Imagine being employed in a company doing your dream job that has a promising future. A member of that company comes up to you and makes you an irresistible offer. He has found a way of convincing one of the company’s biggest clients to revoke a contract with them and instead give it to him. He’s offering you 50% of the value of the contract if you quit your job and join him to work on the contract. Sounds good and lucrative, right? Yes. This being your first job means you do not have enough corporate experience to understand the potential consequences of your decision. You quit your job and join him. Three months in, the company sues the guy who gave you the offer and you both lose the contract. You end up jobless, your name tarnished, broke and you’re unable to get a job in the same area. As much as the situation promised a bigger pay cut, in the long run, this engagement was bound to fail because the guy duped the contract from the company.
This is a classic example of the damage that thinking small can do! This kind of thinking is often also referred to as hollow thinking, small picture thinking and winning the battle-losing the war thinking.
It is much better to lose a battle and win the war than to win a battle and lose the war. Resolve to keep your eyes on the big ball –David J. Schwartz
Big picture thinking
Big picture thinking means zooming out your life or situations to see your ultimate goals. This practice helps you to make better decisions when faced with challenges whether in your personal life, relationships, work or business. Big picture thinking also means forfeiting small wins as you focus on working on your bigger wins.
How do you become a big picture thinker?
The best way to become a big picture thinker is through taking time to work on your ultimate life goals. What is your end game? How do you want your life to be when you’re 60 and retired? Constantly going back to this end game and asking yourself if you are working towards this big picture will enable you to be a big picture thinker. This will also enable you to focus on the big picture as opposed to concentrating on small wins.
The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up – Chuck Palahniuk
Focusing on the big picture in everyday life
The social media bug
Social media addiction is one of the greatest problems facing young people. Our phones are the first things we check when we wake up and the last before we retire to bed. We spend so much time on social media that we forget our other responsibilities such as family and work. Worse still, people invest on a ‘fake it till you make’ it lifestyle on social media. We edit photos, lie, post personal information all in the name of gaining likes. While social media is a powerful tool when used and managed correctly, these same tools have been known to cause major damages especially when it comes to our mental health. Living a fake life on social media is one of the ways of experiencing small wins while losing the big picture. You spend a lot of time on social media which makes you waste precious time that you could use studying, reading books, working or loving your family and friends. The consequences?
- Falling out with your family and friends. We all know how much time and resources it takes to build strong relationships.
- Failing your exams which makes it harder for you to secure a job. This also makes you stressed and messes up with your self-esteem.
- Underperforming at work could lead to a pay cut or losing your job altogether.
- You have no time for self-development. Reading books, attending networking events and having meaningful conversations will leave you a better, happier and more valuable person.
- You risk experiencing mental health issues. The comparison games on social media leave you doubting your self-worth which leaves you stressed and sometimes depressed.
Tip; Manage your social media usage. You don’t want to end up with thousands of followers while doubting your self-worth at the same time!
Borrowing money in a bid to sustain a life that you can’t afford may feel wonderful at first, but soon enough, you’ll end up stressed and deep in debt. Taking a loan to buy that new pair of shoes may feel awesome especially when you receive compliments about it, but the interest rates on that loan will leave you broke! This is a perfect example of how to win small while losing the bigger picture since you will end up stressed and straining to pay off your debt. This is an especially dangerous small win because once you start the borrowing loop, it’s almost impossible to stop.
Tip; Live within your means and keep track of your finances. Create a savings plan and back it up by reading some financial literacy books while at it!
If you just focus on the smallest details, you never get the big picture right. – Leeroy Hood
Neglecting your family and friends
For most people, as soon as they get their first job, they start losing track of their relationships as they claim they’re ‘busy.’ If this includes you, you’re not busy. You just haven’t taken time to track your priorities. What is the use of climbing the corporate ladder and getting that high paying position while having no one to make a toast about it with? Does this remind you of anything? Yes. This is another miserable small win caused by not taking time to balance your big pictures.
Tip; Add ‘meeting with family/friends’ in your weekly schedules.
Prioritizing your job
Working overtime might seem like a good thing in your grand picture of things but this does you more harm than good. Getting home late means not having a chance to have dinner with your family. It also means missing out on important life milestones and meaningful conversations. You will use more time to rebuild these relationships in future. Working overtime will also harm your health which will ultimately make you way less productive in future. See? Small wins yes but again that’s losing the war.
Tip; Create a life where you work hard at your job while at the same time creating time to love your family.
The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time. – Simon Sinek
Choosing a career because of the money
Choosing a career because of the money as opposed to your passion is also an example of a small win that has long-term damages. You will end up feeling cheated, unhappy and unfulfilled. Having money is good, but that combined with struggling with hating your job is miserable. As the experts say, choose a job that you love, be an expert at it and the money will come.
Tip; Choose a career of courage, meaning and impact.
You need to use smart tactics to win at life. The best tactic is to keep asking yourself if your life decisions are in line with your big picture. The above 5 tips will help you get started. As always, see you at the top!