in the details


van halenOne of the legends of rock, and one that I never really understood, was the request that Van Halen put into their concert rider that asked that a bowl of M&Ms be placed in their dressing room that contained no brown colored M&Ms.

What a “rock star moment” that must have been for them….to be able to throw your weight around with a crazy request like that.

What’s next?  Teal colored fur boas and personal hovercraft?

Recently, though, I found out the reason for the request.

Van Halen reasoned that with all the things that could go wrong when a concert promoter was preparing for their show, that the M&M request might be a good indicator of how attentive to detail the promoter was.

If they could handle a bowl without brown, maybe they’d do a good job of hanging the dangerous rigging or making sure that all the electrical needs were handled correctly and safely.

brown m&ms

It turns out it wasn’t just an unreasonable rock star request…there was a real method behind the madness.

The phrase “God is in the Details” is used so much that it’s become almost a cliche at this point.  We don’t pay attention to the thought like we might because we hear it so often…but it’s true….it’s the details that matter in the end.

And…the hard part is knowing what details are going to make a difference.

We can become enamored of surface details…making sure that the cuff links are polished and that we’re wearing the right brand of watch…to the point where we are willing to let the important details fall by the wayside.

At least we can look fabulous as we drop down into bankruptcy.

I think about all this stuff a lot better than I execute it.  If I can’t figure out what might be important in the detail area, maybe I can just adopt the scatter shot approach and cover a couple of the important ones by worrying about handling all the details, no matter how mundane or ineffectual they might be.

No grand observations or conclusions here (move along folks…nothing to see here)…just a new appreciation for what might lay under the surface of a request like “no brown M&Ms, please”.

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