However “big” you’re thinking right now, it’s probably too small.

It’s important to have big dreams for your future. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail. So if you can’t think big about your future, you’re not going to have a very big future. Big, of course, means a dream that takes you farther than where you are today.  

Success can be defined in many ways, and I’m not telling you how to define it. I’m simply saying to take your definition of success and raise the bar on it.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when you are thinking big, in reality you’re thinking small. There’s always a bigger big.

When I was in my mid-20s, I thought I was thinking big. But when I look back now, I realize, “Wow, was I thinking small! Too bad I wasn’t thinking bigger. I would have accomplished more, faster.”

What does that really mean in the present? It means that my big thoughts for my future today are probably small. Therefore, I need to think bigger about whatever I’m trying to do before I begin to do it.

So don’t do what your latest big thought was. Instead, think bigger. Ask yourself, “What is even bigger than what I’m thinking, because that’s what I really want to do?” That’s how you raise the bar far higher on yourself.

Right now, think about taking a vacation, and think big about it. Reflect on that vacation for a moment. How would your big vacation compare to a big vacation planned by Sir Richard Branson or Bill Gates? Yes, they likely make more money than you do, but might that fact be because they can think bigger about making money? My point is, there is always a bigger big. If you can’t imagine it, you will never achieve it.

When I was writing my latest book Flash Foresight, I was like every other author on the planet. I wanted my book to be a New York Times best-seller. But then I thought bigger: I wanted it to be a Wall Street Journal best seller, number one on Amazon, and at the top of every known list. At this point, something happens to most of us, in that we get realistic. In this case most authors will think big and then think smaller by saying to themselves, “You know, realistically, I can’t do that. Let’s face it…only one person can be number one on Amazon, as well as a New York Times and a Wall Street Journal best-seller.” So they think small, lower their expectations, and achieve less.

Over the decades, I have learned that making the goal or the dream bigger pays off! You can’t do it if you can’t see it in your minds eye. In the book writing example, I said, “Not only am I going to make Flash Foresight a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller, but I’m also going to make it number one on Amazon in every category. And I don’t want to be number one just on Amazon in the U.S.; I want it to be number one on Amazon in Europe. Not only that, I want it to be a best-seller in Asia. In fact, I want it to be required reading all over the world.”

Once you start to see the bigger big, then you have to ask yourself, “What are the strategies to accomplish the bigger big? What would it take to accomplish my bigger big goal?” Once you have the vision and ask the “What Would It Take” question, the path to get there becomes clear.

In my case, not only did my book make those best-seller lists and become number one on Amazon for quite a long time in every category, but it also was number one on Amazon in other countries, and the largest newspaper in China devoted an entire page to my book. Today, I’m happy to report that the book is required reading for executives from many Fortune 500 companies. Why? Because I had vision that was bigger than big. It was global big.

Over the years, I have applied this principle to much more than books. For example, I’ve started six innovative companies, from experimental aircraft to smart phone and tablet apps, all without investors. Three were leaders in the U.S. in the first year.

My guess is that you have your own examples of times when you thought big and then bigger, with the result taking you to a new level.

What’s your bigger big today? You can apply this to anything from vacations to starting a business. If you’re looking for a job right now, maybe you should be thinking about a career instead of a job. And if you have a career, maybe you should think bigger. And that is, “What’s my real calling? What was I put on this planet to do? What is the one thing that would make me not care whether it’s Monday or Friday, because I enjoy what I’m doing every day?”

So think big, and then realize you just thought small. Before doing your big thing, look at what is the bigger thing, and do that instead. When you do, you’ll find that your future will be far more amazing than your past, and even more amazing than you thought it would be.