62: Attention to Detail

Ambitious undertakings are not in order, but attention to small matters brings decent progress. Such is the case for a person whose resources are meager but who, through modesty and perseverance, eventually rises to accomplish great things.

An early key to success is to avoid pretentious ambitions and grandiose goals. The power of the small is served by slow and steady advancement, and succeeds through an honest acceptance of its own limitations, without reservation.

Modesty stemming from the recognition of limitations is a fine quality, but it can be seen as weakness if it is not accompanied by conscientiousness and dignity. It is very important, therefore, to understand the demands of your situation and to not expect success in big things right now. The wise person recognizes and accepts the nature of the time. Know your role, attend to details, and act with humility. You can achieve success, even with few resources.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

A baby bird meets misfortune by trying to fly from the nest prematurely. The small must attain a certain stature before making even the most preliminary advance. A willingness to attempt difficult tasks too quickly invites unfortunate consequences. Stick to basics for the moment, and make security a priority.

Line 2

When you are denied access to those who control your fate, you have little choice but to accept the situation philosophically, while working diligently to earn notice in the future. Restraint in difficult situations foreshadows success in the future.

Line 3

When danger lurks, the wise take precautions; they do not consider even the smallest matters above their concern. Attention to small—even petty—details can be what paves the way for escape during a time of crisis. If you venture into the heart of the city at night, it pays to know the shortest, safest way out before you enter. Do not allow pride to delude you into a false sense of security. Pay attention to your surroundings before someone sneaks up behind you.

Line 4

When embarking on a dangerous journey unarmed, one must remain alert and on guard. When you are in a position of weakness, restraint and caution are the order of the day. To push ahead carelessly in such circumstances is to invite misfortune.

Line 5

When assembling a team to undertake a challenging project or difficult task, emphasize achievement and talent over status and reputation. Only by assembling solid individual contributors can followers be transformed into leaders. Keep group chemistry in mind. Harmonious working relationships are essential to the success of exceptional undertakings that begin with meager resources. Modesty is key.

Line 6 (top line)

At a time when details are particularly important, returning to the comfortable ground of broad visions brings misfortune. If you attempt overly ambitious undertakings when only small opportunities are available to you, bad luck will result. Overshooting the mark, whether due to pride or inattention, is like a plane coming in for a landing with the wrong readings, making it likely to crash. Take things one step at a time, and pay attention to details.