Can you see the Forest?

The school bell has rung, class is now in session!

Have you ever heard the adage, “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” If not, here is an example of what is means, “The congressman became so involved in the wording of his bill that he couldn’t see the forest for the trees; he did not realize that the bill could never pass.”  

Caution: Trees obscuring view of forest next 5 miles.

This is an interesting proverb and is applicable in different areas of our lives. Being unable to see the overall picture can be harmful because it can cause people to spend a lot of time and energy going in the wrong direction. Three areas will be covered on how we can get lost in the details: workplace, people and quality of life.


At work, tasks are given in order to promote the overall vision and mission of the organization. There is not anything wrong with paying attention to details, as a matter of fact, that is a positive trait to have. The issue is when one gets caught up in details so much that they do not complete the overall task. For example, take a teacher who has grades due for Report Cards in a week. The wisest thing to do is to prioritize time, and make sure grades are put into the Gradebook in order to meet the deadline for Report Cards. A person not seeing the forest for the trees would get hung up on irrelevant details that do not have anything to do with meeting the overall goal which is to have grades in the Gradebook ready for Report Cards.

Had the teacher been paying attention to the overall picture (or the forest), they would have been making sure when they planned their lessons, created assignments and administered exams; that they were routinely entering grades, in order to avoid being overwhelmed before Report Cards.

Procrastination occurs in everyone’s life at some point, but should not be the case all the time. In order to avoid stressful situations, plan backwards! Focus on the larger picture upfront, then map out the detail steps on how to achieve the overall goal in a timely manner. This is just one way to not get hung up on gazing at the trees, while ignoring the forest.


From a relationship standpoint, this happens often. How often does one focus on the details of the person they love or care about but does not notice that person is extremely selfish or mean? For example, I recently watched a Joan Crawford movie titled Sudden Fear and in the movie she did just that! In the movie Joan Crawford was a famous Playwright named Myra Hudson, and she ends up having a man named Lester Blaine audition for a part in her play. She rejects him because she said he wasn’t at all romantic enough to play the part. He tells her off, and somehow this made her more interested in him. She follows him to San Francisco and they begin a romance. Needless to say, she should have trusted her first instinct about him because her ended up really abusing her trust and hurting her. Had she saw the forest instead of focusing on the details (trees) of him, and how “great” he was being towards her, she may not have fallen for him in the first place. This can also be applied to friends as well.

Quality of Life

It is everyones wish, to have a good quality of life. This can happen easily as long as you are setting goals for yourself and living with purpose. We are on this earth for a reason and have something to contribute to the society we live in. If everyday has become Groundhog’s Day it is high time to wake up from that merry-go-round and get to writing down a vision for your life.

Habakkuk 2: 2-3

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Habakkuk was a minor prophet in the late 7th century, around 612 bc.

This is one of the most well-known verses in the bible about vision. How many people has actually written down the vision for their lives? As a believer, I believe that doing this should be covered in prayer because there is a such thing as what you would like to do, and what God has planned for you. Sometimes what you want, may not be what He has planned. Do not let this worry you because He said,

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. (Jeremiah 29: 11, 12)

If you are praying, He may allow doors to close, people to walk away, and rejections to occur; in order to give you the opportunity to change your direction and desires to match His for your life. As you decide on what to do, write it down. (this is seeing the trees) Be sensitive and open to the fact that your direction may change. (this is seeing the forest) By allowing this, the quality of life will be good and purposeful because there will be planning involved, and a willingness to view things objectively.

Those who focus on negativity or tiny details of their lives all the time, are like ostriches with their heads in the sand. If the focus remains on negativity, improvement cannot occur.

I pray going forward that things will improve for each and every person reading this post. There is certainly a place for being “detail-oriented”, but in the context of what I am writing about, it is equally as important to be aware of the larger picture.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

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