The Magic of Thinking Big

Acquire The Secrets of Success

by David Schwartz

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Last tended 2 years ago
Planted 11 years ago
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5 min read ⚡️

Table of Contents


There is magic in thinking big. But it is so easy to forget. When you hit some rough spots, there is danger that your thinking will shrink in size. And when it does, you lose. Excusitis is the disease of failure. Action cures fear. Invest in yourself, invest in idea starters, confer with yourself, be human.

"A wise man will be master of his mind, A fool will be its slave."

How I Discovered It

I first heard of this book when I read the articles from Mr Money Mustache's blog in 2012. I resonated with the skinny teenaged version of Mr Money Mustache in 1992 and his story kickstarted my adventure of reading non-fiction books to improve myself.

Who Should Read it

Schwartz did an excellent job in summarizing a lot of general self-help advice in a single book simply and engagingly.

I would recommend it for teenagers and young adults looking for a general self-help book to improve themselves.

Key Ideas

1. Success is determined by the size of one's thinking rather than the size of one's brain

"Case history after case history proved that the size of bank accounts, the size of happiness accounts, and the size of one’s general satisfaction account is dependent on the size of one’s thinking. There is magic in thinking big.

“If ‘Thinking Big’ accomplishes so much, why doesn’t everyone think that way?” ... All of us, more than we recognize, are products of the thinking around us. And much of this thinking is little, not big.

All around you is an environment that is trying to tug you, trying to pull you down Second Class Street.

You are told almost daily that there are “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” In other words, that opportunities to lead no longer exist, that there is a surplus of chiefs, so be content to be a little guy.

... Leading people in all occupations will tell you that “the trouble is, there are too many Indians and not nearly enough chiefs.”"

In a similar aspect, this reminded me of a quote from Anaïs Nin. She illustrated the relation between one's life capacity and courage beautifully.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

2. Success doesn’t demand a price. Every step forward pays a dividend.

You don't have to sell your soul, your family life, your conscience, your set of values to reach the top.

3. 2 basic qualities to success

  1. Having the interest, intent and desire for greater success
  2. The intelligence to seek out tools and methods to help you realize the desire. After all, we need tools to build anything; from physical products to successful life.

4. 3 steps to develop the power of belief

  1. "Think success, don’t think failure. At work, in your home, substitute success thinking for failure thinking. When you face a difficult situation, think, “I’ll win,” not “I’ll probably lose.” 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.”" The Law of Attraction applies. Positive thoughts bring positive outcomes.

  2. "Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are." Successful people are ordinary people who believe in themselves. Never sell yourself short.**

  3. "Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief." Big ideas and big plans don't neccassrily make them harder than small ideas and small plan.

5. Excusitis is the disease of failure

Each time you make the excuse, the excuse becomes imbedded deeper within your subconsciousness. The more frequently you repeats the same excuse, the more convinced you become that it is true.

6. Action cures fear

How 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.

Hesitation only enlarges, magnifies the fear. Take action promptly. Be decisive.

"The conference clam thinks to himself, “My opinion is probably worthless. If I say something, I’ll probably look foolish. I’ll just say nothing. Besides, the others in the group probably know more than I. I don’t want the others to know how ignorant I am.”

Each time the conference clam fails to speak, he feels even more inadequate, more inferior. Often he makes a faint promise to himself (that down deep he knows he won’t keep) to speak “next time.”

This is very important: each time our clam fails to speak, he takes one more dose of confidence poison. He becomes less and less confident of himself.

But on the positive side, the more you speak up, the more you add to your confidence, and the easier it is to speak up the next time. Speak up. It’s a confidence-building vitamin."

7. Efficient management of your memory bank builds your self-confidence

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. Deposit and withdraw only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Destroy your negative thoughts before those thoughts become mental monsters.

"“A person can make a mental monster out of almost any unpleasant happening,” my psychologist friend went on. “A job failure, a jilted romance, a bad investment ... As a psychologist, I can’t change what already is in a person’s memory. But I can, with the patient’s cooperation, help the individual to see his past in a different light."

8. Shy? Put people in proper perspective

People are more alike, much more alike, than they are different. Get a balanced view of the other fellow. He is just another human being. And develop an understanding attitude. Many people will bark, but it’s a rare one who bites.

9. Get plenty of psychological sunshine

Spend more time with people who believe in your vision; stop spending time with chicken if you want to soar like eagles.

10. Grow the “Service first” attitude

Make it a rule in everything you do: give people more than they expect to get.

11. Make yourself lighter to lift. Be likable.

  1. Practice being the kind of person people like. This wins their support and puts fuel in your success-building program.

  2. Take the initiative in building friendships. Introduce yourself to others at every opportunity.

  3. Practice conversation generosity. Be like successful people. Encourage others to talk. Let the other person talk to you about his views, his opinions, his accomplishments.

12. Grow the Action Habit

  1. Be an activationist. Be someone who does things. Be a doer.
  1. Don’t wait until conditions are perfect. They never will be. Expect future obstacles and difficulties and solve them as they arise.

  2. Ideas alone won’t bring success. Ideas have value only when you act upon them.

  3. Seize the initiative now. Show that you have the ability and ambition to do things - pronto.

13. Be your own constructive critic

  1. Study setback to pave your way to success.

You never lose. You either win or learn.

  1. Seek out your faults and weaknesses and then correct them

  2. Stop blaming luck. Blaming luck never got anyone where they wanted to go.

  3. Blend persistence with experimentation. Try new approaches

  4. There is a good side in every situation. Find it. See the good side and whip discouragement.

14. Let your major goal be your automatic pilot

When you let your goal absorb you, you’ll find yourself making the right decisions to reach your goal.

15. Trade minds with the people you want to influence

It’s easy to get others to do what you want them to do if you’ll see things through their eyes. Ask yourself this question before you act: “What would I think of this if I exchanged places with the other person?”

Think Outward Mindset / Empathetic Mindset.

16. Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress

Think improvement in everything you do. Think high standards in everything you do. Over a period of time subordinates tend to become carbon copies of their chief. Be sure the master copy is worth duplicating. Make this a personal resolution: ‘At home, at work, in community life, if it’s progress I’m for it.”

It makes my day when I see it.
Walter Teng © 2023