Thinking big vs being a big thinker, and How the Difference Impacts Your Results

Photo: Flickr/ Brian Hillegas

Photo: Flickr/ Brian Hillegas

Are you a big thinker or do you think big?  You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference?”.  After you read this you will clearly see how the difference between the two impacts your everyday results.

For better or worse… I am a thinker.  The work that I do is very creative, so the never ending flow of ideas can really come in handy at times.

The truth is though, it gets exhausting hearing myself think.  There is a time and a place for big ideas.  There is also a time to buckle down and do the work.

When I set out to work on a project, thinking big picture is the first thing that I do.  A 20,000 foot view of all of the components that will make up the end result.  I think about what I am trying to accomplish and how all of the pieces will fit together in the end.

I then work backwards making notes of any problem areas that I foresee.  I keep zooming in until I finally reach a starting point.

Once the planning is in place and the wheels of a project are in motion, then it’s time to stop thinking big and do the work.  This is where I struggle.

My mind keeps racing.  I over analyze and think myself into an anxiety induced roadblock.  Progress comes to a standstill as I chase unrelated factors into a million different rabbit holes.  It’s not really problem solving if the problems that are being solved aren’t actually in the way of you completing your goal.

In the spirit of overthinking things… I have been thinking a lot about my ability to think big -vs- the nonstop thinking that I do that slows progress.

Thinking big allows me to make connections that others wouldn’t.  I would never want to turn this side of my brain off.  Perhaps out of fear that it’s the only side of my brain that works! 😉

I know that I am not alone.  Now that I have been paying attention to my struggles with thinking too much, I see others also sabotaging results with analysis paralysis.

Are we all screwed?  Will we all suffocate from the smoke of spinning our wheels in one fear filled place of overthinking every step of the way?

No.  There is hope.  The Doctor is in to prescribe you a chill pill.  Take one and relax.

First you have to realize that your ability to think and make connections is what sets you apart from everyone else.  It is a gift to be able to think big.  It allows you to see how things work in this world and lets you reach for more in life.

What you need to work on is silencing those thoughts that aren’t helping you accomplish the current task at hand.  Start by thinking big picture and slowly zoom in.  Make notes of things that may be future problems and then move on.

Trust yourself in the planning stage.  Once you reach your starting point, it’s time to do the work.  With practice you will be able to recognize a distraction before it’s pulled you too far away from the plan.

Now you understand the difference between just being a big thinker and thinking big.  Next time you feel stuck, zoom out and look at your problems/ work/ project/ life/ relationships (whatever you’re struggling with), in a big picture view.  Then do what needs to be done, and do not over think it.

  • Jamie

    I’m definitely finding this problem in my blogging. I have to be on social media quite a bit. Which, of course, typically ends with me wasting time on social media. Or reading articles to learn more about the craft, only to find myself focusing on something entirely different than what I was first researching.

    I try to ask myself every once in a while if I am working on what I need to be focused on in that moment. If the answer is no, I try to get back on task. I need to get a notebook with main topics on each page to sort out all of my thoughts into actionable and related steps so I can stop wasting so much time!!

    • I feel your pain Jamie. It’s those damn rabbit holes! It’s hard to utilize social media without having to check my FarmVille 🙂