I See the Big Picture


08 May

“Having the big picture in mind enables us to overcome the day to day routines that attempt to distract us from pursuing our dream.” ― Assegid Habtewold

Would you describe yourself as someone who is detail-oriented or who sees the big picture? Do you only focus on the here and now,  or are you the kind of person who can look down the road and predict how something will pan out? In other words, can you take a step back and see the bigger idea, concept, or vision at play?

How someone looks at their life is a lot like how one looks at a painting. For instance, if you went to an art gallery, are you more focused on the textures, colors, strokes, shapes, and details in a painting, or are you trying to understand the artist’s emotion or vision he or she is trying to convey?

"Seeing the big picture” refers to the ability to see the whole concept, goal, or vision. It also applies to seeing the future, especially with regards to how every part affects the whole. It can help avoid obstacles, prevent problems, and determine how things contribute to one’s success.

Details are important, but seeing the big picture is just as important. Doing so reminds you of your purpose and your reasons for heading in this direction in the first place. Big-picture thinking helps clarify goals, fine-tune action steps, and problem solve.

Someone with their eyes on the big picture is described as a strategist or strategic planner. Someone who doesn't see the bigger picture is short-sighted, hyper-focused, unimaginative as well as detail-oriented. It all depends on the context of what’s being discussed, planned, or viewed. 

When I worked in management and sales for a health center, I was told I was one of those rare people who could focus on details of the present as well as see how these details could affect the future. Others could only see one or the other - the present or the future. The details or the big picture. I could think in both logical and operational terms as well as creative and imaginative terms. As a result, I had the knack for taking ideas and executing a plan to achieve the desired result. 

Unfortunately, I was also the one to say that won’t work because of blah, blah, blah. It was instinctive for me to look for potholes and weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes, that made me the bad guy, but I was always right, which also made me the hero.  

In the end, an idea is just an idea until you take action on it. Action requires taking steps forward. No matter how big or small, action steps require movement. Taking action also requires having faith. Sometimes you won’t know what will work until you put steps into motion. Sometimes you won't think of everything that could go wrong. Conversely, you won't know what could go right. You might be surprised with either outcome.

Therefore, have an open mind, use sound judgment, take appropriate actions, and remember the driving purpose behind your goals. When you align your goals with self-belief and align your actions with confidence, your dreams will align with reality. Be patient with the process.  

There is room in this world for those who are detail-oriented and laser-focused on the present as well as for those who use broader strokes on their canvas of life. There is no right or wrong. There are only different vantage points. Put them together and you have a powerful vision for success. 

If you are in business, put together a team of people with either of these attributes. Together they can turn dreams into reality and turn ideas into money.

Personally, you would also benefit from taking advice from those with differing points of view. Some dreamers only see the big picture. Others look for every pothole or stumbling block on the way to help protect you from getting hurt. Both vantage points help make dreams come true. 

Sometimes we can get so close that the picture is out of focus. Don’t get so lost in the details that you miss the big picture. And don’t get so far ahead in your journey that you miss what’s right in front of you. Any step could be the next milestone.

For instance, we are so focused on looking down at our phones that we forget to look up to see where we’re going. In those moments, we miss the beauty along the way. You won’t see the old couple kiss on a park bench. You’ll miss the magic behind planning your daughter's wedding. You’ll miss out on your child taking his first steps. And you’ll miss the rainbow after the morning rain. 

Give yourself the opportunity to step back from time to time and enjoy the view. Don't miss the big picture.

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