Nothing that is big today in the world started that way. Everything starts smaller.
It’s a myth to believe that things pop into existence fully formed, that there is no transition or journey. That something can only exist in its final form. Likewise, it is a fallacy to believe that just because something is not big right now that it will never be big.
Bigness comes in many forms. A professional athlete is big, Google is big, a musician at peak of their performance is big. A successful company is big. Big in this context simply means that they’re further down the pathway towards something than someone who is just beginning.
The bigness trap is a comparison trap.
It is comparing your proto-idea. The merest seed that has barely begun to germinate with the fully formed product of your competitor. It is the junior athlete who looks at the professional and then gives us because “they’ll never be that good”. It’s the young programmer who never tries because he never worked for Google (hint, the guys who started Google didn’t work for Google before it came into existence either). It’s the people who think that because they didn’t go to the right school or have the right friends that their life is over.
If you believe that just because you ain’t big you ain’t shit you are wrong. Utterly utterly wrong. You can only become big by being small. By starting with the smallest hint of an idea and continuing to work at it. By putting in the work.
Every hour you spend practicing a musical instrument will get you closer to the goal of being on stage. Every shitty venue you perform in is one step closer to the sold out arena. Every song you produce is one song closer to the break out hit. The only wrong solution here is to not act. To give up because “you’re not big”. Yet.
We live in a socially manicured world surrounded by perfection. As a society we celebrate the pinnacle of performance, and so we should. Excellence is something that should be celebrated in all of its forms. But along the way we often lose sight of what is hiding beneath the surface. We only celebrate the end result and not the work it took to get there. We celebrate being big as opposed to celebrating the process of becoming big.
So this is a rant and a refrain. This is a plea.
Stop looking at the big and instead look at the small. Look at the little ideas that have potential and look at the hours of practice that are required. Look at what you can do today that will get you a little bit closer towards being big. Look at what fits within your control and look at how you can use that.
Don’t look at Google. Google is big, what Google does has almost no relevance to what you, who are small, are trying to do.
Don’t look at Taylor Swift. Swift is big, her life has no relevance to you.
Don’t look at the top runner, bodybuilder, athlete, writer, musician or whatever in your field. They’re big already. If you’re going to look at them then study their early life. Study them when they were small.
Be small. Be the dude fucking around in their garage at 2am because they cannot get an idea out of their head and they want to bring it into the world. Be the girl who is practicing violin for four hours a day to follow her dream. Be the kid at the gym putting in the work to build his body.
Don’t be afraid to be small. Don’t be embarrassed. Everything worthwhile in this world started with someone small who had an idea. It didn’t pop into the world as if designed by a committee, fully fledged in its awesomeness. Communal planning and five year plans sound great in theory but they don’t work. They crush the small. They stagnate.
Be small. Fight for what you want.