The Power of Thinking Big

The Power of Thinking Big

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“If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big.”
Donald Trump

To me the ability to ‘Think BIG’ is one of the cornerstones of extreme success.

But what is it? And how can we do it?

‘Thinking big’ means being able to dream and visualise what you can achieve on an audacious scale: with no limits on your thinking. It is about being open-minded, positive, creative and seeing opportunity in the big picture.

There is an interesting quote from Tony Robbins that I like that is quite relevant to this idea, “Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”

If we underestimate what we can achieve in the long term, we underestimate our true capability. The downside is lowering our goals to an ‘achievable’ level we know we can easily meet, thereby lowering our expectations, our standards, and our outcomes.

People who achieve big avoid this thinking by setting themselves big goals. If we are stretching for something rather than coasting towards something, we are naturally going to achieve more, and get further, in less time. The bigger the goal, the more trivial is anything that might slow us down, and we can more swiftly provide solutions. The human mind has the capacity to automatically prioritise what is important if the goal is large enough and well defined.

Big thinking can both galvanise your own thoughts and actions, and those of your team. In the corporate context, Jim Collin’s described inspiring goals as Big Hairy Audacious Goals in his classic book Built to Last, which was about the patterns found in the most successful companies over the long term. Collins defined a BHAG as “…an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future.” These hugely successful companies all had a focus on a single focal point of medium-long term effort. They had an organisation-wide goal which was clear and compelling, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible. A true BHAG acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal. Many less successful businesses set goals that describe what they hope to accomplish over the coming days, months or years. Often these goals are largely uninspiring and tactical, such as “achieve 10% revenue growth in the next 3 months.”

You only have to look at the Apollo programme and its objective to go to the moon within a decade to see how it galvanised a nation to achieve what was, at the time, believed  to be truly impossible. In contrast, a lesser goal, failing to inspire enough people to make it happen, might never have been achieved. Use this knowledge to motivate yourself and others.

How can we learn from this, as individual business owners?
How can you set yourself an audacious long term goal?
How can you inspire those around you to achieve something remarkable?

Take advantage of economies of scale. In many cases, thinking big and taking action on large projects takes no more time and effort than working on a small project – but the results are much bigger and better, and the achievement is greater. For instance it actually takes the same amount of work to borrow a small sum of money for a small project as it does to borrow a huge sum for a large project. You could even argue that it takes less work, as someone is more likely to complete all the forms  for you for a larger sum.

It can be much easier to succeed by thinking big, rather than thinking small. There is less competition at the top of the scale than there is  at the bottom, so it’s more advantageous to go large and reach for the stars. For  example there are thousands of businesses offering services for owners of startups and SMEs, but very few specialising in services for the owners of the largest global businesses. Starting big can actually be easier.

How to Think and Achieve BIG

Be Positive & Fearless.
Negative or fearful thoughts produce small thinking. Think positively. Eliminate the word ‘impossible’. Successful big thinkers come up with reasons why you ‘can’. Others find reasons why you can’t. Whichever way you think, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Big thinkers see problems as a challenge, and any challenge as an opportunity.  Their big thinking creates unlimited possibilities, alternatives and solutions. Turn your attention to being brave, bold and optimistic. It is exciting and challenging. Go for it!

Visualise Without Restraint.
It is not a lack of resources that holds people back, but a lack of resourcefulness. A big thinker visualizes what is possible in the future, rather than being stuck in the present. Look at things not as they are now, but as they can be – without constraints. Visualization adds value to everything. This mental rehearsal gives you a compelling taste of what your vision will be like in reality, and the impetus to make it happen. Come up with creative solutions to realise your goals.

Ask BIG questions.
Practise asking yourself and others some really big and challenging your questions, such as:

If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
If you had an unlimited supply of money, what would you do?
If you had all the time in the world, what would you do?
Who in the world would benefit the most from what you know?

Feedback from other people discussing such big questions is invaluable. Ask your associates huge questions that open up your thinking about business. Top leaders spend much more time requesting advice than they do giving it – and it’s how they put ideas into action that can change the world.

Be Creative and Dream Big.
Go large. The size of your belief determines the size of your success. Do some blue-sky thinking or creative brainstorming – without censorship. Think about how you can develop them into reality. The key to success is imagination, so let your ideas flow freely, allow yourself to dream, take note of your greatest idea then concentrate on that and don’t give up until your vision is a reality. Dreams fan the flames of burning desire, high aspirations, and compelling goals in life.Create a vision that is so inspirational that it ignites the fire within you and gets you excited to work towards it.

Set a Massive Long Term Goal and Stick to it.
Decide on your BHAG – your Big Hairy Audacious Goal – then keep your focus laser-like as you aim towards achieving it. Turn your attention to what you want, and make it happen. What you focus on, and what you take action on, you will get. Successful people are those who are doing everything they can to achieve their goals.

Inspire Those Around You.
Successful people connect with people, and confidence attracts others, so use these qualities to bring others onside. The ability to leverage and inspire others is key: the bigger you think, the more people you can get on board. Big ideas motivate and inspire those around you, and in this highly connected world it has never been easier to attract and build a following around a big idea. Through social media, big ideas can  spread quickly and gain the resources they need to make them happen. Leverage those around you to give yourself the best chance of making your ideas a reality.

Take Action & Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time – Take action. Goals are dreams that are captured, pinned down and action-planned. Followed through by action, they ensure success.  Take steps towards your big goal on a daily basis: even spending just 15 minutes per day will help you to achieve great success, over a 10 year period.

Above all: Believe in Yourself.
Belief is the most important part of achieving big. If you believe it can happen, it can happen. Magnify your thinking power. To quote the big thinking and achieving Steve Jobs: “Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” Be confident – know that you can do it, and you will be unstoppable!

Never underestimate the power of your thoughts – and make them big. All inventions start off as big ideas, and big thinkers can change the world. They are leaders, innovators and achievers because they are free from limitations and small thinking. Thinking big widens your horizons, taking you out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.

Practise putting this thinking into effect, and take action. Put no limits on your goals. Go for bigger and better, and have the passion, drive and energy to make your dreams into reality.  Expand your mind, your thinking, and expand your horizons. Go large! Make it happen.

The higher you aim, the higher you will go. Big thinking gets you big results!

Further Reading:

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz (Amazon Link UK, US)

Built to Last by Jim Collins (Amazon Link (UK, US)

Inside the Plex by Steven Levy (UK, US)

Steve Jobs Autobiography (Amazon Link UK, US)

If the above topic, or indeed any of my blogs are of interest to you, then contact me and let’s talk! Drop me an email at

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add a comment
  1. David Schwartz was a great motivator an influence everybody through his great thinking , thinking Big, believe in own success like the thought of his which he writes in his book and no surprise that book were sold more that 4 billion copies around the world and everybody is getting benefited through his book. In his book he gives many live examples that he gets through his journey of life.

  2. Dennis Johnstone Onyino says

    Thank you.

  3. I hung onto every word This is just the sort of positive thinking channels I feel I need . Thank you!

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  7. Ahmed I. Abdirahman says

    You inspired me really. Put up my ability to think possitive. Thank You.

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  9. thanks Bros ……….. I feel so inspired…

  10. Uzo Ekedum says

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  19. Ria Fidai says

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  20. Your blog posts are a delightful mix of entertainment and education.

  21. How can we get access to read the whole book ?

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