Paying Attention to Detail

We learned as students that we needed to pay attention to details, otherwise our grades suffered.

We learned as graduate students that we needed to pay attention to details, so we would know how to answer that (doesn’t sound like but absolutely is) loaded question at our defense.

We learned as job candidates to pay attention to details or our résumés never left the trash pile.

We learned as professors to pay attention to details so that we had all the documentation needed for plagiarism issues’ meetings with students (and/or the dean over those same issues).

An article on why paying attention to detail doesn’t just make the grade, get you out, get you a job, and keep the job relatively safe, but also makes you GREAT. (And I’m sure that same attention to detail will get our blog posts read and our journal articles published.)

I wonder if paying attention to details, assuming you know enough to pay attention to the right details, is the dividing line between good and great. Thinking back over my life, trying to decide when things I did were great, I’m not sure.

Right now I am working on an iBook (okay, the “right now” is metaphorical, but I am in the process of doing this) and I want to make it great. I want it to be amazing. But I am a single person with a very busy life and a brain that may sometimes be taking a slow boat across town–even though I live in a land-locked area–and I haven’t had the time to make it all great. But I have tried to make one part of it significantly better than absolutely any other English textbook they have ever held in their hands.

I wonder if it will be great? Will the attention I’ve paid to the details in that aspect make only that aspect great or will that attention expand to fill the quality of the entire book, so that the whole book is great?

I don’t know.

And I can’t think of another thing I have done that I think was “great.” Has it made a difference to the good/great divide in your life? On what project or in what way?

I really want to know.

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