Are You a Big Thinker?

by Krantcents · 35 comments

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A big thinker is always looking for opportunities!  Where do you want to be in five (5) or ten (10) years?  Have you ever given it thought?  Do you have a plan?  We all have hopes and dreams, but you can turn those dreams into reality.  We often dismiss dreams as something that just happens and you never do anything about it.  I used to dream and dream big when I was a kid.  What changed?

When I was a child, I had big dreams!  I always wanted to run a company, but I thought it would be a big public company.  I can remember going to a variety store next to my parent’s store and looking at the toys as a young child.  I probably spent too much time in the toy department and I remember a store clerk telling to stop playing with the toys or leave.  I remember thinking I would someday own this store or the whole chain.  It was F.W. Woolworth!  It was a very successful five and dime store until it failed in 1997.

My dreams did not stop there!  My first (paid) summer job was as a door to door salesman and I was pretty successful.  I thought that I might go into sales and lead a sales organization.  The dreams kept coming and along with more summer jobs.  I remember working as a mail clerk in New York City and telling anyone who would listen, my dreams of being on the cover of a magazine or newspaper.  More summer jobs followed and I learned more about myself.

Reality hits when you start to interview for your first career job.  I graduated college during the height of the Vietnam War.  I was lucky to have a deferment during college, but it became 1A when I graduated.  My very first interview was during my last semester (spring) of college.  I remember one of the questions during the interview was where did I see myself in ten (10) or twenty (20) years?  I was young (21 years old) and probably too confident (cocky).   My response was I saw myself as President (CEO) of the huge insurance company.  They must have liked my answer because they hired me.

I accepted the management trainee position, but I was drafted just a few months later.  This was a time when there were a lot of people protesting the war, some even went to Canada to avoid the draft.  There were a lot of college graduates who entered with me.  Most of which ended up in the infantry because there was a huge need to replace troops in Vietnam.  I was lucky, but I saw opportunities where no one else did. I was stationed at the USDB (armed forces prison).  Although I was grateful, I turned the situation into a better opportunity.

My job was security guard, but I wanted more.  I went to graduate school at night and convinced some people that I could teach the inmates business courses.  Was I thinking big or what?  I also had a plan B if I was sent to Vietnam.  I would have immediately volunteered for Officer Candidate School (OCS).  I always think of ways to improve my circumstances.  Do you?  A lot of books suggest reflecting on your decisions so you can improve your decision making.  I do that, but I also think how I can make changes to make things better.

It did not stop there!  After military service, I pursued accounting/finance and became Controller, Vice President, Finance and eventually Chief Financial Officer.  I wanted more!  I kept dreaming and put plans in place that led me to investing in income property.  It took just seven (7) years to reach financial freedom!  What can you do to dream big?

Five Steps to Thinking Big 

  • Dreaming is good, but don’t stop there!  If you just dream and do nothing it will remain a dream.  You need to create an action plan.  Take your dream and work on it.
  • Dreams are rarely something you can complete in a day or two.  It is usually much bigger.  Break it down and make it into goals.  The best yet is daily tasks leading to your goal.  I set out to become financially independent when I was thirty-one ( 31) years old.  It took seven (7) years to accomplish my goal by working on my goal every day.
  • Do you just accept circumstances?  Do you accept the first job offer or do you stay in a job too long even when you are unhappy?  Do you have a five (5) or ten (10) year plan?  What are you doing about it?  It is up to you!  Do you have a plan?
  • Remember failure is part of every plan!  It would be great if succeed the first time, but you may not.  Failure or setbacks are just part of it. Successful people fail too, but they keep trying and succeed.  It is only a failure when you give up!
  • Are you prepared for your dream?  If your dream is to own a business, do you have savings?  Do you have the skills and experience to succeed?  Most of my corporate career provided the skills and experience for my promotions, entrepreneurial endeavors and even teaching.  I was prepared for my dreams are you?

Final Thoughts

I have a very varied background in finance, accounting, administration, human resources, operations, sales, manufacturing and training.  Did I start off with a very detailed plan and just follow it?  No, I saw opportunities to make myself more valuable by taking on responsibility at various companies.  I was aggressive, assertive and had a big idea.  I saw myself doing something big and I am not done yet.  Success leads to more success because you discovered how to achieve it.  Do you think big or are you satisfied with what you achieved?  I am not suggesting to always be dissatisfied, but are you do something about it.  In contrast, don’t settle for things the way they are either.  Are you a big thinker?

Photo by:  Melody Campbell


Carnival of MoneyPros at Nickel by Nickel
Carnival of Financial Planning at The Savvy Scot
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Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and
Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at Thirty Six Months

Are you a big thinker?

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My Financial Independence Journey March 21, 2013 at 2:21 am

At various points in my life I have had big dreams. Some of them I achieved, and some of them I didn’t come anywhere close. Probably the biggest dream that I have currently is trying to reach financial independence.

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 6:55 am

I find it interesting that you said “you had big dreams”. Keep all your big dreams and keep trying to achieve them.

CashRebel March 21, 2013 at 4:14 am

Before I joined my employer, I thought that each person had a job, and they were paid to do only that. I found that there’s always more to help with and contribute to if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 6:57 am

Absolutely, most organizations are teams of people and everyone is called on to do more than their job. It makes you more valuable and adds to your experience and skills.

