If you have never heard of this expression before, being a little fish in a big pond refers to being an unimportant person in a usually large group in society. The type of people with little influence or opinion, and with no real respect received from others. The opposite then, is being a big fish in a small pond, which quite simply refers to being the respected, most influential member of a certain circle or group. An example is school. The oldest school year is the most influential, with elected head boys and girls, prom kings and queens and other positions of social respect that make their voices heard above others. When they depart for university or college however, they suddenly become the first year students, the freshers, with little say in what matters.
Being a big fish in a small pond is great at face value. You’ll feel valued amongst those that surround you and people will listen and take on board what you have to say, agreeing almost every step of the way. You’ll be the group role model, whom people come to for advice and guidance. That’s great, right? A thoroughly content and enjoyable position in society. Many people I know are already there. All you have to do is look at their Facebook profiles and you’ll see that some are football captains, university presidents and school champions. And this is all fine, but it’s when you stop becoming a small fish and settle as the big one that there is a problem.
You become stagnant. The problem with this is that these ponds are very small, and being a big fish in a fish tank doesn’t compare to a big fish in the ocean. Striving to be a big fish in a very large pond is a great achievement, it is the ultimate success (forgetting financial stability). We all want to be respected, heard and valued in society, why not aim to be that representative for society itself, and not just for the minor social pockets that exist within it. Look at David Cameron (I’m not saying you want to be more like him), but his position is the highest available in UK politics. I can almost guarantee that every constituency MP wants to be Prime Minister one day, after all it’s the highest rank in their field, just like CEO’s of companies.
I tend not to be realistic in these circumstances, why would you be. My ultimate goal then, is contradictory to the title of this post. I plan to be a big fish, in the biggest pond possible. The only way to achieve this is to keep becoming the small fish of ever growing ponds, until you find a pond big enough you want to dominate.
My message is simple.
Put yourself outside of your comfort zone more and you’ll eventually find that pond, don’t settle for anything less.