The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Thinking Big

RATING: 7/10…READ: September 7, 2011

If you find yourself stuck, this book will open up possibility once again. THINK BIGGER. MUCH BIGGER. A book that mirrors/compliments Think and Grow Rich.

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Leading people in all occupations will tell you, as they’ve told me, that “the trouble is, there are too many Indians and not nearly enough chiefs.”

A personnel selection executive told me that he receives 50 to 250 times as many applicants for jobs that pay $10,000 per year as for jobs that pay $50,000 a year. This is to say that there is at least 50 times as much competition for jobs on Second Class Street as for jobs on First Class Avenue.

Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure ways and BELIEVE YOU CAN SUCCEED AND YOU WILL

means and how-to. And believing you can succeed makes others place confidence in you.

The “Okay-I’ll-give-it-a-try-but-I-don’t-think-it-will-work” attitude produces failures.

Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts “reasons” to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures.

It is well to respect the leader. Learn from him. Observe him. Study him. But don’t worship him. Believe you can surpass. Believe you can go beyond. Those who harbor the second-best attitude are invariably second-best doers.

I sat there the rest of the night just reviewing how lack of faith in myself had dominated me ever since I could remember, how’! had used my mind to work against myself. I found I had been preaching to myself why I couldn’t get ahead instead of why I could. I had been selling myself short. I found this streak of self-depreciation showed through in everything I did. Then it dawned on me that no one else was going to believe in me until I believed in myself.

How to Develop the Power of Belief

Think success, don’t think failure. At work, in your home, substitute failure thinking for success thinking. When you face a difficult situation, think, ”I’ll win,” not I’ll probably lose. Believe YOU CAN SUCCEED AND YOU WILL . When you compete with someone else, think, “I’m equal to the best,” not “I’m outclassed.” When opportunity appears, think “I can do it,” never ” I can’t.” Let the master thought “I will succeed” dominate your thinking process.

Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are.

Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier –certainly no more difficult-than small ideas and small plans.

You’ll want to ask yourself questions like ‘Why is John so successful and Tom just getting by?” “Why do some people have many friends and other people have only few friends?” “Why will people gladly accept what one person tells them but ignore another person who tells them the same thing?

Study the lives of successful people and you’ll discover this: all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow could be but aren’t made by the successful person

The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than the quantity of your brainpower.

Dr. Edward Teller, one of the nation’s foremost physicists, said, ”A child does not need a lightning-fast mind to be a scientist, nor does he need a miraculous memory, nor is it necessary that he get very high grades in school. The only point that counts is that the child have a high degree of interest in science.”

With a positive, optimistic, and cooperative attitude a per- son with an IQ of 100 will earn more money, win more respect, and achieve more success than a negative, pessimistic, uncooperative individual with an IQ of 120.

Several years ago I became a close friend of Phil E, one of the senior officers of a major advertising agency. Phil was director of marketing research for the agency, and he was doing a bang-up job.

–Was Phil a ‘brain”? Far from it. Phil knew next to nothing about research technique. He knew next to nothing about statistics. He was not a college graduate (though all the people working for him were). And Phil did not pretend to know the technical side of research. What, then, enabled Phil to command $30,000 a year while not one of his subordinates earned $10,000?

–This: Phil was a “human” engineer. Phil was 100 percent positive. Phil could inspire others when they felt low; Phil was enthusiastic. He generated enthusiasm; Phil understood people, and, because he could really see what made them tick, he liked them.

Einstein was once asked how many feet are in a mile. Einstein’s reply was “I don’t know; Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book?

Einstein taught us a big lesson. He felt it was more important to use your mind to think than to use it as a warehouse for facts.

That expert can’t think. He can only memorize. He’s just a human encyclopedia.

Remind yourself several times daily, “My attitudes are more important than my intelligence.” At work and at home practice positive attitudes. See the reasons why you can do it, not the reasons why you can’t. Develop an “I’m winning” attitude. Put your intelligence to creative positive use. Use it to find ways to win, not to prove you will lose.

Remember that the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. Use your mind to create and develop ideas, to find new and better ways, to do things. Ask yourself, ‘am I using my mental ability to make history, or am I using it merely to record history made by others?

Back on the farm a boy became a man when he proved he could do the work of a man. His number of birthdays had nothing to do with it.

Your age won’t be a handicap unless you make it one

Invest future time in doing what you really want to do. It’s too late only when you let your mind go negative and think it’s too late. Stop thinking “I should have started years ago.” That’s failure thinking. Instead think, ‘Tm going to start now, my best years are ahead of me.” That’s the way successful people think.

Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.

Fear of People: Put them in proper perspective. Remember, the other person is just another human being pretty much like yourself

Two Steps to cure fear and win confidence:

1. Isolate your fear. Pin it down. Determine exactly what you are afraid of.

2. Then take action. There is some kind of action for any kind of fear.

Your brain is very much like a bank. Every day you make thought deposits in your “mind bank.” These thought deposits grow and become your memory. When you settle down to think or when you face a problem, in effect you say to your memory bank, ”What do I already know about this?

Successful people specialize in putting positive thoughts into their memory bank.

Here is an excellent plan. Just before you go to sleep, deposit good thoughts in your memory bank. Count your blessings. Recall the many good things you have to be thankful for: your wife or husband, your children, your friends, your health. Recall the good things you saw people do today. Recall your little victories and accomplishments. Go over the reasons why you are glad to be alive.

Don’t build mental monsters. Refuse to withdraw the unpleasant thoughts from your memory bank. When you remember situations of any kind, concentrate on the good part of the experience; forget the bad. Bury it. If you find yourself thinking about the negative side, turn your mind off completely.

Dr. Melvin,S. Hattwick, noted advertising psychologist, in commenting on our ability to remember, says, “When the feeling aroused is pleasant, the advertisement has a better chance to be remembered. When the feeling aroused is unpleasant, the reader or listener tends to forget the advertisement message. The unpleasant runs counter to what we want, we don’t want to remember it.”

When you meet another person, make it a policy to think, “We’re just two important people sitting down to discuss something of mutual.

Psychologists tell us we can change our attitudes by changing our physical actions. For example, you actually feel more like smiling if you make yourself smile. You feel more superior when you make yourself stand tall than when you slouch. On the negative side, frown a really bitter frown and see if you don’t feel more like frowning.

Sitting up front builds confidence. Practice it. From ‘now on make it a rule to sit as close to the front as you can. Sure, you may be a little more conspicuous in the front, but remember, there is nothing inconspicuous about success.

Usually, failure to make eye contact says one of two things. It may say, “I feel weak beside you. I feel inferior to you. I’m afraid of you.” Or avoiding another person’s eyes may say, “I feel guilty.” I’ve done something or I’ve thought something that I don’t want you to know. I’m afraid if I let my eyes connect with yours, you’ll see through me.”

Looking the other person in the eye tells him, “I’m honest and aboveboard. I believe in what I’m telling you. I’m not afraid. I’m confident.”

Make it a rule to speak up at every open meeting you attend. Speak up, say something voluntarily at every business conference, committee meeting, community forum you attend. Make no exception. Comment, make a suggestion, ask a question. And don’t be the last to speak. Try to be the icebreaker, the first one in with a comment.

The tendency for so many people to think small means there is much less competition than you think for a very rewarding career.

1. Determine your five chief assets. Invite some objective friend to help–possibly your wife, your superior, a professor, some intelligent person who will give you an honest opinion. (Examples of assets frequently listed are education, experience, technical skills, appearance, well-adjusted home life, attitudes, personality, initiative.)

2. Next, under each asset, write the names of three persons you know who have achieved large success but who do not have this asset to as great a degree as you.

–When you’ve completed this exercise, you will find you outrank many successful people on at least one asset.

Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others. To think big, we must use words and phrases that produce big, positive mental images.

The market is saturated. Imagine, 75 percent of the potential has already been sold. Better get out. ++++Imagine, 25 percent of the market is still not sold. Count me in. This looks big!

Five years is too long a time to spend before I’ll get into the top ranks in your company. Count me out. ++++ Five years is not really a long time. Just think, that leaves me thirty years to serve at a high level.

Use big, positive, cheerful words and phrases to describe how you feel. When someone asks, “How de you feel today?” respond with a ‘Just wonderful! thanks, and you” or say “Great” or “Fine.”

–Become known as a person who always feels ·great. It wins friends.

Use bright, cheerful, favorable words and phrases to describe other people. Make it a rule to have a big, positive word for all your friends and associates.

Look at things not as they are, but as they can be. Visualization adds value to everything. A big thinker always visualizes what can be done in the future. He isn’t stuck with the present.

”I’ve made up my mind to look at myself as the person I’m going to be in a few short years. I see myself not as a rate clerk but as an executive. I don’t see a crummy apartment, I see a fine new suburban home. And when I look at myself that way, I feel bigger and think bigger. And I’ve got plenty of personal experiences to prove it’s paying off.”

Practice adding value to people. As you move higher and higher in the world of success, more and more of your job becomes “people development.” Ask, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to my subordinates? What can I do to help them to become more effective?” Remember, to bring out the best in a person, you must first visualize his best.

Practice adding value to yourself. Conduct a daily interview with yourself. Ask, “What can I do to make myself more valuable today?” Visualize yourself not as you are but as you can be. Then specific ways for attaining your potential value will suggest themselves. Just try and see.

When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why. But when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and helps you find the ways to do it.

In a similar fashion, you can find ways to like a person if you believe you can.

You can discover solutions to personal problems if you believe you can.

You can find a way to purchase that new, larger home if you believe you can.

Be an experimental person. Breakup fixed routines. Expose yourself to new restaurants, new books, new theaters, new friends; take a different route to work someday, take a different vacation this year, do something new and different this weekend.

I have learned in dozens of instances that I can count on a busy man to deliver. But I have often been disappointed in working with people who have “all the time in the world.”

Encourage others to talk. In personal conversation or in group meetings, draw out people with little urges, such as “Tell me about your experience …” or “What do you think should be done about … ?” or “What do you think is the key point)” Encourage others to talk, and you win a double-barreled victory: your mind soaks up raw material that you can use to produce creative thought, and you win friends. There is no surer way to get people to like you than to encourage them to talk to you.

Join and meet regularly with at least one professional group that provides stimulation in your own occupational area.

Join and participate in at least one group outside your occupational interests.

Resolve to put your ideas in salable form. An idea written or in some sort of picture or diagram form has many times more selling power than the idea presented only in oral form.

Ask yourself daily, “How can I do better?” There is no limit to self-improvement. When you ask yourself, “How can I do better?” sound answers will appear. Try it and see.

How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you.

Never leave home without feeling certain you look like the kind of person you want to be.

Clothing: Pay twice as much and buy half as many.

But how does one develop enthusiasm? The basic step is simple: Think enthusiastically. Build in yourself an optimistic, progressive glow; a feeling that “this is great and I’m 100 percent for it.”

Give yourself a pep talk several times daily. Build a “sell- yourself-to-yourself” commercial. Remind yourself at every opportunity that you’re a first-class person

Here’s how to build your “sell-yourself to-yourself” commercial: First, select your assets, your points of superiority. Ask yourself, ‘‘what are my best qualities?” Don’t be shy in describing yourself. Next, put these points down on paper in your own words. Write your commercial to you

Third, practice your commercial out loud in private at least once a day. Pg143

Fourth, read your commercial silently several times every day. Read it before you tackle anything that demands courage.

In all of life’s situations, ask yourself, “Is this the way an important person thinks?” Then obey the answer.

More important, the size of your thinking, your goals, your attitudes, your very personality is formed by your environment.

People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishment

Make no mistake about it. You are judged by the company you keep. Birds of a feather do flock together. Fellow workers are not all alike.

Go first class when you have questions. Seeking advice from a failure is like consulting a quack on how to cure cancer.

John’s psychological diet on weekends is something like this: Usually; one evening is spent with some carefully selected, interesting friends. Another evening is generally spent out: perhaps at a movie, a civic or community project, or some friends’ house. John devotes Saturday morning to Boy Scout work. Saturday afternoon he does errands and chores around the house. Often he works on some special project. Currently it’s building a patio in the backyard. On Sundays John and his family do something special. One Sunday recently they climbed a mountain; another Sunday they visited a museum. Occasionally they drive into the nearby countryside, for John wants to buy some country prop- erty in the not-too-distant future.

Sunday evening is spent quietly. John usually reads a book and catches up on the news. Wrapped up, John’s weekends are planned. His many refreshing activities keep boredom locked out. John gets plenty of psychological sunshine

John’s environmental pattern leaves him refreshed, gives him ideas, tunes up his thinking. He’s like an athlete being fed steak.

It’s better to have fewer things and have quality than to have many things and have junk. It’s better, for example, to have one really good pair of shoes than to have three pairs of second-class shoes.

Grow these three attitudes. Make them your allies in everything you do.

Grow the attitude of I’m activated.

Grow the attitude of You are important.

Grow the attitude of Service first.

To activate others, to get them to. be enthusiastic, you must first be enthusiastic yourself.

Life up your smiles. Smile with your eyes. Nobody likes an artificial, pasted-on, rubbery smile. When you smile, smile. Show a few teeth.

Life up your thank yous.” A routine, automatic thank you” is almost like saying “gleep, gleep.” It’s just an expression. It says nothing. It doesn’t accomplish results. Make your “thank you” mean thank you very much.”

