I've been thinking lately about the big differences little things make.

Consider this. If you're going somewhere and you're off course by just one degree, after one foot, you'll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But what about as you get farther out?

• After 100 yards, you'll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
• After a mile, you'll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
• After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you'll be off by 6 miles.
• If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you'd end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
• Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you'd miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
• In a rocket going to the moon, you'd be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
• Going to the sun, you'd miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
• Traveling to the nearest star, you'd be off course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto, or 4,745 times the distance from Earth to the sun).

Over time, a mere one-degree error in course makes a huge difference!

The same is true in business. This is why you can't run your business on auto-pilot. If you don't set the course correctly in the beginning (which no one does -- close, maybe, but not exactly), the odds of success are slim, at best. You've got to watch the results you're getting and make constant course corrections.

Let's look at another example of small differences having huge effects. Two people come to a mountain with a pot of gold on top, 5,000 feet up. The first is so lazy that, although he wants to get to the gold, he refuses to take an upward step. He walks around the base of the mountain, always staying at exactly the same elevation.

The second guy is pretty lazy too, so he too refuses to hike the steep trail to the top. In fact, he heads off on almost the same course as the first guy, except that he angles off just enough that with each step, he goes up 0.5 inches -- about a one degree slope.