The Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwartz



Aug 11, 2021

Read time

10 minutes


Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don't need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there.

Believe you can succeed and you will

Develop the power of belief

  • Think success, don’t think failure
  • Remind yourself you’re better than you think you are
  • Believe big: Little goals, little achievements

Cure yourself of excusitis, the failure disease

_"My health isn’t good” _

  • Refuse to worry/talk about your health + be grateful for good health

_“My brains aren’t good to succeed” _

  • We underestimate our own brainpower and overestimate others’s
  • The ability to think is much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. Make history, don’t record it

_“Too young/old” _

  • 20yrs-70yrs are your productive years, invest time in what you really want to do

“Bad luck”

  • Other’s luck = preparation, planning. Don’t be a wishful thinker.

Build confidence and destroy fear

Isolate fear, then take action (ex. Fear of failing exams -> convert worry time into study time)

Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank, withdraw only positive ones

Put people in perspective:

  • Get a balanced view over a person: “We’re just two important people sitting down”
  • Develop an understanding attitude: Try to understand why someone is doing something, “Underneath he’s probably a very nice guy, most folks are”

Build confidence

  • Be a front seater
  • Make eye contact
  • Walk 25% faster
  • Practice speaking up
  • Smile big

How to think big

Think about what you have that successful people don’t have (you are bigger than you think)

  • Use big, positive, cheerful word and phrases to describe how you feel
  • Use bright, cheerful words and phrases to describe other people
  • Use positive language to encourage others (Give more compliments)
  • Use positive words to outline plans to others

Think what can be, not just what is.

  • Practice adding value to things and people (What can I do to add value for that person/thing)
  • Practice adding value to yourself
  • Stretch your vision

Big thinking:

  • Good speech: knowledge and desire of speech > “Don’t let see your notes”, “Don’t make mistakes”,... (Think about things that REALLY matter)
  • Quarrels: 99% is avoidable and irrelevant, “Is it really important?”
  • Keep your eye focused on the big objectives

How to think and dream creatively

When you believe, your mind finds ways to do.

Tradition thinking -> “It’s been like this for … years” “Why risk a change” (P121-122)

  • Welcome new ideas
  • Be an experimental person (try new things)
  • Develop an intrest in other elements of your work -> prepares for higher function

Strengthen your creativity by listening

  • Encourage others to talk “Tell me your experience”, “What do you think?”, …
  • Tell your own views in the form of a question: “What do you think …”
  • Concentrate on what the other person is saying (Evaluate it, ask questions, ...)

Creative thinking

  • Don’t let tradition paralyze your mind
  • “How can i do better?”
  • “How can i do more?”
  • Practice asking AND listening
  • Stretch your mind

You are what you think you are

Look important, it helps you think important. Pay more on quality clothing, buy half of your usual amount of clothing Think your work is important (building cathedral) -> gives mental signals to do work better.

Manage your environment: Go First Class

  • Be environment-conscious
  • Make your enviroment work for you
  • Don’t let small-thinkers hold you back
  • Get advice from people who know.
  • Get psychological sunshine (new groups, discover new things)
  • Throw poison out of your environment, avoid gossip, talk positive
  • Go first in everything you do

Make your Attitudes your allies

Grow the attitude of:

  • “I’m activated & activate others”
  • “You are important”
  • “Service first”

Be more enthusiastic:

  • Dig into it deeper: more knowledge about something = intrest
  • In everything you do, life it up
  • Broadcast good news

Grow the “You are important” attitude:

  • Practice appreciation
  • Make people feel important
  • Practice calling people by their names
  • Don’t take all the credit/glory, invest it instead

Put service first, money later

Think right toward people

Be more likeable:

  • Learn to remember names
  • Be a comfortable person
  • Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going
  • Don’t be egotistical (Guard against the impression that you know it all)
  • Be more interested in other people
  • Study to get the scratchy elements out of your personality
  • Attempt to heal, every misunderstanding you have had, drains you
  • Practice liking people until you do so genuinely
  • Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulations upon an achievement
  • Give spiritual strength to people

Win friends:

  • Introduce yourself to others at every possible opportunity
  • Be sure the other person gets your name straight
  • Remember names
  • Stay in touch with “new” friends
  • Say pleasant things to strangers
  • Recognize that no one is perfect
  • Everyone has a right to be different
  • Don’t be a reformer (keep negative opinions for yourself)
  • Don’t blame others for setbacks

Get the action habit

  • Be an activationist
  • Don’t wait until the conditions are perfect
  • Ideas alone don’t bring success
  • Start you mental engine manually
  • Think in terms of NOW. Not tomorrow or next week, …
  • Get down to business. Don’t waste time.
  • Follow every initiative

How to turn defeat into Victory

  • Study setbacks to pave your way to success. When you lose, learn, win next time
  • Seek out your own faults and correct them
  • Stop blaming luck. Research your own luck
  • Blend persistence with experimentation: Stay with goal but try new approaches, experiment
  • There is a good side to every situation

Use goals to help you grow

10 years from now

Work department

  • What level of income do i want to have?
  • What responsibility do i seek?
  • How much authority do i want to command?
  • What prestige do I want from my work?

Home department

  • What kind of standard living do I want to attain, what to provide for family?
  • What kind of house do I want to live in?
  • What vacations do I want to take?
  • What financial support do I want my children to have?

Social department

  • What friends do I want to have?
  • What social groups do I want to join?
  • What community leaderships would I like to host?

Destroy these success suicides

  • Self-deprecation
  • Securitis
  • Competition
  • Parental Dictation
  • Family Responsibility

Break these habits

  • Putting off things
  • Negative language
  • Watching TV more than 60 minutes
  • Gossip

Acquire these habits

  • A morning examination of the smartness of my appearence
  • Plan each day the night before
  • Compliment at every opportunity

Increase value to employers

  • Do a better job of developing my subordinates
  • Learn more about my company
  • Be more efficient (with time and space)

Increase value to my home

  • Show appreciation for the little things
  • Once a week do something special

Sharpen your mind

  • Spend 30 minutes a day in quiet

Take action

  • Get a clear fix on where you want to go
  • Surrender to you desires
  • Major goal must be on autopilot
  • One step at a time (how small the step is doesn’t matter)
  • Day-by-day effort pays off
  • Detours are normal
  • Invest in yourself
  1. How to think like a leader
  • Trade minds with the people you want to influence
  • Apply the be-human (“What is the human way to handle this?”)
  • Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress. Think of improvement.
  • Take time out to confer with yourself


When Little people try to drive you down, think big

  • You win when you refuse to fight petty people
  • Expect to be sniped at.
  • Remember that snipers are psychologically sick, feel sorry for them
  • Think big enough to be immune to attacks of petty people

When those“I-haven’t-got-what-it-takes” thoughts are overtaking you

If you think you are weak, you are.

  • Look important
  • Concentrate on your assets
  • Put other people in perspective
  • Think big how good you are

When an argument happens

  • Is it really that important to argue about?
  • You always lose something when in an argument, even if you win THE argument
  • Think big enough to see that arguments are not worth it

When you feel defeated

  • Setbacks are normal
  • See it as a lesson, Learn from it, research from it, USE IT, free knowledge

When romance starts to slip

  • Concentrate on the big qualities of your partner, little things are second
  • Do something special

When you feel progress on the job is slowing down

  • Think “I can do better”
  • “The best is not unattainable”