When it comes to big thinking, it’s important to clearly understand exactly what big thinking is and what it entails. So, let’s take a look at what thinking big involves.
As you can tell from the name, thinking big is a mental process. Thinking big is about recognizing you can accomplish whatever you want, no matter how big the dream, if you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the work to make that dream a reality. While it is a mental process, thinking big isn’t restricted to only thought. It’s also about taking action on your positive thoughts and conquering your fears and inhibitions so you successfully achieve your goal.
A lot of people don’t succeed at the process of thinking big for the same reason. They simply won’t change the way they think. You see, changing the way you think is one of the most important changes you can make. However, change is frightening to most people. It’s this fear that condemns people to continue thinking small and, therefore, acting small.
Why is this so? For one very simple reason — our thoughts have a direct effect on how we act. On the other hand, how we act also has a direct effect on how we think. Thought and action are tied together. They are a two-way street. Behavioural traffic freely goes both ways — from thought to action and from action to thought. Each one changes the other and both can move you forward or hold you back, depending on your mindset.
So, only when you have a good handle on how thought and action interact can you begin to purposefully control your own big thoughts. This is because big thinking must become a way of life. There’s no room for half measures or backsliding behaviour. You must be committed to eliminating all negative thoughts and actions from your life and to believing in yourself and in your dreams as well. There is no other way. Any other path leads back to small thoughts, small actions and a narrow worldview.
Think Big Like a Child
What is success really about? Is it about material possessions? Is it about the way other people see you? Is it about adulation and fame?
Think about your answers to these questions. You see, there are correct answers to all of these questions and none of those answers are yes. Material possessions are a side effect of success. So is money. So are adulation, recognition and authority. All these things are signifiers of success, but none of them are success itself. So then, what is success really about?
In order to answer this question correctly, you have to let go of your adult self and all of your adult preconceptions and prejudices. Think back to when you were a child. You have to remember what it was like to be a child. You have to readopt a child’s worldview. You have to repossess a child’s motivations. In short, you have to, once again, begin thinking like a child.
How does a child define success? A child defines a success by the goal. A child succeeds when he or she gets what they want. They are not deterred by the word no. They are not stopped by their inner voice or critic. They do not care what others think of their goal or their behaviour as they try to achieve their goal. You could say that a child is nearly 100% goal-oriented.
A child also sees the universe as limitless and the possibilities within that universe as limitless, as well. This means a child does not feel constrained by any self-imposed restraints or by outside forces. If the child can conceive something, then the child feels they can achieve it. This lack of constraint and restraint further feeds the child’s laser focus on their goal.
A child is, if anything, innocent as well. This innocence is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a shield that protects the child from worry and fear when it comes to goals. The child doesn’t worry about failure and the outcomes of failure. The child doesn’t deal in eventualities. There are no eventualities. There is no downside. There is only the goal.
Adopting a child’s point of view when it comes to your ventures is a useful way of examining your behaviours to see where imagined constraints and fears keep you from fully engaging in big thinking.
So, let’s say you’re in business, and you just opened up your shop. What’s your next step? What’s the best way for you to proceed in order to maximize your chances for success?
First of all, let’s look at thinking big. There’s nothing wrong with having a big dream or goal. Big thoughts lead to big successes. So, if you have a big idea, hang on to it tightly and remember that you’re in some pretty impressive company. Are there other successful companies out there that had big goals when they started?
There are a few you might have heard of. Take Google, for instance. They had an idea to organize all of the world’s information and make it instantly accessible to everyone. That’s pretty big thinking. Then, there’s Amazon. They wanted to have the world’s biggest store, one that sold everything available. AirBNB wanted to turn the traditional travel and leisure industry on its head, and Uber wanted to revolutionize the logistics involved in urban transportation. All had big thinking ideas and every one made those ideas a reality and enjoyed wild success as a result. So, if they could do it, why not you?
The bigger the idea, the longer it’s going to take to implement that idea successfully. That’s where thinking small comes into play. The big complex systems that make big ideas work are simply copies of smaller simpler systems that were in place earlier.
In fact, there’s a systems theory law, known as Gall’s Law, which supports the start-small concept. Gall’s Law states that any complex system that works invariably rose out of a simple system that also worked. Conversely, a complex system designed from scratch invariably never works. What this means is that in order to make your big idea real you need to start by taking and implementing small, simple steps. You see what works and you keep it, while rejecting what doesn’t work.
The Power of Words and Thinking Big
Words hold real power to influence the world. This is because words are nothing more than thoughts incarnate. Words are concrete, external manifestations of internal thought processes. Words are our internal voices using a megaphone. They amplify and exemplify how we really feel and what we really think. That’s why it’s extremely important to take note of the choice of words someone uses to express themselves. That choice can reveal volumes about what the person really means. When you become skilled at examining and deciphering word choices, no one can ever really hide their true thoughts from you. Because, again, words reveal our inner meanings.
So what does this have to do with thinking big? Well, if you can figure out a person’s real intentions by examining their word choices, doesn’t the same process also apply to you? Can’t you look at words you choose to use and discover what’s really going on inside of you? After all, words and thoughts are connected. Thoughts have a direct effect on words.
In fact, go deeper than that. Words are the physical representation of thoughts themselves. That’s why they reveal so much about those thoughts. But, if thoughts have power over words, shouldn’t words have the same power over thoughts? In other words, if you consciously alter or tweak your linguistic choices, you should also be altering or tweaking your thought processes as well.
