The ONE Way to Think in 2013

One of the highlights of my trip to Germany was a visit to a secret test track at BMW.

It was miles and miles away from their main headquarters, located beside a cornfield in the middle of the country. As soon as we arrived our cell phones were confiscated. “We can’t allow any pictures, yah?” our lead instructor, Stefan said in heavy German accent but with a smile on his face.

The next four hours consisted of driving M3s (learning how to drift) as well as a range of cars (everything from an X5 M to the latest M5 to a 6-series coupe and a big old 7 series) on their 5-mile “Autobahn replication” track.

It was ridiculously easy – and undeniably exhilarating – to take the M5 sedan up to 270km/h. It felt like you were on a slow Sunday drive. What a car.

Finally, after our hours of being like kids in a candy store, it was time to wrap-up. As parting gifts, we all received some hats, a shirt, and a notepad.

The notepad is the only thing that I kept. And these days I use it every night at the end of my work day in my “Big Thinking” session that I include as part of my daily plan.

Using the BMW notebook has significance because BMW can be associated with big success.

It’s important to use these little mindset tricks to keep your mind focused on the big  opportunities and the finer things in life – even when you might be going through a dip in progress.

(That’s another reason why you need to hang around more successful people and even treat yourself to the “rich life” now and again…so that you remember there is another side to the world…and it’s not all about negativity and socialism like you see in the daily news. You need to be reminded of the incredible rewards you can earn when you add MORE value to the world.)

And so each night at 5:50 p.m., after I shut down my computer for the night, I pull out my BMW book and turn to a blank page and let my mind run free and think of BIG things.

While I do my daily Big Thinking journaling at night, I also write down any Big Ideas I get first thing in the morning before writing this column.

After all, you know my thoughts on thinking big and creatively in general, first thing in the morning, especially on Saturdays.

Thinking is important, and a lot of people get so busy that they just don’t think and plan. But it’s essential to moving ahead. I love this quote from Dave Kekich:

An hour of effective, precise, hard, disciplined – and integrated thinking can be worth a month of hard work. Thinking is the very essence of, and the most difficult thing to do in business and in life.” – Kekich Credo #44

As silly as it sounds, make sure you are scheduling in Strategic Thinking during your day (preferably in the morning or at the end of the day, or when you are away from your desk and in a more creative environment).

Think BIG.

And so that is your 10-minute task today. Right now. Get a cup of coffee or tea or a Red Bull or whatever suits your caffeine fancy, and get into a creative zone and THINK BIGGER.

Do this daily.

Then at the end of the week, review each day and keep the best ideas and put them on one page (throwing the others away).

This is where you’ll find your big goals, your massive product ideas, and thoughts that seem borderline crazy.  Those are the ones to go for.

Here’s a big goal that I came up with: I want to get a $1.5 million book deal in 2013. One of my friends recently got a $1 million deal for two books, but I think with our big ETR Transformation Contest audience, I’ll be able to prove of greater value.

The ETR Transformation Contest itself is a big idea. Another big idea is the ETR Transformation Video Kit that I’ve created to go along with the contest.

On and on my BMW Big Thinking book is packed with 10 big ideas each week about the contest, new products, connections, and more.

Big thinking is mandatory.

Think BIG.

Dream big.

Implement big.

Achieve BIG.  Go big.

Make 2013 your Best Year Ever.

Start today.

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. He is also the co-creator of the Early to Rise $100,000 Transformation Contest. This 90-day contest is FREE for you to enter, and you’ll have a chance to win up to $25,000 in prizes in four categories: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise, and Overall. Let us motivate, assist and hold you accountable for accomplishing your goals. Get started on your major life transformations today.]
  • So what’s wrong with socialism exactly? This caught me funny and I had trouble getting through the rest of the article. I don’t understand what this has to do with your point you were trying to make…

    “…so that you remember there is another side to the world…and it’s not all about negativity and socialism like you see in the daily news.”

    Michelle Marcus

    • Kevin Donlin

      “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill

  • Awesome article, Craig! Really motivating! I’ve already set a few big goals for the upcoming year – that is, bigger than what I used to do so far. But thinking BIG daily – well, that’s something worth trying! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Craig, you are awesome….but getting a book deal for 1.5 million isn’t thinking big, it’s thinking like a share cropper. If you put out your own book instead of waiting for a gatekeeper to advance you money that you will have to payback from your 10% of royalties, you will own 100% of your book and make 100% of sales less a distribution fee. So to make $1.5 million with a $15 books means you will sell a little more than 100,000 books. You have the following to do that without a publisher. It’s YOUR following and fans, tap into it. Make $1.5 selling your book while keeping 100% ownership. Now that is thinking big. And smart.

  • eva

    Reading this article reminded me that so many people think small…I find that especially in the area I live in…my husband thinks small and I have a difficult time getting him to think BIG! But I know, I can only be responsible for my own thinking and I choose to think BIG!
    Thank you, will do this exercise every night before I go to bed and dream BIG!

  • Marlow

    I am super grateful for stumbling upon (literally) on this amazing resource you are providing. I just emailed your support@etr.com, because of the enormous help it had provided me, as a real person – with the same intrinsic motivation that your site reinforces for readers. Thanks Craig.

  • Rebecca

    Morning! You will get the book deal, 100% confident in your abilities and the world has a way of giving back what you put out there. Even better! You already know this to be true in the journey you’ve experienced with ETR.

    Thank you for the reminder to create intentional time for BIG thinking!

  • Thinking big is something that I am being reminded of every year, yet as the years pass by and most of my big thoughts over the years has yet to manifest, I am wondering more and more whether the things that come out of this thinking-big process (goals such as ‘getting a 1.5 million book deal’ or better yet “making that kind of money from even less effort” as Wendy Day alluded to) are the things that I really want. Why? Because if I am really honest with myself, I almost always want those big seemingly-impossible things because I am hoping that I will feel a certain way once I get them (e.g I will feel happy, free, secure, safe, fulfilled, etc.) To me, this just confirms that that I am not feeling good like that right now, and that I don’t expect to feel that way until I will have reached that big goal; what a waste of time and life this is. Especially when i consider the fact that, in those rare times when I actually reached one of those goals in the past, I only felt those great desirable feelings for a short time, and then it felt again like I needed to achieve yet another goal to feel that good again. Why can’t we just feel that good all the time, starting right now? If that was the case, if we felt free, safe, happy etc. right now and we didn’t lose that feeling, would we still want or need to think big? Just wondering what Craig’ and other readers’ thoughts are on that.
    Thanks
    Claude Windenberger

    • Geri I

      Big goals and big dreams provide the motivation for us to try and achieve the highest level that we can. Who knows, through this achievement you may ultimately discover who you are, what you`re made of and capable of. By tapping into the extra power within you, by reaching inside of yourself, you may discover your purpose in life, why you`re here and who you are meant to be. Feelings of joy, security etc. are added bonuses to be savour no matter how transient.

  • My goals are big; have always been big, but reading this article gave me an idea for an even BIGGER goal that I had not even been thinking about. Thanks for lighting a spark inside of me tonight, when I was just about to shut off the lights and go to bed! 🙂

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Nice!