In the interior design world you often hear the expression “the devil is in the details” when referring to how thoughtful design elements work together to create a beautifully well-executed project. You know, the WOW factor. Recently I learned this phrase actually derived from “God is in the detail” meaning attention paid to small things yields a big reward. In other words, details are important.
Naturally, the latter phrase is the one I’m drawn to the most.
Growing up I was taught that whatever is done should be done with excellence. I remember this lesson most vividly as a teenager. My nightly responsibility was to clean the kitchen after dinner. I wanted nothing more to get that task done so I could move on to other things like a phone conversation or catching my weekly TV show. However, I just as vividly remember being awaken in the wee hours of the morning by my grandmother who’d later returned to the kitchen to see I had done, in my words, a half-assed job. Doing it right couldn’t wait until morning. It required attention now. It didn’t take too many times of busting suds in the middle of night to learn this important lesson. Had I done things right the first time, then it wouldn’t have taken twice the time to complete the same task.
Doing things in excellence is not exactly a common trait nowadays. People are most interested in doing good enough. Because interior design is a luxury service, expectations are high just as they should be. When you deliver good enough to the client your work looks half-assed.
We’re also taught to not sweat the small stuff, however that has to be used in the proper context. Design and decoration is all about the small stuff and the big reveal is nothing more than a collection of small, important details.
I used to feel like my hard work and details went overlooked by clients until I would get an email or text messages telling me they noticed how beautifully the patterns match on a pair of chairs, for example. I also have to remind myself that God sees our efforts and in turn rewards us with even better opportunities when we prove faithful with little.
Doing it right the first time doesn’t always mean it will take more time, though sometimes it does. But the pain of regret is a more expensive and much harder pill to swallow than the pain of discipline in doing it right the first time.
This week remember to attempt to do things right the first time. A second time is much too costly.