Tuesday, 24 January 2012

What’s the Big Idea?

We are all working for something; whether it’s to pay for our children’s education, buy a house near the sea, or build a worthwhile business.  Everyone’s big ideas are different, but we all have them. 

Yet although these big ideas are important, often we don’t give them much attention.   It’s rare for them to be written down, or looked at from month to month.   Often they stay in the back of our minds as “someday-maybe” ideas; perhaps because we’re not sure we can achieve them we don’t dare hope.
Yet one of the biggest differences between successful people and others is that high achievers write down their goals, and make plans to progress them. 

Jim Collins called them BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  Stephen Covey referred to it as “Begin with the End in Mind”.  Many writers and successful people have, over many years, stressed the importance of knowing what you want to achieve.  So figuring out what is most important to you is a good first step in making them happen.  Then you need to commit them to paper or hard disk.
Of course there are many different types of people.  Whilst some people will recognise this reluctance to commit big, important ideas to paper, other people have lots of big ideas and write them down all the time.  They have so many ideas and dreams and plans, they can barely keep track of them all.  Their list of “Big Things To Do” is long, and gets longer by the day.

The Chinese wryly point out that “The man who chases two rabbits, catches none”.    So whilst it’s great to be creative and generate ideas, it’s vital not to get lost amongst the noise of what could, should or might be done.  Decide what's most important, even if it takes some thinking, reworking and crossings out. 
This list may have about half a dozen items on it, maybe a few more or perhaps a couple less - certainly no more than nine.  Why?  Because we can only focus on a couple of things at a time, so the more that goes onto the list, the less likely it is you will achieve them.  It’s better to have fewer, big ideas and get them done, than to have a shopping list as long as your elbow that gets ignored.

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