Where the Devil Is…And Pretty Much Everything

June 29, 2012

Are you a big picture person, or a details person?

I’m a details person.  I’m meticulous.  It kind of drives me nuts sometimes.

I spent four solid days last month planning out the entire next school year.  I spent three solid weeks planning a new class curriculum.  Literally, from 7 am until 10 pm.  For three weeks.  I couldn’t stop until all the details were accounted for.

It kind of drives me crazy when I miss a detail, when I mess up something small.  

I think detail guys don’t get a lot of credit.  Details aren’t sexy.  They don’t excite people.  No one thinks accountants are great.  They like the handsome guy at the front of the room selling the vision, the big picture.  Let’s not get bogged down in the details.  Let’s chase a dream.  Every book and seminar is about having a big vision.  You just don’t see people getting excited about mastering details.

We need big picture people.  But today, just consider all the details that will determine your day.

The Devil…and Pretty Much Everything

Our brains are wired to ignore most details.  If they didn’t, we’d go crazy.  If you had to read every package at the store, you’d never finish shopping.  But someone has to be paying attention.

A lot of people are upset today about a certain ruling that some high court made yesterday.  Now, I don’t know many people who don’t agree with the idea, the vision of everyone being able to afford necessary healthcare.  But 68% of Americans are upset…about the details.  And there are a lot of them.  Lots of details for the devil to hide in.

Details are like punctuation.  They can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Like “Let’s eat, Grandpa,” versus “Let’s eat Grandpa.”

You can dress up in nice clothes, primp yourself, and walk out the door with leftover food stuck in your teeth.  What are people going to notice?

Details are a sign of quality and craftsmanship.  Thread counts, facets on stones, customized touches.

You certainly hope your spouse or your CPA is a details person when the IRS audits you.  Keeping the books isn’t sexy, but neither are life jackets.

The Three Mile Island disaster resulted from a series of unfortunate details being missed.  The hull of the Titanic was riveted together with thousands of details that failed under pressure.  The passengers weren’t concerned with the details of the rivets when they bought their tickets.  They bought the big “vision,” sailing across the Atlantic on the largest luxury ship ever built.

I certainly hope if a surgeon is ever scooping cancer cells out of me that he’s a detail kind of guy.

Weddings are about the “big picture.”  Love and cherish in sickness and health…blah, blah, blah.  It’s the details that keep the marriage alive, or kill it.

A hug, handshake, word of encouragement or thanks…or the lack thereof are all details.

…So is unkempt neck hair and armpit stains.

A tweet can’t fit more than a detail into it.  Put enough tweets together, and you have a revolution in Egypt.

Details are the difference between saying you are a Christian, and living it out.  Most of faith and life is in the details.

I hope if you aren’t one, that you have a detail person in your life.  We need big picture people.  They keep the rest of us employed.  But it’s the details that make visions soar…or crash and burn.

Easy question for a Friday: are you a “big picture” person, or a “details” person.

21 responses to Where the Devil Is…And Pretty Much Everything

  1. I took some crazy personality test and came up 50% big picture, and 50% detail oriented. It’s hard to want to skip details and be all about them at the same time. It did drive me nuts. I had to learn to overlook details.

    Regarding yesterday’s details – here are some that should make it easy to be outraged.


  2. Depends on the situation. When accompanied by a ‘details’ person, I am Big Picture. When accompanied by Big Picture person, I am all about the details.

    Cheesy as it may sound, it really comes down to how my Father wants me to flow in whatever situation I find myself in.

    • Nice. It’s good to be able to adapt. It’s funny, I’m a bit the same way. Maybe my visions don’t get quite as big as others, but I just start piling up the details of what I want to do, and soon enough, I have a big idea. (The personality tests also indicate that I am somehow equally left and right brained.)

      • Matt,

        I am far from being adaptable. I’m the iron rod. As a son, however, I have my Father’s will ever in mind. His Spirit influences my actions, not because I am super-duper-Christian-guy, (ha!), but because as a son I have willingly submitted myself fully to His Fatherhood.

        What son does not want to be a Father-pleaser? What Father does not want to bless His sons? It’s a win-win for me.

        You call it adapt. I call it my Father’s will. Remember Matt, we aren’t converts. We are to be sons. And like Jesus, we should only do and say what our Father tells us to do or say, even if we do not grasp the fullness of it at the time it happens. It is Kingdom first. Everything else is just…heh…details.

  3. It has been a while since I took one of those personality tests, but the last one I took said that I was a detailed person and a random processor. So I can think about random details. It drives me crazy because there have been times I have become gridlocked trying to figure out which of the ten details I need to handle first. And it drives other people a little crazy because I will share with them one detail, without giving them context.

    The problem with me is that there is usually ONE detail that escapes me, leaving my work less than perfect, which makes me think that I am not detail-oriented and not committed to excellence. Then God tells me that it just makes me human and to get over myself.

  4. I am most certainly a detail person.

  5. I’m a details person married to a big picture person. That creates a balance that works well for us. God must have known what he was doing when He introduced us to each other! 😎

  6. I always wondered whatever happened to Grampa.

  7. Very definitely a “big picture” person. I just don’t see the details.

    Unless, that is, you’re asking me to proofread something. I’m a vicious copyeditor.

    But other than that, details constantly escape me. My kids usually are dressed when we go somewhere, but teeth brushed? Hair brushed? Clean faces? Well….two-out-of-three is usually my average.

  8. Jason Cormier July 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I am both

  9. Probably more of a big picture guy, but a lot of my work is in the details so I have to focus on that and see the value in it. Although, I prefer to just fly by the seat of my pants when possible.

  10. I am a detail person on a daily basis. I don’t really think about details ahead of time. Like I have a 7th grade Spanish class in a few weeks when school starts and I don’t know what I’m teaching. However I am working on potty training my son, so I’m focusing on the details of his signals that he has to go and his much he has to drink in a day.

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