While looking out for the small things in life might sound like a good strategy, it takes away all possibilities for being pleasantly surprised, or rather not (in life). So if you’re a damn good orchestrator of things and lists, it helps reducing the risk of surprises, be they good or bad.
While some surprises are pleasant, those planned by the devil are generally not. Messing up with him (such a personality, we assume can only be male) usually ends up in big trouble. But why does it always have to be this way?
While some of us love being detail-addicts, others just prefer to see the big picture. They disguise getting lost in the detail. They see the forest but can’t identify single trees, whereas the first group is soo much focused on the trees, they live totally unaware of the forest’s existence.
Digging deep into detail and bathe in all the single – especially difficult elements – of an issue? It is truly difficult to humor someone with such inclinations. But is it better to insist on keeping the wider picture at hand? When interacting with people who have a slight myopic approach – is the best approach to go along with it? When the working culture is based on managing and surviving today by getting lost in details, while the vision, the bigger picture, drowns, gets out of sight, is it worth standing up/out and make the point, or do we just go along, hoping for a better tomorrow?
But let’s return to the (d)evil. Sometimes missing a detail can become the root of a big problem. But at the same time one’s not really efficient and effective when giving meaning and importance to every single detail. Which ones do we need to pay attention? What is the real impact of ignoring details in our daily life? Of course – forgetting your wedding anniversary can be quite bad, especially if the other party has put a lot of effort in celebrating it. Sending an email at work by mistake to the wrong person, thanks to auto-complete, can have consequences depending on the content and receiver of the message.
So even if we are mostly tuned into seeing the overall situation – having the details more or less intact in the back of our heads – what would be the direct benefits for us to sit down and take in, assess and act according to each facet of an issue? The world around us would probably at first be a bit astonished – but would it also increase the trust in us in being good observers? After all, wasn’t this the success of Sherlock Holmes? There were no trivial details for him. But he didn’t spend too much time in analysing details. He was just self-aware and was noticing details, putting them together to see the bigger picture. No time wasted in over-analysing details. Analysis, paralysis they say.
So maybe the devil is not the keeper of all details but our sub-conscience. Ourselves.
Maybe by becoming more self-aware we manage to pay the attention each detail deserves, while making sure that it fits, that it helps us seeing the bigger picture in life, at work, and in our relationships. And when things go wrong occasionally, when a detail or two is being ignored and it eventually leads to catastrophe, we can still put the blame on the devil. Because he keeps all details after all.