Somewhere inside you is the Big Idea that will bring you success.
Every major breakthrough in every field has been a big idea that can be stated simply.
Even Einstein got his into one formula: E=MC2. On a more mundane level, the big idea behind Domino's Pizza when it was starting out was "your pizza delivered within 30 minutes or you get it for free." The MacDonald's big idea was "a dependably good burger wherever you go, served quickly in clean surroundings."
When Apple computers first came out, the big idea was, "a computer that ordinary people can learn how to use." In my view the big idea behind the electronic newspaper you're reading is, "a news source of the people, by the people, for the people."
The importance of having a big idea was pointed out to me by George Lois, one of America's top advertising men. One of his advertising big ideas was the "I Want My MTV!" campaign when the music channel was struggling for acceptance by cable operators. Lois is on a one-man campaign against the little idea, convinced that most of the time most of us are too scared to assert ourselves and our originality.
"That's the story of mankind," he says. "We live in fear of life, in fear of work, in fear of death."
According to him, the antidote is to think big and have the courage to push our big ideas.
You can learn to develop big ideas in your work life and your personal life.
If you run a business or offer a service, what is the big idea behind it that sets it apart from your competitors?
It could be, "The car repair place that's clean and fun to hang around while waiting for your car to be fixed." It could be, "The accountant who talks to you in language you actually understand." It could be, "The café where your first cup of coffee is free."
You can harness the power of the Big Idea if you work for someone else. It could be, "The waitress who always has a smile for you." Or, "The secretary who knows where everything is." Or, "The manager who knows the names of the children of all the people who work for him."
A Big Idea can be equally useful in your personal life. In your primary relationship, you can choose to be "a partner who always listens." In your friendships, you can be "the friend who always finds something positive to say about her friends."
If you're on a drive to lose weight or be more fit, your big idea can be "doing one thing every day to be more healthy."
Take a moment to consider what is the Big Idea in each part of your life. Can you state each one in one simple sentence? If not, you may find that generating a Big Idea will help you focus your efforts and keep you on track.
Editor's note: Jurgen Wolff is the editor and publisher of "Brainstorm," the creativity newsletter, and teaches the "Create Your Future" workshop. For a free copy of Brainstorm, e-mail your mailing address to FutureUK@aol.com. (c) Jurgen Wolff 1999