Lottie snarled, showing her magnificent teeth at the other dog. She had found a dead rabbit in the woods and was guarding it with her life. It did not matter that the other dog was a Doberman who was at least ten times her size. It did not matter that she was a pint-sized Chihuahua. She knew how big she was and more importantly, she felt enormous. The Doberman looked at her tenacity, decided that the rabbit was not worth it, and ran away. Lottie was not afraid to protect what was hers regardless of how daunting it might seem.
When you were a child, did you ever play make-believe? Perhaps you were a princess in a castle or a boy who thought anything was possible. Nothing daunted you. Any words of discouragement were easily ignored and discarded. Even when things seemed impossible, you still held hope and continue pushing for what you wanted. Maybe you were building a den. It was never enough boxes, duvets, or pillows. You just wanted it bigger. Perhaps it was a project that you were given and you made proper grand plans for it.
When you told others about your big plans for your life and for the world, you may hear, “Wow, you are very ambitious, aren’t you?” How many around you think big as you do? Or is it only you? Have you ever wondered why there are so few that think big and so many that are ready to settle? If you stayed, had conversations, and continue mixing in the same environment, how much energy do you have to put in to keep your dreams alive? In doing so, do you get encouragement, or do your friends and family just think you are mad?
As you grew, your dreams got smaller. It was deemed ok to make do. ‘Be satisfied with what you have or are offered’, ‘Be reasonable’, or (my favourite!) ‘You can either have this or that. You can’t have both. Don’t be greedy!’ Before you know it, it is ok to settle. It is ok to abandon your dreams to accept what is given to you. After all, if you don’t strive too high, you will never fail, right? And who wants to fail?
Well, in my opinion, that is erroneous thinking. Potential unexpressed turns into pain. Not only will you be unhappy settling with what you have, knowing that you are more, but you may also even start resenting what has life done to you. In reality, you are just resenting yourself. This is not referring to being ungrateful for what you have. Gratitude and being appreciative is paramount to achieving peace, tranquillity, and even fulfillment. In fact, you know it is more than that. I am referring to settling, not expressing your potential, and fulfilling your deepest and greatest dreams. An essential human need is the need to grow. How much you grow is entirely up to you. The bigger your dream, the bigger your journey, the bigger your growth.
Many may misunderstand thinking big refers only to business, financial, and/or professional areas. This is applicable in all avenues of life, be it professional, relationship (especially relationships!), emotional, hobbies, and/or spiritual. Do not mistake being grateful or expressing gratitude for settling. It is quite the opposite. Being grateful is appreciating what you have while striving for more. Understand that abundance, not scarcity, is how life is meant to be. How abundant do you wish your relationship to be? How strong a bond do you want to build in your relationships with your spouse, family, and friends? How much do you want to excel in your hobbies or interests? How much CAN you achieve?
Big is bad is a lie. When big is believed to be bad, small thinking rules the day, and big never sees the light of it. Historically, we have done a poor job of estimating our limits. When you allow yourself to accept that big is about who you can become, you look at it differently. Thinking big is essential to extraordinary results. Success requires action, and action requires thought. But here’s the catch – the only actions that become springboards to succeeding big are those informed by big thinking to begin with.
Have you ever considered what do you want from life? How much life do you want to experience? How big do you want your life to be? How much difference do you want to make to yourself, those around you, and ultimately, the world? If you want most of your answer, you must realize that it lives outside your comfort zone. A big answer is never in plain view, nor is the path to finding one laid out for you. A possible answer exists beyond what is already known and being done.
It is nature’s way to think big. We knew that as children. It is only when we grew up, with our big brains and tiny hearts, we did what was practical and/or pragmatic. We allowed our reality to become our limits. We forgot that we are born into greatness and are a product of centuries of chance and evolution. We let our light dwindle with time. Have you ever seen the sparkle in a child’s eyes? The high energy, vivid imagination, and never-say-die attitude? You were a child once with a similar sparkle. Have you still got yours? Mediocrity is not being like others. Mediocrity is living below your potential.
Always think big. Demand more from yourself to develop the areas in your life that matter most. Don’t settle easily. Make your professional life a booming one. Cultivate your relationships to have amazing connections and bonds. Polish your hobbies and interests to a craft that you excel in. Feed your soul with so much energy that it clearly overspills to others in your presence. Don’t settle. Think big and you will be big. It’s only when you can imagine a bigger life than you can ever hope to have, you would be able to realize it. T S Eliot said, ‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.’ Stretch yourself. Think and dream like a child. Use your skills acquired when you are an adult to support the dreams you had when you were a child.
Lottie did not think big, she simply thought she was big and she got her reward. What will it take for you to remember your dreams as a child and pursue them?
‘The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.’ – Thomas Henry Huxley
Credit: Gary W Keller