How To Think Big


Wednesday, 7.33pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Let’s look at the power of thinking today.

Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.”

You hold a model of reality in your mind. Your brain lives in a dark, windowless cave. Everything you see and sense is re-created in your head.

Okay… so what?

The point is that your head is a place where you hold models. Models of how things are, how people treat you, how the politics of your office work and how your relationships develop.

And, if it’s just a model, you can change things by deciding what to put in the model – and make a real impact on your life.

Let’s take a simple example. You have a task to do – any task. There will be three things you need to figure out:

  1. Your attitude to the task
  2. What you need to do
  3. How you’re going to get it done

These three things can be pushed together to form a model. How will you play with the model if you want to do well – if you want to become big? How will this Think Big model work?

1. When in doubt, be confident

Imagine you’re at work in a team meeting. The boss called it because a problem has come up with a customer’s account – your contractor missed completing one of the items on a snag list.

How will the boss view you as you sit with the others in the room?

Are you a problem solver – the one that can be trusted to take this problem and manage what needs to be done until the customer is happy?

Or are you the person that finds all the problems – the detail oriented person that can find all the things that could go wrong?

Here’s what you shouldn’t be – the person with all the problems and no solutions.

That person is a drag. They might be right – but they suck all the air out of a room and leave everyone feeling despondent.

And what they’re not right about is that there is no way out.

There is always a way out.

You need to be confident that you’ll find a way.

It’s really just a simple strategy. If you’re confident, you’ll get a chance. If you’re not, you’ll get listened to, and then put on a team led by the confident person.

2. Write down what you are going to do

Your confidence comes because you have a plan.

Perhaps, taking one step back, you need a plan to be confident in the first place.

Your mind is going to follow the instructions you give it. Not always. Your emotions get in the way often. But, a good starting point is to decide what you’re going to do and write it out, step by step.

Then, follow the instructions. Run them like you would a computer program.

For example, if you want to be more confident the next time you’re in a meeting, try this:

  1. Walk in and take a chair facing the door, ideally one where you can watch the most important person in the room.
  2. Decide you’re not going to put any pressure on yourself to participate or speak up. It’s okay to be quiet and listen.
  3. When you make a point, build on someone else’s first. Follow a strong argument with reasons why it will work.
  4. When you’re asked whether you can make something happen, say yes.

Treat this sequence of instructions like a program. Programs are never completely right, they always have bugs – but its one you can run and see what happens.

If you do all the things on the list – you will have achieved the following:

  • You’ll feel more powerful just being in a powerful position in the room
  • By watching the most important person you’ll see early what will fly and what will be shot down
  • By listening carefully, you’ll see the bigger picture rather than panicking about what you’re going to say
  • By building on someone else’s point, you’ll make friends
  • By saying yes, you’ll be seen as someone willing to bat for your team

3. Fix the bugs. Remove, or avoid obstacles in your way

There will always be people who believe what you want to do can’t be done. Problems that crop up. Events that change things.

If you let any of these things stop you, the only person that loses out is you.

You have no choice. You need to get rid of these obstacles.

If you can’t get them out of your life, then you need to get around them somehow.

And the way you do this is with rules – back to the program again.

Tweak the program. Change a routine. Write a new line.

Run it again, see what happens. Make a change. Repeat the process.

You are what you think you are

At the end of the day, reality doesn’t control you.

You create your reality in your mind.


Karthik Suresh

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