These were my takeaways and favorite passages from the book- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
“The difference between Harry and the rest of you,” said the vice president, “the difference is that Harry thought five times bigger.”
“This environment also tells us there’s too much competition for the top spots in life. But is there? 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. First Class Avenue, U.S.A., is a short, uncrowded street. There are countless vacancies waiting there for people like you who dare to think big.”
“The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.” Amazingly perceptive minds like Shakespeare, who observed, “There is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so.”
“And she was. She had little trouble getting capital. Her absolutely unquestioned belief that she could succeed with this business won her the confidence of two investors. And armed with complete belief, she did the “impossible”—she got a trailer manufacturer to advance her a limited inventory with no money down. Last year she sold over $1,000,000 worth of trailers. “Next year,” she says, “I expect to gross over $2,000,000.” Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure ways and means and how-to. And believing you can succeed makes others place confidence in you.”
“Belief triggers the power to do. Actually, in these modern times belief is doing much bigger things than moving mountains. The most essential element—in fact, the essential element—in our space explorations today is belief that space can be mastered. Without firm, unwavering belief that man can travel in space, our scientists would not have the courage, interest, and enthusiasm to proceed. Belief that cancer can be cured will ultimately produce cures for cancer. Currently, there is some talk of building a tunnel under the English Channel to connect England with the Continent. Whether this tunnel is ever built depends on whether responsible people believe it can be built.”
“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.”
“Finally, I got down to another success quality one hears a lot about: initiative. Here I hated to admit it, but I had to. On this point my record showed I was far below that of my successful friends.
“Then it dawned on me that no one else was going to believe in me until I believed in myself. “Right then I decided, ‘I’m through feeling second-class. From here on in I’m not going to sell myself short.’ “Next morning I still had that confidence. During the job interview I gave my newfound confidence its first test. Before coming for the interview I’d hoped I would have courage to ask for $750 or maybe even $1,000 more than my present job was paying. But now, after realizing I was a valuable man, I upped it to $3,500. And I got it. I sold myself because after that one long night of self-analysis I found things in myself that made me a lot more salable. “Within two years after I took that job I had established a reputation as the fellow who can get business. Then we went into a recession. This made me still more valuable because I was one of the best business-getters in the industry. The company was reorganized and I was given a substantial amount of stock plus a lot more pay.”
“But tell yourself, “Today is a fine day,” and Mr. Triumph is signaled forward to act. He tells you, “This is a wonderful day. The weather is refreshing. It’s good to be alive. Today you can catch up on some of your work.” And then it is a good day.”
“You already have a fully equipped laboratory in which you can work and study. Your laboratory is all around you. Your laboratory consists of human beings. This laboratory supplies you with every possible example of human action. And there is no limit to what you can learn once you see yourself as a scientist in your own lab. What’s more, there is nothing to buy. There is no rent to pay. There are no fees of any kind. You can use this laboratory as much as you like for free. As director of your own laboratory, you will want to do what every scientist does: observe and experiment.”
“Like any disease, excusitis gets worse if it isn’t treated properly. A victim of this thought disease goes through this mental process: “I’m not doing as well as I should. What can I use as an alibi that will help me save face? Let’s see: poor health? lack of education? too old? too young? bad luck? personal misfortune? wife? the way my family brought me up?”
“Once the victim of this failure disease has selected a “good” excuse, he sticks with it. Then he relies on the excuse to explain to himself and others why he is not going forward. And each time the victim makes the excuse, the excuse becomes imbedded deeper within his subconsciousness. Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition. At first the victim of excusitis knows his alibi is more or less a lie. But the more frequently he repeats it, the more convinced he becomes that it is completely true, that the alibi is the real reason for his not being the success he should be.”
“I’m going to live until I die and I’m not going to get life and death confused. While I’m on this earth I’m going to live. Why be only half alive? Every minute a person spends worrying about dying is just one minute that fellow might as well have been dead.”
“and you may have real trouble.” Naturally, since the discovery of my own diabetes, I’ve gotten to know a great many other diabetics. Let me tell you about two extremes. One fellow who has a very mild case belongs to that fraternity of the living dead. Obsessed with a fear of the weather, he is usually ridiculously bundled up. He’s afraid of infection, so he shuns anybody who has the slightest sniffle. He’s afraid of overexertion, so he does almost nothing. He spends most of his mental energy worrying about what might happen. He bores other people telling them “how awful” his problem really is. His real ailment is not diabetes. Rather, he’s a victim of health excusitis. He has pitied himself into being an invalid. The other extreme is a division manager for a large publishing company. He has a severe case; he takes about thirty times as much insulin as the fellow mentioned above. But he is not living to be sick. He is living to enjoy his work and have fun. One day he said to me, “Sure it is an inconvenience, but so is shaving. But I’m not going to think myself to bed. When I take those shots, I just praise the guys who discovered insulin.”
“A good friend of mine, a widely known college educator, came home from Europe in 1945 minus one arm. Despite his handicap, John is always smiling, always helping others. He’s about as optimistic as anyone I know. One day he and I had a long talk about his handicap.”
“Interest, enthusiasm, is the critical factor even in science! With a positive, optimistic, and cooperative attitude a person 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.”
“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. Not Phil’s brains, but how he managed those brains, made him three times more valuable to his company than men who rated higher on the IQ scale.”
“information. He knew what every major executive knows: that the ability to know how to get information is more important than using the mind as a garage for facts.”
“Well,” he continued, “all eight men I’m to supervise are from seven to twenty-one years older than I. What do you think I should do? Can I handle it?” “Jerry,” I said, “the general manager of your company obviously thinks you’re old enough or he wouldn’t have offered you this job. Just remember these three points and everything will work out just fine: first, don’t be age conscious. 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. And this applies to you. When you prove you are able to handle the job of sales manager, you’re automatically old enough. “Second, don’t take advantage of your new ‘gold bars.’ Show respect for the salesmen. Ask them for their suggestions. Make them feel they are working for a team captain, not a dictator. Do this and the men will work with you, not against you. “Third, get used to having older persons working for you. Leaders in all fields soon find they are younger than many of the people they supervise. So get used to having older men work for you. It will help you a lot in the coming years, when even bigger opportunities develop. “And remember, Jerry, your age won’t be a handicap unless you make it one.”
“Youth is a liability only when the youth thinks it is. You often hear that certain jobs require “considerable” physical maturity, jobs like selling securities and insurance. That you’ve got to have either gray hair or no hair at all in order to gain an investor’s confidence is plain nonsense. What really matters is how well you know your job. If you know your job and understand people, you’re sufficiently mature to handle it. Age has no real relation to ability, unless you convince yourself that years alone will give you the stuff you need to make your mark. Many young people feel that they are being held back because of their youth. Now, it is true that another person in an organization who is insecure and job-scared may try to block your way forward, using age or some other reason.”
“This incident, familiar to thousands of former Navy men, illustrates just one point: action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.”
“Jot that down in your success rule book right now. Action cures fear. Action does cure fear. Several months ago a very troubled executive in his early forties came to see me. He had a responsible job as a buyer for a large retailing organization. Worriedly, he explained, “I’m afraid of losing my job. I’ve got that feeling that my days are numbered.”
“Make sure that what you plan to do is right. Then do it. No one ever does anything worthwhile for which he is not criticized.”
“Analyze all factors. Then be decisive. Make a decision and stick with it. Trust your own judgment.”
“Confident, successful people, on the other hand, “don’t give it another thought.” Successful people specialize in putting positive thoughts into their memory bank. What kind of performance would your car deliver if every morning before you left for work you scooped up a double handful of dirt and put it into your crankcase? That fine engine would soon be a mess, unable to do what you want it to do. Negative, unpleasant thoughts deposited in your mind affect your mind the same way. Negative thoughts produce needless wear and tear on your mental motor. They create worry, frustration, and feelings of inferiority. They put you beside the road while others drive ahead.”
“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.”
“I figured out something pretty basic back then. I discovered people are alike in many, many more ways than they are different. I discovered the other fellow is pretty much like me. He likes good food, he misses his family and friends, he wants to get ahead, he has problems, he likes to relax. So if the other fellow is basically like me, there’s no point in being afraid of him.”
