I like to think big-in our family, we do that by “brainstorming with abandon.” There are no ideas too far-fetched when you are brainstorming with abandon-no idea can be rejected-it gets thrown in the hat whether it seems reasonable, doable or just plain crazy. And, never, ever can an idea be discarded because “that just won’t work.” In fact, every idea is approached with the idea of “how could we do that?”

You have to think that the folks behind the design and execution of Mt. Rushmore were “brainstorming with abandon.”

Before brainstorming with abandon-a big chunk of granite

Before brainstorming with abandon-a big chunk of granite

So, there is a big chunk of granite over there, let’s blast about 450,000 tons of rock of the side of the mountain, and then fine tune things with a jack hammer, maybe some chisels. We could maybe make some faces…

Yes. Faces-let’s do that and make them 60 feet tall with noses about 20 feet long-11 feet wide eyes and a mouth that is about 18 feet wide. With dimensions like that it might be easier to do a man’s face, instead of a woman’s-don’t you think?! And, you know, a good idea for the faces would be men like Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln-manly men-with substantial features-and they really do represent the founding, growth, development and preservation of our nation. Thinking big…

during-thinking big requires planning with exactness

during-thinking big requires planning with exactness

And, who shall pay for this granite masterpiece carved into the mountain? When the group realized the enormity of the project, it was clear there would need to be substantial outside funding-it wasn’t going to be cheap to make granite into art. The group decided to think big…federal government big.  (Editor note:  The final tab was $989,992.32, with the average worker making $8 a day. It is estimated that it would cost $11 billion to create today, but would probably never be built because we’d never get through the red tape.)

In a masterful scheme, the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum and a group of South Dakota politicians persuaded the President, Calvin Coolidge, to visit the Black Hills where the granite mountain loomed large on the landscape-just begging to be carved upon….

Well, the visit was a roaring success, the visit of days turned to weeks, weeks to months and finally, the area became the summer White House-the President and First Lady stayed on for 3 months. One of the biggest draws for the president was the enormous success he had experienced daily while trout fishing-he loved it!

Surely, someone had been “brainstorming with abandon” on how to get the President to succumb to the aggressive campaign being waged to confirm his commitment to fund the granite monument.

Knowing how the President fancied himself quite a fisherman, local monument enthusiasts would daily stock the creek by his lodge with fat trout from the local hatchery!  Probably will never know what part “trout-gate” played in persuading the President-but kudos to these big thinkers for their creativity in finding ways to ensure the execution of their big plan to carve faces in granite!

And, if you are ever in the Black Hills of South Dakota, you will be awe-struck when you happen upon Mt. Rushmore-which stands as a granite memorial to the simple principles: think big and “brainstorm with abandon.”

After brainstorming with abandon-a national monument

After brainstorming with abandon-a national monument

YOUR TURN: Have you ever seen Mount Rushmore? Can you imagine carving a face in the stone that is your countertop??