The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz: Summary and Notes

the magic of thinking big summary

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.”

Rating: 8/10

Related Books: The Power of Positive ThinkingHow to Win Friends and Influence PeopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Richest Man In Babylon

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The Magic of Thinking Big Short Summary 

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz is a book on self-belief and confidence. It will teach you how to think and act positively towards self, others, and the conduct of your business. A good book with many life-changing lessons on the power of self-belief.

Executive Summary

Success comes down to how you think. If you think negatively, you will get negative results and if you think positively, you will get positive results.

Successful people know this and use the power of belief to live more fulfilling lives.

Thinking big works like magic. It will open new ways of solving problems, encourage action, help you to conquer your fears, and even earn you the respect of your friends and peers.

Thinking big begins with believing in yourself.

Believe You Can Succeed and You Will

Belief is central to success. How successful you are is determined by the size of your own thinking.

If you think small, expect small results. Think big and big things will start happening to you.

With belief comes the will to do things and once you start getting things done, opportunities will open for you.

Belief not only inspires action but also opens the mind to new ways of looking at things.

“The how to do it comes from the person who believes he can do it.”

To develop the power of belief:

  1. Think success, not failure. Condition yourself to think positive thoughts
  2. Constantly remind yourself that you are better than you think you are. Don’t sell yourself short.
  3. Believe big

How successful you are will be determined by the size of your own belief.

The Failure Disease: Cure Yourself of Excusitis

Excusitis: the endless reasons people come up with to explain why they cannot be successful

Successful people don’t suffer from this disease. They don’t make excuses for not getting things done. They learn from their mistakes and persevere when things get hard.

“The more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses.”

The four most common excuses that unsuccessful people make:

  • Bad health
  • Not enough intelligence
  • “I’m too old or too young”
  • Bad luck

All these reasons are just excuses.

Even if your health is bad, you can still find the strength to have a positive attitude that will allow you to make good of what time you have left.

And if you worry that you don’t have the brains, remember that you are likely underestimating yourself.

And there is more to success than just having brains. Having the right attitude can get you just as far.

Build Confidence and Destroy Fear 

Succumbing to fear and not having enough confidence is one of the reasons why people don’t succeed.

“Fear – Uncertainty, lack of confidence – explains why we still have economic recessions. Fear explains why millions of people accomplish little and enjoy little.”  

It stems from mismanaged negative imagination which means that it can be cured with positive thoughts and actions.

To cure fear:

  1. Act promptly. Postponing things breeds fear, so if you have to act, do it promptly
  2. Only put positive thoughts in your memory bank. Do not fall into the trap of developing self-deprecatory thoughts
  3. Put people in proper perspective. If you are afraid of people, realize that they are just like you with the same expectations and fears
  4. Practice doing what your conscience says is right. “Doing what’s right is a very practical rule for success.”
  5. Make everything about you say “I’m confident”. Be a front seater. Make eye contact. Walk 25% faster. Speak up Smile big

How to Think Big

The size of your thinking determines the scale of your accomplishments.

To start thinking big:

  1. Don’t sell yourself short. Know your worth by concentrating on your assets. Often, you will find that you are better than you think you are
  2. Use big thinkers’ vocabulary. Practice using big, bright, and cheerful words. Words that promise victory, happiness, hope, and so on
  3. Stretch your vision. See what is possible not just what is. Practice adding value to people, yourself, and to situations
  4. Get the big view of your job. Appreciate the things that you have. For example: start thinking that your job is important and your approach will change
  5. Think above trivial things. Don’t be petty. Don’t engage in pointless arguments. Ask yourself “Is this really important?”

How to Think and Dream Creatively

Creative Thinking: finding new, improved ways to do anything. If you can find different ways to do something better then you will surely be successful

To strengthen your creative ability:

  1. Believe that it can be done. Your mind will find a way
  2. Tradition should not paralyze your mind. Have an open mind that is receptive to new ideas. Be experimental and progressive
  3.  Ask yourself ‘how can I do better’? Self-improvement has no limit and if you look for ways to improve, you will find them
  4. Capacity is a state of mind. Make a habit of asking yourself daily ‘how can I do more?’. There is always room to get things done even when you are too busy
  5. Practice asking and listening. “Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking.”
  6. Stretch your mind. Befriend people who can help you think better

You Are What You Think You Are

People see us the way we see ourselves. If you see yourself in great light, people will treat you the same way.

How you look, how seriously you take yourself is reflected in how other people treat you.

To improve how others see you:

  1. Look important. A good appearance will boost your confidence and spirits. Think your work is important.
  2. Sell yourself to yourself. Give yourself a pep talk each day. Remind yourself that you are an important person.
  3. Always ask yourself “is this how an important person thinks?”

