2 Big Things in People who Play Big
So in case you weren’t entirely sure about me, let me set the record straight: I’m a big fan of winning. Not just winning in sports, not just winning in business, winning in everything. Winning at life. So I want to take a second to talk about winning and being a winner.
Let’s start here: winners don’t play small.
Have you ever noticed that? The people who insist on playing small end up getting nowhere in life. But those who play big... even if they don’t quite make it, they still end up much further along than those who decided to play small.
So what’s the moral of the story? You have nothing to lose by playing big.
Most people do a little bit less than what's asked of them. Their boss gives them a set of tasks, and they do just enough to not get fired. They set out to read a chapter a day, and they do it 4-5 days out of every 7. They want to make an extra $300, and they make an extra $250.
The average person falls just a little bit short of their goal because they give up too soon. Either they thought they had it, so they slowed down, or they thought they didn’t have it, so they stopped. Either way, they fall a little bit short. You almost always fall a little short when you’re shooting for a goal.
That means you have nothing to lose from shooting higher. You have nothing to lose by playing big.
If your goal is to make $300, why don’t you shoot for making $7000? My guess is you'll probably get to $300 faster. In a race, you don't run TO the finish line, you run THROUGH it. That way you're full speed and you don't slow down the last few steps. That’s how you don’t fall short.
It's like being on the practice squad and playing every practice like you're a starter. You have nothing to lose. If you're shooting to be an all star, even if you fall short, your game will still get better.
I’ve always heard in acting that there are no small parts, there are only small actors. A tiny role can steal the show when they do the best they can with the role they're given. I’ve seen it happen countless times, both on stage and in film. I’ve also seen “small actors” decide to play big, and they end up winning big as a result.
There’s an actor named Ben Schwartz. You’ve probably only heard of him if you’re a big fan of the show Parks and Recreation. When the movie Sonic the Hedgehog was in development, the director asked Schwartz to lend his voice to Sonic in a test reading as they pitched the movie to different studios. Schwartz could have easily (and probably rightly) assumed that they would eventually cast someone more famous in the role, but he decided to play big. He acted as if the role was going to be his. And you know what, they cast him. They liked his performance so much that they let him keep doing it. But I don’t know if that would have happened if he had played small and mailed it in.
You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, when you play big.
I want you to remember this phrase: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. It doesn’t take talent to play big, it just takes hard work. Great success, from what I’ve seen, has little to nothing to do with talent, and a lot to do with hard work. People who play big continue to work hard consistently, especially when they aren't seeing the results they believe they should.
How is that possible? They have the big picture in mind. Their goals don’t just exist within this week or month, they exist long term. When you have a big vision, you don’t seek out shortcuts or get discouraged along the way. You expect things to take time, but you expect to win big. So you play big.
On the other hand, when you want to win small, you play small. The problem is, small work doesn’t produce small results - it produces NO results. Results only come with consistency, which is no small feat. Those unrealistic expectations will cause you to draw the wrong conclusions - that the work you’re doing won’t matter anyway, so why bother? Then you stop, and you fall short. Because you weren’t playing big.
So there are 2 big things I see in everyone who plays big: Fire and Focus.
How do you determine if you have Fire? Well, it’s about who’s yelling the loudest, I’ll tell you that much. It’s not about the person who talks the most, has the most energy, or even does the most work. It’s about whether or not you have follow-through.
You set a goal. It’s a stepping stone to your bigger vision. How long has it been since you set that goal? Have you accomplished it yet? See, if you don’t follow through on what you say you’re going to do, how can you possibly get to the next step? Someone with fire is eager to get to that next step as fast as possible. If you don’t have follow-through, you don’t have fire.
How do you determine if you have Focus? Well, what else is in your life outside of your goal? Maybe it’s a rec league, maybe it’s school, maybe it’s a crazy social calendar. Ask yourself - is your focus really on your vision, or is your focus split?
Now, I’m not talking about shutting things out or quitting everything - in fact, if you quit something, that makes you a quitter, it doesn’t make you more focused. But when you’re working at what you quit stuff for, that’s what makes quitting a good decision. Quitting your softball league to go after your goals isn’t going to make you successful by default, but if you use that extra time to focus and go after your dream, you have a much higher chance at succeeding. But that isn’t from the decision to quit, it’s from the decision to focus.
Focus is about honing in on your future, honing in on your dream. When you’re focused on your vision, everything that doesn’t matter will clear out by default. And then when you mix that focus with the fire, you get someone who both wants to and has to play big.
You have nothing to lose by playing big, and nobody wins when you play small. You serve no one in life by being average. You have dreams inside of you that aren’t inside of me, and if you don’t play big, those dreams will never get accomplished. The world is never better off when there are dreams that die with you.
So GO! Give it everything you’ve got. Play bigger than you think you can, and all your little goals will happen along the way. You literally have NOTHING to lose by playing big. And you don’t serve the world by playing small. You owe it to the world, and you owe it to yourself.
Winners play big. Go get yours.