“In the scheme of things”. I mentally re-use this phrase repeatedly. Whether it’s determining what widget to buy, what option to choose with financial investments or what recommendations I provide to my employer, or whether taking a drink is worth it.
‘In the scheme of things’ (ITSOT) speaks to ensuring that we view things with a larger perspective in mind than what’s immediately in front of us.
I see lots of conundrums that I relate to the exercise of thinking through ‘In the scheme of things’.
For instance, when shopping, if you see eggs that are ten cents cheaper at a grocery store you don’t normally go too, that’s 30 minutes out of your way, does it make sense to spend the time, money and gas for the bragging rights of saving that ten cents? That’s a very narrow question with a lot more variables involved. Some people insist on achieving those bragging rights, even though the ultimate cost savings would be nullified.
By the very nature of the phrase, we step back to view a larger picture, making some value statements that are relevant to us, and base a decision on those values.
That doesn’t mean emotions don’t come into the equation, but value statements should check knee jerk emotional reactions.
Recently I was in the midst of selling my current house and written communication passed from the buyer side suggested that we knew about a problem that we intentionally didn’t disclose. At least, that’s the way it was expressed. My initial reaction was of course, emotional.
Then I had to ask myself ‘In the scheme of things’. Did I care their opinion? Did I care what they thought or felt? Did I want to run the risk of poisoning the sale and risk thousands of dollars and lots of anxiety? In the Scheme of things, no. I didn’t want to create the worst case scenario because of wounded pride because I read something as an implication, correctly or not. I checked myself, used ITSOT, replied with facts, ignored emotion and moved on.
I also had to remind myself that ITSOT there were lots of middlemen in these communications (our agent, the inspector, the buyers agent, and then the buyers) and every hand off could have caused some distortion in the message. By using ITSOT, I was able to remember what was more important to us at the time.
But, let’s put this in context with alcohol. My wife and I have had this conversation multiple times over my 721 days and her exceeding two full years alcohol free.
‘In the scheme of things’:
- We no longer spend hours recovering from a night before and all that entails.
- We no longer wake up wondering what stupid thing we may have said or done.
- We no longer spend thousands a year on alcohol.
- We think without the fog of alcohol either depressing or stunting us.
- We’ve both dealt with emotional stuff from our individual pasts.
- We’re more up front emotionally with each other, our family and friends.
- We, as a couple, communicate more often and more clearly with each other.
- We have a more purpose filled life in a mutual direction related to our life goals.
- Both of us have had significant career improvements as a result.
- Our collective health is significantly improved.
All that being said, ‘in the scheme of things’ I’m very thankful that we, as a couple made this change and that we have been there for each other on this continuous improvement journey.