The premise to begin with:
Big thinking doesn’t shirk the small things; it grapples with them, resolves them and moves on.
We cannot escape thinking in our world. Whilst some are plagued by their thoughts and others are at peace with their thoughts, no one is devoid of thought. The great difference, however, is the use and direction of thought. Some are characteristically ‘Big Thinkers’ and they receive their natural plaudits. What is it that separates them from small thinkers?
Defining Big and Small Thinking
We cannot explore this issue around what I call ‘Big Thinking’ and ‘Small Thinking’ until we know what we’re dealing with.
Big thinking I would define as: a pattern of thought that provides the motive and the ability to appreciate a balanced ‘big picture’ worldview whilst remaining firmly and maturely in the present, individual – and thus self-empowered and self-motivated – context.
Small thinking I would define as: the patterns of thought that allow, and even promote, a general state of undisciplined and irresponsible (lazy) thinking pertaining to the actual application of life.
We all get to ‘dabble’ in each of the above. It is our choice, however, which will become our default way; the way we’ll be characterised by.
Comparing Big and Small Thinking
Let’s secondly construct some imagery around both types of thinking.
Big thinking invests in gratitude; small thinking ends up in despair. Big thinking maintains our sanity, whereas small thinking promotes insanity. Big thinking is God-blessed; small thinking is Satan-cursed. The former is wisdom, the latter is folly. The big worldview is known to growth and abundance; the small worldview is known to spiritual shrinkage and emotional dysfunction. The former is characteristically adult; the latter is fundamentally stuck in the child-state.
Which is preferable? That would seem obvious. We can only truly enjoy life, the way we were meant to, by engaging in more and more Big Thinking.
Consolidating the Imagery of ‘Big Thinking’
There are traps everywhere to derail our Big Thinking.
Getting into Big Thinking, however, is skilfully side-stepping, like a champion footballer, any number of prattling and noisy little things that bear their pressure, contending for our bigger picture, against us. Certainly, we deal with them maturely and proactively.
There is always a bigger picture. This is what we’re always hoping to get back to, and continually so.
Size (of thought) really does matter. The bigger it is the better (given the ‘groundedness’ of the definition offered earlier).
What About the Necessary ‘Little Things?’
The golden paradox about little things is this. Only in Big Thinking is there a way through the little things that madden us, and through the little things of dire necessity that we must all contend with in living a responsible adult life.
Small Thinkers combine their frenzied frustrations, ‘enjoying’ a chaotic worldview, and the little things are so often missed or mishandled due to their inefficiencies and incompetence to actually live bigger. They’re stuck in a false instant—like a rat up a drain-pipe—all too often. It’s their thinking that gets them there and keeps them there.
Big Thinkers, on the other hand, are most adept at diving quickly and effectively into the little things of life, both because they’re free to invest that cognitive energy and heart-space, and they know when enough’s enough. They’re ‘done’ and gone before we know it!
This is why they’re inspirational to us. They’re ‘no fuss’ people who are easy to live with, because they lighten our burden, never adding to it.
A Challenge for Us All
Our challenge is to dramatically expand our perspectives. That is to open our eyes, hearts, ears and minds to God’s real truth as it manifests itself in this Big Life.
This is a continual ‘calling’.
We know there will always be much stimuli to take us back in a moment, back to the dungeon existence of Small Thinking; but we, in God’s wisdom, can evade that and we can become skilful at it—tackling the small things as a way of getting back to the bigger things.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.