The Habits of Thinking Big
I remember when a group of my friends, and I, began to think big or blue sky.” At the ages of 6 / 7, we were playing in a puddle (much to my mother’s chagrin) outside my home, the sun warmly beating down on our heads, and we were shouting out our wants and wishes, “When I grow up I want… …to go to the moon, …to be rich and famous, …to be Superman, …to be a dog doctor, …to play like this every day, …to be a fireman, …to fly as high as a kite, …to be Nancy Drew (some of you old enough may remember a fictional character who appeared in several mystery book series as a teenage amateur sleuth,) and on, and on we fantasized.
At that age, we were unaware that we were thinking big! For us, during those idle times, we were innocently dreaming and wishing out loud – blue-skying. Ah, fantasizing was such fun!
As I became older, I often reflected on those days with such joy. Recently, I’ve been allowing myself to be idle, to drift, to dream, to wish, to think big… to be a kid again!
Thinking big isn’t just about setting lofty goals. One big idea isn’t enough. You have to manifest that one big idea in many different ways, allowing it to gather momentum from other habits of mind and thoughts. Lofty ideas need other practices to help them come to fruition.
To think big about your ultimate dreams and goals, you have to also think big about:
- Your daily aims, tasks, and routines.
- Your ability to solve problems and analyze information.
- Your ability to think outside the box.
- Your ability to imagine possibilities.
- Your ability to be valuable to others.
- Your contribution to others and the world in which you live.
- Your ability to overcome challenges and obstacles.
- Your life’s purpose.
Pick anyone to start, then another and another and sop one. You’ll be amazed at what fun you’ll have doing it and surprised at your “possibilities!
When you want to learn to think big, it’s not just about one idea or thought. It’s about everything you think, all your goals. You must think bigger about your perspective, possibilities, and desires. Thinking big requires throwing off the shackles that limit your ideas and ambitions.
And doing this can allow you to learn, stretch, and grow more in essential ways that push past your current limitations. Here are some habits of mind that can help you develop these new ways of thinking.
Consider Solutions, Not Problems
When you think big and set your goals high, you have to think in terms of solutions, not problems. Solution-oriented thinking will provide you with ideas and answers to the many obstacles and challenges you will face along your journey. And the bigger your thinking, the better you will become at thinking outside the box to find ways to reach your goals. Solution-oriented habits of mind require you to ask the right questions, which can expand your possibilities and open your mind up to alternative perspectives, as well.
Always be Curious
Curiosity is a habit of mind that is indispensable for learning to think big. Thinking big is very difficult when you limit your perspective to what you already know. But, staying curious, asking questions, and always wondering “why” is an excellent way to continue to grow and set your sights higher.
Curiosity enables you to wonder what things would be like if extraordinary things were possible. It allows you to see possibilities where others see challenges. And, it keeps you wondering if there is something bigger and better on the horizon.
Remain Steadfast in Your Beliefs
If you want to live life thinking and living bigger, then you need to believe unquestioningly that you can achieve what you want in this world. When you believe in your big thoughts, you can envision them coming true.
When you can visualize it happening, you can do things to make it happen. When you start to take action, lofty ideas become possible realities. And through it all, it’s your belief in this reality that will keep you moving forward.
Thinking several moves ahead gives you the time to prepare for what you need to be able to do, and it means you understand what it will take to accomplish your goal.
Embrace Your Fears
Thinking bigger means that you let go of limitations that could be preventing you from reaching loftier aims. Fear is a strong limiting factor that can keep you from dreaming big. Learning to embrace your fear and recognize that being fearful is a sign that you are about to do something truly amazing will help you push past that limitation and move forward with confidence.
Cultivating the Big Thoughts
You will need to invest a little effort and work into developing the habits of mind that allow you to think big on a daily basis. Over time, when you practice these strategies, you’ll start to see that it’s easier to imagine the bigger outcomes and see the loftier possibilities. The following big-thinking activities and strategies, when practiced consistently, can have you dreaming big in no time.
