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The Magic of Thinking Big

think_big_cover.jpgReaders 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.

small_light_bulb.jpgThough 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.

So if you haven’t done so already, start thinking big by checking out a copy from the library, or purchasing one online from Powell’s or Amazon.

You may also enjoy:

What’s the Big Idea?

The Heroic Journey

You’ve Got to Jump

6 Comments to The Magic of Thinking Big

On May 15, 2008, Earl commented:

I got the audio CD and really didn’t like the narrator’s voice. I couldn’t listen to it. I’ll have to check out the book.

On May 16, 2008, by Tim commented:

You’ll like it. I can see why an audio version might be weak; the book is prescriptive and many of the anecdotes recall 1950s American suburbia. But in print it’s a knockout.

On May 22, 2008, Chris Guillebeau commented:

I agree that this book is awesome. I almost didn’t give it a chance either, because the tone can be a bit grating at times. In that sense, I compare it to Million Dollar Habits and The E-Myth Revisited– both essential books that taught me a lot as soon as I was willing to leave a few things unchallenged.

In thinking about all three of those books, I am reminded that a lot of people judge “a book by its cover” (sorry) or by a few things they don’t like rather than by the things that resonate with them.

It’s always good to make the shift to focusing on where the value is.

Keep up the great writing. I’m way behind on RSS feeds, but I’ll catch up eventually.

On May 23, 2008, by Tim commented:

I hear you, Chris. The subtitle alone would have put me off if it hadn’t been so strongly recommended by someone I respect. For me, it’s amazing how the text reads, considering it was written half a century ago.

Good to hear from you, and congratulations–your blog’s going great guns. Here at SS we’re continuing to putter along at absolute maximum capacity/full utilization: one post each weekly.

On Feb 17, 2009, How to Build Confidence and Destroy Fear ? Get Rich Slowly commented:

[…] Soul Shelter: The magic of thinking big […]

On Jul 7, 2012, Meeheer commented:

Hi friends,

This book changed my way of thinking towards life.

Mihir Pandya

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