Looking at the Big Picture

big picture personal growth success Nov 09, 2022

When making decisions, it's essential to look at the big picture because it can be more effective for some situations, like when you're trying to figure out your next step in life or considering a business venture. By looking at the big picture, you can get a better understanding of all of the different factors that are involved and how they impact each other. This blog post will discuss what looking at the big picture means and how you can have such a mindset.

What is big-picture thinking?

You may have heard somebody give you the advice, "Look at the big picture" when doing things in your life. But does it mean you must stare at a large portrait of something to get a better view of things? In a sense, it is. Looking at the big picture means seeing things from a broader perspective. Finally, you get to why you may have to do things and see what the ultimate end is in the long term for your activities. You understand better the connection between different things and how they all play a part in achieving something more significant later.

Seeing the big picture is the opposite of looking at the small details. Detail-oriented thinking focuses on the parts and components of something, so you can understand it better and get things done. It is more focused on the present and is handy for delivering output in the short term. On the other hand, taking a big-picture perspective works when trying to figure out things for the long term, such as developing goals and making decisions for the benefit of everyone. Big-picture thinking aims to put a why and give a greater purpose and reason behind our activities. There is no one right way of thinking. However, big-picture and detail-oriented thinking are essential, and there are several situations where one way of thinking works better. The following are examples of situations where big-picture thinking comes in handy.

  • Looking at the bigger picture is essential in goal-setting, particularly long-term ones. You want to visualize how you want your life to look several years later. This activity takes some imagination, and big-picture thinking helps you do this. Once you have an ideal state you want to achieve in the future, you can start setting goals, starting from your vision and then breaking them down into smaller subgoals and objectives that can help you achieve what you were aiming for from the start.
  • A big-picture mindset helps a lot when you are in a leadership position or business owner. Leaders' responsibilities focus on managing people and getting them to all work together to achieve a unified purpose. As such, looking at the bigger picture is imperative for such people to help fulfill their organization's vision and coordinate everyone's efforts.
  • Even if you are working on an individual level and are not in any leadership position, being a big-picture thinker is still beneficial. Having an idea about the grand scheme can help you become more motivated with work because you know why you have to do particular work. In addition, you gain an insight into your role in an organization, making you realize you are part of something bigger, which can help increase your sense of self-worth. Also, suppose you have plans to make it big someday, like getting promoted to leadership or achieving something extraordinary. In that case, you will want to develop big-picture thinking to visualize what you want and take the necessary steps.

Essentially, big-picture thinking is suited for long-term planning and managing people beyond just one individual and thinking about things that can benefit everyone in the future. On the other hand, detail-oriented thinking is more suited for getting things done in the present and refining details of activities and various things so that they will contribute something to a larger goal and simultaneously deliver the necessary output for the short term. Nevertheless, both are basic forms of strategic thinking that have their place at various points in our lives. Therefore, learning to utilize both is an excellent idea, not just focusing on one.

How to develop big-picture thinking

If you find yourself more detail-oriented, it can be challenging to think big. Fortunately, you can always learn how to look at the bigger picture, and here are some ways to help.

1. Give yourself time to think

Unless you are already well-versed in thinking big, you may find it challenging to look at the bigger picture. For a start, try to give yourself time to think. Look around you and see how things work together, then look beyond what can happen in the future. Take a break, do some note-taking, or meditate to give your mind time to contemplate things beyond what you currently do.

2. Ask yourself why and for what

Some of us are already content with what we do every day without taking too much time to reflect on why we do them or for what. Big-picture thinking goes beyond what we do at the moment. It's about taking time for reflection and asking yourself why you have to do something and for what purpose. When you get into the habit of asking such questions, you gain a bigger perspective on what roles various activities in your daily life play in the grander scheme of things.

3. Be mindful of what others do and ask about their perspectives

Big-picture thinking goes beyond what's happening to you. It concerns the welfare of others and the things happening around you. You can start getting a better view of the whole picture when you see what's up with the lives of others and how their roles connect with yours. You can try putting yourself in their shoes or ask them what they do. When you see the different things people do and try to connect them, the big picture becomes easier to look at, and you can realize that what you do may only be a small part of something greater.

4. Take note of your goals and activities

It can be easier to visualize the bigger picture if you write down your daily actions. If you have set goals already and have broken them down into smaller objectives, the ones at the top constitute the big picture of what you are trying to achieve, such as the goals and vision you want to accomplish several years later. You can also start with something small, like your daily priorities, and then try to go beyond them by writing down what role they will eventually contribute to something bigger that you may want to achieve in the future. For example, if you just like saving money every payday, you can think of where you can put your savings to good use later on, such as creating a business or using them as an emergency fund. Write these things down so you can always come back later and remind yourself of the big picture. You may also want to try drawing circles or whatever shape you like and write down inside them the various goals, ideas, and perspectives you can think of and try to establish connections between them. When they all connect, you can see them as part of a bigger picture, and everything will make sense as to why you must do them.

There's value in being a big-picture thinker.

Looking at the big picture helps us gain a complete perspective of the greater scope of things. What may seem insignificant can suddenly play an important role when looking at the big-picture view. This kind of thinking works well when trying to achieve success in the long run or visualizing possible scenarios that can affect and benefit everyone. Imagination and creativity can assist in thinking big as it involves thinking about what-ifs and hypothetical scenarios. Big-picture thinkers can also benefit from seeing the significance of everything they do once they relate them to something greater that encompasses their daily activities. Whatever job or role you may be playing in your life, looking at the bigger picture of things will help you maintain your sight of what's valuable and keep you on track to something of great importance in your life.

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