My husband opened the cover of the outboard motor, and found a little hairpin cotter lying just inside. It was a seemingly delicate metal pin, only about an inch long, similar to the photo I’ve included. When the pin was originally installed, after being inserted through the two pieces it was designed to hold together, the two ends should have been bent in opposite directions like the letter "T". Instead, someone bent both ends the same direction, so that it formed an “L” shape. Over time, it had worked its way out of the hole, and as we backed away from the dock, it fell out, and the motor lost the ability to shift into other positions. It took my husband about a minute to put the pin back through the two holes and to bend the ends in separate directions. The repair cost us nothing.
It was amazing to me that a tiny little cotter pin could disable an entire boat and cause so much inconvenience for our family. As I marveled at that thought, it occurred to me that often it’s the “little things in life” that cause the biggest problems. They may be little things that we think are inconsequential, or that we don’t even notice until something goes wrong.
What are the “cotter pins” or “little things” in your life? What impact could they have if you ensure that they are addressed effectively? What could happen if they are neglected?
Consider these quotes:
- Live with wild, exceptional excellence in the small things…they are the very foundation of grand adventures.-Tsh Oxenrider, The art of Simple.net
- It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.-Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
- It's dreadful what little things lead people to misunderstand each other.- L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest