As hated as he may be as a politician, Donald Trump couldn’t be more true with this quote.
Most people don’t succeed. Why? A major reason in my opinion is that most people only think within their circle of influence. They don’t dare escape it out of fear. Side note: don’t let anyone EVER tell you to be ‘realistic’ or not to ‘get your hopes up’ – all they are doing is transmitting their limited beliefs into your mind. You can’t afford to let mediocrity engulf you.
Back to the point – thinking small is deemed normal only because everyone does it. People are too afraid to think beyond their self-imposed limits; they get caught up in the day-to-day maintenance of their life which doesn’t allow for growth. Most people limit their thoughts to their daily decisions and goings on, like what they are going to watch on TV or eat that night, or in business, what urgent emails and tasks await them throughout the day.
Thinking big is about taking your focus of the menial yet seemingly important things that fill up your time. It’s about prioritizing the important stuff. When you do that, everything else will take care of itself. Here’s 6 ways you can think bigger to achieve bigger things.
Instead of taking care of every problem that presents itself to you as and when they appear, think bigger when solving problems to save the hassle in the future and grow faster. For example, a team working on an app may have a recurring issue regarding their customer service. They could opt to appease the customer each time the problem prevents itself, or they could think bigger and solve the root cause of the problem so the recurring issue never arises again.
People who think big question everything. They never let trivial adversity get the better of them – instead, they think big to refine their strategies and systems to prevent future problems.
Thinking big time
Another effect of getting caught up in day-to-day urgent tasks is that we don’t give ourselves time to sit back, review our systems and plans, and think creatively to allow for growth. It all comes back to the 80/20 principle. You may only spend 20% of your time working on your systems and your future plans when in reality they account for 80% of your success – while 80% of your time is spent on day-to-day tasks that could be delegated and only produce 20% of your results.
Don’t work in your business, work on your business. You are the leader therefore your time is better spent thinking, planning and refining. It may feel unproductive to stop working and think creatively, but the reality is your success starts within. Get a good team behind you, spend your time being the thought leader and let your team execute.
Pick the right players
It’s all well and good spending 80% of your time working on your systems, but if you don’t have an effective and self-motivated team of big thinkers to execute, your plans will never come to fruition.
Here’s a simple HR strategy that’ll ensure your team is capable of turning your big thinking into big results:
- Hire your weaknesses – you don’t have the time or the passion to work on your weaknesses when you’re realizing a vision. Only do what you’re good at, and suck it up and hire people who are better than you at everything else.
- Hire people with a growth mindset – you need people that can work on their own initiative. Most people delegate on a transactional basis (tell them to do something, they do it, tell them to do something else, etc.). Don’t do that. Build a team of people who are willing to go the extra mile to produce a better result. Fixed mindset employees are those who do what they’re told and leave it at that.
- Hire people who share your passion and values – You want people who are excited by a challenge and passionate about your business. It is said that Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh to potential employees in interviews and if their face didn’t light up with excitement about it, he wouldn’t hire them.
Check our my LifeHack post on how to transition from a manger to a leader (FYI: leaders think way bigger than managers).
Never stop learning
Despite popular belief, curiosity did not kill the cat. In fact, the cat has an advantage over most people who are stubborn to learning and taking advice/criticism.
In a recent blog post I explained how constant and never ending learning is a key to succeeding in life. The more you read, the more you think about big ideas. For example, I’ve been reading a lot of biographies recently, namely that of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. The mindset of Musk must have rubbed off on me because my goals suddenly got a whole lot bigger.
On top of reading, questioning everything is vital. Never assume one way is better than another, because often stubbornness to change can be fatal in business. Think of all the hotel chains that could have profited massively if they’d taken advantage of the internet before Airbnb stepped in.
Bottom line here is that you should never take anything for face value. Question everything, accept any advice and criticism because more options/perspectives are better than none.
Embrace the Journey
Thinking big means big goals. And big goals can seem very, very far away. The thing is, we’re going to live a very long time anyway, so why not devote your life to fulfilling your potential? It may seem easier to give up on your goals in exchange for comfort, but imagine yourself coming to the end of your life, wondering ‘what if?’ We regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we did do.
Besides, it’s our duty as humans to advance the human race. Use your own unique potential to do your bit – the only thing that separates us from animals is that we can think bigger than them. We aren’t only here to extend our blood lines, we’ve been given the gift of intelligence so use it or pay the ultimate price.
Develop the habit
To ensure you never recede back into small time mediocre thinking, have a daily ritual of thinking big. It could be to brainstorm future plans for growth in your business for 30 minutes every day, or simply writing down some big goals (HUGE GOALS – you don’t want to become complacent. Always have something to work towards and never stop) and reading them every morning.
Once you start to condition your mind to think bigger, every decision you make will improve. When you have a huge vision, you think on a much deeper level, far out of your circle of influence and comfort zone. Challenges will be less frightening, the work you do will be higher value and you will think ahead and dominate above the competition.
I’m currently listening to the audiobook of The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, click on the book cover if you want to learn more.