“Well, it was the way he handled himself. Most job applicants when they walk in here are half scared. They give me all the answers they think I want to hear. In a way, most job applicants are a little like beggars—they’ll accept anything, and they aren’t particular.
“I stepped up to the desk, thinking the clerk, who had taken one of the worst public tongue-lashings I’d seen in some time, would be upset. Instead he greeted me with one of the finest “Good evening, sir”s I’d ever heard. As he went through the routine of processing my room, I said to him, “I certainly admire the way you handled yourself just a moment ago. You have tremendous temper control.” “Well, sir,” he said, “I really can’t get mad at a fellow like that. You see, he really isn’t mad at me. I was just the scapegoat. The poor fellow may be in bad trouble with his wife, or his business may be off, or maybe he feels inferior and this was his golden chance to feel like a wheel. I’m just the guy who gave him a chance to get something out of his system.”
“The clerk added, “Underneath he’s probably a very nice guy. Most folks are.” Walking toward the elevators, I caught myself repeating aloud, “Underneath he’s probably a very nice guy. Most folks are.” Remember those two short sentences next time someone declares war on you. Hold your fire. The way to win in situations like this is to let the other fellow blow his stack and then forget it.”
“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.”
“Conquer this fear by making yourself look the other person in the eyes. 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 your eyes work for you. Aim them right at the other person’s eyes. It not only gives you confidence, it wins you confidence, too.”
Ever ask yourself, “What is my greatest weakness?” Probably the greatest human weakness is self-deprecation— that is, selling oneself short. Self-deprecation shows through in countless ways. John sees a job advertisement in the paper; it’s exactly what he would like. But he does nothing about it because he thinks, “I’m not good enough for that job, so why bother?” Or Jim wants a date with Joan, but he doesn’t call her because he thinks he wouldn’t rate with her.
“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!”
- “Use positive language to encourage others. Compliment people personally at every opportunity. Everyone you know craves praise. Have a special good word for your wife or husband every day. Notice and compliment the people who work with you. Praise, sincerely administered, is a success tool. Use it! Use it again and again and again. Compliment people on their appearance, their work, their achievements, their families.”
“The moral is this: 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.”
“The next thing I did was call a meeting of all supervisory personnel and explain the incident to them. Then I showed them what a customer is really worth. Once I got these people to see that a customer is not to be valued on a single sale but rather on an annual basis, customer service definitely improved.”
“It’s this way,” he went on, “I’ve been analyzing people a lot lately, and I’ve noticed this. People who don’t have much look at themselves as they are now. That’s all they see. They don’t see a future, they just see a miserable present. “My neighbor is a good example. He’s continually complaining about having a low-pay job, the plumbing that’s always getting fouled up, the lucky breaks somebody else just got, the doctor bills that are piling up. He reminds himself so often that he’s poor that now he just assumes that he’s always going to be poor. He acts as if he were sentenced to living in that broken-down apartment all the rest of his life.”
“We can all learn a lesson from Harry. The “I’m doing my job and that’s enough” attitude is small, negative thinking. Big thinkers see themselves as members of a team effort, as winning or losing with the team, not by themselves. They help in every way they can, even when there is no direct and immediate compensation or other reward. The fellow who shrugs off a problem outside his own department with the comment “Well, that’s no concern of mine, let them worry with it” hasn’t got the attitude it takes for top leadership. Practice this. Practice being a big thinker. See the company’s interest as identical with your own. Probably only a very few persons working in large companies have a sincere, unselfish interest in their company. But after all, only a relatively few persons qualify as big thinkers.”
“Average” people have always resented progress. Many voiced a protest toward the automobile on the grounds that nature meant for us to walk or use horses. The airplane seemed drastic to many. Man had no “right” to enter the province “reserved” for birds. A lot of “status-quo-ers” still insist that man has no business in space.”
