If you’ve ever watched an episode of CSI, you’re probably familiar with the show’s use of the zoom to highlight some important piece of evidence that is too small to be seen with the naked eye. The joke around my house is that the characters in the show actually possess this ability; the ability to zoom in on minuscule details that will reveal the facts of the crime.
Maybe that’s true.
Humans seem to have an innate ability to focus down to the details. We pay attention to the smallest things, often things that don’t even matter for where we’re going. We zoom in because in being focused we assume we’ll attack our goals with more fervor.
Maybe that’s true.
Sometimes, though, you get stuck zooming in.
You focus so hard on one tree that you miss the fact the forest is on fire. (Or in bloom.)
You get so stuck on the details that you miss the larger picture.
Roller Derby as a metaphor for life.
In the sport of roller derby, there’s only one way to score points: the jammer has to pass the opposing team skaters. As a jammer, it’s insanely easy to get so focused on where you’re engaging the opposing team RIGHT AT THIS MINUTE that you forget that there’s a larger game going on.
When an obstacle presents itself you don’t simply want to give in, you want to push through it. But when you push and push and push some more, sometimes pushing feels like the only option.
You get stuck pushing.
And by only pushing you get stuck.
Cue despair, frustration, and feelings of failure.
The problem isn’t actually that you’re stuck. It’s that you’ve zoomed in too far. You’ve forgotten about the larger game. You’ve forgotten about all the other tools at your disposal.
As a jammer, sometimes the best option is to zoom out.
Back away from the wall that’s giving you trouble and look for another way to attack it. Take a break from pushing but don’t take a break from trying to get through.
Try differently, not harder.
Sometimes you have to lean out to lean in.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
Focus is key to accomplishing goals. But have you ever focused on something so long and so hard that you stop being able to actually see it? Even CSI only zooms in long enough to understand a scrap of evidence before zooming back out and looking for more.
Sometimes when you’re stuck, you’re not actually stuck.
You just need to readjust your view.
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