Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done. | Sam Ewing
Our lives are full of the byproducts of big thinking. Stop for a moment and survey the environment around you. Big thinking has led to all sorts of things we take for granted. Our big thinking can do the same for future generations.
Unfortunately, many people and organizations inadvertently limit their big thinking by allowing their preconceived notions to limit their creativity. It’s a vicious cycle that exchanges our propensity to do great things for a halfhearted celebration of mediocrity. Rather than pursue excellence, we grade on a curve and celebrate insignificant tweaks of exhausted strategies.
In 1975, George Lucas started talking with special effects experts and movie producers about an idea for a new science fiction movie. After explaining his vision, Lucas was told his special effects ideas could not be brought to life. John Dykstra, however, caught the vision and partnered with Lucas to create the special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic. The two worked together, failed a lot, and in 1977 released Star Wars. To date, the Star Wars brand has grossed billions of dollars. And it all began when a young man had big thoughts and never gave up.
Here are some reasons you should think big.
- Big thinking produces big possibilities. If you limit your thinking to what you’ve already experienced, your future experiences will look very familiar.
- Big thinking attracts other thinkers. If you’re stuck in 1982, you don’t need fresh ideas. Big thinkers are magnetic.
- Big thinking helps others. When your ideas come to life, you’ll need the help of people who have skills and abilities that are relevant to your dreams.
- Big thinking produces even bigger thinking. Seeing one dream materialize inspires you to dream bigger dreams.
- Big thinking separates you from the crowd. The world gravitates toward average. When you think big, you distance yourself from those who are satisfied to think old thoughts and use old strategies.
If you want to be a big thinker, you need to make some changes. In his book, Thinking For a Change, John Maxwell suggests the following:
- Stop focusing on what you believe is impossible. Negative self-talk is the enemy of big thinking.
- Stay away from “experts.” Experts are quick to shoot down big thoughts… probably because they didn’t come up with the idea.
- Look for possibilities in every situation. Connect things that are usually disconnected. Give thinkering a try.
- Force yourself to dream one step higher. Maxwell says, “If you push yourself to dream more expansively, to imagine your organization one size bigger, to make your goals at least a step beyond what makes you comfortable, you will be forced to grow.”
- Question the status quo. You can’t improve and stay the same. If you want greater things later, you can’t settle for what you have now. People who crave the status quo will do everything they can to stop you from thinking big. When your thinking bothers them enough, they will dispose of you. That’s OK. You can always think like them, but they will never be able to think like you.
- Be inspired by great thinkers. We are aware of people who persevered against the odds because doing so is rare and newsworthy. Average never makes the headlines.
In what area of your life do you need to think big?