Little Things Can Let You Down

How many times have you had a flat tyre?

My father drove for thirty years and never had one, my brother drove trucks (22 wheelers) and never had one,  Mario my friend has had one in thirty years.

I just had two in two days.

For me, two of anything is a pattern – something worth looking at and reflecting on. In both instances this week – my flat tyre was the result of a valve stem seal.

Bear with me a minute… Each wheel on your vehicle has a tyre inflated with air (or nitrogen) which enters or exits the tyre through a valve. That valve sits inside a stem – poking out through the rim. This piece of equipment rarely, vary rarely fails. Since 2004, I have had no less than seven valve stem seals go on me. Co-incidence you think? Perhaps a systems issue with the way I drive? Or a heavenly sign, a warning, an indicator to examine life more closely.

Need a Sign?

I once heard a leader speak about such events in our lives.

He said: “A sign is only needed to point you somewhere. Once you get there, the sign is no longer needed.”

If you keep getting the sign, you have not understood its portent or message, you have not arrived at the right conclusion.

A little thing like a valve stem seal holds all the pressure in, it keeps you inflated and travelling along. But when it blows, the show is over, the journey ends abruptly, until you get it sorted out.

A Parable For Life

I take this as a parable for life – a small thing can enter in and change your journey.

In relationships it can be a slight, an offence, a turn of phrase that creates bitterness, anger or resentment.

In communication it can be your posture, facial expression or lack of practice that makes you come across as unprofessional.

In a business, it can be small, daily transactions that are bleeding the bottom line.

These small things, which can break under pressure,  actually reveal the inner state of the heart. They are a tiny part of a much larger system. Every little thing needs to be examined, not just the big things.


Take time this week to examine your heart. Your responses to disagreement, tiny offences you might be carrying against a co-worker or loved one.

When I brought this issue to our office, I found out that one of our key staff was quite low – feeling isolated and cut off from the flow of life. One simple conversation – one hour to reach understanding – completely changed their experience and they reported “coming alive” – being re-inflated – that very day!

A valve stem seal only costs $10 to repair – if you catch it early. If you drive along on it flat, you’re up for a new tyre – $240 in my case. Leave it long than that and your wheel will buckle and need repair… you get the point.

Search it out and fix it early!