The metaphor of ‘dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s’ seems to have started by explaining that when a person was writing in longhand, in “script” or “cursive” (which doesn’t happen that often anymore) that they just kept writing the letters and words so fast, not stopping to dot the i’s, or cross the t’s. If they remembered they might go back, reread what they had written and added the details, making the letter(s) complete. When used as a metaphor it means that the person did absolutely everything that is supposed to be done, as it relates to following a specific procedure.
It means making sure everything is perfect and precise. So, another way of looking at is being detail oriented. That is the something more.
Being detail oriented is being able to pay attention to the particulars of something, making a conscious effort to understand both cause and effect.
This trait is usually something that is ingrained in people, a second nature so to speak, but is a skill that can be developed with a conscious effort by evaluating situations needed to complete a required task or outcome.
Characteristics of a detail-oriented person include:
- Proactive attitude focusing on creating ideas or plans, providing solutions to correct issues
- Patience in developing alternative solutions to solve problems
- Ability to think in a logical and rational manner
- Keen to exploring the issue at hand (effect) to understand the reasons (cause) behind it
- Determination to accurately resolve situations and problems
- Classified as left-brained, or ‘sensing’
If you have made sure that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed, you have performed your task carefully and made sure you did not miss anything.
Detail-oriented people have a variety of different job opportunities (i.e. research positions are great for people who pay attention to the details. Additionally, development and problem resolution positions can be ideal for these types of individuals.
Details: All of the individual parts that together make up a whole.
A similar metaphor: Guess it just fell through the cracks.
Hmmm, which metaphor would you rather deal with?