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Big picture small picture

November 6, 2009

Sai Yeung Choi St., Mong Kok

Today I wanna talk about making it in life. There are so many roads to take. Roads to the big city, roads to the small city, and everything in between.

Some believe if you have big dreams, you go to the big city. If you have small dreams, you go to the small town. Well, I just came back from a big city called Hong Kong and don’t mind telling you that a good majority of the people I run into there do not have big dreams. They have small but profitable dreams. Very, very profitable dreams.

Let me give you an example. Some people have dreams of conquering the world with the software or gadget they are developing. They envision how their effort will change the world. They’ll be in the news, their stocks traded on NASDAQ, and they’ll retire young. And to be fair, some do make it big, like the dudes behind Google.

And then there are those who can’t see three meters beyond their noses. They don’t know and don’t wanna know what’s going on beyond that. But, you cannot challenge their expertise within that three meter range. They might have a shanty little restaurant or auto workshop under a bridge somewhere. They drum up good business. They know their stuff and they know what their customers want. They go off on annual family holidays and send their kids to Australia and places like that to study.

My point is not to suggest that one is superior than the other because there are upsides and downsides to both. My point is to point out the fairy tale that there is only one way to success – to dream big.

I don’t really know why but some of us are born with the ability to see the big picture and some aren’t. From what I see, the big picture guys tend to end up in the corporate jungle where they talk about global business and scheme about world domination. Some go into politics. Both are concerned about controlling and changing other people.

The rest of us drop off into the cracks, concerned only with what’s for dinner and what movie to catch this Saturday. For us the big picture is like the weather – out of our control and pointless to try and control. We get our kicks from the simpler things in life like cool toys and a fun gig, not from changing others.

So which one are you?

After my evening jaunts in Mong Kok and Wan Chai these last few days, I’m beginning to see there’s no single formula to success. Its also begining to be clear that if you’re a big picture guy, you’ll need a different set of tricks than the small picture guy. Thinking back, I think most of the management books I read were written by people who joined corporate life, got f**d big time, left the scene and decided to write a book. And then silly people like me go and buy their book.

One thing. I think the big picture guy has a slight advantage. Know why? Because its easier for him to become a small picture guy than the reverse. He just tells himself I don’t give a shit about what’s happening in the world. As long as money’s in the bag who cares what’s happening around me. Easy. 😀

The only question is, can you. Not care about your surroundings I mean (which is the curse you big picture guys carry around with you.)

At the end of the day, I think its all about what you’ll settle for. If its only money, then you don’t need the big picture. Its safe to forget about career paths, MBAs, NASDAQ, stuff like that. But if its more than just money – like a craving for recognition or a craving for a “better life” for everyone because you think they need it, then stick with the big picture.

Ok I’m off to the airport again in 2 hours. Damn.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 9:30 pm

    so which one are you? 😛 i must admit i’m a big picture person because i often let go of opportunities which could make me some side income. to me, one can earn money in a lot of ways if one works hard & smart enough.

    but i also believe that there’s no point in doing something which u don like or don blif it.

    You’re lucky coz its easier for big picture people to seize small picture opportunities than for small picture people to seize big picture opportunities.

  2. November 9, 2009 2:48 pm

    Yeah . I am a small picture guy .
    I just do my thing , have no plans on my business ..
    and plan for my next holiday , check my next gig , think where to take my gf for dinner etc…

    Life is complicated enough . I am learning to make it simple .

    You sure you’re not planning to conquer the world? You went clear across to the US and China. 😀

  3. November 13, 2009 12:05 pm

    Right. Small picture. So am I. Can’t make them big with water color. 😀

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