Since I started consulting in 2007, I’ve run into a number of strange requests from people, such as:
- “I’d like to use your marketing expertise for 6 months, then I’ll pay you at the end.”
- “I’ll pay you every few weeks as my budget allows.”
- “The last consultant that I hired burned me. So, I’ll hire you when you prove I can trust you.”
- “You’ll hear back from me after I shop your price around to see if I can get a better deal.”
- “I’ll gladly pay after you make me successful first.”
You’ve probably experienced similar interactions with other people, too. Do you notice a common theme in all of these comments? I call it “Small-Minded Thinking,” which means the person is making a decision based on an internal sense of fear, insecurity, or negative experiences from their past. The way they think makes their world smaller than it should be.
Small-minded thinking doesn’t mean the person has a small mind. In reality, the person may be quite intelligent. But, their attitude stems from a self-limiting view that shrinks their range of opportunities. What are some examples? An overblown focus on clipping coupons to save money, rather than a focus on using skills to create more money. Needlessly negotiating to the point where the other party is no longer interested.
Small-minded thinking makes the world feel smaller than it should, because the emphasis is on avoiding risk rather than maximizing opportunity. The opposite of small-minded thinking is what some might call “Thinking Big.” This attitude is characterized by a sense of confidence and personal responsibility. Risk is acknowledged as a part of life, but it doesn’t overwhelm the decision-making process.
Thinking big allows you to expand your view of a situation and consider a wider range of possibilities. In addition, you assume the burden for success, rather than shifting the burden to others. People who think big carry a sense of optimistic confidence, which usually leads to proactive effort, innovation, and success. Trials are viewed as opportunities to grow, rather than ordeals to be survived.
What type of mindset characterizes the way you make decisions? Are you limiting yourself unnecessarily with small-minded thinking? Or, are you expanding the possibilities by thinking big? Watch this funny video for a hint: