Are You Afraid of Thinking BIG?

‘Thinking BIG’ is the expression relating to the process of setting large goals and believing in your ability to achieve them.

The funny thing here is that “Big” is a relative term. What’s big for one is small for another.

This perspective of ‘BIG vs small’ is governed by one’s belief in their capability.

For you to achieve something that you believe is ‘BIG’, you must personally grow your Level of CAPABILITY in order to achieve it. You must expand your bodies of knowledge, skill, and connections to sufficiently encompass your “BIG” desire.

People who “think small” are afraid to think BIG. They fear that their level of capability is ‘fixed’ and too insufficient to achieve anything BIG so, rather than make any attempt to develop new skills and connections, they shrink their dreams down to match their self-concept. They have what Dr. Carol Dweck would call a ‘fixed’ mindset.

People with this ‘fixed’ mindset are afraid of feeling inadequate. They shy away from thinking BIG because they fear failure as an affirmation of their inadequacy. Failure heightens the pain of their self-doubt.

In seeking to avoid this pain, they must settle for being comfortable with not being ‘good enough’ for their own BIG dreams. They justify this to themselves by saying “Who needs all that anyway?” yet often feel contempt for those who live a lifestyle  they too would love to live …if only they felt ‘good enough’.

But what does ‘good enough’ really mean?

“Good enough” is definitely a vague term. It says that you don’t have enough ‘good’ in you to proceed forward in some direction in life.

So, what is this stuff called ‘good’?

‘Good’ is anything that contributes to your strength and well-being. It is that which supports Life in you and Life Itself.

‘Bad’, being the opposite, is anything that takes away your strength and well-being. ‘Bad’ supports the breakdown of life-forms and seeks decay and death.

If you don’t believe that you have enough ‘good’ in you, then you believe you are lacking in the ability to contribute to your own strength and well-being. You see yourself as limited and, at times, useless. You lack confidence and suffer from self-doubt.

This pain is the effect of a ‘fixed’ mindset – seeing your abilities as fixed and unchangeable because you believe these abilities are your personality – you believe they are YOU.

This is a misperception. You are not what you DO. You are the Do-er.

Feeling ‘fixed’ (stuck) in place as a person is believing that, because you don’t have enough skills and connections, you can’t achieve your real desires. You’re left with shrinking your dreams down to match your belief of what you can do so you feel safe knowing what to expect.

This way of thinking is the effect of fear and it keeps you trapped in a prison of settling for less and simply making due.

When you stick to what you know, you don’t risk failing.

You stop growing.

In Life and Nature, things are always changing and either in the state of growth or decay – there is no middle-ground. Things must evolve (grow) or die.

The ‘fixed’ mindset keeps your growth stunted and you begin to die. First you die slowly inside because life is less and less fulfilling, and then you quickly age and die physically.

With a ‘fixed’ mindset, you fear thinking BIG because there is a risk of failure which would awaken your self-doubt and reaffirm, like a stabbing knife, that YOU aren’t good enough. It causes you deep inner pain. Your brain, whose job it is to ensure your well-being, seeks to avoid painful situations so it naturally avoids thinking BIG.

If you suffer from a ‘fixed’ mindset, you likely avoid effort and struggle because, when something isn’t easy for you, it’s taken, emotionally, as a sign that YOU aren’t good enough. Effort and struggle bring on the pain of self-doubt – which your brain seeks to avoid. You just don’t like hard work.

The important thing to understand here is that your brain is avoiding situations that ‘activate’ your self-doubt because it doesn’t know how to deal with the pain of the self-doubt itself.

As you learn to overcome the fear of your pain of self-doubt, you are set free. Free to think BIG once again.

The trick to thinking BIG rests in facing your fear of feeling the pain of your self-doubt. Don’t be afraid to feel it. The feeling itself can’t harm you. Your fear of it is what harms you.

Be present with the pain and simply observe it with curiosity. Don’t judge it. Just BE with it. Pretend that you are an alien visiting this human body and simply curious about the physical sensation of the emotion itself. This simple process is a neuroscientifically validated technique called meta-cognition that literally re-wires your brain and removes your fear.

When you are no longer afraid of feeling like you are “not good enough”, you render self-doubt powerless in your body of thought and you have removed it as a source of inner resistance and friction. You are free to grow.

When you have a ‘growth’ mindset, you see effort and struggle as exciting because it means you are increasing your capacity to achieve – you, as a body of knowledge, skill and connections with others, are growing and expanding to include even greater achievements. Nothing is ever truly out-of-reach for you and you now have license to Think BIG.

It’s impossible to fear “not being good enough” when you are excited about the fact that you are an ever-expanding ‘work in progress’ who has the ability to gain the knowledge, skills, and connections required to expand enough to achieve any BIG dream.

Your ‘growth’ mindset allows you to recognize that you are always learning and changing – you have the ability to learn to do anything and find good people to help you. All that can ever stand between you and your Big Dream is time and effort.

The process of achieving becomes fun. It get’s you up in the morning. Growth gives you purpose. The ‘growth’ mindset allows you to enjoy the journey as much as, if not more than, the destination. Time and effort are your best friends.

With a ‘growth’ mindset, you’ll find yourself excited at the thought of making mistakes and grateful for how failure helps you grow your knowledge, skills, and connections large enough to encompass your next BIG dream.

I encourage you to think BIG! If you have trouble, please examine your fear of inadequacy and deal with it in the way I described above. You deserve the best life you can imagine so please don’t let anything limit your imagination.

If you find that you still really hate making mistakes and have trouble thinking BIG, you might consider having me coach you through overcoming your ‘fixed’ mindset. Please feel free to contact me HERE anytime and I’ll be happy to guide you through it.

To learn more in depth about the difference between a ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset, simply CLICK HERE to get the book Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck.


© 2014 Trent Janisch –

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