Steve Jobs thought BIG. Real Big. He scoffed at the idea of doing market research when starting out Apple because he wanted to invent something so brand new that people didn’t even know they would need it so badly.

And whether or not you’re a fan of Apple products, Job’s envisioning couldn’t be more spot on.

Add his intense study of zen meditation, and his barefoot excursions to India, along with LSD trips, and Jobs had more than enough fuel to accelerate his clever thinking. He thought BIG PICTURE.

I reached out to a few guests I’ve had on The Traveling Cup to ask them this question:

How do you think BIG?

3 Ways to Think BIG Picture (w/o Taking LSD)

This guest blog post comes from Lindsey Caplan, a consultant and organizational psychologist in San Francisco. Her work has been featured at Dreamworks Animation and McKinsey & Co. along with Salesforce. In other words, she’s pretty awesome. Join her on stage and read on as she shares her journey into purpose.

Once Upon a Time

There comes a moment when you may realize, as I did several years ago, that try as we might, we can’t script our lives.

As a former screenwriter, this realization came as a bit of a disappointment. I had been scripting my life since I was 12, and I thought I was pretty great at it. Dream after dream, goal after goal, lined up, knocked out one by one by one.

In my script, I’d be a successful comedy writer, staffed on a show by age 25 and successfully building my life in Los Angeles for years to come.

But 15 months into my tenure in Los Angeles I found myself sitting by the pool reading “What Should I Do With My Life”?. Turns out, you can’t script happiness.

It’s often easy to look at the past and see how leaders pushed through fear. But, in the present, it can be painfully difficult to push through fear when it’s so much easier to sit comfortably. Not take a leap of faith. Not start an idea. Not question a boss.

Enter the linchpin — a term that Seth Godin defines as a person who disrupts and pushes through fear to be the change-maker.

I recently sat down with Seth to talk about pushing through fear to reach a new creative potential. His tips will help you continue to be remarkable and fly high without fear of having your wings melt.

Below are a few highlights from the interview, but first, my favorite takeaway line. Being nervous is actually a good sign, says Seth: “If you’re not nervous, you’re not doing hard enough work.”

There’s an element of awkward in a face-to-face conversation with someone new: direct eye contact that lasts a bit too long, the smell of coffee breath, and the tango of talking points that move the conversation forward.

It’s far too easy to skip the human interaction and go on to the next “like” or reply to a new tweet. Unfollow and move on. Shift to a new conversation instead of digging deep and learning about the other person. I’m there with you, scrolling through my Facebook timeline and enjoying the random conversations between friends on different continents. A sucker for click-bait. The thing is, more and more people spend a large chunk of their time engaged in the digital world when a meaningful and authentic conversation — one that builds a trusting relationship — lies outside the screen of a smartphone.

Three Tips from the Greats on How to Build Meaningful Conversation

Having a meaningful and authentic conversation has been a struggle since we descended from trees whether it’s to find a soulmate or the next cocktail networking party. Here are just three tips from the greats:

“An image that arises on hearing mere words without reality (as its basis) is verbal delusion.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda

So, I talk a lot about goal setting and positive affirmations on The Traveling Cup. It’s no secret (because that’s a lie), but there is power in speaking and writing down the future you want.

That’s why creating a photo board and pasting it up on a wall along with writing down a positive affirmation every morning is part of the life plan.

Top performers in the world do this all the time. Surgeons, athletes… you name it. The difference, though, for these top performers is that they see every step. They don’t just see the finish line sprint. They see the journey, not just the destination.

Macro to Micro

Instead of just speaking, thinking, or writing down an affirmation, there needs to be specific action taken to bring it into… well, reality.

In the book The Secret, the theory goes that if you think positive affirmations and frame your thinking to be optimistic and positive, then the universe will align to bring you said reality. Okay — that sounds like fun, but there’s more to The Law of Attraction than that.

If I think “I am building muscle and cutting fat to 12 percent” yet I’m sitting on a couch and eating chips and guacamole (which are totally delicious), then this positive affirmation will be as substantial as a cloud. It will wisp away with the very next bite.

That’s where the power of action comes in. There needs to be specific action taken to bring about said goal. If one of my goals is to get to a certain weight or body-fat percentage so that I can be a healthier and happier person so that I can do more and have more impact in my life, then there needs to be specific action taken to make it happen. That means going to the gym, not buying unhealthy food, and having part of my morning ritual include a healthy start.

Millennials will remember a popular saying in middle school: “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” I’m not really sure where they came from. Maybe TLC or Naughty By Nature, but the point is that taking action is harder than words.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
– Steve Jobs

You got up every morning…went to school…got straight As…went to a great college….got a 4.0…landed a great job…and there’s still a little voice inside that says, “Are you living up to your potential?”

