Forest and Trees

forestHave you heard the saying…”You can’t see the forest through the trees.”  I may not have it exact but the idea is that you are standing at the edge of the forest but only see the big picture (forest) and completely miss the trees.  With the other end of the spectrum then being implied….you are standing at the edge of a forest and can only see the trees and completely miss that all these trees make a forest.

This is a great illustration of how concentration plays two very different roles.  There is narrow concentration. Our ability to see the trees.  There is broad concentration.  Our ability to see the forest.  The reality is that to truly appreciate the forest we must be able to know when to have a narrow focus and when to have a broad one.  Without using the two to compliment the other, we miss out on so much and often find ourselves falling flat.

So what do trees and forests have to do with living a healthy lifestyle?  Lately I seem to be running into people who are either stuck with the tree view or the forest view.  There does not seem to be much balance out there.

I will give you an example.  I am told that this person wants to loose weight and is tired of being overweight, sluggish, and sore from carrying around the excess weight.  So when we talk about different things, the person fixates in on one aspect that they find disturbing…artificial sweeteners cause cancer.  No dispute from me on that one.  However, this statement now becomes the reason why nothing else will change. Am I being clear?  There can not be a further discussion about increasing exercise, increase vitamins, eating six small meals, etc. because one product I shared had artificial sweeteners in it and they can cause cancer.

Now let’s look at the flip side to that.  I think this would be the person who blindly accepts anything as good and does not take the time to learn the details of the products, plans, and recommendations.  This person is on autopilot and does not understand why they are doing to different things.  They are just doing them.

Neither person is going to be successful.  It is important to have an open mind and look at the big picture (the forest) and have an overall understanding of the direction that the plan is going to take you in.  Then you need to look at the various details (the trees) to see how each component will help you succeed.  If there is a component that you don’t understand or agree with then that component should be reevaluated and altered. But the entire plan should not be thrown out.

Change is hard.  Even if you want it.  Knowing what to focus in on is equally hard.  The process can be overwhelming.  Striking that balance is so important.  If it is too much to do alone, call upon a trusted friend or professional to help you work through the pieces.

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