it’s the bigger picture, stupid

are you a broad strokes, or a dotting-i-and-crossing-t nitty gritty detail type of person?

I never really thought about it to be honest, and if you’d asked me before, I probably would have gone for the latter.

but I think that would have been wrong / not wholly accurate / possibly true then but not necessarily true now.

the moment of truth was when I read about splits and didn’t care

the running community on Facebook has been an absolute gem of a discovery. I’m amazed I didn’t stumble on it before, and even now I’m not quite sure how I was eventually granted access.

it’s full of supportive people, it’s full of experienced runners, it’s full of FAST runners.

the community contains team-spirit-cheerleaders, who will shout and clap and whoop for just about anyone making some kind of effort.

there are also the technical specialists, the fonts of wisdom and nerd-like knowledge.

it’s when I read the technical stuff that I realise it’s interesting – I mean, I AM genuinely interested – but I just absorb it a little, allow it to waft it’s fact-based fragrance about my persona, and then move on.

the facts, the nuts & bolts, the itty-bitty-nitty-gritty simply do not hold my attention.

so I stopped and pondered when this attention-to-detail was lost

and the result shocked me. it was not lost. it never was in the first place.

it didn’t make sense – after all, my background is code. line upon line, byte upon byte of code.

my first programming job involved writing software in assembler – basically telling a computer exactly what to do, teeny step by teeny step. I’ve debugged programs step by step, I’ve reverse-engineered source code from a combination of compiled applications software and a debug symbol file (if you’re not a geek, just think of it as writing out the details of a restaurant menu, based on the contents of the diners’ guts).

but realistically, I didn’t have a choice with that. it was my job.

no, given absolute freedom, given a choice, I come up with ideas, I built sloppy prototypes; then toss them aside on an intellectual slagheap, as soon as my mind is satisfied that the concept works.

in the hands of an attention-to-details person, my ideas over the years would probably have made millions – well, dozens of dollars at least… but for me it’s more about the bigger-picture-experience stuff.

and that is the pattern of just about everything else

running. spiritual practice. exploring the meaning of life. domestic life.

no matter what topic you care to pick, you will find evidence of a sloppy-big-picture  approach.

never drilling down into specifics, not specialising in one area, sampling a smorgasboard of techniques, information and experiences.

you will never find me, for example, posting highly detailed top-notch scientific information about a particular running technique. you are far more likely to find an opinion piece, or a tactile emotional ramble about how a run FELT.

yes, sure, there will be occasional  mention of trying out a few things I’ve read about, but only at a superficial scraping-the-surface level. possibly with some subtle long-term impact on what I do, but not always.

to be honest, I think I get bored too quickly to truly zoom in on a subject. (that’s why I made such a shit student)

not just focus and attention to detail, plannning too!

while I DO appreciate structure, I’m not much of a planner either.

I don’t plan weekends – they are a case of just going and visiting/doing/seeing stuff as the mood strikes.

and do you know what? I’m very very comfortable with that.


obsession with detail. big picture thinking. turns out neither are right or wrong, and the world can’t function properly without both.

so, which one are you?


image courtesy of Dave Wild via Compfight

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