I dare you to think bigger, to act bigger, and to be bigger, and I promise you a richer and more exciting life if you do. – William Danforth
It All Begins with a Single Thought…
The one major factor that separates the most successful people from the rest begins with a single thought. This single thought — if cultivated — grows over time into the empowering habit of thinking big that eventually takes over this person’s psychology, and propels them towards the achievement of their goals and objectives.
We must, however, keep in mind that over years this single thought is analyzed, criticized and condemned by others. People believe that this thought is impossible, improbable and undeniably unimaginable. They say that the thought is unorthodox and bordering on crazy. And so this single thought must overcome great obstacles, setbacks, problems, and difficulties before it can realize its full potential. After all, this single thought understands that in order to grow BIG and expand, that it must accept the harsh realities of life and respond by growing long and strong roots that will support its tremendous weight as it stretches towards the sky. Yes, this single thought knows very well indeed that to think big, is to do big. 🙂
How to Develop the Habit of Thinking Big
Just imagine a single snowflake falling from the night sky. By itself, it has no hope of changing the world. However, this single snowflake has BIG ambitions and BIGGER ideas. It realizes that it needs to gather together other snowflakes in order to grow BIGGER and STRONGER. And so it decides to fall on top of the highest mountain peak where it interlocks with other like-minded snowflakes. There it waits and waits for the wind to blow and the ground to shake, eventually transforming this single snowflake into one of the most powerful and ferocious forces on earth: A Rampaging Avalanche! And to think that all this started with a single snowflake who dared to think BIG.
Think BIG About…
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 contributions to the world and others.
- Your capacity to think creatively and outside the box.
- Your capacity to think problematically, think critically and flexibly.
- 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 life’s purpose and goals.
Thinking big requires that you think globally about the problems that are confronting your reality. Thinking big requires that you see these things from a wider and far-reaching perspective by asking yourself:
How could this potential solution change the world?
How could this idea revolutionize my industry?
How could the answer to this problem solve a global issue?
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.
Think Like a Child
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. However, there is a way around this that naturally shifts our perspective and makes things a little more fun.
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 has a curious nature and only sees possibilities in amidst turmoil.
- A world-renowned musician or artist who has an uncanny ability to create something out of nothing.
- A professional athlete who has the will to persist and overcome any obstacle standing in their way.
- A noble prize-winning scientist who meticulously works through BIG problems in small ways.
- A 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 on 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 favor, 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.
The Barriers 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 our psyche, 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 we need to think big and do bigger things than ever before.
Here is a list of common barriers that prevent big picture thinking:
Thinking big is a habit that we naturally grow and develop over time. It is a habit that allows us to stretch our imaginations and expand our personal potential. This is all well and good, however, thinking big will never become a reality for any of us if we continue to indulge in the following limiting habits that ironically force us to think small:
- Procrastination holds you back and pulls you away from moving forward in your life.
- Short-term thinking denies you the ability to see solutions that lie a few steps ahead.
- Negative thinking prevents you seeing things that are possible to do now and in the future.
- Making excuses focuses you on what you don’t want to do, be, have and achieve.
- Solving insignificant problems distracts you from what’s most important and from the BIGGER picture.
- Over-analyzing things waste time and energy on small matters that are of little significance.
- Seeking perfection forces you to dabble in things over and over again in an attempt to achieve the impossible.
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.
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 as far as you are concerned, they can also help change the world. 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 constrict us and coil us into a ball of 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.
A year from now, when you are sitting in your rocking chair at 100 years of age — you sit there with a smile on your face, having no regrets. Yes, life might not have gone exactly the way you imagined, but you smile because you thought big, took chances and enjoyed the journey. And that’s what life is really all about, isn’t it?
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 self-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.
How to Develop the Habit of Thinking Big
Developing the habit of thinking big on a daily basis requires a little work and effort. It’s not something that will happen over-night, but it is something that will happen over-time as you apply the following big thinking strategies consistently and meticulously.
Cultivation is the Key
Thinking big consistently and effortlessly will come over time. Like any habit, it requires us to develop a plethora of supporting habits that will help us to think big far more effectively.
The language you use on a daily basis is simply a reflection of your thoughts. If your words are riddled with complaining, worrying and criticizing your life circumstances, then you can expect that your life will undoubtedly be a direct reflection of these words. If on the other hand, you begin using empowering words and phrases that are focused on solutions, ideas and on expanding possibilities, then your life will also be a reflection of this type of language.
