Be Detail Oriented
We live in a world where the culture tells us to focus on the big picture. “Don’t get bogged down in the details”, they say. “Don’t let yourself be victim to analysis paralysis- take action now.” Sure, this stuff sounds nice and certainly there are people who overthink much of their lives and never reach a level of satisfaction they are happy with. However, I believe being detail oriented is vital to thriving in our culture today. Too much focus on only the big picture leaves out the fact that all pictures are made up of tiny little details. All paintings are comprised of hundreds of brush strokes. All photos are made up of thousands of pixels. See, it’s the details that make up the Big Picture that we are told to focus on. So, this year I would like you to resolve to pay attention to the details, because everything relies on them.
Another word for details, in my opinion, should be fundamentals. Another synonym would be foundations. If we begin to see details as fundamentals or foundations for building something bigger, our focus becomes doing the best we possible can in the here and now, so that our future can be great. We should all be focused on the future, but the best way to do so is to make the most of the here and now. To play full out everyday. There’s an old saying, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” I love to tell my staff this because it’s another way of saying that details matter. It’s the details that customers are willing to pay for. All luxury brands, hotels, resorts, theme parks and auto manufacturers focus on the details. They know the importance of detailed work. When your car is thoroughly cleaned by a professional, it’s called getting it detailed. Often, the very beauty of something lies in the details. So while they may seem boring, stupid and monotonous, details matter. They matter a great deal.
It’s unfortunate being detail focused is not valued more in the culture. Products are brought to market with major flaws and lack of attention to detail just so they can be first. Students come out of school without being able to utilize the language, spelling and grammar needed to communicate. As an employer, I cannot begin to tell you how many applications I see with poor grammar, misspellings and run on sentences. If a prospective employee cannot pay enough attention to detail to proofread an application, what am I, as an employer supposed to deduce as to how much value they can bring to the organization? I see so many businesses start and then fail quickly because there wasn’t enough attention to detail in the operations, management and systems from the outset. In fact, I would argue that most failures in business and otherwise occur because of many different details that were overlooked. Often, the exact details that were overlooked are unknown, which is why failure is not a great teacher in my opinion. Someone could have failed for five different reasons, but they believe it is only one, so they try again and fail again. More attention to detail from the outset could have prevented it.
Focussing on the details is really just another way of preparing for success. Before we go on a trip, what do most of us do? We make a list of details- things we might need for the trip. Confirming reservations, calling ahead, packing the right things, packing enough snacks and water, brining the right shoes- all of these actions are detail focused and they are vital. Being detail focused also applies to physical health. I believe the worst health and training advice comes in the from of being Big Picture focused. “Only take in so many calories a day.” “Walk at least 10,000 steps daily.” “Be active for 30 minutes for four days a week for good health.” If you hear someone preaching this, run the other way quickly. Details matter! What types of foods and calories? How fast should I be walking? Should I only be walking? What does being active mean? Should I only do cardio? Should I lift weights? Should I eat carbs? Should I avoid fat? The details underlying the answers to these questions are what is going to get you in incredible shape and health. Generalities are not enough for you this year. From health, to wealth to wisdom, get focused on the details and you will begin to see incredible results. I promise.