“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.”—Allen Klein

When I wrote my first book, Living in Your Top 1%, I was obsessed with the details in the final stages even though I was not concerned with them when I first started writing the book. Why? One typo or unfinished chapter in the first draft of a two-year book project really doesn’t matter. However, a typo when the book is going to print is major. It’s the same detail, a simple typo, but has very different implications when considered in line with the bigger picture of publishing a book. One is a detail that can be overlooked initially and one is a detail that will detract from the project. The more important issue is how we view details in our life and keep them in perspective relative to the bigger picture.

If you go on a hike and only focus on the details, such as the rocks on the path, you will miss the beautiful view every single time. Similarly, if you only look out at the view and neglect the rocks/details, you could twist your ankle. Successful people balance the two and are able to keep the details in perspective while staying mindful of the bigger picture. We can apply this same principle to all areas of our life. Consider the following three examples:

You pay your rent or mortgage late.

If you’ve never missed a payment before, you most likely will be subject to a late fee and it’s not the end of the world. However, if you’ve missed the last four payments, then the detail of missing another payment may have much more serious implications. This detail is obviously critical within the bigger picture of keeping your home.

A person is disrespectful to you.

If the person serves you coffee at your local coffee spot, you can choose to overlook the incident or get your coffee elsewhere. However, if you are seriously dating this person then it’s an important detail in line with the bigger picture of creating a life together that you will hopefully want to address. The single detail of being rude/disrespectful (although never desirable) has different implications depending on the situation.

You don’t like the seat you are assigned on a flight from LAX to NYC.

Your preference is to have an aisle seat in an exit row with more leg room but instead get stuck with a middle seat. If you’re healthy, this is undesirable but not the biggest deal. However, if you just had knee surgery and need to keep your knee extended or else you will be in extreme pain, the seat selection is an important detail. Again, a simple detail is more or less important depending on the situation.

How we view details is a dynamic process. It’s difficult to draw a conclusion from a single detail without understanding what it means within the context of the bigger picture. Some details really make a difference in your life and others take more energy to address than they’re worth. Are you you treating every “detail” like a missed mortgage payment or keeping it in perspective?

TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: Yes, details are important but not every one is the most important. The key is to understand the bigger picture and to quickly assess how and if the details matter within that context. Knowing which details to overlook and which to focus on will depend on your values, goals, and how you want to invest your energy. As you move into the new year, take a moment and consider where in your life you could view the details differently to gain a Positively Positive perspective.

Alissa is a Professional Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals”. She works with individuals and organizations to help them think bigger, redefine what’s possible, and get results.  Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more and to take the Living in Your Top 1% quiz, please visit Alissa’s website or her Facebook page.