Prompted: Zooming Out to Gain Control
Shifting our focus from a piece on the board to a player controlling the game.
I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday afternoon and, depending on where you’re located, preparing for the colder winter months approaching quickly.
This is the 46th week of the year, and I’m already starting to think about how this year went and what I’ll be focused on next year.
With that, I hope this week’s topic will help you examine your perspective and think about things a bit differently. And as always, thanks for reading!
Zooming Out to Gain Control
You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame.
- Les Brown
We lose control when we zoom in.
If we’re too focused on career or partying or fitness, everything else feels out of control because it moves to the periphery of our minds. Or, even worse, important things move entirely into the background until they pop up unexpectedly.
If we don’t watch something evolve and measure its development, it’s completely out of our control. Many times our lives feel out of control because we’ve zoomed in so far that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
Singular focus is a powerful skill, but it doesn’t work as a philosophy for a fulfilling life.
When we’re too focused on one thing, we lose sight of everything else, and losing sight is giving up control. If we don’t zoom out to look at each area of our life, we resign ourselves to the perspective of a single chess piece on the board.
Only when we zoom out and consider how each decision affects every area of our life can we gain the perspective of the chess player orchestrating all of the pieces simultaneously towards a singular goal.
We can’t control what we don’t allocate time to, and we can’t allocate time to something we can’t see. When we feel stuck, we’re almost always hyper-focused on one problem or aspect of life. Zooming out gives us a better chance to see a path forward.
From this perspective, we can look at things that feel out of control and see how they’ve gotten to this point. We can see the relationships between different areas of our life and identify how each decision impacts the entire system.
When we look at others, the downstream effects of their decisions are obvious.
From our perspective, we can see the workaholic slowly drifting away from their family, the partier losing a grip on their job, the hustler’s health declining from lack of sleep and exercise, or the athlete’s body deteriorating as they push it too far.
When we look at others, we have a zoomed-out view of their life by default. Sometimes it’s easier to see the big picture for our friends than for ourselves.
We get so caught up in particular areas of our life because they’re immensely important to us, but the deeper we go, the easier it is to get lost in the weeds.
If we remember to zoom out and think intentionally about everything important to us, we make it easier to feel in control, pursue what we love, and support everything else that keeps us happy, healthy and moving forward.
When have I felt stuck in the past week? What was I focused on?
Zoom out. What are all of the important pieces of your life? Which ones compete against each other the most?
What’s one change I can make to my daily schedule to further balance my priorities?
A quick article from Forbes detailing the consequences of hyperfocus and strategies for zooming out.
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Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.