Zoom Out

The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up. — Chuck Palahniuk

Our perspective is only limited by the distance from which we can see it.

We are like a work of art. Like the painter, we must step back and see our work from a distance. When life gets too intense, it's time to zoom out and get a new perspective.

"Most people stand so close to themselves that they often confuse who they are with what they have done, are doing, or might do in the future." ~ Robert Fritz

I found myself complaining a lot. Complaining is a habit I've had since I can ever remember and it's a negative habit I'm working to fix. It tends to push people away since we don't want to be drawn into negativity.

Whenever I complained about my situation to others, I didn't get much sympathy because from their perspective, I have so little to complain about. Where I live and the life I have, we're so much better off than so many others. But when you are so close to something (yourself), it's hard to see it at the time. It's not until I step back and see my life from outside myself that I realize just how good it really is.

Shift the focus

Zooming out may be an effective way to take the focus off ourselves and shine a spotlight on the world around us. The world is amazing and simply being a participant in it is something to be valued.

When you shift the focus off yourself, it's much harder to feel bad about yourself.

Play it out

We know hindsite is 20/20. Will there ever be a way you can see that which was not obvious from the outset? What if you could learn from your mistakes before they are made? Is it possible to evaluate past choices more clearly before they happen?

When you zoom out, you play it out. You consider the ramifications of an action before taking it. You speculate the effect of a cause. It requires you to hit the pause button.

If we could see the effects of our causes, would it change how we act?

There's no surprise why the movie Living into the Future's Past resonated with me. With vivid detail, film maker Susan Kucera shows us the future we are living into. Will it impact our decisions today? I believe it will. Subtle changes compounded over time can have a major impact.


I want to expand further on the idea of freewill. In reflection, it's about taking 100% responsibility for the outcomes tomorrow that result from our actions today. To see the err of our ways today is to see the light of day tomorrow. To hold others accountable today for actions that lead to problems tomorrow.

Don't beat yourself up

I asked my mom what it would say on her tombstone. She said without much hesitation it'd say 'Don't beat yourself up.' Ageless wisdom.

Beating yourself up is a form of self inflicted guilt brought on by blaming oneself for the way things turnout. Often it's based on the bar begin set by others as to who we should be. By our interpretation of what society expects from us. Of our parents (whether or not they are still with us), our spouses, our children, our boss, our coworkers, and our friends. What happens when we disappoint them?

What prompts us to act in one way vs. another? What inhibits us from acting in not only our own best self-interest and in the best interest of others and the entire ecosystem?

The further you zoom out, the shorter your time line. Zoom out far enough, and your entire life would be seen as a single point on the time line of existence, but existence it self is eternal. If you could zoom out far enough to see all of time from the beginning to end, the totality of our lives would be a tiny spec across the entire continuum.

While we must experience life itself one frame at time, it is in fact a continuum of unfolding series of episodes.

There are always consequences.

Consider the analogy of a movie. If your entire lifetime were strung together, it would consist of thousands of frames, lived out one frame at a time. An entire lifetime simply consists of thousands of frames strung together to construct the movie of your life.

A common held belief is that at the end of our life, our entire life flashes before our eyes. If this is true, then as we exit the dimension of time, our entire life can be condensed down into single segment.

Zoom out far enough and your entire life (from start to finish) can be seen. If it can be seen, than it's already occurred. We may experience it as it occurring, but our life has already occurred.

To illustrate this point, consider watching an ant walk from one side of the room to the other. We can see where they start and see where they finish, yet the ant can only experience life one step at a time. We are witnessing the unfolding of their life (with the power to end it at anytime).

The universe already contains all the information, possibilities. We simply live in the context of the unseen from our point of view.

You can surrender to the events ahead because they have already occurred. You just haven't experienced the entirety of it yet. If we could zoom out far enough and transcend space & time, this is true.

