In the last, week I’ve been thinking a lot about scope and scale. It seemed every where I turned someone referenced the idea of BIG: Big History, Play Big, and Think Big.
It started with a National Public Radio piece on the Big History Project. I have watched David Christians’s Ted Talk,“The History of Our World in 18 Minutes” many times. I have used it in my teaching to talk about complexity. The Big History Project teaches 13.8 billions years of history to engage students in critical and interdisciplinary thinking. The project helps students to think about the past, present and future. David Christian references the goldilocks conditions in big history: not too hot, not too cold, just right for the creation of complex things to happen. A big idea!
Next, I had the opportunity to hear Tara Mohr speak at the Hivery at Mill Valley, CA, a woman’s co-working space. Mohr’s book Play Big is an invitation to women to “play big” instead of “playing small”. She outlines a series of mindsets and steps to help women bring their big ideas to their work and community. At the talk, Mohr answered many questions from a group of women eager to learn how to play big and bring their greatest dreams and ideas to fruition. It’s a big idea!
As I listened to all this talk of “big”, I wondered about people who want to play small. What if you are a person that is not trying to change the world? What if you want to play at a very small scale? What if you are content with a very small circle of influence?
People in transition are often asked…”If you could imagine it is a year from now, and it was remarkably different what would it be like?” Some people “play big” and come up with big dreams and we work to find the goldilocks conditions of turning vision into action. We work to name the fears and barriers to build the big vision. Yet, where does the “play small” vision fit?
Recently, I’ve been thinking more about playing small and my connection to the people I care most about. How can I give generously with grace, kindness, justice, and respect to others. It’s a big idea but often very small steps- a phone call to a family member, a hug to a friend, or a walk with a neighbor. In thinking small I’m reminded of Albert Einstein’s quote….
“Strange is our situation here on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit not knowing why, yet seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one things we do know; that we are here for the sake of others…”
Einstein was known for his big ideas. In this vision, I wonder if he’s inviting us to find a way to meet the goldilocks conditions: Not too big, not too small, just right.
How do you find the balance of big and small? Let me know your ideas?