in the scheme of things

in the (grand) scheme of things

In the long term; in the complete picture of something. I know you're worried about getting a bad grade on this test, but you're such a great student that I doubt it will matter in the grand scheme of things.
See also: of, scheme, thing

in the scheme of things

COMMON People use in the scheme of things to describe how important one thing is when compared to everything else in a situation or how one thing relates to the other things in a situation. These aches and pains are annoying, but not very serious in the scheme of things. To enter into the adult world, we must have an understanding of our place in the scheme of things. Note: People often put words such as greater, grand or whole before scheme with the same meaning. In the grand scheme of things, Hertz was a small player.
See also: of, scheme, thing
References in classic literature ?
They occupied an intermediate place in the scheme of things, and they were to be watched in case they did not keep their place.
The man looked curiously about him on all sides, as one who among familiar surroundings is unable to determine his exact place and part in the scheme of things.
It was entirely owing to this deficiency in the scheme of things that Arthur had ever brought any one into trouble besides himself.
I wasn't going to write my protest letter until I read his article because I felt my sentiments would not be important in the scheme of things.