Begin by looking at a slice of your life over the next hour. You can likely predict with great accuracy where you'll be and what you'll be doing one hour from now. Then zoom out to 24 hours from now. Then a week, the a month, then a year. The further you zoom out, the more difficult it is to see (or is it?).

The beauty of zooming out further is that it gives your more time to align your actions to support the outcome!

Distance gives perspective

The further you zoom out, the shorter your time line. Zoom out far enough, and your entire life would be seen as a single point on the time line of existence, but existence it self is eternal. If you could zoom out far enough to see all of time from the beginning to end, the totality of our lives would be a tiny spec across the entire continuum.

While zooming IN allows you to see more detail in each time segment, zooming OUT allows you to gain a greater perspective.

The phrase 'can't see the forest from the trees,' refers to our inability to see the bigger picture and ramifications of our actions.

In an ideal world, you would be able to take a zoomed out macro view when needed, and at other times take a zoomed in micro view to act with your fullest presence.

Problems are only relative to the time frame we are looking at. From a micro view, small problems appear big. From a macro view, big problems appear small. That candy bar you just ate may be a problem in this moment and may set you back on your diet. But within 24 hours, that candy bar will no longer be a problem.

A client who is causing additional unplanned work may be a problem today, but tomorrow have little weight.

What weighs heavy on us is resistance to what is in relation to the magnitude we allow within our field of focus.

Time shifting

What appears as a big problem today will be far less significant tomorrow within our limited field of view.

Zooming out is a powerful way to time shift.

When you zoom out, you see the outcome (in your minds eye) as if it already happened. It is the ability to see a possible future as if it were true. The likelihood of it actually occurring is most influenced by our beliefs. If we believe it to be true, then we act with greater faith and conviction.

Our actions are tied to our beliefs. If you believe flossing prevents cavities, then you will floss to avoid cavities. When you stop flossing, will you get a cavity? Data now tells us you won't, but we've been living for years under the assumption it will. Does new evidence change our behavior? To an extent it does, but I can guarantee you a large majority of the population will continue to floss as their dentists have always advised.

Our actions dictate our results. If we act as if it were true, then we act differently.

If you are not getting the outcomes you desire, consider than when you zoom out, your outcome is limited by what you believe to be possible for you.

I'm not saying events will unfold that are beyond our control and far from the expectations we might have. But I would say our beliefs heavily influence how we see the world and what we zoom into. There's plenty to make us upset. If you allow the news to be your view of the world, it'll be a gloom and doom world. But there's as much if not far more good in the world you can choose to zoom in.

Zoom out of despair, zoom into joy.

Zoom out and see for yourself 'as if it were true' and see how your convictions are fulfilling to a large extent the future you believe is already true. We live into a future as if it were true. So why not zoom out and pick new possible outcomes? Our actions will follow that which we expect to be true.

Two books

Imagine you standing at the front of a room. There are two podiums before you. On the podium on the left is a book labeled 'The Present' and the podium on the right is booked labeled 'The Future.' As you look out into the audience, you see hundreds of familiar faces. Those faces are your own. Each of 'you' reflects one possible future and there are 'you' are actually sitting thousands of rows deep, further than you can see. This reflects the nearly infinite nature of possible outcomes that could unfold in your future.

The book on the left is what you must read from to guide the best version of your current 'selves.' It is the only guide upon where you can act from and it contains every moment of your life up to this point.

The book on the right is the future you are living into which can only see from a distance. Both books are open. Keeping 'The Future' book open and in the corner of your eye allows you to act according to the future you believe exists. You are always keeping the visions of 'The Future' in mind.

The book labeled 'Now' reflects the zoomed IN view of which you live in the present moment. The book labeled 'Future' reflects the zoomed OUT future you are living into.

If you can't see the 'The Future' or it doesn't exist, then you are living 'off the cuff' and acting informally. Not that there's anything wrong with it either. Many people live this way quite happily.

Where do you want to be in a month, 6 months, 12 months, 5 years? Spiritually, physically, and financially?

The key to staying on the path to the unlikely outcome is to keep that outcome in focus.

