You are ten times BIGGER than you think

An unremarkable story of an ordinary man

You are ten times BIGGER than you think

This story illustrates ways in which you are ten times better than you think. You are a whole lot bigger. In many cases, up to ten times bigger. If you are anything like the man in this story, you might be 500 times bigger.

I tell you this unremarkable story to go a little beyond normal petty ‘talks’ and articles about goal setting and visualisation. It’s also a different perspective from the typical rhubarb about the so-called ‘law of attraction’. I find all that stuff very small minded.

LESSON 1: Ten times bigger is a hard think for some.

I recently spent time with my second cousin Bill over an Easter long weekend. We spoke a lot about our mutual great great grandfather, James Cobbledick, born in 1810.

Pioneer and farmer, Colin Pearce's Great Great Grandfather, James Cobbledick

My Great Great Grandfather, James Cobbledick

He emigrated from Devon in 1839, embarking on the three or four month sea voyage to South Australia on HMS City of Adelaide.
He had time on board to carve an elaborate ivory handled walking stick which is in the dungeons of the SA Museum.
He had time to think. I wonder what he thought about.

You don’t get bigger straight away

His was a bigger decision than anyone in his village was making, to head out to the great unknown world from the tiny village of Wembley in Devon. A BIG decision. Rough seas, sea sickness, possible ship-wreck, on-board disease, uncertain food supplies in the new colony, dangerous (as they thought) ‘natives’, loneliness, and nothing but his own wits with which to get ahead.

Being a mere mortal he must have wondered what lay ahead of him. I doubt he had Bill or me in his mind. He must have reminisced about home and family left behind. Like all of us, he had no idea about the effects of his adventure. But one thing is for sure, although an ordinary unskilled labourer, he was an adventurer and a bigger-than-normal thinker.

When he arrived, he took up work as a farmhand and gardener with the Police Magistrate, Captain O’Halloran.

Pioneer and farmer's wife, Colin Pearce's Great Great Grandmother Lucy Cobbledick

My Great Great Grandmother, Lucy Cobbledick


Two years later, a young couple (Mr and Mrs John and Lucy Palmer) arrived with promise of work with Captain O’Halloran, but soon after setting up home, John died.

Within two years James and Lucy were married. I can’t imagine that they thought any more about life than putting one foot in front of the other and managing their subsistence. In time they moved to become famers at Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills. See? Just a step at a time.

Great oaks from little acorns grow

James and Lucy had seven children.

James sold his produce in the East end of Adelaide near today’s Botanic Gardens on market days.

LESSON 2: Think beyond your own life-time

180 (bigger)years later. How often have I wandered through the magnificent Adelaide Botanic Gardens gardens and wondered who’d had the foresight to lay them out and plant so many grand trees under whose shade they would most likely never sit. I have wondered many times what kind of people they were, let alone who they were.

Imagine my unbounded joy when cousin Bill read me this account.

James was invited to join a committee with the designer George Francis to lay out and plant the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. James hauled rich soil from the hills to give the gardens a good start.

Wha-a-a-a-a-t? My great great grandfather was one of the heroes of the Gardens? Talk about great oaks growing from little acorns!


And the children? Those seven children turned into countless hundreds. Bill and I are two of them. My four children and five grandchildren are nine more. Bill and his sister Helen added six more children and in turn eight or more grandchildren.

We traced back to our mutual great grandfather and lost count of his descendants at 70 and went to bed. There are more. Each of his siblings produced about as many descendants. And that doesn’t take into account the descendants of his uncles and aunts – his cousins (the children of the original James and Lucy).

Among that vast number are (so far as we could recall) teachers, farmers, market gardeners, business owners, millionaires, writers, chairmen of councils, Justices of the Peace, actors, television actors, singers, bank managers, electrical engineers, firemen, tennis champions, fishermen, wool merchants, hairdressers, designers, mums, dads, grandmas and grandpas. There’s even a Hippie. And we can say very happily that they are all pretty good people.

LESSON 3: Think!Your life might not be about you!

How many trees, flowers and orchards – or whatevers are in your future, hiding away there to become ten times bigger than you think?

How many wonderful descendants are in your future, hiding away there to become ten times bigger than you think?

Your life might not all be about YOU, you know—your income, your retirement, your luxury holidays, your house, your investments, your fame, your glory, your depression, your loss, your sadness, your self-doubt, your fear. You might be here like James Cobbledick, having only one or two purposes, just a seed planter. There’s big joy in that; ten time bigger at least.

You are ten times bigger than you think.

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10 thoughts on “You are ten times BIGGER than you think

  1. Colin … I haven’t seen the Adelaide Botanic Gardens … they sound magnificent.

    I wonder if your great grandfather James Cobbledick had a notion that future generations would so appreciate his work … or whether he did then solely it because it was a totally meaningful project and the opportunity presented itself as did the opportunity to meet his life partner.

    I never got to meet either of my grandfathers and know nothing of any of my ancestors further back.
    I’m sure there would have been individual ancestors who acheived greatness beyond their self beliefs and probably many that acheived little beyond self preservation.

    I worked it out that thirty generations of ancestry … or about nine hudred years … equals about a million people so it would be difficult to know which line to take if I were to research this.

    Anyway … I think I get your point > thinking/acting ten times bigger is far more effective than goal setting or visualisation and especially ‘law of attraction’.

    I wonder what it was apart from a sense of adventure and a bigger than normal thinking ability that pushed him to decide to take the adventure.

    Its hard to imagine the journey taking place without a vision of sorts and and at least a simple goal plan.

    When I’m in adelaide at the Botanic Gardens I will think of your great great grandfather

    • It’s a pleasant stroll Bill. It’s cool and quiet. Yes I wonder about all those ancestors sitting there in the roots of my tree too. I just received a call from a chap in the other side of the family (Pearce) who wants to take me down that root stream as well. We know little of it but the question is how far back do we need to go to satisfy curiosity. I’m with you. It’s better to look forward. Thaks for writing.

  2. Brilliant story Col. We are all so much more valuable than we think!

    I often refelct on my own family. My Dad, Roy Hodges, was born out of wedlock and brought up in foster homes. At age 21 he married my beautiful Mum Vlama, then just 17 years of age.

    They produced 8 children, two of whom saldy died as infants. From the remaing six of us, there are now in excess of 60 people in the clan.

    My parents celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary and still going strong. They live in their own home and still look after themselves. I count myself so blessed to still have my parents living at my age!

    By the way, my Dad found his birth mother still alive when he was 76 years of age. She was 94. They bonded beautifully. She finally passed away at age 100 and a half! They has six years of great companionship together. Quite a story!

  3. As a seed and plant scientist, I do agree with the ideas of those who thought about gardens in cities. Think Hyde Park – London and even Sydney, Central Park New York and even Gardens around the city square of Adelaide, Kings Park Perth etc.
    They are always under pressure but hey…….WE need to resist that. Our contribution to being better than you think.