Thinking Big or Thinking Little

It’s only been recently that I’ve given this much thought. Since “Big” and “Little” are relative terms, any two people can look at the exact same thing and one say” it’s big” and the other say “it’s little”. This became clear to me this past year when a friend proposed an investment opportunity that I was all excited about…….until he gave me the price tag of $12,000,000. Yes, that’s 12 million dollars. I found out that my definition of “big” wasn’t $12 million big. Frankly it surprised me a little that I choked on it. I had always believed I could think big. This one, however, gave me my reality check on “thinking big”.

Soon after this experience, I decided to run a little test on my Facebook audience. I asked “Do you think big or little?” without exception, every response was “I think Big!” Some time later, I mentioned a deal that we were working on that required about a $1 million investment that I was having a hard time putting together. The responses were things like; “It’s only money”, “go for it, it’s not that much” and so on. True, it is only money and it isn’t all that much when compared to, let’s say $12 million. But nevertheless, when you are trying to talk a bank or other lender into turning loose of over a million dollars, it can be a daunting affair!

Here’s what I’ve concluded. Thinking big and thinking little means one thing when we have nothing at risk and something else when true risk exists. When my friend proposed a $12 million investment, I could have easily said “Hey, it’s only money, let’s go for it!” The problem was, he was serious! Had he been joking around with me, “thinking big” and even “talking big” would have been no big deal. Thinking big when the idea is “hypothetical” means nothing. Thinking big when the idea is real and in your face is something entirely different.

My personal “Thinking Big” threshold has grown a lot this year. At least to the point where committing to a $1,500,000 project is within my comfort zone. (It wouldn’t have been that way 12-18 moths ago) And here is the important point to all of this. Until we know where our “Thinking Big” threshold really is, we have no idea just how broad our possibilities are. I’ve seen people choke on as little as $500 for a down payment, or as little as $25 per month on a subscription fee all while claiming to be someone who can “Think Big” and “See the Big Picture”.

One of the true measures of wealth creation is how big can you think without cowering in fear when a real opportunity presents itself. I would say that if you are not capable of going out and start negotiating on a $100,000 deal of some kind, then you are only capable of thinking in terms of what is possible to accomplish with a modest paycheck. If you are ready to tackle a $250,000 project, then you are already on your way to creating wealth. If you find yourself choking on a $1,000 to $5,000 investment, then your thinking is pretty small (at least where wealth creation is concerned)

I’m tempted to run my “Thinking Big or Thinking Little” test again before publishing this post, but I probably won’t. We all like to believe we think big and act big, but it’s all relative. I remember my first investing project was in the $70,000 range and it took a lot of courage to make that decision. In fact, back then, it was well outside my comfort zone. I really don’t give much thought to that size deal any more. It’s almost the same as “Do we go on vacation this week?”

Your personal definition of thinking big is your own business. My challenge is don’t fool yourself into believing something that only counts in hypothetical situations. Ask yourself, “At what point will I choke when it comes to making a financial investment decision?” If you find yourself choking over a couple thousand dollars, it’s time to raise the bar!

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