Be unreasonable

Consider that the future ahead is based on what you see as reasonable. It's only when we become unreasonable that our futures change.

lives are heavily Think of how often we believe something to be true, and

Time shifting is the ability to zoom out of your present time and zoom into a time in the future.

The power of perspective

From a distance you can’t the imperfections.

When you only see it close up, it takes a different form. While the imperfections will be revealed, so will the beauty (if you look for it).

When life becomes difficult, zoom out.

Zoom out and play it out.

Before you make a decision, pause and see the bigger picture. Begin to see the forest from the trees. Pause and reflect on the possible ramifications of your thoughts, words, and actions in regards to 'The Future' you have proclaimed.

Not knowing the full story (as when we are zoomed out) is often at the root of poor judgment. If we were able to zoom out and see the entire story of an each others life from start to end, we would have greater compassion for one another.

At the time the appear, obstacles are can be felt as prickly unwanted events. But zooming out often allows us to see what is viewed as an obstacle now may provide a gift of greater understanding later.

Obstacles often reflect our ignorance in the entire continuum of our life.

Paying attention is the act of zooming in.

It’s a knowing that we are only able to see what we can see at our current zoom level to make the best decision we can at the time. It’ll be flawed by design and hind site is always 20/20.

Hind site in fact is a form of gaining a zoomed out perspective after the fact. Be thankful for the enlighten perspective you've gained as a result - you'll choose wiser next time.

Consider that you are sitting in a ballpark. Outside the ballpark, there is a traffic accident that just shut down the lanes leaving the parking lot. If you had known this fact, you would have left the game sooner to avoid spending hours in your car stuck in traffic. But the accident was outside your field of view. So do why would you kick yourself for the predicament your in? We do this all the time.

We can only see that which is within our field of view and given our set level of magnification, that view is limited. It’s easy to have compassion when you first acknowledge that every perception is limited by the it's own limited field of view (aka ignorance). The wisest individuals know that no matter how much they know, they is always more than they'll ever know.

Can you use see the benefit of zooming out as analogy for planning ahead?

How about a 1-week, 1-month, 1-year zoom out?

Zooming OUT is exploring the possible paths that could stem from action taken now.

Zooming IN is stepping into the moment and taking action as skillfully as possible.

The upside of hind site is that it enables to act wiser in the future. And since the future is all we can live into, this is valuable knowledge we need not feel anguish towards. The longer we live, the more hind site we’ll have the benefit of. There's wisdom to be gained from the past, but life can only be lived forward.

Zoomed in, it’s hard to see the payoff later. Zoomed out, the gift of time is that everything gets sorted out and we'll make sense of it and move on.

What's done is done and it's time to move on.

Even at times of great adversity, we become stronger because of it. All we need is faith that we can handle whatever lies ahead. And given the number of days we've already lived and adversities we've overcome, is there any reason for doubt?

When someone asks a question that we don't know the answer to, we think something's wrong and we have to find the answer. And this is where the struggle begins.

Struggles in life begin the moment we decide something’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. Never has been, never will be. We don't have the answer, and that's ok.

Where does anticipation come from? Zooming Out Where does worry come from? Same place.

How about excitement? Optimism? Faith?

The all come from the same place - the future.

Who we are is who we are being, and by it's nature confined by the laws of reality.

When we zoom out, we transcend space and time.


Meditation is the gateway to dimensions beyond the space and time limits upon which we live.

Through meditation, we are able to zoom out and see the potential outcomes of our everyday actions.

Mediation in action is simply sitting still. When I sit as still as possible, I find my mind eventually falls still as well. It’s in this stillness that I often experience a new dimension. Pure awareness is the best description I’ve heard, yet the experience itself is beyond words.

Meditation can become the gateway to zooming out.

Our normal waking state is one that is zoomed in. We zoom in to respond to what is happening around us. We tune in (and zoom in) to our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and current state.

When you zoom out, you don’t tune out, you just tune in from a higher vantage point.