Trust me. We’ve all been there. And before things start sounding too Sunday-morning infomercial, let me say you’re not alone.

Truth is, most people go through school never taking a course that asked them about their passions and taught them how to reflect — how to ask the meaningful introspective questions that spark the inner drive.

In fact, Pete Herr shares 10 Things We Should Teach You in High School, But Usually Don’t on this interview.

It’s okay to keep searching

Traditional public schooling isn’t there to help you find your purpose. It’s actually there to help build factory workers, but the truth is…the world doesn’t need as many factory workers. Or left-brain number crunchers. Just ask Daniel Pink: “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind.”

It needs thinkers, doers, changemakers, conceptualizers, creatives… it needs YOU.

One purpose, two purpose, three purpose, four… (or more)

My world today looks like a snow globe as Mother Nature dumped close to a foot of snow in my backyard. I’m about to go snowshoeing, but first I’d like to enjoy a pour-over and share a story with you.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be the wacky weatherman. I wanted to be that guy on the news that would broadcast live outdoors while the hurricane-force winds battered my face and rain jacket.

I wanted to chase tornadoes and run for shelter when golf ball-sized hail would come crashing down.

However, I gave up that dream. Why? Because I had little agency. Back then, there was no internet, no Youtube, no point-and-shoot uploads — just big, hulky, and really expensive gear that to broadcast the weather, I’d have to cart with me as I chased Mother Nature. And I grew up… well, not-so-rich.

Unlike the past, however, we have more agency today than at any other time in history. It costs zilch to shout your message to the world.

The hard part is to get people to listen.

Agency, as a quick reminder, refers to one’s ability to act in his world. It’s the ability to make choices and then act on them, or not act on them, given the influence of one’s environment. These include what we are in control of and those we are not: money, the neighborhood you grew up in and one’s community (or clout). Not having agency is like being in a straight jacket, literally or figuratively.

The sun shone through the palm trees and sweat began to trickle down my face. “¿Cuál es su número de zapato?” I asked as I set the little boy, Dominique, down in his chair. And in my broken American Spanglish, he understood me. “Veintitres,” he said.Twenty-three, okay I got this.

Dominique wore an orange t-shirt and a set of jersey cotton black pants, and had one of those priceless smiles that makes anyone smile right back. “What do you want to be when you get older?” I asked. “An engineer,” he said, “because I want to build things that make people’s lives better.”

During our chat, I peeled off Dominique’s old sandals (which were were three sizes too small) and slid on a new set of alpargatas, the TOMS staple shoe.

With a loud clap of a high-five, Dominique left with his new shoes to receive a pair of pants, a shirt, a couple pairs of underwear and some jabon (soap): just a few of the goods supplied by Children International, a long-standing giving partner of TOMS and the… er… sole behind the one-for-one business model that Blake Mycoskie started just under a decade ago.

It’s -15 degrees outside and I just took my friend’s dog for a walk. I’m fifty shades of cold.

Tony Robbin’s raspy voice reads the ending of his book “Money: Master the Game”. And as cheesy as the title is, the book feeds the soul just as much as the wallet.

Top performers want to live extraordinary lives, says Robbins, and that means that they will definitely face more criticism than others.

The actor who takes the stage at Broadway will face far more rejections than the actor who gives Broadway a try and returns to the community stage.

Truth is, you will get rejected, criticized, “reviewed”, analyzed, talked about, gossiped about (perhaps even in the tabloids) the more remarkable your goals become.

Just like a good ol’ Dr. Seuss character, if you step outside the lines of what everyone does, you’ll become subject for criticism:

“All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot.”

Here are three tips to develop a growth mindset no matter how far you venture in your goals.

Today I climbed a mountain, shaped to a peak by the soles of my feet and the spread of my palms.

Flexing my quads to the back of my knees, I pressed my hands into my mat in downward dog. After an exhale, I squeezed my mula bandha to float (or attempt to) into handstand for, as Raghunath instructed us, 25 breaths.

A warm-up, my feet rested against the wall as I centered my stare and focused on a four-count exhalation. Knowing my traditional yang energy, I’d push to 26 breaths before coming down because that’s my identity, that’s how I’m wired — to push harder, go longer, be faster and, by extension, become better.

As a Capricorn, I’m a mountain goat at heart — persistent and tenacious. I charge headfirst up a mountain and yearn to dive into the deep-end. But then my shoulders shook and I wobbled in my handstand.

As my feet leaned against the wall, Raghunath said, “When climbing the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right building.”