About Big Picture Thinkers

What Exactly Is A Big Picture Thinker Anyway?

I’ve always been more of a big picture thinker than a detail-oriented person. Instead of noticing finer details, I tend to see the sum of all the parts together. As with anyone who is put in different situations, I can appear either competent, clueless, or a mix of the two depending on what environment I’m in.

Big picture thinkers tend to look at the entire landscape, so to speak. They are considered to be the visionaries, full of ideas, and creative. They’re able to visualize something as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual moving parts. They will admire how green and lush the forest looks, but it will take them longer to notice individual trees (and the details on those trees). We tend to dislike focusing on small details, repetitive tasks, and worrying about minute things. On the positive side, big picture thinkers are good at seeing and predicting patterns, as they can take a step back and notice the long term or bigger impacts of the workings in a system.

The Pros and Cons Of Being A Big Picture Thinker

Big picture thinkers can sometimes seem to lack practicality. Imagine having a high I.Q, being able to write an A+ essay, or create a novel from scratch, yet being unable to properly pack a suitcase or forgetting which street you were just on (It’s not that we forgot, it’s that we weren’t even paying attention). This can give the impression we’re not trying hard enough or are being lazy. The pros are that we tend to be full of ideas and we’re less likely to become stuck in rigidity or conformity. We can take a step back and see the entire picture; we can see what’s happening when everything comes together.

What Are Some Great Jobs For Big Picture Thinkers?

There are always good career options for big picture thinkers. Many roles require someone who can effectively look at the overview of situations and help create positive changes.

Human Recources









Fitness Instructor/Athletics

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Detail-Oriented People & Big Picture People?

Big picture people are usually more strategic, visionary, and creative. This is all well and good in a big picture setting, however, behind the scenes they can seem pretty messy, disorganized, or forgetful to their peers. Detail-oriented people tend to be more exacting, conscientious, and organized, but they can lose perspective or fail to prioritize things that are most important. In a work setting, these two types complement one another well. You need both types of people to make a plan work well. A business owner can have the most amazing ideas, but they’re not going to get far if they don’t have other people helping them focus on executing the plans.

In romantic relationships or platonic friendships, opposites can often attract as well. When both people are open-minded and mature, a detail-oriented person can help fill in for the things their big picture thinker will forget, and the big picture thinker can help give the detail-oriented thinker more perspective in certain situations. Will there be some conflict? Yes, of course. That’s a part of life. However, when we can work together and accept one another’s strengths and weaknesses, it can create harmony and progressive movement in the direction you want to go.

What Are Some Real-World Examples Of Big Picture Thinking Vs. Detail-Oriented Thinking?

#1 “It’s so crazy you don’t want kids and you’re not even married yet! What’s going on?” (Detail-oriented, focusing on just one aspect of a person’s identity)
“I’m just waiting for the right one. I’d rather be happy alone than unhappy with the wrong person. And with my lifestyle, I know having kids would cause a lot of stress for everyone. It’s better not to have kids if you know you don’t want them.” (Big picture thinking – they had the foresight to know they wouldnt be happy in the wrong relationship or having a kid just for the sake of having a kid. There is more to someone’s identity than their relationship status).

#2 “I want this new business to start next month and it’s going to be big! I’m so excited.” (Big picture thinking)

“You have an amazing idea, but it’s going to take a little more time for us to organize all the details.” (Detail-oriented)

#3 “I’m living my dream life. I almost can’t believe it!” (Big picture)

“Your dream life?! You make $30 K per year, you’re not even married, and you live in a suite that’s smaller than my bedroom. Haha what are you smoking? How do you even cook in that tiny place?” (Detail-oriented)

“Imagine this: I come home to my own apartment and it’s clean and quiet. I have a beautiful view of the city from my window. I can make dinner in my own little kitchenette, and I am happy.” (Big picture)

Thank you so much for reading today. πŸ™‚



  1. We need all sorts of people as a society but I think big picture thinkers are really important. Albert Einstein was a big picture thinker. He took a step back from all of the known physical laws at the time and looked at how everything, the laws of physics and light, related to time and space. He changed how we viewed all that to solve conundrums that seemed insoluble at the time. I think I am a little bit of both. As an engineer trying to improve the efficiency and quality of sorting machines I had to look at the big picture, but I also had to pay attention to the details in the code. However, I think that in everyday life I am more of a big picture person. I think this post was interesting, thought provoking and fun to read.

  2. A very good comparison of big picture thinkers and those who are details conscious. In short, the first category gives vision and the second category executes that vision into reality. So both complement each other.

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