Is it Better to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond or a Small Fish in a Big Pond?

Have you ever experienced being the best in a group? It is nice to have people look up to you. You feel good about yourself. It seems like you are on top of the world. That is until you are faced with a difficult challenge that is too much for you to handle. It is then that you realized that you have no one else to turn to. You have to come up with a solution to the the crisis on your own. You have to bear the responsibility for the whole group.

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Image Credit: 3dman_eu

On the other hand, have you ever felt like you are not good enough? You belong to a big organization. There are lots of opportunities available out there. There is a lot of  room for personal and professional growth. However, no matter how hard you try, you always seem to be last. Everywhere you look, there are people who are smarter and better than you. You are struggling. You are having a hard time trying to prove yourself to others.

Now, which situation would you rather be? Both scenarios have its advantages and disadvantages.

If you are a big fish in a small pond, you have limited competition. Your skills and talent will easily be noticed by your peers. It is easy to stand out. Your self-esteem and self-worth will be boosted. If you think positively about yourself, this will ultimately affect your overall performance. However, there will be limited opportunities for growth.

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell believes that it is better to a big fish in a small pond. In his book “David and Goliath”, he states how big ponds have the tendency to demoralize and crush the dreams of individuals while a small organization has the opposite effect.

If you are a small fish in a big pond, there are lots of opportunities available for you. You will have more resources at your disposal. You will also have a vast network. However, the biggest disadvantage is it is easier to be lost in the crowd. Competition will be tight and you will constantly find yourself trying to catch up and prove yourself to your peers.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you belong to a big pond, you will have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with people who are better than you. Hanging out with successful people will make you successful too. Being with them will open your eyes to the way they do things differently. You may be small at first but you have the opportunity to slowly grow and improve yourself.

What do you think? Which scenario is better? What will you choose?

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