Big Ideas, Plans, and Goals
When setting goals and lay down plans of action don’t settle for safety. Think instead of goals that will help expand your comfort zone, push your limits and stretch your imagination — freeing your mind to think big. Life is after all too short for anything else. 🙂
Thinking big requires forward thinking. Big thinkers think several steps ahead, several moves in advance and several years into the future. They understand that life is simply like a game of chess.
If you do not have the ability to think several moves ahead, then you haven’t as yet successfully cultivated the habit of thinking big.
Solution Oriented Thinking
Thinking big is about finding solutions, answers, and ideas that will break down the problematic walls that are standing in your way.
Solution oriented thinking involves asking effective questions that will expand possibilities and open ourselves to alternative perspectives that we never considered before.
Thinking big requires us to cultivate several key qualities and traits that will enable us to think bigger and better than ever before about our life and circumstances. These qualities include passion, courage, optimism, persistence, discipline, and enthusiasm.
Thinking big requires a set of unshakable beliefs that magically convince you that whatever you can conceptualize in your mind, you can realize in the physical world. Hence you must believe that…
When I envision it, I believe it…
When I believe it, I do it…
When I do it, everything becomes possible…
Relish Time for Thinking
In order to think big, you must first find the time to think proactively about your circumstances. Most people, unfortunately, don’t have this privilege. They simply don’t have the time and tend to constantly react to the events and circumstances in their lives. They never actually take the time to STOP and think proactively about solutions and ideas that could make their life easier and solve the problems confronting their reality.
Relish Opportunity to Solve BIG Problems
BIG thinkers love BIG problems and quickly turn them into BIG opportunities.
Problems are nothing more than puzzles that need to be pieced together with the right resources and ideas.
Those who cultivate the habit of thinking big understand that the more often they piece these puzzles together the more proficient they will become at solving future unexpected problems that may rudely show up at the worst possible time.
Weaknesses are simply things that we have failed to address and consistently focus on over a lifetime. In other words, they are things that we have neglected — and what you don’t use, you will lose. Therefore weaknesses should not be seen as limitations, but rather as opportunities for change.
Those who cultivate the habit of thinking big understand that by challenging their weaknesses they naturally strengthen their ability to deal with the unexpected events and circumstances that life throws their way. Likewise, they understand that challenging weaknesses add to their arsenal of skills and resources that they have on hand to help them attain their BIG goals and objectives.
Strengthen Willpower and Resilience
BIG goals and objectives are only achieved by those with the willpower and resilience to keep on moving forward when everyone else has stopped dead in their tracks. Those who think big clearly understand this, and they, therefore, strengthen their willpower and resilience on a daily basis even when performing the smallest of tasks.
Ask BIG Questions like a Child
Those who think big ask BIG questions consistently and persistently until the right answer comes to mind. They ask:
How can I do this better than anyone else?
How can I think more creatively about this?
How can I take this to another level?
How can I think even bigger?
Gather Required Resources
Those who think big realize that thinking big is only the first step that leads to BIG change. They know that to conceptualize a BIG idea is one thing, but to actually bring this idea into reality is completely another ballgame. They therefore strategically gather all the necessary resources, tools, knowledge and support — in advance — that they need to bring their BIG ideas into the physical world.
Create Artificial Problems
Thinking big requires great problem-solving. Without problems, there could never be a BIG thought or idea. Ideas are ideas because they help to solve problems that we experience on a daily basis. Without problems ideas are nothing, and progress will be very hard to come by. People who think big clearly understand this principle, and for that reason, they create artificial problems for themselves on a daily basis. They do this for two reasons:
- To strengthen their problem-solving ability.
- To stretch their imaginations.
Keep in mind that artificial problems can at times lead to unexpected and very practical solutions for other seemingly unrelated aspects of life.
Build Systems and Processes
Thinking big isn’t easy, and that is why it’s important to streamline the process as much as possible by building effective systems that will enable you to build your ideas, accelerate decision making and support your creativity.
Constantly Make Bold BIG Decisions
Big thinkers take BIG risks and make bold and BIG decisions on a daily basis that others may not openly support. However, big thinkers understand that their ability to think big allows them to see things from a far wider perspective that others cannot. And for that reason, they are also independent thinkers who don’t base their decisions on people who only think in small and minuscule ways.