“A couple more weeks passed. The vice president called me in. He complimented me on doing a fine job. He went on to say that he had looked over a number of people from both inside and outside the bank but he had not yet found the right man. Then he confessed that he had already cleared with the bank’s executive committee, and they had authorized him to combine the two jobs, put them both in my charge, and give me a substantial increase in salary. “I proved to myself that how much I can do depends on how much I think I can do.” Capacity is indeed a state of mind. Every day, it seems, this takes place in the fast-moving world of business. The boss calls in an employee and explains that a special task must be accomplished. Then he says, “I know you’ve got a lot of work to do, but can you handle this?” Too often the employee replies, “I’m awfully sorry, but I’m all loaded down now. I wish I could take it on, but I’m just too busy.”
- “Concentrate on what the other person says. Listening is more than just keeping your own mouth shut. Listening means letting what’s said penetrate your mind. So often people pretend to listen when they aren’t listening at all. They’re just waiting for the other person to pause so they can take over with the talking. Concentrate on what the other person says. Evaluate it. That’s how you collect mind food.”
- “Stretch your mind. Get stimulated. Associate with people who can help you think of new ideas, new ways of doing things. Mix with people of different occupational and social interests.”
“I often recall that incident because it says so much about the effect of appearance on thinking. Anyone who has ever served in the Army knows a soldier feels and thinks like a soldier when he is in uniform. A woman feels more like going to a party when she is dressed for a party.”
“A friend who operates a personnel selection firm said this to me recently: “One thing we always look for in appraising a job applicant for a client is how the applicant thinks about his present job. We are always favorably impressed when we find that an applicant thinks his present job is important, even though there may be something about it he doesn’t like.”
- “The employee who says, “Oh well, I can always get another job. If they don’t like the way I do my work, I’ll just quit” or the employee who views criticism constructively and sincerely tries to do higher-quality work?”
“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.”
- “Do circulate in new groups. Restricting your social environment to the same small group produces boredom, dullness, dissatisfaction; equally important, remember that your success-building program requires that you become an expert in understanding people. Trying to learn all there is to know about people by studying one small group is like trying to master mathematics by reading one short book.”
“The right answers are obvious. Meditate on this thought for just a moment: Taking an ax and chopping your neighbor’s furniture to pieces won’t make your furniture look one bit better, and using verbal axes and grenades on another person doesn’t do one thing to make you a better you or me a better me.”
“MAKE YOUR ENVIRONMENT MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL 1. Be environment-conscious. Just as body diet makes the body, mind diet makes the mind. 2. Make your environment work for you, not against you. Don’t let suppressive forces—the negative, you-can’t-do-it people—make you think defeat. 3. Don’t let small-thinking people hold you back. Jealous people want to see you stumble. Don’t give them that satisfaction.”
- “Get your advice from successful people. Your future is important. Never risk it with freelance advisors who are living failures. 5. Get plenty of psychological sunshine. Circulate in new groups. Discover new and stimulating things to do. 6. Throw thought poison out of your environment. Avoid gossip. Talk about people, but stay on the positive side. 7. Go first class in everything you do. You can’t afford to go any other way.”
“Attitudes do more than show through. They “sound” through too. A secretary does more than identify an office when she says, “Good morning, Mr. Shoemaker’s office.” In just five words one secretary says, “I like you. I’m glad you’re calling. I think you are important. I like my job.” But another secretary saying exactly the same words tells you, “You bothered me. I wish you hadn’t called. I’m bored with my job, and I don’t like people who bother me.”
“catalyst, if you will, can be defined in a single word—attitude. When our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness and good results inevitably follow.” Attitudes do make the difference. Salesmen with the right attitude beat their quotas; students with the right attitude make As; right attitudes pave the way to really happy married life. Right attitudes make you effective in dealing with people, enable you to develop as a leader. Right attitudes win for you in every situation. Grow these three attitudes. Make them your allies in everything you do. 1. Grow the attitude of I’m activated. 2. Grow the attitude of You are important. 3. Grow the attitude of Service first.”
“To activate others, to get them to be enthusiastic, you must first be enthusiastic yourself.”
In summary, I would recommend this book if you need motivation and you want to think more positively. If you also purchase this book, let me know what you enjoyed about this book.
Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills
People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.
Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.
It was hell.
After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.
Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.