I’ve read quite a bit about my “personality types”: INFJ, Enneagram 5, Princess Ariel, Highly Sensitive Person, etc. Part of what I’m interested in when reading about “my” types is getting insight into how I process information about the world and how to do that better.
Because frankly? My memory of details is shit. And sometimes that bums me out.
What I’ve read, and what feels true, is that I make sense of the world by identifying big trends, finding the big picture, figuring out how big processes are operating to make things the way they are. I get easily overwhelmed with details and tend to avoid or look down on data, on what I perceive as manini work. It’s not interesting! It’s not useful! It’s so tiny and focused and disconnected from anything REALLY useful!
Then on the way to work the other day, I realized two things:
- I need to know the details before I can figure out the big picture.
- The more details I know and understand, the better my big picture creation will be.
Focusing in on, organizing, and understanding the details is a vital part of the big picture process. I can’t skip over the part I’m bad at if I want to continue to do well at the part I’m good at. They are part of the same process.
And! Details make up the big picture. Data makes up my judgments. So my big picture and my judgments need ALWAYS to be dependent and responsive to the details. Even while I treasure my big pictures (“I figured it out! Wheee!”), I need not to set them in stone, nor to hold any of them as idols, or as possessions that define me. “This judgment is mine — I made it, and it means something about me, and it cannot be changed without removing a bit of myself.” (You really need to read Erich Fromm’s To Have or to Be? Seriously. Go get it, and while you’re at it, grab a book of Meister Eckhart’s writings because the two together are *chef’s kiss*.)
Anyway. Nothing terribly life-shattering here, just me trying to find a way to make the process of data gathering and analysis less annoying and make the process of big picture thinking more productive and enjoyable. We’ll see if this does it….