Get Out the Microscope: The Flaw with the Big Picture

I’ve always been a ‘big picture’ kind of gal.

This characteristic has served me well throughout my life, manifesting itself in my relentless drive to attain what I want.

But that isn’t always the case.

I remember a time when I had noticed an increased sense of impatience within me – and it had spiraled to a point where my external circumstances were reflecting what I was feeling inside.

I was experiencing such things as…
– unexpected client cancellations
– delayed payments on invoices issued
– delayed responses from colleagues on collaboration
– slight friction within my own team
– a broken glass candle holder at my altar
– and the delayed launch of a webpage

Realizing that the above were happening all at the same time, I knew I had to step back.

And not just one step, but miles back. There was obviously something I wasn’t seeing, and I needed to get some distance. I started voicing out my frustrations – in my journal, to my personal trainer, to my business buddies. The release felt good, and it helped me to recognize the elephant in the room. I was focused so much on the things I wanted and I couldn’t see what was in front of me.

That is, until my personal training session.

I was sounding off my frustration to my trainer at not seeing the weight drop I expected. I went on and on about my change of diet, increase of exercise, improved breathing… I was doing everything I ‘should,’ so why no noticeable change? Why weren’t my efforts paying off the way I wanted them to?

It should be a no-brainer, right?

But it wasn’t. Not for me and my big-picture vision.

My trainer listened to me go on and on and on until he finally said something that really hit the nail on the head: the big picture can be unreliable.


We focus on the Big Picture so much that we don’t notice the microscopic things that affect us, such as increased food intake to compensate for the energy loss during exercise. He cited studies where even dietitians hadn’t realized how much they were actually consuming until they diligently recorded every single thing they were eating.

At first I discounted what he said, adamant that my food intake hadn’t changed.

But what he said lingered in my mind long after the session was done. I observed the amount of food I was eating, and the frequency of it. I realized that although the frequency didn’t change, I was eating a bit more each time. He was right!

And that inspired me to take a holistic view in my life.

Where was I feeling inadequate because I was so attached to my Big Picture?

Where was I beating myself up because the vision and mission I set for myself was not here yet?

I dug deep and looked at all the things I was frustrated about – why I hadn’t done XYZ, why I hadn’t achieved XYZ, and then…

…I realized one crucial thing that people are not talking about:

There is a necessary balance between the Big Picture and the Microscopic View.

I realized how important it is to really go microscopic with what we have accomplished.

When we zoom in on the details of our lives, we see so much more of what has been accomplished, rather than remaining focused too much on the big picture – that long-distance goal which is not even here yet.

The big picture offers us focus and motivation. But it’s at the microscopic level where we find the little things that actually center us and propel us forward.

For instance, I may not have lost the weight that I wanted to lose, but I was healthier, and happier.

While I was focusing on the numbers on the scale (the big picture), I was giving no value to my dietary changes, my increased activity, or my improved breathing (the little motivators). These were all successes I could celebrate…if I were to zoom in on them. But by not paying them any mind, I became solely frustrated about my weight because I hadn’t achieved my goal. And I discredited everything else.

The same applied to my business frustrations.

At the time when I thought I wasn’t hitting my goals, I was feeling like a loser. I wasn’t looking at the small achievements. I wasn’t congratulating myself on the little jobs well done. I was mooning over the big picture, and of course that is going to foster impatience!

Now I take the time to both look back and look ahead.
I review the milestones I’ve achieved.
And I also focus on where I am headed while staying with one key measurement:

If I am 0.0001{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} better than yesterday, I have a reason to celebrate!

A transformation catalyst, Maria Kathlyn Tan (aka Miracle Maria) helps soul-centered entrepreneurs transcend reality and create miracles in life and business. She hosts Master Classes, Group Programs, and 1:1 VIP Programs all year round.

You can connect with her on Facebook at [], on Instagram as [@maria_and_miracles], and on her website at [].


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.