Well, it turns out that this hypothesis is true. Your choice of words not only reveals how you really feel, consciously choosing different words to express the same idea changes those feelings. Thoughts, words and actions all exist on the same continuum. Change one and the others follow suit.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Examine the words “but” and “and.” Two different words expressing two different concepts, right? Yet by swapping one for the other, you not only change the meaning of what you say, you also change your mind and the way you think. For example, you could say “I want to go out to lunch but I have to work.” This means that, from your point of view, one thing precludes the other. Alternatively, you could say “I want to go to lunch and I have to work.” Saying it this way doesn’t make one dependent on the other. Instead, it allows both things to co-exist. That is the power of words when it comes to thinking big.
Stop Thinking Negative if You Want to Think Big
Negativity is possibly the biggest killer of success. It prevents people from taking the positive actions that bring about real change in their lives. It stops them from having the confidence necessary to begin believing in themselves and their dreams. In summary, if you want to start thinking big, you have to eliminate negative thoughts from your life.
Here are a few ways you can accomplish this:
First of all, start by focusing on your successes. Negativity wants you to fail. It wants you to think about all the times you missed the mark. Reject this urge. Instead, think about all the times you hit the mark dead on. Think about how that felt. Think about what people around you said about your success. Concentrate on that moment and the thought processes that surrounded it. When you feel the urge to dwell on failure, simply recall that moment of success and use it to banish any negative thoughts.
Next, keep track of your thought processes. You can do this by simply making notes on your reaction to various situations you encounter throughout an average day. Look for patterns. Count the number of times negative thoughts crop up. Also, take a look at the content of these thoughts. Write down what you were thinking. The result of this audit of your inner voice will give you a fairly good idea how strong your negative tendencies are. Once you’re aware of that strength, you can start to counteract it though intentional positive thoughts and actions.
When, despite your best efforts, you find yourself heading down into negative thinking, stop and take a deep breath. Then, once you realize you’re going negative, come up with three positive reactions or solutions you can apply to the situation you’re facing. Think of this process as a kind of negativity intervention.
Finally, think about how you talk to yourself and how you treat yourself as a result. You should be talking to and treating yourself exactly the same way you’d expect someone else to treat you. In other words, you have to hold yourself to the same standard of behaviour you expect from others when it comes to interaction. If you’re not behaving towards yourself in the same way that you treat your closest friends and love ones, then you have a problem you need to work on.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Get Comfortable with Discomfort
Change makes the vast majority of people extremely uncomfortable. Most people would rather operate under the tacit assumption that everything is stable and secure when, in truth, nothing is guaranteed. The people who deny the reality of change are small thinkers.
Set Realistic Goals
Having goals that are realistic and focused allow you to plot a course towards your big dreams and aspirations. It’s easier to think big when you can see the path along the way.
Find a Support Network
Colleagues, friends and loved ones can all provide you with the support you need to continue changing how you think about success and reaching your goals. Without that key support, it’s very easy to fall back into old ways of small-thinking behaviour.
Eliminate Negative Behaviors
The key to breaking out of this negative behavioural cycle is twofold. First, recognize the problematic behaviour, and second, begin to take proactive steps to eliminate the behaviour when it arises. When you consistently work to break bad habits, the result is the adoption of new habits that positively affect potential outcomes.
Success can be scary. Being successful means you’re going to have to change the way you view life, how you look and feel about yourself, and the way you operate. The easiest and safest route is to avoid change by not doing the tasks that bring about change. At its heart, procrastination is born from a fear of real success and the changes that real success bring.
Avoid Short-Term Thinking
Short-term thinking is brought about by a short-term view of the world. Instead of looking at the big picture and formulating a plan to positively change your circumstances, it’s easier to keep your head down and concentrate on the immediate. This failure to act is the reason people are stuck and the reason they’re stuck is their failure to act. It’s a vicious circle that serves no one.
Negativity can be so pervasive in a person’s outlook that they don’t really see it anymore. It has become such an ingrained habit to think in terms of can’t, won’t and don’t, that it’s nearly impossible to think in terms of can, will and do. You can’t possibly think big if you don’t believe you can and will.
Stop Making Excuses
Excuses are the walls that surround, trap and stifle positive impulses. They have no basis in reality. They are simply a defence mechanism, operating to keep a person from moving forward and changing their life for the better.
Every sensible person analyzes any situation. It’s human nature to look at all the angles before proceeding. A problem arises when this analysis prevents any decision about a course of action. Thinking big requires action!
It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Similar to over-analysis, perfectionism stops any forward movement in its tracks. Every action has to be just right. Every word has to be carefully considered. There can be no error and no missteps. This will hold you back from taking big steps born of big thinking.
When you’re trying to change your own life and move forward with a newer and bigger attitude, you oftentimes draw negative judgment and criticism. This negative press usually comes from people who feel threatened by your positive change. Ignore them and continue on your way to big dreams.
Use Empowering Language
The way you speak carries immense power. How you use words certainly affects how others perceive you. Your way with words or lack thereof helps the outside world form an opinion of your strengths and weaknesses. Yet, did you know, that the same words have the ability to affect how you feel about yourself? You can’t think big unless you believe in yourself.
Donna S. Vieira is a certified Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner and Astro-Empowerment Coach who uses her knowledge of Astrology in sessions with her clients. She’s also a published freelance travel and lifestyle writer, blogger, and editor who has traveled the globe. You can read about some of her travels at FromMyTravelBag.com. She and her chef husband, Fernando, own Globetrotters Bed & Breakfast/Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, where they have been welcoming guests from around the world since 2002.