Broadcast good news. You and I have been in many situations when someone burst in and said: I’ve got good news.” Immediately this person gets 100 percent attention from everyone present. Good news does more than get attention; good news pleases people. Good news develops enthusiasm. Good news even promotes good digestion.

Make this little test regularly to keep you on the right track. Whenever you leave a person, ask yourself, “Does that person honestly feel better because he has talked with me?”

First, people do more for you when you make them feel important.

Practice appreciation. Make it a rule to let others know you appreciate what they do for you. Never, never let anyone feel he is taken for granted.

Practice calling people by their names.

“Money printed your Bible, money builds your churches, money sends your missionaries, and money pays your preachers, and you would not have many of them, either, if you did not pay them.”

Dig into it deeper. When you find yourself uninterested in something, dig in and learn more about it. This sets off enthusiasm.

Grow the “Service first” attitude, and watch money take care of itself. Make it a rule in everything you do: give people more than they expect to get.

In at least nine cases out of tell, the “likability” factor is the first thing mentioned. And ill an overwhelmingly large number of cases, the “likability” factor is give far more weight than the technical factor.

Don’t be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all.

Next time you are in a large group, observe something very significant: the most important person present is the one person most active in introducing himself.

Have you ever noticed how people freeze while waiting for elevators? Unless they are with someone they know, most folks never say anything to the person standing beside them.

When you make a pleasant remark to a stranger, you make him feel one degree better. This makes you feel better and helps you relax. Every time you say something pleasant to another person, you compensate yourself.

Here are six ways to win friends by exercising just a little initiative:

Introduce yourself to others at every possible opportunity—-‘at parties, meetings, on airplanes, at work, everywhere.

Be sure the other person gets your name straight.

Be sure you can pronounce the other person’s name the way he pronounces it.

Write down the other person’s name, and be mighty sure you have it spelled correctly; people have a fetish about the correct spelling of their own names! If possible, get his address and phone number, also.

Drop a personal note or make a phone call to the new friends you feel you want to know better. This is an important point. Most successful people follow through on new friends with a letter or a phone call.

And last but not least, say pleasant things to strangers. It warms you up and gets you ready for the task ahead.

The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same person.

How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.

Look for all the ways to like people.

Meet problems and obstacles as they arise. The test of a successful person is not the ability to eliminate all problems before he takes action, but rather the ability to find solutions to difficulties when he encounters them.

Action cures fear.

The longer you lie there and think how unpleasant it will be to get up, the more difficult it becomes.

Tests prove conclusively that you remember something much longer and much more exactly if you write the thought on paper.

Do this today: Pick the one thing you like to do least.. Then, without letting yourself deliberate on or dread the task, do it. That’s the most efficient way to handle chores.

Be a crusader. When you see something that you believe ought to be done, pick up the ball and run.

Do you feel your business should develop a new department, make a new product, or in some other way expand? Well, then, crusade for it. Feel your church needs a new building? Crusade for it. Would you like your children’s’ school to have better equipment? Crusade and get it for them.

–And you can bank on this: while crusades may start out as one-man crusades, if the idea behind the enterprise is good, soon you’ll have lots of support.

The football coach who wins more games than he loses goes over the details of each game with his team to point out their mistakes. Some coaches have movies made of each game so the team can literally see its bad moves. The purpose: to play the next game better: salvage something from every setback.

Be constructively self-critical. Don’t run away from inadequacies. Be like the real professionals. They seek out their faults and weaknesses, then correct them. That’s what makes them professionals.

Edison is credited with being one of America’s most persistent scientists. It’s reported that he conducted thousands of experiments before he invented the electric light bulb. But note: Edison conducted experiments. He persisted in his goal to develop a light bulb. But he made that persistence payoff by blending it with experimentation.

President Eisenhower once was asked at a news conference why he took so many weekend vacations. His answer is good advice for everybody who wants to maximize his creative ability. Mr. Eisenhower said, “I do not believe that any individual, whether he is running General Motors or the United States of America can do the best job just by sitting at a desk and putting his face in a bunch of papers. Actually, the president ought to be trying to keep his mind free of inconsequential details and doing his own thinking on the basic principles and factors … so that he can make clear and better judgments.”

You must form an image now of the person you want to be ten years from now if you are to become that image. This is a critical thought. —BUT already think of you as that person NOW.

I believe, the most important lesson in career planning: Before you start out, know where you want to go.

