as waitresses while they were in school, and I well remember how thrilled they were when they received a $10 or, in some cases, a larger tip.

Sometimes when we have abundance, when we’ve been financially blessed, we neglect to value the feelings and needs of others. That little incident, which lasted only a brief moment, made a lasting impression on me—which leads to a very important point. A little kindness, a little thoughtfulness, a little compassion, can really impact the life of another person. And it takes so little time and involves such a small investment. Yet real joy can be the outcome. Little things do make a big difference.

Today I hope you will have an opportunity to say a word of encouragement, to give an extra big smile, to use a more enthusiastic tone of voice, or anything else that will give just a word of hope. The reality is, we never know but that the other person might be in the depths of despair, and a simple act of kindness could well literally be a lifesaver. In addition, it involves joy on the part of the gifter. Joy is what you experience when you do something for someone else, someone who cannot reciprocate your kindness. Think about it. Give it a shot today—and tomorrow, too!


A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations...

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