The Big Picture

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

June 9, 2022

Have you ever lost the ability to see the big picture? Have you ever faced a problem you simply couldn’t resolve? It seemed so much bigger than what you could handle. Or perhaps you tried everything you could think of to uncover a resolution but were constantly left disappointed and bemused. I think we’ve all been there at some point or another. How can we tackle an issue that seems to be unresolvable? We have to think outside the box. We have to learn to let go of some of the rules we’ve created, or calm our minds and reframe.

That River Again

I’ve written about the River of Integration before. It’s one of my favorite concepts because it’s easy to absorb, and it helps me examine my life’s problems from a different perspective. If I’m facing an issue that obscures the big picture, I take a step back and wonder, which bank am I on? If I’m on the bank of rigidity, I need to look at the problem from the lens of my rigidity. I must try to be more flexible if I want to see what the solution will be. If I’m on the bank of chaos, I need to reframe the problem through that lens. I have to become more mindful and calmer if I’m going to resolve it.
The concept is more easily stated by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” If I want to resolve an issue that seems unresolvable, I don’t need more knowledge, I need to reframe my understanding.

Life’s Plans

We can’t live in an isolated bubble. And sometimes we’re going to face challenges that seem unresolvable – life’s a roller coaster after all. But when we decide we’re going to overcome the challenges and not succumb to them, we have to change our perception. We have to focus on our understanding of the problem. We have to take accountability and reframe.
I may not always be floating down the River of Integration, but I will promise myself that when I’m aground on one of the banks, I’ll try to notice and reframe.
There’s no problem I can’t overcome. I control my perception.