The Magic of Thinking Big
Readers who’ve subscribed to Soul Shelter for more than a few weeks know I’m a big fan of self-help books (there’s always hope!). So I’m shocked that it took me so long to stumble across The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.
Though Schwartz’s subtitle might make you roll your eyes (“Acquire the Secrets of Success … Achieve Everything You’ve Always Wanted: Personal Property | Financial Security | Power and Influence | The Ideal Job | Satisfying Relationships | A Rewarding and Enjoyable Life”), his advice is down to earth-and in my view, priceless.
Instead of summarizing the whole thing, let me share some nuggets that hit me where I live. Maybe you’ll find them useful, too.
Think Positively Toward Yourself
Many of us were taught to be humble, to downplay our own abilities and accomplishments. Yes, modesty is a virtue, but constant self-deprecation—conscious or not—is a losing strategy in life. Schwartz believed that “the key to winning what you want lies in thinking positively toward yourself.” This passage reminds me of As a Man Thinketh, one of the granddads of the self-help movement:
The only real basis other people have for judging your abilities is your actions. And your actions are controlled by your thoughts. You are what you think you are … Thinking does make it so.
See What Can Be, Not Just What Is
Schwartz reminds us that visualization adds value to everything. Thinking big means training yourself to see not just what is, but what can be. Here are a couple of tidbits that deserve the big quotation marks:
A big thinker always visualizes what can be done in the future. He isn’t stuck with the present … Visualize yourself not as you are, but as you can be.
Broadcast Good News
Bitter thoughts are worthless. “No one ever won a friend,” Schwartz wrote, “no one ever made money, no one ever accomplished anything by broadcasting bad news.” ‘Nuff said. The following passage brings to mind a summer stay in Tokyo two years back amid 90% humidity and 100 degree heat:
Have you ever noticed how seldom children complain about the weather? They take hot weather in stride until the negative news corps educates them to be conscious of unpleasant temperatures. Make it a habit always to speak favorably about the weather regardless of what the weather actually is. Complaining about the weather makes you more miserable and it spreads misery to others.
Though written nearly half a century ago, The Magic of Thinking Big still feels contemporary, more so than some of the books discussed earlier this year in Here’s to Success Finding ‘How to Succeed’ Books.
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