There are two basic ways to establish dimensions on a blueprint. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The first one is called “absolute” positioning. Absolute positioning uses a known reference point for all of its measurements. We call this a “datum” or an “origin”. Everything branches off from this single point that usually is zero on a Cartesian plane. See figure 1 for illustration
Figure 1 (Absolute Positioning)
The second method is called “incremental” positioning. This method uses the last point as a reference for the next point. All measurements are “relative” to the previous one as figure 2 illustrates.
Figure 2 (Incremental Positioning)
The question is “which one is better to use?”
Im glad you asked. The answer isn’t that simple. Absolute positioning gives you solid foundation to stand but requires a little bit more work, such as addition and subtraction. It is also a more detailed perspective and gives you the “big picture”, but it takes longer to prepare.
Incremental positioning is quicker and simpler to use, and it shows the relationship between dimensions more clearly, (which sometimes is more important). However, if one mistake is made, it directly leads to a series of mistakes that in end will be far off from the original design, so it requires a bit more attention in that sense.
If you have read this far, then you have a greater interest in truth than you thought and you’re wiser than you think.
How is your life referenced? Is it in relation to an absolute? Moral absolutes? Or perhaps you measure the success in your life to a beginning point in time? Do you prefer the big picture with all the details? Sometimes focusing on the big picture can be overwhelming and hard to understand, so perhaps in your situation it may be better to look at it “incrementally”. It may take 30 minutes to walk a mile, but we walk a mile one step at a time. Having an incremental perspective can be profitable in a large endeavor, because it shifts your focus on the smaller things. It also teaches you to be “flexible”, and “adaptable” in changing atmospheres. But be cautious, having a “relativism” worldview can lead you astray, as mistakes and bad information can add up quickly and you’ll end up missing the mark in the long run. So always reflect that your increments in life are in check with the absolutes in your life, that is your goals and milestones.
To conclude, these perspectives (absolute and incremental) are interchangeable and should communicate the same message in the long run. They work together, not against each other. Let your focal points change as needed and let them help you see with more clarity and precision.