Eventually through meditation, you can tune in (zoom in) to your past, present, and future self simultaneously.

Experiencing the future's past

Your entire life already happened. Life unfolds in one direction, it moves forward. Every second of every day, we are moving towards it's completion. Unlike Merlin, we don't have the opportunity to life our life backwards.

If you were able to zoom out far enough, beyond the limits of space and time, you'd see that infinite possibilities collapse at the point of decision.

We are predisposed to the world we experience in a large part by where we start in the world. Our birth order, our family, the beliefs, the circumstances, and everything happening around us have an impact.

If someone in your family is a successful actor, you likely possess the belief that the ability to act is already in your DNA. Whether it's in your immediate family or a relative that shares your bloodline, you know there's shared DNA.

The circumstances you face are more likely to align to the journey of a successful actor when you live in a family of actors.

For this reason, it'd be helpful to know the accomplishments of all your ancestors. If you had a great great grandparent who was a comedian in his time, you might start to believe you have comedian DNA in your blood. You'd start to believe you possess a natural talent to [fill in the blank]. Jim Carrey's dad was a comedian and while his dad chose the career of an accountant, he instilled the belief in Jim Carrey to make people laugh.

Likewise, if you could zoom and see that many of your relatives were bad at math, you might believe your math skills are weak. Or at least understand why you ought to not try an do your own taxes.

I have a love of music and an a skilled musician. The fact that I enjoy teaching leads me to believe there's both teachers and musicians in my bloodline. In fact, I know this: My mom was a teacher any my cousin is an extremely talented musician.

Mishaps Happen

I shook the salad dressing and the lid came off. Was it predetermined to already occur? If you zoomed out, you'd see it was one of infinite possibilities that could have at occurred at that moment.

All of it.

Knowing that every future moment has already been determined, you can live free of regret or envy. There is nothing to fret about anymore. You can fret, but it doesn't change what's already going to happen. Or fretting about it is already defined

No more fretting about. No more drama. It’s all as it’s meant to be... even you reading this, right now.

What you are motivated to do you will be motivated to do. So will everyone else!

There’s absolutely nothing to worry about anymore.

Nothing is an accident and everything is perfect. The trials an tribulations of our life are part of the journey we are destined to walk.

I’m beginning to believe that while our choices impact the life we live, those choices are heavily influenced by future events that have already happened.

Zoom out and keep calm.

The life you lived

You hear that people who almost die report that their life flashed before their eyes. In that moment, every possibility for your life converges into a single outcome - which we call the life you lived.

As we get closer to the end, we look back, hopefully with more fondness than regret at the life we've lived. Time has a tendency to cleanse our memories. We remember the good stuff, we leave out the bad parts or our story.

Final thoughts

Nothing is ever final.

Your only fault is believing you have any faults.

When you zoom out you are able to reduce the intensity of an issue.

It allows you to pause and see how the act now will impact you are later.

Zoom out as far as you need to, and then zoom back in to act skillfully in the moment with greater confidence.

If you aren’t where you want to be, zoom out. To intensify what you are doing, zoom in.

If you are caught up in a feeling of regret, envy or despair, zoom OUT to see with greatly clarity that every decision has an impact and that you’ve learned something new that may serve you later.

But never forget - there’s nothing wrong here.

Most of us spend our lives trying to fix, solve, or remedy something we determine is needed to feel complete.

If being complete requires you to resolve what is isn’t, then you will forever feel incomplete. The world itself is unresolved - always has been and always will be.

Instead of immediately fixing, pause and observe. Zoom OUT. Know that you will use what you observe to act more skillful in the future. You are in an ever changing state of expansion. Eventually, you’ll even expand beyond your physically body!

Often the best course of action is to do nothing. Taking action without zooming out first can create problems that otherwise wouldn't exist. We are often our own worse enemy.

When there is drama, there is a perception of a problem. Zoom out until the problem is tiny in relation to the wider view.

Further Reading

What are your thoughts on these topics?