Life is Too Short to Think Small
What do people mean when they say you need to think big?
Does it mean you need to come up with crazy ideas? Or does it mean you need to constantly strive for more? More growth, more income, more clients, more followers, more, more, more… Like an all-consuming black hole.
Not necessarily. Thinking big is not about getting more results. Thinking big is about leadership, having a vision, doing things differently and bolder.
Big thinking is about maximizing your potential. Hence, it starts with an ideal.
For example, imagine your best life. What does it look like? Imagine your ideal workplace or your ideal customer. If you are a writer, who is your ideal reader? Now start thinking about how can you create these ideals conditions.
It’s not that I am so smart, it’s that I stay with the problems longer. –Albert Einstein
No, it won’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, you set out to make it happen. You will make it happen. You could settle for less. Less than ideal, good enough. Except you don’t. And since you demand the best, you give your best.
Oh, but vision demands transparency. Therefore, you must practice self-awareness. You must know your strengths and weakness. Especially, you must know what you don’t know.
Likewise, you must be humble. You will be asking for help. You must sell people on your vision and why it matters.
Life is too short to think small. You deserve the best, so why settle for small? See? Now you are thinking big.
Remember, aim high. Don’t sell yourself short.
What is the Bigger Picture?
Thinking big is about thinking about the big picture, such a cliché phrase. But what is the big picture? What separates the wannabes from the successful ones? Is not desire.
Big thinkers think like a champion. They have the boldness to believe they belong and they bring it (performance). Remember my three Bs life philosophy?
The bigger picture does not exist in the real world; the big picture exists in your head. And because it is an ideal you pursue, you have the power to make it happen.
Indeed, there is no greater joy than achieving your dreams, particularly when so many people tell you they are impossible.
When you think big you don’t believe in impossibles. Instead, you believe in unproven results. And you set out to prove them.
Great minds have purpose; others have wishes. –Washington Irving
Thinking big requires focused thinking and lots of learning. And yes, it is not easy. You must go against your biases, doubts, and fears. It requires problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
But first, you must find the answers to the following two questions:
- What are you aiming for?
- What is your motivation?
The first answer will define your goal; the second answer will give you the why. Answer number one has to do with your identity; answer number two with your values.
For example, a person who believes the law does not apply for them should not aim for law enforcement. A doctor who does not believe every life is sacred should not be in the business of healing. If you don’t believe in inspiring people to study STEM, perhaps you should not be writing science fiction.
Thus, big thinking should align with our core values.
Limits? What Are They?
There is an important element for thinking big, and it is managing setbacks and obstacles. They will show up. Some you may anticipate; others not. How do you manage the unexpected?
You can’t. Unless we have a time machine or a crystal ball. But real life does not work that way. Granted, you could study history and your industry and learn how others reacted to similar situations (in fact, you should).
Still, big goals will encounter big obstacles.
Trouble, chaos, limits, issues, obstacles, challenges, what are they? When you think big they are nothing but stepping stones. Yes, you heard right. Big thinking is about coming up with bigger solutions to bigger problems.
Whereas other people see problems, you train your mind to see solutions. Whereas people will see limitations, you will see opportunity.
There is nothing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come. –Victor Hugo
Big thinking is for the stubborn, those who refuse to lose, those who rather die trying than giving up. Big thinking is for the ones willing to fail spectacularly and embarrass themselves in front of the world because they believe in the rewards.
Moreover, big thinking requires thick skin. They will laugh at you, mock you, talk about you. It does not matter as long as you keep moving forward with the knowledge Rome was not built in a day but a day at a time, one stone and brick at a time.
Time is your friend when you think big since big thinking is not about now but about tomorrow. Big thinking is not about the quick reward but building a legacy.
Einstein, Lincoln, Curie, Ford, Hugo, Picasso, Cervantes, Galileo, Napoleon, of Arc, Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Churchill, Parks, Hidalgo, Bolivar, Marx, Da Vinci, Tesla… All the big names in the history books thought big. They sought to break the status quo and exceed the limitations of their era. Otherwise, we would not remember them.
To conclude, we need to think big because we want a better world. Don’t you?
Reader, give me an example of big thinking in your life.
How the US sees and acts on China’s rising is an example of ‘think small’.
If the US can finally face the truth and the trend, then finally realize the situation and work hand in hand with China, in a competing but not confronting way, then we’ll see some of today’s big issues, such as economy downturn, global warming, regional/global security… will be solved or improved greatly.
Well-said, Leo. Twenty-first-century problems require twenty-first-century solutions.
And it starts with imagination and a can-do attitude.