Do you have big dreams? Do you know of people who have?

I know people with big dreams. Each and every single one of those dreams involves making a significant change in the way these people are currently living their lives.

Have you ever asked yourself why so many people spend all that time dreaming, but so few actually manage to live the life of their dreams?

The way I see it, the world is split into two camps: the world of people who actually get things done and the world of people with wishful thinking. So, what really makes the difference?

The answer to that question is twofold… It depends on peoples’ level of commitment to their goals and the way they go about achieving them.

Your Level Of Commitment

Big, ambitious goals demand a lot of energy, passion, commitment, determination, and persistence.

Why do you think Michelangelo took four years out of his life to carve the famous statue of David? Why do you think NASA keeps sending astronauts into space? Why is the tallest building in 2020, the planned Al Burj on Dubai’s waterfront, going to be over 1,000 meters high?

All these big projects were and will be achieved because they have one very important thing in common. The people behind them cared enough about them to make them happen. Tackling the question of what the source of true commitment is, then, becomes quite simple.

Commitment always starts with identifying a dream that is truly worth having, one that makes you stay up at night.

What do you really care for?

What is it that you really want, from the bottom of your heart?

How much does your dream mean to you?

Does it mean enough to you to commit yourself to it?

It’s something you need to become clear about before you embark upon achieving your goal. I cannot stress that enough.

How Do You Go About Achieving Your Goals?

Turning to the issue of how to go about achieving ambitious goals…

I often come across extremely driven, determined people who just don’t seem to be making any progress. Most of the time, it’s because they fail to find the correct balance in setting their short and long-term goals.

In other words, they set short-term goals that are too big, and long-term goals that are too small.

Setting big, even huge, long-term goals is nothing to be afraid of. You can make your ultimate goal as big as you like, as long as you stay conscious of the fact that anything worth having does take time, passion and determination.

You cannot earn a degree, master a musical instrument, or have a thriving Internet business in a couple minutes. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day. Instant Gratification is a virus that needs to be stopped.

On the other hand, setting short-term goals that are too big can be detrimental to the achievement of your final goal. Motivation is vital for getting things done. So, when you fail in one of the shorter term goals, you risk losing your nerve and abandoning your dream completely!

A wonderful technique to avoid that from happening…

Cut the big picture into small, very small and doable pieces. Transform your journey towards the final goal into a series of tiny, mini-steps. Make sure each of these steps is so small that it makes you think they’re too easy—they might not even look like actual steps!

Write down every single one of them in a list. Tackle each step, one at a time, and check it off on the list once you’re finished with it. Ticking things off is a very powerful technique to motivate yourself. You are giving yourself a personal reward of sorts every time you complete a task. This will keep you going until your dream finally materializes.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Well, one could say simplicity was the father of achievement. ;-)

Bottom Line

The right strategy is to think big, but execute small. After all, the only way to get from here to where you want to be is by taking all the little steps in between.

Give yourself permission to motivate you.

—Marcus Hochstadt

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24 Responses to Think And Grow Big

  1. Marie says:

    To reach one’s goal, is to definitely break it down into small sections/steps and re-evaluate where you are up to at each section.

  2. LeisaWatkins says:

    Other great article. I agree 100%, like usual.

    My mentor taught us a trick this past weekend to help with having to small of long-term goals. He had a visualize what we would like our lives to be like in five years. Then he had us do it again and this time “Mega-Size” it. Take the same visualization you did the first time but make it 10 times bigger.

    I’ve always been a huge dreamer, but the mega-size exercise helped because not only did I picture my dreams bigger, but I visualized the impact on others. So readers mega-size your dreams. How can you make it bigger? How will your dream make a positive impact on the world? How will it affect the ones you love?

  3. MindBlogger says:

    “Cut the big picture into small, very small and doable pieces.” – How profound! When utilized sucessfully, this is the killer element as long as you don’t lose focus on your final goal. Nice Article.

    Cheers!

  4. narendra.s.v says:

    pretty cool tips! :D

  5. Thank you all.

    @ Leisa, again, I like your mentor’s approach of mega-sizing our dreams.

    @ MindBlogger, it is what made me realize those big dreams are not that shocking big at all when you just look at the very next step. Glad it’s helpful for you, too.

  6. Great post. I have a ton of goals right now and some that I’ve already achieved (quit smoking three months ago, quit my day job) but I’m taking my time to get everything lined up so I can work on my real goal of starting a successful company (will be my third attempt). I quit my day job but have enough savings where I can relax for a week or two and perhaps travel (another goal) and really focus on where my passion lies so then I can totally commit to turning that passion into my “job”.

    My friends and many ex-colleagues think I’m crazy which I take as a sign that I’m headed in the right direction! At the same time they admit to being jealous of my freedom to figure out and pursue what I want to do.

  7. That’s an awesome goal, Adam. Those who say you are crazy are just jealous! ;-)

    And congrats on quitting your day job and smoking. Way to go, Adam!

  8. Marty says:

    I think the key is commitment. Everything follows from that. If you don’t have true passion for what you’re doing, it’s highly unlikely and extremely difficult to achieve any meaningful success.

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  14. Hmmm, Godin doesn’t have anything on you my friend.

    But you’re right the first steps are the hardest. Years ago I used to keep three lists; my BIG list of life goals, my medium lists of things that might need to happen within 1-2 months, and lastly my daily planner. These days I use my head for most of it-since life goals tend to stay reasonably the same.

    But I do my “brainstorming” on a wall sized whiteboard. Home Depot used to have 4×8 tileboard for 10 bucks but I don’t see them anymore. I just use a white cleaner’s plastic suit covering and some dry erase markers.

  15. Ella Moss says:

    Hi!
    I like your blog and would like to exchange links.
    My blog is on spiritual personal journey and astrology.
    Check http://zodiactimes.blogspot.com and, if you’re interested, please, post a comment with your link in html.
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  17. Ben says:

    Great stuff, Marcus. I think as outsiders, we don’t see how much hard work and dedication it takes to make something a success. So I think when we’re confronted with the workload, a lot of us throw in the white flag because of the monstrous amount of work.

    Instead, as you said, breaking challenging work into bits and pieces — e.g. doing something that at least gets you to move forward initially — will get the momentum rolling. That initial momentum will really help propel you forward to biting away at your dreams and aspirations (IMHO).

  18. […] Hochstadt presents Think And Grow Big posted at Marcus Hochstadt, saying, “Have you ever asked yourself why so many people spend […]

  19. Chris says:

    I think the key is commitment. Everything follows from that. If you don’t have true passion for what you’re doing, it’s highly unlikely and extremely difficult to achieve any meaningful success.

  20. geoff youth says:

    loving the thing you do is a great sign of commitment. dreaming is the first step to success but remember that it is only a step so it means that you also have to work to achieve your goals.

  21. Spencer says:

    Of course I do and that
    includes making this world a whole lot better for the kids out there with no
    homes and money to help themselves to college. Having said that, I think I’m
    far off better than Obama, LOL.

  22. Jane Forrington says:

    If you can dream it you can do it. It was true a century ago, and it is true today.

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