A Treatise on the Details/Big Picture Dichotomy

So, I just got out of a nostalgic argument (Read, old bones) with who used to be my significant other. It’s funny that the argument is such a loud echo of the arguments that ended our relationship. Perhaps this is written for her eyes. Maybe this is for the young ones who might want to use this as a cautionary tale.

Recently I delved into the whole MBTI shebang. I’m your average ENTP dude, complete with the demented ideas and prone-ness to annoyance induced by small problems. Now the argument with my friend here was by all aspects small. To my perception anyway. They were small issues regarding convenience, extending help, sincerity, and perhaps a little bit of personal safety.

Small shits, I would say. But, as the saying goes: the Devil is in the details. Then again, so is God. If you think about it, when you are in a restaurant or in an otherwise ordinary retail shop, the poor quality of the main product can almost always be covered or compensated entirely by small touches on the part of the provider. A small flirt from the waitress, a small observation from the sales person, maybe a slight tonality that suggests that this was a person who knew who you were. Sometimes it’s an annoying grammatical error, other times it’s a well placed use of your own local slang. Sometimes, it’s the shade of yellow on your logo-as the story famously goes, the late Mr. Jobs called up Google to apologise for having the yellow on Google’s logo showing a little off on the Safari browser.

When you look at them objectively, they are really small things. As long as Safari delivered Google to the user in a timely manner, right? As long as the food tasted good, right? But perhaps the small things ARE the big picture.

I have come to the conclusion then, by thinking too much about the overarching ideas or the big picture, I lose sight of the big picture. The so-called 20% effort that produced the 80% of the result. What if the details ARE the big picture?

Perhaps in the argument, all my friend ever wanted was for me to show her that someone in this world cared about her. For that function, I have failed miserably.


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Hankit Mok

I live to tell stories. Sometimes, I get paid for them.

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