Manage Your Environment: Go First Class

The environment shapes how we think and act.

For example:

Prolonged exposure to negative people makes us think negatively and close contact with petty people makes us behave in petty ways.

On the other hand, close contact with bright and energetic people gives us ambition and drive.

 “Big men do not laugh at big ideas.”

To manage your environment: 

  1. Stay conscious and be mindful of the things in your environment
  2. Make your environment work for you rather than against you; avoid negative people
  3. Don’t listen to small-thinking people
  4. Get your advice from successful people
  5. To refresh your mind, find new and stimulating things to do
  6. Throw out poison from your environment. Always stay positive and way from things like gossip.
  7. Go first class in all that you do. You cannot afford otherwise.

Make Your Attitudes Your Allies

The way to read the minds of other people is by observing their attitudes. Attitudes speak volumes about a person’s chances of success. 

To grow the right attitude:

  1. Grow “the I’m activated attitude”. Show enthusiasm in everything that you do. The results that you get are proportional to the enthusiasm that you show.
  2. Grow “you are important attitude”. Learn to see and treat others with respect. People are willing to do more for you if when you make them feel important.
  3. Grow the service first attitude by giving people more than they expect to get.

Think Right Toward People

Your success depends on the support of other people.

If people like you for your character and the way that you carry yourself around, then you will get promotions, earn praise, and accomplish a lot in life.

Being likable makes you lighter to lift. 

To think right towards people:

  1. Make yourself lighter to lift. Practice being likable. Ask yourself what it is that people like about others and copy those traits.
  2. Take the initiative in building friendships. Get people’s names straight. Introduce yourself to others. Drop personal notes to your new friends telling them that you’d want to know them better.
  3. Accept differences in people and their limitations. No one is perfect so don’t be too harsh in your judgment of others.
  4. Tune in to the positive channel in your brain.  Find admirable qualities in others. If you think positively towards people, you will get positive results.
  5. Practice conversation generosity. Give others time to express themselves.
  6. Show courtesy to other people. Showing courtesy makes other people feel better about themselves
  7. Don’t blame others for your setbacks. How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.

Get the Action Habit

Everything that you can see around you from houses to baby food is an idea that was acted upon. You should act on your ideas if you want to be successful.

To act on your ideas:

  1. Be an activationist or someone who gets things done. Don’t postpone it. Don’t make excuses. Just get it done.
  2. Don’t wait for perfect conditions. There are no perfect conditions. No right time.
  3. Ideas alone will not bring success. Ideas only have value if acted upon.
  4. Use action to cure your fears and build initiative. Taking the first step will make your fears disappear.
  5. Start your mental engine with a task (mechanically). Don’t sit around waiting for motivation or the right feeling.
  6. Start now not tomorrow, next week, next month or later. Procrastination is a path to failure.
  7. Start acting. Don’t waste time preparing to act.
  8. Seize the initiative. Show that you have the ability and the will to get things done.

How to Turn Defeat into Victory

No matter what you do in life there will be setbacks. The question is how you will deal with them.

 “How you handle the hardships will ultimately determine how successful you become.”

To turn defeat to victory:

  1. Learn from your mistakes. Setbacks present learning opportunities don’t waste them.
  2. Be your own constructive critic. Be on the lookout for your own mistakes, faults, and weaknesses. Correcting them makes you look professional.
  3. Stop blaming luck. Research your setbacks and find out what went wrong. Be willing to try new approaches.
  4. Blend persistence with experimentation. If things don’t work, try a different strategy. Eventually, some path will open.
  5. Remember every situation has a good side. Find the good side and whip discouragement.

 Use Goals to Help You Grow

You will not be able to achieve anything unless you set goals. Goals work as pointers to the destination that you are trying to get to.

To set effective goals:

  1. Create an image of where you want to be in ten years
  2. Write down your ten-year plan. You cannot leave things to chance. Life is too important to leave things to chance.
  3. Surrender to your desires. Set goals for every aspect of your life.
  4. Let your most important goal guide you.
  5. Achieve your goals one step at a time.
  6. Build goals for every day of your life. The day-by-day effort pays off.
  7. Take detours in stride; take different routes to the same goal.
  8. Invest in yourself.

 How to Think Like a Leader

Leadership is a necessary quality for success. Leaders are people whose success depends on how well they work with others.

To act like a leader:

  1. Trade minds with the people you want to influence. See things through the eyes of the people you want to lead. It is easier to bring them on board with your ideas that way.
  2. Think “What is the human way to handle this”. Put other people first and they will reciprocate.
  3. Think progress. Believe in progress. Push for progress. Make progress a daily goal in everything that you do.
  4. Take time to confer with yourself. Clear your mind by spending time alone to regenerate your creative powers.