“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is a common phrase, but without the proper context its meaning might be misinterpreted. It should not mean we ignore the seemingly unimportant details and focus only on more imposing and obvious specifics. That is a dangerous mindset because success or failure often depends on minute details. What “don’t sweat the small stuff” should mean is, “don’t worry about the little things you cannot control.” Do not let minor irritations outside your sphere of influence distract you.
Success in every military service requires a high degree of discipline, both administered and self-directed, and high levels of discipline are easiest to recognize in the small stuff. Even requirements that appear petty and inconsequential are important. For example, when a sailor or Marine consistently ensures their physical training uniform shirt is tucked in—even when separated from their group—a high degree of discipline exists. When that shirt is not maintained properly, the opposite is true.