“Think of the big picture” …. “Live in the moment”…. These are two of the most frequent responses to somebody who is going through a hardship and yet somehow they are the complete opposites of one another. Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and can’t seem to think of anything else, while at other times we stress so much about the future that we completely forget about the life we are living in the present. Is there a way to remedy this? Is there a right answer? Is there a way to balance our understanding of both these extremes to help us effectively navigate our lives in a way that allows us to enjoy the moment, and also understand the big picture? Let’s start by defining what each of these extremes really is.
Moments – They are capsules of time in which your emotions and feelings are influenced. A specific memory for example that remains ingrained in your mind for the rest of your life. They tend to “define” particular points of your life. Graduation, for example, is a moment that is both an ending point but also a beginning point. A moment of transition from one stage of your life to another. Moments can also send us into a spiral of emotions, both good and bad. A bad experience that scares us into being fearful of particular situations is a moment that has damaged us. On the other hand, sometimes we experience moments of joy that overwhelm us with happiness and emotion. Moments are life’s teachers , showing us how we as humans react to what life throws at us, and in many cases provide us with opportunities to reflect on how we could have reacted.
The big picture of life is heavily tied to an understanding of process. What we want to achieve, what we have achieved, who we are and who we want to become, are all important parts of understanding our big picture. When we look at our big picture we can reflect on how our lives are, and how we want them to be. We can reflect on trends of behavior and truly understand ourselves better. The big picture is a guiding path, an evolving reality of something bigger than your day to day life. Your big picture is your history in the making. Legacy, impact, influence – these are all characteristics of the big picture.
The question we want to answer, however, is how do we strike a balance between both methods of thinking? Clearly both have their benefits, but focusing on one only seems like an incomplete approach in some way. The truth is, neither would exist without the other and the sooner we learn to understand this concept the sooner we can build a truly beautiful relationship between the moments that make up our lives and the lives we want to lead.
I am constantly speaking about the process of life – whether in regards to self discovery or a project you are working on, process is an extremely critical part of any type of growth. To apply this concept to the topic of today’s article I want to introduce an idea that I hope will help you look at your life in a new way. Moments are the manifestation of the process of your big picture. Meaning, that the individual moments that you experience in your life come together to form your big picture. That moment when you were young that made you a stronger person, will help you be a strong person for the rest of your life.
Through this understanding you can begin to think of your life in a new way. Experience life in the moments you encounter while understanding their relationship to the big picture. For example, a hard moment on a particular day will teach you something about yourself. Something you can use for the rest of your life when similar situations arise. In the same way, understanding what you want your big picture to look like will help you react to challenging moments. If you know you want to be a kind person in the big picture, applying that to moments where being kind is a challenge will help you make the right decision. To further this point, consider the screen on your phone. It is experienced as one screen, but it is made up of thousands of moments of light. They come together to form the interface that you engage with. Your life moments are your pixels, and who you want to be is your screen.
Understanding this relationship helps your mind adapt to the different scales of experiencing life – both at the scale of individual moments, but also as a whole. Together, they create Momentum, a literal force that can push you through the hard times, and keep you motivated to reach the better ones. Even scientifically, momentum is the culmination of a series of forces (moments) that create a larger overall force (big picture).
Treat your moments with the respect you want your big picture to reflect, and you can truly start to change your perception of your life. Live in the big picture, and think of the moment. Don’t do them individually. Together, they form the process of who you have been, who you are, and who you are becoming.