First, visualize your future in terms of three departments: work, home, and social, Dividing your life this way keeps you from becoming, confused, prevents conflicts, helps you look at the whole picture,

Second, demand of yourself clear, precise answers to these questions: What do I want to accomplish with my life? What do I want to be? and What does it take to satisfy me?



Work Department: 10 years from now:


What income level do I want to attain?

What level of responsibility do I seek?

How much authority do I want to command?

What prestige do I expect to gain from my work?


Home Department: 10 years from now:

What kind of standard of living do I want to provide for my family and myself?

What kind of house do I want to live in?

What kind of vacations do I want to take?

What financial support do I want to give my children in their early adult years?


Social Department: 10 years from now:


What kinds of friends do I want to have?

What social groups do I want to join?

What community leadership positions would I like to hold?

What worthwhile causes do I want to champion?

Competition. “The field is already overcrowded,” “People in that field are standing on top of each other” are remarks which kill desire fast.

The overwhelming majority of really successful people work much longer than forty hours a week. And you don’t hear them complain of overwork. Successful people have their eyes focused on a goal, and this provides energy.

To accomplish something, we must plan to accomplish something.

I tried to think only of the next paragraph, not the next page and certainly not the next chapter. Thus, for six solid months, I never did anything but set down one paragraph after another. The book ‘wrote itself.’

The step-by-step method is the only intelligent way to attain any objective. The best formula I have heard for quitting smoking, the one that has worked for more of my friends than any other, I call the hour-by-hour method. Instead of trying to reach the ultimate goal-freedom from the habit-just by resolving never to smoke again, the person resolves not to smoke for another hour. When the hour is up, the smoker simply renews his resolution not to smoke for another hour. Later, as desire diminishes, the period is extended to two hours, later to a day. Eventually, the goal is won. The person who wants freedom from the habit all at once fails because the psychological pain is more than he can stand. An hour is easy; forever is difficult.

Do this: Start marching toward your ultimate goal by making the next task you perform, regardless of how unimportant it may seem, a step in the right direction. Commit this question to memory and use it to evaluate everything you do: “Will this help take me where I want to go?” If the answer is no, back off; if yes, press ahead.

THIRTY-DAY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE Between now and ____I will

Break these habits: (suggestions)


Putting off things.

Negative language.

Watching TV more than 60 minutes per day.


Acquire these habits: (suggestions)


A rigid morning examination of my appearance.

Plan each day’s work the night before.

Compliment people at every possible opportunity.

Increase my value to my employer in these ways: (suggestions)


Do a better job of developing my subordinates.

Learn more about my company, what it does, and the customers it serves.

Make three specific suggestions to help my company become more efficient.

Increase my value to my home in these ways: (suggestions)


Show more appreciation for the little things my wife does that I’ve been taking for granted.

Once each week, do something special with my whole family.

Give one hour each day of my undivided attention to my family.

Sharpen my mind in these ways: (suggestions)


Invest two hours each week in reading professional magazines in my field.

Read one self-help book.

Make four new friends.

Spend 30 minutes daily in quiet, undisturbed thinking.

Trading minds with the people you want to influence is a magic way to get others-friends, associates. customers, employees-to act the way you want them to act.

‘What would I think of this if I exchanged places with the other person?”

“Whoever is under a man’s power is under his protection, too. We never should have hired this man in the first place because he’s not cut out for this kind of work. But since we did, the least I could do was help him to relocate.

Ask, “What is the human way to deal with’ people?” It always pays sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but it always pays.

— Think improvement in everything you do.

— Think high standards in everything you do.

Do I Think Progressively Toward Myself


Can I honestly say I am a more valuable person today than three or six months ago?

Am I following an organized self-improvement program to increase my value to others?

Do I have forward-looking goals for at least five years in the future?

Am I a booster in every organization or group to which I belong?

Do I Think Progressively Toward My Community?


Have I done anything in the past six months that I honestly feel has improved my community (neighborhood, churches, schools, etc.)?

Do I boost worthwhile community projects rather than object, criticize, or complain?

Have I ever taken the lead in bringing about some worthwhile improvement in my community?

Do I speak well of my neighbors and fellow citizens?

Do I Think Progressively Toward My Family?


Is my family happier today than it was three or six months ago?

Am I following a plan to improve my family’s standard of living?

Does my family have an ample variety of stimulating activities outside the home?

Do I set an example of “a progressive,” a supporter of progress, for my children?

Take time out to confer with yourself and tap your supreme thinking power. Managed solitude pays off. Use it to release your creative power. Use it to find solutions to personal and business problems. So spend some time alone every day just for thinking. Use the thinking technique all great leaders use: confer with yourself.