Look After the Pennies…

…and the pounds will look after themselves?


Pounds are made up of pennies, are they not? Therefore surely does it not follow that if you “look after the pounds,” then you are, by definition, also “looking after the pennies”?

Okay, perhaps I’m taking this adage a little literally, but let’s work from the point of view of the metaphor it seems to be suggesting – i.e. that if we keep our eye on the details, the small things, then the big things will naturally fall into place. Which is, I have to say, also…


It is, of course (as a very generalised point), important in some respects and contexts to keep one’s eye on the details… but it is also important to keep sight of the bigger picture! We need to do both. We need to maintain balance. Yin and yang, and all that kind of stuff.

And furthermore, it strikes me that there is perhaps an imbalance these days in favour of “the pennies”! What (you may wonder) am I on about? Okay, maybe I am generalising too much (“pounds”!), and I should elucidate in what particular aspect(s) (“pennies”!) I am referring to…

There is, in many respects, in Modern Western Society, too much focus on “the details”! For example, in the workplace…

“You’re two minutes late!”
“You’ve underpaid my invoice of several thousand pounds by £2.50!”
“You’re stapling the wrong way!”

…and suchlike.

The above being the kind of stuff which, accumulated, causes an inordinate amount of stress amongst the workforce… and being stuff which, in terms of the overall running of a company/organisation/business, really doesn’t matter! Flexibility regarding timekeeping, accounts, how one staples, etc, is likely to result in reduced stress, increased confidence, greater happiness, etc – i.e. the Big Stuff (the “pounds”!)… so in a sense the adage which commenced this piece is correct, but more in a converse sense… i.e…

Put the pennies in the proper perspective and the pounds will become clearer and more easily look-after-able…

…which doesn’t quite run off the tongue in the same way, but I think/hope you get the general gist.


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