Think Bigger, or Think Smarter


My son Joey posted a great video the other day where he talked about his interpretation of the popular motivational poster shown above, followed by his retelling of a classic story about a husband and wife, their son, and their horse.

Here is the video:

The poster is based off a quote often attributed to Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”. I think I understand what message he is trying to get across in terms of setting bigger goals for yourself and expanding your horizons.

My son has a slightly different take on the message, particularly when he adds the word “Picture” to the end of the phrase, for “Think Bigger Picture”. He makes a great point, and I recommend that you take a few minutes to watch his video.

On the other hand, I take a different perspective on the poster, and it struck me almost immediately when I first saw the poster in my son’s office.

It almost reminded me of a “Plan Ahead” poster I had seen years ago:

So when I apply the message of the “Plan Ahead” poster to the “Think Bigger” poster, it seems like the solution to the problem posed by the “Think Bigger” poster is not to think bigger, but to think smarter.

One simple solution, requiring no additional resources, is to just redo the poster in landscape mode, as shown below:

I think one of the underlying messages of the original Think Bigger poster is that “more” is better, or that “more” will solve all problems. While “more” may help in certain situations, I’ve always admired clever solutions, a hack, if you will, particularly if it is done in an elegant, minimal resource type of way, which is what the second Think Bigger poster does.

I’m not saying not to dream big, but I am suggesting that when you have a problem, that your first instinct should not be to throw more money at the problem as a way to try and resolve the problem.

A final analogy may help.

If you find your pants getting a little tight around the waist, I don’t think the best solution is to buy a bigger pair of pants. Focus instead on exercising and eating right, and, problem solved.

And the money you saved by not buying the bigger pants can be used to buy a Think Smarter poster.


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