4 Little Behaviors That Have A Way Bigger Impact Than You Think

Subtle behavioral lessons that not everyone is mindful enough to understand.

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A sure sign that you’re a winner in life is that you understand the subtle things that matter.

Because… the big things that matter are kind of obvious.

They’re right there in your face. Little things, on the other hand, slip by. They’re not paid attention to. And if you can learn to understand their significance and make changes in your life accordingly, you can live a richer life.

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Here are 4 little things that have a way bigger impact than you think:

1. An add-on when you ask for a favor

You cannot live life without exchanging favors. One day you’re gonna ask someone for a favor, and another day, someone else will ask you for one. And the act of asking someone for a favor can be much smoother, and more mindful with a simple add-on. Here’s what it is.


When you ask a favor of someone, also give them an out. Let me give you an example.

Recently, my friend Jordan Gross published an amazing book by the name of What Happens in Tomorrow World. And during the release, he asked a few of his friends to promote his book. I was one of them. However, he didn’t just ask me for a favor, he also gave me an out. Here's a part of the email he sent me:

"If you’re willing, rather than promote the book directly, I’ve been asking people to just share a resource I created with their network so that they become part of my email list. I was wondering if you’d share one, all, or none of these resources below with your audience on an email list or social media! Totally understand if not, I appreciate you anyway!"

See what he did? He asked me for a favor, and then he told me that it was completely okay if I don’t follow through. And that he’ll still appreciate me.


Asking someone for a favor creates a tiny amount of pressure on them. And giving them an out cancels it.

Since Jordan’s email, I’ve learned to do the same. Whenever I ask someone for a favor, I tell them that it’s okay if they’re not able to do it. And if they do say yes, I tell them, "No rush. Take your time."

It’s a simple thing that matters a lot. It shows you care. And if you care, you should start doing the same.

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2. How you round up the money you owe, and the money you’re owed

We all learned rounding up in school because, for some reason, uneven numerals are unsatisfying to humans. And you might think it’s not a big deal, but how you round up money matters a lot.


Here’s an example:

One of my friends owed me Rupees 4355. And when he settled the debt, he paid me Rupees 4300. And that felt… a bit unsatisfactory. Not that I care about 55 Indian bucks (It’s less than a dollar). But still. You get my point.

That’s when I learned a subtle lesson.

Always round up when you’re paying what you owe, and round down when asking for what you’re owed.

So let’s say you owe a friend $1112, pay them $1120(+8). But if the same friend owes you $1112, ask for $1110(-2).

Doing the opposite doesn’t exactly make someone cheap, but doing what I’m telling you sure leaves a good impression. It shows people that you’re not overly attached to money. And that you’re willing to let go a bit of it when you don’t actually have to. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a few dollars.


3. Who you look at when you’re speaking to a group of acquaintances

My friend circle in school was huge. We were about fourteen people who used to hang out together.

And when there are so many people, hierarchy is inevitable. Meaning that some people in the group were super-important and famous. And some just tagged along. I was among the people who tagged along. I was not that important.

And due to that, in addition to other factors, I was a super-insecure kid not so confident about himself.

So when we all used to spend time together, during lunch breaks, after school, or outside of school, I learned a subtle lesson.

When we’re speaking to a group of acquaintances, we tend to look in the eyes of the people that are the most important in that group. How do I know that? Well, because while my friends shared stories with others, it never seemed to me that they were speaking to me. It seemed like they were speaking to someone else, and I’m just overhearing their conversation.


That stung a bit. I didn’t feel important.

I’ve grown up now. My confidence is off the charts. I’m not insecure anymore. But the lesson has stayed with me.

So now, whenever I speak to a group of friends, I try to look in the eyes of the person that I think needs it the most.

I know the signs of low confidence and of insecurity by heart. I lived those signs. And I wouldn’t want those on my worst enemies.

So I try to do my tiniest bit by looking into the eyes of the most insecure person in the group when I speak. I don’t know if it helps. I only know that if someone else had done that with me, it would have helped me.

So here’s the lesson. When you’re speaking to a group of friends or colleagues, look at the person who you think needs to feel important. It’s a tiny, almost microscopic gesture. But I believe that it can make a difference.


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4. Applying 'The Golden Rule' to material things

The Golden Rule tells us to treat people the way they want to be treated. It’s a great rule. And I think it needs to be extended to how we use other people’s stuff as well.

Let me give you an example.


I remember that one day one of my friends asked to drive my car when we were going somewhere. And I said okay.

As we drove, I didn’t say anything, but I was a bit pissed off on the inside. Because the way he drove my car just didn’t sit right with me. He drove at a speed faster than what I like to drive my car at. And the ride wasn’t exactly smooth, it was a bit rash.

That’s when I learned a lesson: Use people’s things not how you’re used to using your own stuff, but how they use their stuff.

Meaning, if someone doesn’t like to drive their car very fast, you shouldn’t drive their car that fast as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest driver in the world.


But mind you, it’s much harder than it sounds. Because it requires you to care enough to be mindful of two things.

  • First — you have to be mindful enough to observe how people like to use their stuff and how they don’t.
  • Second — you have to give up your own default for the time being and adopt someone else’s default and use their stuff with the care they use it.

If you don’t do this, you’ll be pissing people off without meaning to. Hence, start being mindful of how you use people’s stuff. Put in at least as much care as they put, or more if you can.

Life is made up of a lot of subtle lessons that are not obvious enough to the unobservant. But these subtle lessons, when added up, can help you improve as a human by strides. Here’s a summary of this article.

  1. When you ask a favor, also give the person an out.
  2. Round up the money you owe, and round down the money you’re owed.
  3. When you’re speaking to a group of people, look in the eyes of the person that needs it the most.
  4. Use people’s stuff with at least the amount of care they put in. Ideally, more.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.