It occurs to me that it is probably not possible to convince humans to take a long-term view using argument or persuasion or logical thinking.

It seems to me that people focus on long-term because they want to or because they’re tired of hitting themselves upside the head all the time and really tired of having to climb out of potholes that turn out to be really deep and gnarly lava tubes.


You are not going to be able to talk yourself out of going for the short-term advantage if you haven’t developed a vision of The Big Picture.  And the real is that you are the only one who can do that for yourself.

Your Big Picture is not my Big Picture…or anybody else’s Big Picture.

Oh, yeah, you’ll nod your head at other-people wisdoms.  You may even try to make your walk like their walk, especially when you like the way their life looks from the outside.

But, if their vision really doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t make you hungry, doesn’t make you fly, it never will get the kind of dedication and effort from you that can make it come real.

If the costs that admired one pays for their life is very high, you may not be willing to pay what they’ve had to pay for it.  So you quit doing your version of their vision and you tell yourself whatever it takes to get back to bed and pull the covers over your head.


Medieval cathedral builders labored a lifetime with the fruits of their labors still a hundred years into the future.

The 70-year-old farmer plants a tree his grandkids will sit under.

Parents of young children try to lay a foundation of values and attitude that will serve an adult 20 year later.

A craftsman knows that mastery of an art form takes a lifetime of repetition and effort — whether the work sells or not.

Why do they do it?  Because they want to.  Because they have to.  Because they can’t not.

Here’s one answer.  It’s a YouTube video, “Why Do We Do It?  For the Ride – 2015” published by Official Triumph.  (I just like it for the beauty of it.)


Visions can take a long time to manifest.  They take concerted, continued effort, often at the expense of here-and-now pleasures and even of other long-term goals and aspirations.

A vision makes a big displacement in your life.  It shoves everything else out of the way.  (Visions are very rude.)

When your head is down and your ass is up and you’re working on building the road to your dream  you may not see a lot of the roadside scenery.  Visions make you blind sometimes.

Queen Anne Counterbalance, 1934 from the Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You may have to break the ties that bind you to a life that does not have room for the pictures you are seeing.

You may have to explode the structures you’ve spent a lifetime building inside yourself to get  yourself ready for the realities of that dream.

You may have to initiate changes in your life that are uncomfortable or  downright painful.

It will take way more time, way more effort, and a whole lot of humping and hustle to build the road to your dream.

And even if you do all that, there is no iron-clad guarantee that the dream will come real.

You may not last long enough or develop the stamina you need to stay the course.  You may get sidetracked.

Circumstances over which you have no control can co-opt you.

Other people could betray you.  The world may change and open doors might slam shut or the detours on the road take you to places where you would rather not be.

Detour by Cody Jung via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
As you get deeper into the dreamscape of your own making you may find that the vision turns hazy or morphs into some ugly nightmare that makes you run the other way.

Visions must be large to be worthy of such commitment.  I suppose that is why it often takes a lot of time and thinking to develop a vision with meaning and mana.

And if they are large, then they’re going to take everything you’ve got to give to it and demand even more from you.


In his book, LIFE ON PURPOSE:  How Living For What Matters Changes Everything, Victor J. Strecher tells a story about Abraham Maslow, the founder of humanistic psychology.

Maslow was the guy who developed the concept of the “hierarchy of human needs.”

He proposed the theory that “self-actualization” was the ultimate stage in human development and numerous studies grew out of it that showed that this high point is, indeed, reachable only after more basic physical or safety needs were met.

This 2019 You-Tube video,  “Why Maslow’s Heirarchy Needs Matter,” was uploaded by the School of Life.  It helps to explain the nuances in Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

Maslow’s book, TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF BEING, became a classic.

According to Maslow’s motivation theory there are five interdependent levels of basic human needs that have to be satisfied in a strict sequence.  It says you can’t think of the next level until the needs at the lower levels have been met.

  • Physiological needs for survival and security are first. You need to stay alive and reproduce.  You need to feel safe in your life.
  • Social needs follow. Love and belonging are powerful motivators as well.  We humans do a lot for love and belonging.
  • Self-esteem needs are next. You want to feel worthy and respected.  Having status, all the signs that you are worthy and deserving of respect from other people, is a very real motivating force.
  • And then there’s self-actualization – achieving your goals and developing your own self-definition.

It makes sense.

If you’re starving, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using your creativity for more than getting the next scrap of food that will keep you going.

If you’re running from bombs and bad guys intent on killing you, there isn’t much time for developing your self-expression.

If you’re lonely in a world of hard, there probably won’t be a lot of room for joy and laughter and self-esteem.

Without self-esteem, there isn’t a heck of a lot of self-actualization possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to think about what you want to achieve if you’re mired and tangled up in all the unworthiness of you.


Maslow’s idea caught on.  The “me-generation” was born.

Self-fulfillment was the key to human happy, the theory said, and we took to it like dolphins in the surf.

Sometimes, though, it got to be like crabs-in-a-bucket when other people had other agendas that did not include the happy of you.

