The world is full of people who think small.  People who play it safe.  People who just get by.   These good, honest, often hard-working folks inhabit every industry, and populate every strata of society.

There are janitors who think small.

There are middle managers who think small.

There are CEOs who think small.

In fact, the vast majority of people you’ve ever met – maybe 95% — think small.  They think job security, a two week vacation, and a retirement in Boca Raton.  What more could you ask for?  Why rock the boat?  Why risk moderate comfort that is just about doable, if you stay the course?

Here’s the dirty little secret of small thinking: most people who think small — that is, most people you meet – don’t think small because they don’t have any good ideas.  They don’t think small because they don’t have dreams, ambitions, or goals.

 The fact is, the reason most people think small is because they’re afraid: afraid people will laugh… afraid people will find out they’re not good enough… afraid they’ll (gasp!) fail.

This is as true in politics as anywhere…

How many politicians get elected, then start playing it safe… start playing defense… stop making waves?  How many candidates, incumbents, and staffers spend their days looking for cover, making sure that if they’re wrong, they’re not responsible? 

Why is it that so many people who think solution A is right suddenly switch to solution B when a president from their own party endorses B?  Why is it that so many candidates who think issue A is the most important thing on earth suddenly avoid it like the plague when a president from the other party starts pushing the same issue?

I’ll tell you why:  it’s because they’re afraid to think big – afraid to take a stand – afraid to stick their neck out, right or wrong, popular or unpopular.

If you’re in politics, I want you to know something: the world needs more big thinkers. 

None of the people you admire in politics (or any field of human endeavor) became famous, or admirable, or memorable because they played it safe.  The people you admire became admirable because they didn’t play it safe.   They became famous, became noteworthy, became who they were because they thought big, acted big, failed along the way, got up and thought big again.

Benjamin Franklin.  Teddy Roosevelt.  William Wilberforce.  Michael Collins.  Daniel Webster.  Big thinkers.

What about you?  Are you thinking big in politics?  Do you have an ambitious vision for your town, your state, your country?  Are you accomplishing that vision?  Are you trying?

There’s a lot of work to do.  It’s time to get started.

For more inspiration on thinking big in politics, read The Secrets of Being a Political Entrepreneuer.

For more inspiration on thinking big in life, read Seth Godin’s Blog.

If you’re already a big thinker, and you’re running for office, and you want to know how to win, read How to Win Any Election.