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If You’re Looking At The Big Picture, You’re Cheating Yourself Big Time!

painter artist frame holding dogI am guilty of looking at the big picture in my business world, but you won’t find me doing it very often in my personal life.

Why? Because I was cheating myself out of something valuable. And it’s likely that you are too.

The other night, I was out to dinner with a dear friend and his wife. We were discussing current events in the news, in particular, the day when, with the help of Make-a-Wish foundation, Miles Scott, a leukemia patient, was given the opportunity to be Batman for the day. Thousands of people came out to cheer him and applaud his Bat-kid exploits. The city embraced this small child in hopes of helping his dreams come true.

My friend’s wife scoffed at the event, advising us that there were millions of children who are battling illness across the globe. Her contention was that this child was no more special than any other. She was looking at the bigger picture. What a shame.

A business associate of mine and I were talking about our holiday traditions. I shared with him that each year I am happy to contribute to our local animal shelter and to fund the efforts of no-kill facilities. He then “educated” me on the statistics of how many thousands upon thousands of animals are put to death every year, and urged me to put my money to better use, as I could never change the system.

Both of these people view life with a big picture mentality, and both are missing out on one of life’s greatest gifts: humanity’s compassion.

Life is hard, unfair and often bitter. Looking at the smaller picture offers us a sweetness that is all too often overlooked.

Looking at the smaller picture makes you a bigger person.

If you don’t care to donate, participate or contribute to a cause, a person or an animal’s well-being or happiness, that’s okay, it’s your business. But do it honestly. Don’t do it because it won’t make a difference. Because that’s a crock.

I guarantee you that I make a difference. Perhaps not in the grand scheme of things. But I’ve saved many an animal that deserved saving. I have celebrated many a kind humanitarian act because it bonded me to a truer heart.

That my friends, is not the smaller picture, it is the only picture.

My business requires me to look at the bigger scope of things. It’s a financial and practical necessity.

But life often calls upon all of us to be less practical and more thoughtful. It asks us to lean against blame and towards responsibility. And it requires us to feel, share, and extend ourselves.

To do less, is to live a less fruitful life.

Kindness, generosity, giving of one’s self is not a bankable thing, it is a human thing.

And in these days, humanity could use more participants.


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Joan Cooper - You have a very very special gift – your insight is rare and beautiful. I reserve $100 a month for animal charities – and there are so many more – but just think – my $10.00 each, multiplied by 1000 is $10,000.00 per charity and so on.

No gift is too small to make a difference.

Joan Cooper

Tana Bevan - Touche for celebrating the joy with a variation of the small and simple. Often those who look at the “big picture” are overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all and feel impotent to evoke change, forgetting the one-on-one difference. The story which makes the internet/Chicken Soup for the Soul rounds about the starfish is on point. A young person happens upon an older person tossing starfish back into the sea because starfish will otherwise die. Young Person looks around, sees a shoreline filled with starfish and comments Old Person won’t really make a difference as there are too many. Old Person holds up starfish, says “Makes a difference to this one,” and tosses it into the water. Young Person picks up a starfish to toss.

Tammy - Hi Joan, you really are too kind. You are SO right, my friend … “no gift is too small to make a difference”! Love it! And you!

Tammy - Hi Tana, I’ve got to confess that I feel overwhelmed almost every day. There is such a big picture to be considered and it’s exhausting. But when it comes to real life (not business life), it’s the smaller picture that matters to me. It allows me to be a part of the world, to participate, engage, feel like I’ve done some good of sorts. All we can do … is do our best. LOVE, love the starfish story. I’ve heard it before, but never enough. Thanks for bringing to the table. Happy holiday to you, my friend!

mel glenn - Dear Tammy,
I agree with you on this one with the caveat that one can do both – look at the big picture and the small one. Look at Shindler – he saved 1000 Jews though six million were killed. He did something, even though in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t all that much.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Best, Mel

Kitt Crescendo - You know I love you, right? Your words reflect my feelings to a tee…and remind me of Garth Brooks’ song “The Change”. The lyrics go a little something like this:

One hand reaches out and pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
And they say you, what good have you done by saving just this one?
It’s like whispering a prayer in the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing I’ll do this
So this world will know that it will not change me

This heart still believes, the love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire with the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing I’ll do this
So this world will know that it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing I’ll do this
So this world we know never changes me
What I’ll do is so this world will know that it will not change me

Suerae Stein - Tammy, this is a great reminder to us all that day to day kindnesses do matter, and you, my dear, have a kind heart indeed. It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the grand scale suffering that happens all around us. It might be natural to throw up our hands and think that it is all just too big for one person. I know I’ve felt that way. But even if we can make one day, one meal, one life, just a little better for one person or animal, sometimes that can make a huge difference far beyond what we might see. The ripple effect could be on a grand scale. Wonderful post! Thank you.

Tammy - Hi Mel, It lovely being on the same page as you. I find that the grand scheme of things is always too much. I don’t avoid it, I just do what I can in the little time and space that I occupy. And it’s enough….for now. To do less would make me a lesser person. Thanks so much, Mel, for being here. Hope your holiday was wonderful!

Tammy - Kitt, I had never heard this song before. Thank you so much for sharing it. It is absolutely spot on! Doing what we can, when we can, the best we can DOES make a difference. Every. Single. Time. We are, truly, sisters from another mother! Thanks so much for being here! I … am thankful … for YOU!

Tammy - Thanks, Suerae, for the kind words. It doesn’t surprise me that we are on the same page here. I’m always a bit surprised to see so many people who say they don’t extend themselves because they know it won’t make a difference. Really? They know? How can humanity be so easily duped? One has to wonder. I get that things are so overwhelming so often. But to not try to make one small difference whenever you can, well, it just doesn’t seem at all right. I’d like to think there are millions who do little things. That would mean there are millions of little things being done to help one another. Awesome! Love to you, my friend, this holiday! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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