“I saw in details while she saw in scope.
Not seeing the scope is why I am here and she is not.
I took each element separately and
never looked to see that they never did fit together properly.”
– Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
Does a Magician have to give particular attention to the details of what they’re doing or intending or causing?
I know many people who, while they are great dreamers, are terrible when it comes to executing and planning and projecting the details of making those dreams come true. I’m a big-picture guy, myself. But, I also love planning my way around the nooks and crannies (and periodically rearranging them to suit my tastes, style, and needs). What’s your style? Can you embrace the separate parts of your dream with the same enthusiasm and attention you give to the outcome you want?
I completely understand that your imagination is what drives the details that need to be focused on. Today’s article isn’t about abandoning your creativity for the sake of triviality. It’s about focusing your creativity on the small parts so that the planning and execution is “fun.”
Your vision of the future may, for example, include making more money, getting healthier, finding the love of your life, or expanding your career opportunities. That vision may be elaborate or simple. It remains nothing more than a “scheme,” however, unless it is accompanied by the tactics—the plan—for attaining your goal.
My experience is that those who only dream their dreams, end up wondering why those dreams never materialized. On the other hand, it is also my experience that those who get caught up in tactics without attending to a strategic vision, get lost and don’t make much of a dent in the Universe.
I happen to love puzzles. I can visualize how a solved Rubik’s Cube is supposed to look after it’s been apparently hopelessly scrambled. It won’t do me much good to stare at the jumble of colored squares and wish the solution into existence. Likewise, it won’t do me much good to start guessing my way through a solution by simply turning the pieces based on various hunches. I consistently and repeatedly solve the cube by knowing the specific patterns and turns and twists that have to happen in order to put the puzzle in its solved state.
That required me to first learn the various small steps to get to my desired outcome. I had to learn to solve the first layer, then the second layer, and then the last layer. There are specific, learnable patterns and algorithms to apply. The fun part, for me, is that there are various solutions so I have options. Still, they’re options that all require attention to detail. If you miss one small step in the process, you can’t get the outcome you wanted.
If you need even more motivation for paying more attention to the details of what you want to achieve, think of this: Who would you rather have working for you—an employee who is constantly approximating and haphazardly getting you the success you want to achieve as a business owner or the employee who won’t stop until the job is done correctly and on time?
Again, I’m not asking you to abandon your big-picture approach to your quality of life. I am asking you to consider spending more time in and on the details of what has to happen for that quality of life to appear for you. After all, if it’s not important enough for you to focus on, then why should it be important enough to be in your life in the first place?
One way to start practicing and developing your attention to detail is to start creating checklists for your projects. Take any dream that you have and start doing the following:
1. Determine the individual action steps that need to be taken to lead you from where you are to where you want to go. Think of this step as creating a GPS turn-by-turn map. This should be as detailed as you can make it.
2. Verbalize your checklist with someone else. I think you’ll be (pleasantly) surprised at how you will immediately see any defects, mistakes, or omissions in your actions steps when you say your action steps out loud to someone else. Saying them out loud to yourself “can” work so long as you make certain you aren’t rushing through the process and rationalizing any skips in the process. Talking to someone else prevents that from happening (because if you skip something, it won’t make sense to the other person and they’ll say something to you).
3. Put your checklist/action steps into play. That’s right. Actually start using it. Early and often. And be prepared to fine-tune it as you go along your path to results.
Feel free to post your own checklists and how you account for magical details in your comments. You never know. You might be helping someone else manifest a dream that will change the world forever.
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