Don’t let the short-term scope fool you, stay focused on the bigger picture

Taylor Rocca, Web/Copy Editor Ω

Usually I like to focus my sights on the bigger picture, the long-term, the overall scope of things.

Sometimes that isn’t an easy thing to do and I find myself mired in a closed-off view, a short-term worry about the present with no consideration for the next step along the way.

In fact, I ran into that exact problem when it came to writing my column this week.

Usually, I have a firm idea of just what I want to say, how I want to say it and the impact I want it to have.

This was not one of those weeks. In fact, this week I stared blankly at my screen for hours. All I could think about was how to get words in the document that would communicate to our readers some form of information, entertainment or other random value. I had unknowingly put my blinders on and focused in on too small of a task.

After frustration had mounted to a point where I was ready to give up, I looked to my right and noticed a small blue book sitting beside my computer.

Being a journalist, I keep a small notebook with me at all times. In fact, I keep multiple notebooks with me, each with its own unique and individual purpose. This small blue notebook happened to be my own personal notebook, one set aside for penning my own random thoughts, questions or interesting observations as I go about my regular everyday misadventures.

And then it hit me. I had already decided on the topic of my column, I was just looking past it as it sat quietly within the pages of my little blue notebook.

Earlier in the day, as I almost always do, I had been going about my regular routine with my ear buds plugged in and my iPod cranking out the tunes. It was during this seemingly normal sequence that I was hammered by a short set of lyrics that really struck a chord with me, so to speak.

“Well, I confess that, so far, happiness eludes me in my life. It better hurry up if it’s ever to be mine; better hurry up now if we’re ever going to find what we’re living for.”

The line came courtesy of Stephen Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, on the track “Dao of St. Paul.”

I’m a huge believer in music and how it empowers the listener to take a hold of the reigns of life and direct that sled in whatever direction he or she wants it to go.

While we all go through our own personal struggles, ups, downs and roller coasters of emotion, we still have significant control over what happens to us. We shouldn’t be waiting for happiness to “hurry up now.” No. In fact, we should go out there and create our own happiness, whatever that might be. To think otherwise is to be far too focused on the short-term struggles and not enough on the long-term successes that await us.

As we trudge through the final days of the semester, with all-nighters aplenty, papers to write, presentations to give and a seemingly endless stack of work to complete, don’t get mired in the short-term stress that can easily overtake you. Instead, while juggling those tasks, keep one eye on the future and use that bigger picture to keep yourself grounded in the short-term.