And then, in 1969, in the latter part of his career, Maslow had an epiphany. He said, “The fully developed (and very fortunate) human being working under the best conditions tend to be motivated by values which transcend his self.  They are not selfish any more in the old sense of that term.

Strecher marvels that Maslow, at the absolute top of his field, would change his hugely popular model and say, essentially, “I was wrong.”  (Perhaps it was because Maslow apparently cared more about his own vision of understanding what motivates humans than he did about the tangible achievements of his own self-actualization.)

Maslow began to study “transcenders,” visionaries who spent their time working on ideas and visions that were larger than themselves.

He discovered that these individuals made great innovators and reached higher levels of creativity.  They exhibited, he said, “humility, a sense of smallness, awe before the tremendousness of the universe.”

Maslow died before he could explore this idea further.

After his death, a wide-ranging book, THE FARTHEST REACHES OF HUMAN NATURE, that contained Maslow’s scientific and philosophical essays on biology, synergy, creativity, and cognition as well  as his thoughts on self-actualization and the hierarchy of needs theory was published.

The book makes me wish he could have stayed with us longer.


“Vision” is really the what, the picture of the future you want to create.  Visions that are worthy require purpose — the why.

Purpose answers the question, “Why do we exist?”  It’s basically about looking for a way to contribute something of value to the world in some unique way.

The how of it all determines the way you walk when you’re following a vision.  All the steps you take should automatically fall into line if you can develop your vision.

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve probably got  your physiological needs, your social needs and your self-esteem needs (more or less) covered and you’re working on the self-actualization part.

Maybe now is a good time to think on bigger things than your own teeny self.  It’s exciting that it’s possible, isn’t it?

Here’s a poem:


It’s just a fantasy

And they tell me it’s not real,

Untested by time or happenstance,

Untouched by human hands and mouths,

Unbattered still by Is and unheralded by Was.

And they are right.


And yet,

This fantasy that’s come to me

The one that glitters teasingly

Has brightened Is and tempered Was

And still it flies….


I cannot say where it will lead,

This dream of mine I’m building.

I cannot say what time will bring

Or if it will come real.

I see this unreality burns bright and inexorably

It flames away the dross of what has been.


I think I’ll choose to keep my dream.

I think it looks real good on me.

by Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit: North Shore, Molokai by Rosa Say via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



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Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts….












24 thoughts on “THE BIG PICTURE

  1. Netta,
    The problem with many people nowadays in regards to the topic that you suggested is that with society and those that live in it being ADD; the thought of looking at things from a long-term view is almost impossible.

    A large portion of society can’t hold their attention spans on many things for more than 10 – 12 seconds. Heck even the way we are taught to create content for articles is to break everything up to where you have no more than 2 sentences per paragraph.

    Otherwise you lose the reader who soon is looking at other things.

    I also see the Internet as being a culprit. People visit sites by the dozens within a short span surfing all over the place. However they are unable to concentrate on any one thing for a period of time.

    Add in such sites as Twitter with their 140 character limit and no wonder a person can’t even think about what is going to happen 30 minutes down the road let alone one or even 10 years.

    Life was just different even 30 years ago. Families worked together, had meals together, talked about life together. Now everything is fractured with soccer mom bringing her 4 kids to separate athletic practices daily; something missing from that family-togetherness structure.

    Life is much better when you view it as having true long-lasting meaning. Look at the Big Picture in what you want to accomplish in life instead of just focusing in on a day by day basis in some type of disconnect.

    Finally you talked about that author Maslow and people having a “Me” attitude back several decades ago in his belief. Today it is has gotten much worse as people selfishly have a hard time getting along with the person down the street.

    Don’t know what it is going to take but all I know that right now, human beings are definitely continuing to go in the wrong direction!


    1. Hey Jeff:

      Thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts. The world is what it is, my friend. The only thing each of us can do is do our own walk in our own way the best way we know how, and maybe cheer each other onward to better. My thought, anyway.

      Please do come again.

  2. I really enjoyed your article as you articulately worked through the self discovery. I studied Maslow’s in Nursing School 20 years ago and I have carried the principles throughout my life and my nursing practice. I do think it about the true meaning of things, you are remembered by what do in the world…Keep impacting lives! Many Blessing, Heather

    1. Hey Heather: Thanks for your visit and your thoughts on it all. Please do come again….

  3. I was really touched about this website because it truly comes from the heart and her passion to write.

    I noticed right off the bat when you navigate to the homepage that you will find a complete index of her poems which provides easy access to the poetry reader. She shares her personal story in such great detail and along with the imagery, you can share along with her testimony and if you can relate to it, it makes you feel better and provides hope to your life.

    The imagery pertains to the subject presented and there are some pretty interesting videos to watch too. Well done!

    1. Hey Kathy: 

      Thank you for the visits and for your kind words.  I do appreciate them.  Please do come again.

  4. Hei,

    Really great post. Reading through that brought back many memories of my own journey to achieve my vision. It was definitely not a smooth road and one which involved a lot of heartache, tears, loneliness and loss along the way, but the vision was the thing that helped me to get back up after each disappointment.

