How To See The Bigger Picture
Big picture thinking is looking at everything, not just one situation or instance, in order to paint a full picture of a situation and respond accordingly. It’s seeing your role in this world beyond the four walls of your home. It’s switching to the aerial view of your life to see the web of your impact, your relationships, and your actions.
See the bigger picture
My self-proclaimed weakness has always been the inability to see the bigger picture. (I wasn’t doing myself any favors with that kind of thinking – was I?)
Looking at the bigger picture will give you a new perspective. It will allow you the space to figure out where you can improve, figure out what really matters in your life, and will allow you the opportunity to find purpose and meaning.
If you’re like me, a detail-oriented person, seeing the bigger picture might not come easily to you. When we are focused on all of the small details, it’s easy to lose focus. Even for people who it may come naturally to, sometimes we still lose the ability to step back and see where we are going, what we are doing, and why due to the ebb and flow of regular life.
I imagine the brush strokes on Vincent Van Goghs paintbrush as he painted Starry Night. Had he got swept away in every single stroke, obsessing over making each perfect, he could’ve taken up the whole canvas without ever painting the city below. It would’ve been a painting of a beautiful sky but would’ve likely never reached the famous status it holds today.
Lose the EGO
One way to see the big picture is to get over your ego. You aren’t the only one on this planet. Your life absolutely matters. But it doesn’t matter any more than anyone else. (Sorry if that’s a hard pill to swallow!) You have to be aware of other people and your surroundings.
We evolved to have an ego to keep us on our toes so that we wouldn’t be eaten by whatever large prey was lurking around the rock. Now, we don’t have as much use for it but it still manifests itself in many ways. The ego makes you overanalyze certain situations.
Thinking it’s the end of the world if you don’t have a date on a Saturday night.
Thinking your neighbors will hate you and never talk to you again if you don’t make the perfect lasagna for the neighborhood dinner party.
Thinking if your boss doesn’t give you a certain project that you’ve been gunning for then that is bound to mean you’re getting canned.
The list can go on.
The ego makes us feel like these situations are do or die. But take a step back. Those things have not manifested themselves into reality yet. Those future outcomes are solely in your mind. And even if they do manifest themselves into reality, it isn’t the end of the world. What is the big picture there?
Don’t have a date on Saturday night? It is allowing you the time to love yourself deeper so you’re prepared to find your dream companion down the road, whenever that may be.
Scared your neighbors will hate your wet lasagna? It could be a conversation starter that allows your friendship to blossom.
Worried about getting fired because you didn’t get the big project you wanted? Use that opportunity to reevaluate your career goals, see if this position is still what you want, and work harder at it if so. Heck, if you’re worried about the future, create a positive version of it. Maybe your boss has a raise in mind that wouldn’t allow you the time to work on those types of projects anymore. Maybe if they do fire you you’ll have the time to finally turn that side hustle you love into a full-blown business!
The point is that one instance won’t ruin the rest of your life, and you’ll realize that if you step back to look at the bigger picture.
Let go of the little details
Another way to see the big picture is not getting caught up in the little details.
We can get carried away by focusing on the small details. My example here is related to work. Imagine you have a project that you need to get finished, but you only focus on the details. Someone has to look at the big picture (usually a boss or project manager) to make sure the project meets the project deadline and goals.
Unfortunately, we don’t have someone reminding us of the big picture all of the time. If you didn’t take moments to look at the big picture, you might not ever finish what you wanted to.
A lot of people suffer from this in their personal lives. We have things we want to accomplish, but get so caught up in the details that we never actually get it done. Starting the side hustle. Renovating your guest bedroom. Fixing that relationship with a family member.
In order to pull yourself away from getting caught up in the little details is to set aside time to reflect on the big picture. Journal, Meditate or Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Step back and ask yourself what your problems or instances mean in the grand scheme of things. Is it something you can get past to move forward in your goals? Likely, the answer will be yes.
Find your why
And the final way you can work to see the big picture is to solidify your WHY. What is the driving factor behind your decisions and why you live the lifestyle you do? Is your WHY to be more connected to the people in your life? Is your WHY to have more security for yourself or your family? Is it to feel peace? Your WHY could be a multitude of things. Find it and remind yourself of it every day. Your WHY should be something you can’t forget even if you try. Something that is anchored in your soul. If you want help finding your WHY Check out my other blog post.
Once you find your WHY, it’s easier to sweep the little things under the carpet (or better yet out of the door!) You’ll be able to clearly make decisions for your WHY – which is a way of serving the bigger picture of the purpose of your life.
Are you ready to see the big picture? Take time to reflect today!