Money Beagle March 21, 2013 at 5:41 am

I’m 38 years old and I still think that I would make a great NFL general manager. Hopefully that type of dreaming never goes away, even though I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting any calls from NFL owners anytime soon :)

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 7:00 am

Part of big dreams is to get the skills and experience to make it happen. The other choice is just buy a team! Do you have a spare billion dollars? :)

John S @ Frugal Rules March 21, 2013 at 5:53 am

“Success leads to more success because you discovered how to achieve it.” Great point and one that is not often realized in my opinion. That assertiveness and willingness to take on new things can take you a long way and does not have to be limited by industry or job type. I would like to think that I am a big thinker, as I am always looking for opportunities and like to have a plan in place to achieve them.

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 7:01 am

Start small and build up to something really big! That is how I started my rental property business.

Holly@ClubThrifty March 21, 2013 at 6:31 am

Great post! I think that you’re right….dreaming isn’t enough. You have to take action to make your dreams come true!

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thanks, we all dream and have wishes! If we do nothing about it, it remains just a dream or wish. A plan can make it reality.

Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce March 21, 2013 at 7:33 am

Very interesting points, coming from such a varied background. Great post!

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

It comes from always planning and thinking about goals. I always “think big”!

maria@moneyprinciple March 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I believe I am! Krant, have you set out to cheer me up lately or is it just a coincidence? Intrestingly, I did train myself to think like that about three years ago; and the results have been somewhat overwhelming – you’ll hear in couple of months.

Krantcents March 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm

As a teacher, I see myself a little bit like a cheerleader! I am a real positive person and believe we all can do anything we set out to do.

KK @ Student Debt Survivor March 22, 2013 at 5:41 am

I definitely have big dreams. I think the hardest part of having big dreams has been trying to get the support of family. Don’t get me wrong I know my mother loves and supports me to the end of the earth, but she doesn’t always show it, because she doesn’t really understand a lot of my dreams. Because we’re from a solid working class background, the thought of buying rental property, starting a business (basically all of the things I plan to do) are terrifying to her. i.e. “Why can’t you just work your job and save your money and pay off your house?”. She’s not a risk taker (calculated risk) the way I am.

Krantcents March 22, 2013 at 6:55 am

It takes time and positive results to convince people. Share your success and she will come around. Remember, personal goals mean they are your goals.

Alan@escapingmydebt March 22, 2013 at 6:02 am

I like to think I am. Unfortunately my current debt situation has my finances tied up elsewhere. Hopefully in a few years things will look better for us and I can try to follow through on some of those dreams.

Krantcents March 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

It all starts with a plan and taking action toward your goals.

CT - Cashtastrophe March 22, 2013 at 6:32 am

I love the steps to big thinking! I like to think that I am a big thinker, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to look at myself compared to your steps.

Krantcents March 22, 2013 at 6:58 am

A little introspection or reflection does wonders! Then you can do something about it.

Barbara Friedberg March 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Larry, I’m definitely a big thinker, and agree that ones plans don’t always come to fruition. It is rare that things work out exactly as planned. But taking action leaves one open to new opportunities.

Krantcents March 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Absolutely! I often find various opportunities along the way that help or change the outcome.

Kim@Eyesonthedollar March 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I never really thought big until a few years ago. I figured I’d work my 30-40 years and retire. Ironically, getting into lots of debt and being able to pay that off relatively fast has convinced me that big goals are very achievable if you break them into parts. Five years ago, I would have never thought we’d own rental property, now I believe we can own enough to replace our income if we want. I guess I can thank my debt for that.

Krantcents March 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm

You just described what I do with my goals! I break them down into daily/weekly/monthly tasks and it makes it so much more achievable.

Wayne @ VisualFin March 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

When I was younger, I also pictured myself running a public company. However, I think it would much more enjoyable run my own, private company these days. That’s a goal I hope to accomplish in the next 5 years.

Krantcents March 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

I agree! Let’s take the word “hope” out of your thinking and put together a plan to actually make it happen. I went through this goal when I was in my early thirties. I put together a plan and seven years later , I had a thriving business. Good luck.

Alexis Marlons March 23, 2013 at 9:46 am

As what they say ” a dream will remain a dream without any actions taken”. Dreams are always achievable no matter how impossible it may seem. It solely depends on how you strive hard to achieve it.

Krantcents March 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

I adopted a mantra a number of years which describes my feelings on the subject. “Impossible is just an opinion!” I saw my parents do the impossible. I think I often accomplish many things other s may call impossible or too difficult. For me, a dream with a plan is called a goal.

Katherine Bengan March 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I am a really big thinker when it comes to my future because I know my potential based upon my knowledge and my skill set as long as I keep trying to approve on it.

Krantcents March 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I think our only limitations are ourselves! I always felt I could do anything I set my mind to do.

Rob @FinancialSprout March 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm

My friends sometimes criticize me for thinking things through too much. Most people don’t give things a second thought, but I try to think outside the box. If I can ever get around to putting my thoughts into action, I will become one successful man!

Krantcents March 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

All you need is a big idea and a plan! Everyone can make things happen.

Jason B April 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

This is a very good article. I dream so much that my “friends” tend to laugh at me. The funny thing is that when your dreams start to come true the laughter stops.

Krantcents April 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Very true! Do you have a plan? I achieved financial freedom at an early age (38 y.o.) Because my dream had a plan. Good luck.

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