    Sometimes I would wonder why or if it was even worth getting back up or if I should just give up on my vision and even when I had all but given up on ever achieving the vision it still simmered away deep down inside as a form of hope, the big picture that I hoped would eventuate from everything that I had done in life to that point.

    Now I can happily say that I have achieved that vision, I have the job I always dreamed of, doing something that I dreamed of and even life in a neighbourhood that resembles the one I dreamed of creating as a child.

    I am thankful now that I never actually fully gave up on the dream and that the Big Picture still framed everything I was doing in those hard years.

    1. Hey Tony:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your story.  Good on ya!  You made your dream come real and you’re still working on it.  Cool!

      Please do come again!

  5. RoDarrick says:

    Hmm! God bless you for this article because it has not just made an interesting read for me, it also taught me some major lessons of life. 

    I did study the Maslow when I was a kid and the values I learnt then are still my guide point till now. 

    Living for what really matters and seeing the bigger picture requires getting out of the comfort zone and doing things beyond limitations and boundaries. I feel the passion that goes into this writing. Thanks

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts RoDarrick.  I’m glad the post engaged you (and reminded you that you already know this stuff!)

      Please do come again.  

  6. jessetoikkanen says:

    Nice article and lots of things to think about. 

    Nowadays one of the biggest problems regarding the topic and people’s lives in western societies is that most of us are living hectic times and looking at things from long term view is pretty hard. 

    However, I liked how you went through the self-discovery. 

    Kind regards -Jesse

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, jessetoikkanen.  It is a truth, that.  Long-term thinking does take time…but, then, so does everything else.  

      Please do come again….

  7. I love your poem so true and so deep. 

    I know I have a bigger picture in my head and trying to live my life with this picture in mind. 

    How I do it why I do it and when will I get there I am not sure. But I know that I am. 

    Just like you said living a life with a bigger picture in mind. Bigger than my tiny me but a picture that can enhance the life of many people that surround me and I hope I will .

    1. Beautiful, Barbara.  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  8. Thank you, this is a great subject to talk about. 

    You are right that we usually go for short-term things unless we consciously think about the long-term. I agree that trying to follow someone else’s vision will not work, at least for me anyway. 

    I am trying to make a big change in my life now in my finances by starting an online business with wealthy affiliate.  It will be a big change because I have always had Financial limitations and I want to have more Financial Freedom.

    Anyway great article and I thought what you said about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and self-fulfillment was very good. Thank you!

    1. C, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post spoke to you.

      Please do come again….

  9. Netta, I have enjoyed your website and thoughts every time that I have visited it.  Yet, I think this post about the big picture has been my favorite so far.   I am a dreamer that sometimes takes a long time to implement the goals I come up with.  Yet, so far, I have done a fairly good job.   The hard thing is when I ran out of new goals.    

    Yet, your stories about the 70 year old farmer planting the tree and the craftsmen remind me that is probably normal for dreamers that tend to look at the big picture.   I also agree that following our dreams, turning our visions into reality is not always a “pretty picture.”   It can be very tough during many points of the journey.     

    Some times reading something like this post provides just the bit of encouragement that I needed to pick myself up off the ground and to continue the fight.   

    Using your words, “I think I will keep my dream.  I think it looks real good on me.”   

    1. You go, girl!  Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story, Sondra.  It is a truth:  Dreamers travel a hard road…but, then, maybe that’s just ’cause we’re only human.

      Please do come again.

  10. DarmiMaddie says:

    A very honest and interesting overview is what has been shared so far here and I really appreciate all you have written here. 

    Understanding “the picture” as you have shared here would always give reasons to think outside the box and actually value what can be with time. 

    Seriously, I value all these here and thank you so much for sharing with us. 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, DarmiMaddie.  I am very glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  11. I have been growing up in a goal-setting family. It is not just inbred in me of course, but a member in my family would keep asking me what will my goal be. They told me to set short, mid and long term goal. Funny enough when I went to college, yet again goal setting was taught but in a business model.

    I think that your career goal and your life goal come hand in hand and your relationship goal is also in the middle. 

    You are absolutely right that vision surely does take time to manifest. That is why goal setting is a perfect tool to remind us because we often forget it with out daily life. I like to call my goal my “why”.

    I definitely have to check Maslow’s book out. I love learning about human behavior. 

    1. Nuttanee, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  Goals are one way to help you keep track of how you’re walking.  They’re kind of like signposts along the way. 

      I do recommend Maslow.  He has a lot of very interesting insights.  

      Please do come again.

  12. I find this article an exciting and inspiring read. It portrays hope and good news if we don’t give up. 

    I learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs a long time ago, and self-actualization seems to be the hardest.
    We can create an enabling environment if we work more on self-actualization. 

    I try to be realistic and accept life hurdles as it unfolds though sometimes hard to do. Then, when I feel like giving up, I look back at my small wins, giving me renewed energy.

    1. Muslimah, I think you’re doing exactly right.  Going over your small wins and counting up the blessings really do help boost your energy big-time.

      Please do come again.

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