Embrace Empowering Language
The words you use every day reflect your thoughts, so if you want to change your life and your thoughts, start changing your language. Avoid language that reflects criticism, worry, and complaints, and instead use words that reflect hopefulness, power, and solutions. Ask more questions. Change your language, and you can change your mindset and behavior.
Practice a Growth Mindset
When you have a growth mindset, you see all things as opportunities to learn. You recognize that, as humans, we are all learning and have opportunities to evolve throughout life. When you have a growth mindset, you don’t see things as a weakness. Instead, you see them as chances to improve. Your flaws do not limit you; you have an opportunity to improve yourself by addressing them.
When you learn to embrace the growth mindset, thinking big becomes much easier. Unexpected challenges no longer send you running. Instead, you see that they are a chance to learn something new. When you learn to challenge the notion of weakness, and instead embrace growth, you’ll find that thinking big isn’t so scary after all.
Act Like a Kid Again
Remember when you were young, and everything was new and weird? Children ask big questions about the nature of things, how things work, and why things happen (or don’t). These are the types of questions that can lead to bigger thinking. How can I help others? What’s the best version of this I could imagine, and why doesn’t that exist?
Asking big questions leads to lofty ideas and answers. It’s only by being more curious, opening your mind to possibilities, that you can learn to regularly think bigger about your life.
When setting new goals for yourself, stop settling for what you normally do or what has been your comfort zone for so long. Expand your notion of safe, and stop settling for “good enough.” Nothing amazing or huge ever came from “good enough.” Stretch your imagination to set your goals higher and to free your mind to the possibilities of bigger thinking.
When setting goals, it’s vital that they be outside your comfort zone. When you think of something, is your first instinct to say, “no way!” That’s something outside your zone. If you say, “maybe,” it’s probably a little bigger than you normally wish but still not your biggest idea, yet. Really push the limits of your zone to find where the big ideas, the ones that really make you excited, live.
Take Time to Think
Thinking bigger requires time. You need to consider options. You need peace to explore possibilities. Taking the time needed to really formulate and think carefully through your big ideas is the only way you’ll ever really get there.
Make some “thinking” time in your schedule regularly. Protect this time jealously, so that others don’t pull you from it. Use that time to explore your ideas, brainstorm, and really let your imagination go. The more you practice this, the easier it will become.
Look for Big Problems to Solve
Big thinking comes in response to big problems. Problems are nothing but puzzles, and the bigger the problem, the more pieces to the puzzle. Embrace chances to solve big problems in all aspects of your life. This will help you cultivate the habit of mind to pick apart those problems to determine all the pieces, which will help you think about the great ideas that can solve them.
Big Goals Should also be Smart
One type of self-sabotage that is common when people start trying to think bigger is, that they set their goals so unrealistically high that they can’t ever achieve them. This leads to nothing but disappointment, which can cause you to stop trying to think bigger. Setting goals that are smart means they are high but not so high you can’t actually reach them. Especially when starting, setting realistic yet lofty goals is a tightrope walk, so be sure you’re not setting yourself up to fail.
Focus on Resilience
Those who think and achieve big goals have lots of strategies for overcoming obstacles and sticking with their plan, even when things get tough. Willpower and resilience are two habits of mind that can help you stick with your big dreams while you are making them come true. Focus on solutions, not problems. Remind yourself why you chose this big dream. Stay focused on your “why,” not the reasons it’s not currently working. This goes for everything in your life, including your daily routines and tasks. Practice resilience and willpower in all that you do.
Be Comfortable with Discomfort
Thinking big means taking chances, and doing things you’ve never done before. And with those changes comes discomfort. Learning to be okay with the uncomfortableness of these situations can help you think and dream bigger all the time.
Try to do something each day that feels uncomfortable to you. Maybe it’s singing in public. Perhaps it’s talking to a stranger about a new idea. Or, maybe it makes you uncomfortable to open up about your dreams.
Whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable, do something every day that reaches that emotion. Over time, these things will feel less scary, and your discomfort will fade. That’s when you know it’s time to go bigger. It’s about overcoming fear, which is really where discomfort originates. And daily practice helps you see that there really isn’t anything to fear, after all.
Become More Proactive
Big thinkers also understand the power of being proactive. Big dreams come true when you have a plan that thinks through what needs to happen, how to solve problems along the way, and ways to be prepared for all possibilities. Learning to be more proactive can help you sustain your big thoughts and goals over time.
Practice with Fake Problems
When you want to think big, you have to know how to solve problems. Practice this by creating artificial problems on which to practice. Creating problems gives you the chance to practice your problem-solving abilities. You can learn to stretch your imagination as you think through these scenarios, and because you are not personally invested in it, it opens up your mind to consider options you may not if it landed closer to home.
Create a Support Network
Learning to think big and dream big happens when you have others in your life who model and support this type of thinking. Without the right support system, turning your big dreams into big reality would be much more difficult. Find people for your support network who are also dreamers and problem solvers. Find people who can give you honest feedback and aren’t afraid to tell you that you’re aiming too low (or too high).
Support doesn’t have to mean people who always agree with you, either. Surround yourself with people who have different ideas and beliefs than you, people who aren’t afraid to challenge yours. You will learn from and grow because of your connections to diverse thinkers.
Take More Calculated Risks
Big thinkers don’t just take crazy risks. They are calculated in their thinking. Big thinkers think through their ideas before taking action, and they are always thinking about new possibilities. Taking calculated risks means you think through the outcomes and don’t just leap without looking. Taking chances is good, as long as you are okay with living with all the possible outcomes.
Maximize Your Time
When you start thinking big, you need all your time to carry out your dreams. Start now by making better use of your available time. Give up things that don’t add value to your life. Let go of commitments and obligations that don’t serve your needs. Simply your activities so you have more time to think big and less time to live small.
Build for Your Strengths
When you want to think big, start by building from your areas of personal strength and most potent abilities. Accomplishing goals based on what you are good at is much easier than starting where you are weakest. And when you start with strengths, you bring motivation and focus along for the ride toward your big ideas.
Become Someone Others Want to Help
When you start thinking big, you realize you can’t do it all on your own. You will need help to realize your big dreams, so be sure you are someone others will want to help. Being a positive force in others’ lives, being open to feedback and suggestions, and being a reliable presence for others will help ensure they will be willing to help you when the time comes to realize your visions.
Practice by Challenging your Time
One way to practice problem-solving and reach more attainable goals is to decrease your timeframe. While a goal may seem easy and not much of a practice opportunity, when you cut the timetable for success in half, you are suddenly facing a whole new scenario for achieving your dreams. Practice solving problems in creative and exciting ways by changing the constraints in which you must find a solution.
Find Your Single Idea
Learning to think big can help you achieve your dreams and help you change your life as well as the lives of others. Only with practice and commitment, though, will you nurture your mental habits to learn to think bigger, live better, and be the best you that you can possibly be.
Imagine you were granted one personal wish for your life. What would you want or wish for?
Regularly take the time to be idle, to drift, to dream, to wish.
Go for it! Think big!
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso.
Meditation is a habit that may come easily to some. I have been meditating for over five years, but there were many days I found myself slipping. These days, not so much, not since I completed the no-cost Action Habits Challenge by Connie Ragen Green, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur. You can check it out here.
If you’re interested in revitalizing your life through meditation and would like to learn a virtually risk-free, and cost-effective practice, that people of all ages can do with a little patience and guidance and that will serve you for the rest of your life, I would love to connect with you. You can connect with me here.
I’m Donna SLam, who loves to blog about how meditation brings self-compassion, peace of mind, and clarity to my life and others by sharing tips and strategies on how to live a fulling and purposeful life. I enjoy championing others to lead a healthy and happy life through meditation, walking, self-development, and spending time with loved ones.Follow me on: