Do You Focus on the Details or the Big Picture?
Back when I worked in an office setting, I was talking with one of my coworkers and we ended up on the subject of science courses. I proclaimed my love for organic chemistry and how I wished I could take it over and over again (yes, I’m weird). She mentioned that she liked physics because it dealt with real world problems and could be applied on a larger scale.
Since she was my friend, she didn’t spurn me for my love of a notoriously hated science field, but instead told me that it made sense because I was a very detail-oriented person. I was responsible for many of the reports that dealt with very specific numbers and required little to no error. I loved (to the chagrin of others) auditing patient folders and finding mistakes that needed to be corrected. Organic chemistry focused on such a small scale that it was no wonder it soon became my favorite class.
Neil, on the other hand, sees a much larger picture than I do. He has his career planned years in advance and actually thinks about retirement. I tend to think on a more myopic and day-to-day basis and how teaching x number of classes in a day means I can buy more exercise clothes. Nevermind saving anything for the future; I CAN GET A NEW PAIR OF TIGHTS. I also tell really long and detailed stories that leave people asleep or vacantly staring at me by the end.
Thankfully, we help balance each other out because he helps me be a responsible adult (sometimes) and I help him realize that we need to try and enjoy life in every day moments.
Neither way of thinking is bad or wrong, but being able to do both at some point is important. I’ve listed some important big and small topics to help you see the importance of both ways of thinking. What type are you?
BIG PICTURE: Major Life Milestones
Things like marriage, retirement, and starting a family are all BIG life events. They require strategy and planning. True, there are always impromptu Vegas weddings and not all children are planned, but once you get there, it’s going to be something you have to figure out. Retirement and planning for the education of a child require that you take time to think about the future and how you plan to get from point A to point B.
DETAILS: Missing a workout or eating dessert
Missing a workout or eating something like a delicious donut (mmm) is not something to beat yourself up or feel badly about. If you fall off your routine, simply accept that fact and then get back into it. In the grand scheme of things, it probably won’t matter if you missed that 6 am workout one day. It’s a little different if you stop working out altogether or replace dinner with an ice cream sundae every night, but that’s a post for another day. Life is too short to waste time shaming yourself, so if you need some extra sleep or that donut has been calling your name, enjoy it!
Related: 4 Powerful Steps To Combat Shame
BIG PICTURE: Personal Growth
This can be applied to emotional growth as well as overall self-improvement. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10? What differences (if any) do you want to make in the world? What kind of person do you want to be? Remember that you tend to attract similar people, so choosing to improve your outlook and your behaviors will eventually surround you with supportive and uplifting people. Learn to set boundaries. There are some things that you can change immediately, but other changes take time to achieve. Actively working on your growth as a person is a process, and one that very often takes time.
DETAILS: Personal Growth
Yes, I used the same topic. That’s because personal growth works on both a short and a long term scale. There are changes that you can make today that will impact today. Those same changes made today can also impact many days, months, or years down the road. Do something nice for another person today. Take some time to journal. At the end of the day, reflect on what’s happened and ask yourself if you could have reacted to situations differently or in a more constructive way. Make apologies sooner than later.
- Are you a detail-oriented or big picture person?
- What other examples can you think of for each?
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.