Take Calculated Risks
Those who think big are not unrealistic thinkers who take crazy risks. Big thinkers are smart thinkers who make sure to weigh up the consequences of their decisions thoroughly before taking action.
Take Proactive Action
Those who cultivate the habit of thinking big but do not act are only dreamers. To think big you must act big and move towards your goals and objectives in a thought-provoking meticulous way each and every single day with consistency.
Set Goals Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Thinking big and setting goals that are beyond your comfort zone go hand-in-hand. In fact, the size and the degree of difficulty of obtaining your goal will provide you with a good indication of how BIG you are thinking at any particular moment. However, we must, of course, keep in mind that setting goals that are too far beyond our reach are actually counterproductive. If these goals are not attained, then it could lead to stress, worry, fear, procrastination and a plethora of other limiting emotions and behaviors.
Your goals must be believable, achievable and must effectively follow the SMART FOR ME goal setting method.
Set Challenging Time-frames for Objectives
Some goals might seem easy to achieve on the surface. However, if you fiddle around with the time-frame a little bit, you will find that even the easiest of goals can become somewhat challenging.
Those who think big clearly understand that in order to keep themselves on target, motivated and moving quickly, that they must continuously test themselves and their ideas. And this involves setting challenging time-frames that test their limits and stretch their comfort zones.
Focus on Planning and Starting Small
Within the introduction of this post, we talked about the snowflake and the seed. Both started small, and yet both had BIG ideas that took a little time to cultivate and grow. The same applies to real life. We must think big but focus on planning and starting small.
Focus on ONLY What Want
Those who think big are solution oriented thinkers who only focus on what they want to do, have, be and achieve. They don’t care about the details at first, or on what cannot be done. Instead, they focus on the big picture and on the possibilities of bringing an idea to fruition. Later, however, they ask effective questions that break down their idea into workable parts — making them practical in real-life scenarios.
Focus on Highest Value Activities
Big thinkers always attempt to maximize the use of their time. As a result, they primarily focus on only the highest value activities that will help them to bring their BIG ideas into reality.
Focus on Your Abilities and Strengths
When conceptualizing BIG ideas, big thinkers take into account their personal strengths and abilities. They realize that by conceptualizing ideas that naturally support their strong attributes and talents, that they will be able to bring forth more motivation and dedication to bring their ideas to fruition.
Consistently Reframe Problems
Those who cultivate the habit of thinking big consistently reframe their problems by expanding possibilities and perspectives. In other words, they first see the problem for what it is, then they twist their perspective of the problem in a creative way to help them brainstorm better ideas and solutions.
Consistently Surround Self with Ambitious People
Finally, big thinkers associate with other big thinkers who are ambitious, motivated and inspire others to think BIGGER, act BIGGER and become BIGGER than they ever imagined was possible.
It is reasonable to expect that big thinkers don’t always realize their BIG Ideas. However, what they do realize is that life doesn’t always get them what they want, but rather what they need — in the long-term — to help support the achievement of their BIGGEST goals and objectives. Likewise, they understand that thinking big is not something that just happens to us, nor is it an attitude about life. It’s rather a state-of-mind that we must choose to cultivate on a daily basis that becomes our life’s attitude over a lifetime.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I’m confident you will gain tremendous value from using the accompanying IQ Matrix for coaching or self-coaching purposes. This mind map provides you with a quick visual overview of the article you just read. The branches, interlinking ideas, and images model how the brain thinks and processes information. It’s kind of like implanting a thought into your brain – an upgrade of sorts that optimizes how you think about these concepts and ideas. 🙂
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 3 Ways to Help You Think Bigger @ Inc.
- 3 Ways to Think Big and Start Small @ Forbes
- 7 Reasons Why You Need to be a Big Dreamer @ Pick the Brain
- 12 Ways to Think “Big Picture” and Why You Should Bother @ Sitepoint
- How to Think Big @ Uncommon Help
- How to Think Big in Work and in Life @ Forbes
- Teaching Kids to Think Big @ Etsy Blog
- The Power of Thinking Big @ Dumb Little Man
- Think Big… And Then Think Bigger @ Huffington Post
- To Think Bigger and Better, Stop Glorifying Failure @ Entrepreneur
- You Are Probably Not Thinking Big Enough @ Medium