In Doubt? Zoom Out!

Day 296 Week 43 Q4 Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Almost all problems benefit from a zoomed-out perspective. When we are further away from what bothers us, we are less disturbed. When two people have a disagreement, zooming out often shows places where they agree, which then provides a framework for coming together and solving problems. This is also true of your own internal mind, which can easily be like two or more people about what to do in any particular circumstance.

Creative people are capable of a great many different perspectives. They tolerate ambiguity much better than close, minded people. Use that creativity to alter your perspective to one from which a more straightforward path appears. One of the first things that you can do with a broader perspective is to prioritize, which can be difficult when you are too close to a decision or a set of decisions.

We can actually only deal with one decision at a time, even though a great many divergent inputs may impact it. Furthermore, its decision ripples outward and affects many other things as well.  Even when attempting to act in the present moment, one has to be aware of both the past and the future, as the two are present in this moment.

In addition to zooming out to gain perspective, if there is time, it is also worth attempting to either diagram or list what you are seeing from this perspective. Especially if it is impacted by and will also impact significantly more complex circumstances than the single act.  Computers are especially good at this kind of idea capture because re-organizing the ideas is much easier than erasing or crossing out and re-writing.

Many programs allow you to drag and drop into new positions what you have written down because life is not linear, and one cannot presume a single order to be adequate. It is worth attempting to linearize your thoughts as long as you don’t come to believe that reality is linear because it never was and never will be.

The complex set of interdependencies modern life thrusts us into will not become simpler anytime soon unless we destroy the collaborative network, human beings, living.  We are all craving simplicity on the far side of complexity, not on the near side. The goal is not to put on blinders and pretend that the rest of the universe is not impinging upon us. The goal is to find a way to deal with the sum of the forces acting upon us through clear understanding, prioritization, and tolerating ambiguity, and this requires zooming out.

And therefore, when in doubt, zoom out.