Why Big, Crazy Dreams Are Easier To Reach Than Small, Ordinary Goals
What propels the people we admire to take risks on things we tell ourselves we could never do?
How do people like Alan Arnette summit Mt. Everest time and again while raising a million dollars for Alzheimer’s research when we can’t even get the vacation time to go to the mountains? Why is a 16-year-old able to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat while you and I struggle to learn to tie a sailor’s knot?
Are they truly super-humans gifted with talents we’ll never have? Are you and I just Average Joes and Janes destined to struggle with mundane tasks?
I think not.
Instead, these specimens of human achievement are no different from you and I in ability or intelligence. They succeed because they understand and embrace a concept I like to call Big Dream Influence (BDI from here on). And they harness the laws and power of BDI to carry out amazing feats not by themselves, but with the aid of many others who can’t help but lend a hand.
Read on to learn how BDI works and how you can implement it in your own life.
Big Dream Influence: It’s Easier To Do Big Things Than Small Ones
At the core of BDI is a little known and rarely embraced concept that it is—believe it or not—easier to do really big and impressive things than average and reasonable ones.
If you don’t believe it, look back on your own life. Think of times when you stepped outside your comfort zone to do something crazy and accomplished it. I’ll explain why in a moment, but the times when you went after something big, you likely found the biggest hurdle was taking the leap. The path to success was clear; you knew what to do. And when you needed something you didn’t have—skills, time, money, resources—somehow you found them.
Yes, you struggled, but you didn’t lose motivation and you moved forward until you finished. Yet we still find it difficult just to get through our daily challenges.
It’s easier to do big things than small ones for three important and incredibly counterintuitive reasons:
- There is far less competition for the biggest achievements in life than the average ones.
- More people will happily help you do something big than something small.
- It’s easier to figure out how to do crazy things than it is figure out normal ones.
Let’s look at an example of each.
There’s Less Competition At The Top, And You Don’t Have To Win
Why does Donald Trump have an easier time getting a loan to build a billion dollar casino than you do just getting a loan to buy a house? Sure, Trump is rich as hell. That certainly makes it easier. But what about before that—back when he was more like you and me?
The answer is in the amount of competition. Want to buy a house but don’t have enough money to pay cash? Yep, you and everyone else. To get a loan, you have to compete with every Tom, Dick, and Sally out there in the same scenario looking for the same resources. When Trump builds a tower, he knows there are only a few other players out there to compete with him and more resources are available.
By the laws of nature, most people in the world are average. Average intelligence, average ability, average resources. And, unfortunately, they use that fact to set their ambitions as well. By taking on average challenges you lump yourself into the group with the most competition by default.
What if, instead, you took a risk and set your sights even higher? By stepping up your game, you put yourself into a group with better competition, but much less of it. In fact, you don’t even have to rise to the top when you’re playing in the big leagues. Just putting yourself there improves your odds of success.
People Will Happily Help You Achieve Big Dreams
When I started blogging in 2009, my ambitions were incredibly average. I had a full-time job, and writing was something I did as a hobby. But, after a while, I decided I really liked it and wanted to make a career of it. At the time, I couldn’t. I needed help from a lot of people—readers, successful bloggers, people with design talent, etc.—and none of them had time for my very average undertaking.
Everyone is busy. Why would they sacrifice the precious little time they have dedicated to their own goals to help you work on yours? Remember, when you try to do “normal” things, the competition is fierce. To most people, you’re the competition. Not directly, but for their time. The people you need help from are not going to find your thing interesting or inspiring enough to set their own things aside and join up.
But when you up your game and place yourself in a higher field of competition, that’s unique and interesting. People want to be a part of something big, and your work to recruit good folks to help you with it becomes easier.
I learned this truth when I finally decided to launch Riskology.co and tried to build something big that would be interesting to more people than just me. And it’s the same thing that persuaded me to happily give up a large chunk of my time to help with The World Domination Summit.
Crazy Things Have A Clearer Path Than Normal Ones
Doing something big and crazy has a funny way of forcing you to stop obsessing over unimportant details and start making progress on the things that matter.
It solves one of the biggest problems with having average ambitions—figuring out how to do the same thing, but different.
When you set your sights on an average goal, you face the stark reality that many other people have already done what you’re trying to do. It can be comforting to know a path has been laid out for you, but then you obsess over the details of the path. You have to find a way to reinvent the wheel so that your thing is different.
Why not bypass that problem from the beginning by going after something huge? I compare it to figuring out how to save a sinking ship. When you focus on enormous goals, you don’t have time to re-arrange the deck chairs. You know exactly what you have to do to succeed: stop the leak!
Homework: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself For Any Goal
There’s nothing wrong with small goals. Little bits of progress can lead to great things over time. But if you’re struggling to make headway, try thinking of your smaller goals as milestones on the way to something bigger.
But what should that bigger thing be? Here are four questions to ask yourself to get on the right track:
- What if I multiplied this by 10? What would it look like then?
- Am I competing with a lot of average people or with a few top players?
- What can I do to make this interesting to a lot of people instead of just me?
- What’s the big picture, and what am I wasting time on?
By stepping up your game, you’ll find it’s easier to focus on the important things, ignore the trivial ones, and recruit the help you need.
Your homework today is to answer these questions for the goals you’re struggling with. Extra points if you leave your answers in the comments for others to learn from.