This week I look at another factor that separates the most successful people from the rest. There capacity to think big, which begins with a single thought.
This single thought — if nurtured — grows over time into the empowering habit of thinking big that eventually takes over your mindset, and propels you towards the achievement of your goals.
You must however keep in mind that over years this single thought is analysed, criticized and condemned by others.
You will be told that this thought is impossible or unimaginable.
And so this single thought must overcome great obstacles, setbacks, problems and difficulties before it can realize its full potential.
The first step towards becoming a big thinker involves incorporating the habit of thinking big into every aspect of your life. You must therefore begin to think big about:
- Daily tasks, projects and objectives.
- Your capacity to solve problems.
- Your capacity to provide value to others.
- Your capacity to overcome any obstacle and challenge that is thrown your way.
- Your capacity to stretch your imagination and the possibilities of your current circumstances.
- Your contribution to others.
- Your life’s purpose and goals.
Thinking big requires that you see these things from a wider and far reaching perspective.
You must think big without any reservations and without any hesitation in order to contribute more, learn more, become more and stretch yourself and your own abilities beyond their current psychological limitations.
How to Think Big
At times thinking big isn’t easy to do from our limited perspective.
We are who we are, and thinking big just might not be a part of our nature. It’s something that’s difficult to imagine, let alone do.
The key to shifting your perspective and developing the habit of thinking big involves stepping outside of yourself and into another persona — essentially becoming someone you are not, yet someone who will help you see things a little BIGGER, better and far more creatively.
You could therefore begin thinking big like a:
- Child who only sees possibilities in amidst turmoil.
- Professional athlete who has the will to persist and overcome any obstacle standing in their way.
- Noble prize winning scientist who meticulously works through BIG problems in small ways.
- Billionaire entrepreneur who knows no limitations in thought or action.
Step into any of these people’s shoes, and you will immediately gain a different perspective about your life and the circumstances that are confronting your reality.
You will immediately begin to think more clearly, creatively and problematically, which will help you break down the walls that are preventing you from thinking bigger than you have ever thought before.
In order to think big you must think from the perspective of having no limitations and no fears. It’s as though life is conspiring in your favour, breaking down all walls and obstacles that are standing in your way, thus releasing your unlimited potential to develop the habit of thinking big, acting big, and doing bigger things than you ever thought were possible.
Roadblocks to Thinking Big
Thinking big is not easy.
It’s something that we must learn to cultivate over time on a daily basis in everything we do.
However, even when this habit of thinking big is deeply ingrained into your mindset, there will still be times when barriers will need to be overcome, obstacles will need to be surpassed, and old habits will need to be broken.
It is during these times that you need to think big and do bigger things than ever before.
Here are some common roadblocks that prevent big picture thinking:
You may be familiar with some of the following habits that have the unfortunate side effect of forcing you to think small:
- Short-term thinking
- Negative thinking
- Making excuses
- Solving insignificant problems
- Over-analysing things
- Seeking perfection
These habits will constrict your ability to think big about your life and circumstances, because they force you to think small, to think about insignificant events and circumstances in unproductive ways, thus draining all your creative energies from the inside out.
To overcome these limiting habits you need to challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone.
Peer Judgment and Criticism
People judge what they don’t understand or can’t comprehend. Your BIG ideas and solutions can help change your life, can help change someone else’s life, and they can also help change the world.
Most people have been unconsciously programmed to abide by tradition and a certain mindset. Anything outside this mindset of theirs is termed “impossible or outrageous.”
Not everyone will see things your way, and not everyone will believe what you see, however this shouldn’t stop you from thinking big and bigger than ever before about your life conditions and circumstances.
People will always judge, criticize, condemn and complain. It’s just a natural part of human nature.
However, this is not a barrier to thinking big unless you make it so.
Our fears of change, success and failure can make thinking big very difficult to do.
We worry about what lies in the future, we stress about not getting things right, and we concern ourselves with worst-case scenarios.
These fears lead to small thoughts, decisions and actions — effectively warding off the habit of thinking big.
Life is about making mistakes, it’s about taking chances, and it’s about thinking big about your life and circumstances.
The road to success is never a straight one. Successful people know that there are always kinks in the road, times of failure and reassessment, fear and doubt, but they also know that to achieve big goals, you need to overcome fear.
Having No Time or Incentives
When you are pressed for time you begin thinking small and only about things in the immediate future.
Thinking big requires time, it requires dedicated attention and discipline that forces you to spread your horizons and open your mind to new possibilities and ideas.
If you simply can’t find the time to think big then you will always live small.
If you live life without any incentives, then there will simply be no motivation to stretch yourself emotionally or physically. Without motivation you will think small and neglect the BIGGER picture.
Benefits of Thinking Big
I hope by now you are starting to understand the benefits of thinking big.
Here are just a few of the benefits you can achieve when you change your mindset of what is really achievable:
Thinking big stirs your passion and enthusiasm
How do you feel when you set a big goal? If you feel awful that you are gunning for something big, then you need to reassess what you are seeking.
But if you feel excited and motivated, then you are on track. A big goal is meant to fire up your enthusiasm regardless of how challenging it is.
Thinking big unleashes your creative instinct
Thinking big unleashes your creative instinct and helps you uncover ideas that will help you achieve your goal. When the Wright brothers toyed with the idea that humans could fly; their minds came up with the possibility of such an idea becoming a reality.
Thinking big challenges you to expand your means; rather than live below your means
I mentioned last week that one of the rituals of the wealthy was to “live below your means”. Big thinkers don’t just live below their means; they expand their means to suit the lifestyle they desire.
Big thinkers are not content with average results; they aim for excellence. So would you rather be a big thinker or you prefer to live in mediocrity? The choice is yours.
Thinking big gives you a purpose to live for
Thinking big and setting big goals give your life a purpose. It gives you something worth pursuing. When John F. Kennedy set the goal to put a man on the moon; it became a purpose he lived for and today, he’s remembered for that goal.
Every man has a purpose on earth; but you can only discover yours if you think big.
Thinking big eliminates impossibilities
The true magic of thinking big is in the breaking of impossibilities. Thinking big makes the impossible possible.
That’s why Adidas said “impossible is nothing.” This statement is only true if you think big and go for it.
So when you next think about setting a goal or executing a project, think big and your thoughts will be brought into existence.
Research shows that the happiest people are those who use their natural talents to the utmost. Part of your mission in life then must be to share your gifts and value with as many people as possible.
That means being willing to play big.
In the end, small thinking and small actions lead to being both broke and unfulfilled. Big thinking and big actions lead to having both money and meaning.
So, what are you waiting for? Start thinking bigger.