Cultivate Big-Picture Thinking

In the first chapter of his book entitled, How Successful People Think, John Maxwell states that “Big picture thinking brings wholeness and maturity to a person’s thinking.  It brings perspective.”  It is intentionally making the mental frame and picture bigger so that you can see more and do more.  Maxwell explains that big-picture thinkers:

  • Learn Continually
  • Listen Intentionally
  • Look Expansively
  • Live Completely

The first chapter provides detailed information and examples of how big-picture thinking:

  • Allows you to lead
  • Keeps you on target
  • Allows you to see what others see
  • Promotes teamwork
  • Keeps you from being caught up in the mundane
  • Helps you chart uncharted territory

The author discusses how to acquire the wisdom of big-picture thinking including:

  • Don’t strive for certainty
  • Learn from every experience
  • Gain insight from a variety of people
  • Give yourself permission to expand your world

I have always been inspired by big-picture thinkers and big-picture thinking.  Following completion of graduate school at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, I became the vice president of a hospital in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  I reported to a wonderful inspirational leader and big-picture thinker… a CEO whose name was Max Coppem.  Once in a while, Max would unexpectedly begin verbalizing as he mentally removed the current restrictors, barriers and limitations.  He would begin verbalizing his vision of the future and what was possible.  As he talked, his mind would feed his vision from all the reading, thinking, observing and learning he had done.  The words, pictures and dreams would flow like honey as he verbally painted big, beautiful and inspiring pictures of what could or might be possible.

As a young, committed and very driven hospital executive, I would get so excited I could hardly contain myself.  Figuratively speaking, I would mentally float thousands of feet above the ground, among the big-picture clouds for days or even weeks following such a session.  Those memories and that inspiration were so impactful that, 35 years later, I literally have goose bumps on my skin as I recall those wonderful times, and as I write these words.  I was ready to take on the world after one of those unplanned but incredibly inspirational big-picture sessions.  Years later, Max was named “Man of the Century” by his community in recognition for the big, beautiful and very positive contributions he made to his community.

Big-picture thinkers and thinking can and will renew, intensify and expand the fires of passion for what is possible and for what each of us care about most.  Each of us see and experience only a tiny fraction of what is within our sight and our senses.  Intentional and frequent big-picture thinking expands not only our world and that which we can accomplish… big-picture thinking also expands the world and the potential of those with whom we live and work, as well as those we serve!

Buy the book.  Spend some quality time in the first chapter.  Use Maxwell’s words, examples, advice and wisdom as a kick-start to improve your big-picture thinking.

“Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.”  David Schwartz

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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