nonlinearity, why it makes sense to think big

Thinking big has been vastly talked about from the “attitude” perspective. However, what fascinates me are some physical observations that show it actually makes sense to have big dreams and be persistent. In order to make my argument clear I have to tell you about the notion of non-linearity.

A nonlinear system is generally defined as a system that does not satisfy the superposition principle. That’s a mouthful but it simply means that the output of a nonlinear system is not directly proportional to the input. That means that in order to dramatically increase the outputs, you don’t necessarily need to increase the effort that you put into the system.

Now that’s just an amazing concept. From the timing of our heart beats to unbalanced distributions of income in Pareto law, to hockey stick growth figures, non-linearity is ubiquitous in our world. While we are consistently being encouraged to think in a linear fashion, like “hard work” leads to success, it is fascinating to see that doing the “right work” is far more important.

Therefore in a nonlinear world, the question everyone should be asking themselves is “what kind of inputs result in the desired dramatic changes in the output?” and only focus on those. While this notion doesn’t provide a recipe for success, it shows that big dreams are one of the plausible possibilities and if we are pursuing a dream, we might as well go for the biggest one and think big.

If the governing system of universe is nonlinear in nature, achieving a big dream doesn’t necessarily translate into an equally bigger amount of work. That is not to say that hard work is not important, but that in order to achieve a big dream, one must find the right work to do which isn’t necessarily harder.