William Liao

May 11, 2022

the forest

One of my favorite adages is “see the forest for the trees.” 

The ‘trees’ are the finer details, the ‘forest’ is the big picture — what all those details amount to. 

This adage seems useful for thinking about how we spend our time. 

The ‘trees’ are the individual activities we engage in — the people we meet, the books we read, the work we do, and the jobs we take. 

The ‘forest’ speaks to why we do what we do — the values that our activities are aligned with. 

Not all activities are necessarily extensions of your values — it’s perfectly possible to spend time on things that don’t align with your values without realizing it

So ask yourself: can you clearly see how your actions align with your values? Can you see the forest? 

If you can’t, maybe it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Maybe it’s time to do something different.