Forest for the Trees… you understand the old adage, right?
When one is immersed in a forest of trees, it is hard to see anything of an “overview” that is the forest in which you toil. All you see are details – trees. Big. Small. Leafy. Barren. You should probably keep an eye out for upcoming trees, lest you smack into one, but if you are glossing over and designing an urban sprawl years from now, you will MISS the acorns, ferns, spiders and pitfalls that await you!
To wit: if you are embroiled in a worthy set of problems, you can, should and will be affected by their immediacy. Especially if you are doing your job correctly!
Now, here’s what I’m getting at: lf you’d like the tasks you tackle to be worth the lesson you claim to have gleaned at some point in the future (as you are touring the lecture circuit and making TED Talks), I sure as hell hope you were affected in a material way!
You would not seek counsel from a poor man on how to manage wealth, nor a rich man on how to traverse monetary adversity. Why would you hope to counsel others on the “forest” you traversed when the entire time you claimed to have it completely under control?
This is what Steve Jobs did: He face planted. He stuck his neck out and was wrong enough times to truly believe in his arguably tyrannical nature. Let’s face it, he was an asshole. But he always garnered respect as he ran headlong into trees. He was, in fact, tending to a comprehensive vision of the forest in which we now reside.
Go make a few mistakes. Make big ones. Learn from them, of course. When you’ve risen back to a laudable station, then talk to me about success.