Think Big? Think Small? Or Think Better?


By Anthony O. Alcantara

It’s funny how creative we can be in making sense of our world. We can even interpret things to suit our fancy.

It need not be a bad thing, though.

For example, we’ve probably heard people say, “Think big! That’s the way to succeed.”

Maybe it was Dr. David Schwartz, author of “The Magic of Thinking Big,” who popularized this mantra. And, in a way, he’s right. A big goal, like the Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG of some management gurus, can spur us to action.

Why? Because BHAGs excite us. It infuses us with drive, thrill and empowering anticipation. It sets up our mind to find ways to do the seemingly impossible. It focuses our psychic energies to achieve our goal.

But it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people may be paralyzed by the fear of not achieving this BHAG. Since the goal is so big, some get discouraged that any little progress they make toward that goal is not enough.

They don’t see results that are tangible enough for them that they give up. They tell themselves, “How could I possibly earn a million dollars with so few clients?”

That’s one way we can look at it.

Another school of thought doesn’t focus on BHAGs. For them, BHAGs are quite daunting. So they think small. They believe that small achievements, small goals, small improvements can lead to some big-time rewards in the future.

They nod their heads to the Chinese adage: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It makes a lot of sense, too.

When you focus on the small things that you can control and tally up your small achievements everyday, you’ll soon realize that you’ve achieved what you thought was impossible.

Incremental improvements can indeed have monumental outcomes.

So what now? Do we think big or do we think small?

For me, situations like this call for thinking better instead. By thinking better, we realize that thinking big and thinking small both have their own merits. We learn to be creative and we learn to synthesize ideas that seem conflicting. We learn to connect the dots.

We can think big and use BHAGs as our overall goals, then think small and use incremental improvements or steps to reach those BHAGs.

Thinking better is a way to explore our limits without whacking ourselves for not achieving enough. If we think better and make ourselves better everyday in any way, we’ve achieved something significant already.

Each night we can ask ourselves, “Did I make myself better today? What can I do tomorrow to improve myself?”

Thinking better is a way for us to do better and be better people. With a bit of luck, we can make our country and our world a better one, too.

What do you think?



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