The Magic Of Thinking Big


My notes on The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz.

General thoughts

This book is a required read for people who need to believe in themselves more and feel that they are stuck.

Lots of actionable advice and positivity so it might be a good start for someone just starting to read self help books.

For someone who is an avid reader and is looking for something more deep, 12 rules for life by Jordan B. Peterson (10/10) might be a way better option.


Here are the three guides to acquiring and strengthening the power of belief:

  1. Think success, don’t think failure. At work, in your home, substitute success thinking for failure thinking. When you face a difficult situation, think, “I’ll win,” not “I’ll probably lose.” When you compete with someone else, think, “I’m equal to the best,” not “I’m outclassed.” When opportunity appears, think “I can do it,” never “I can’t.” Let the master thought “I will succeed” dominate your thinking process. Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success. Thinking failure does the exact opposite. Failure thinking conditions the mind to think other thoughts that produce failure.

  2. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful people are not supermen. Success does not require a superintellect. Nor is there anything mystical about success. And success isn’t based on luck. Successful people are just ordinary folks who have developed belief in themselves and what they do. Never—yes, never—sell yourself short.

  3. Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier—certainly no more difficult—than small ideas and small plans.


And each time the victim makes the excuse, the excuse becomes imbedded deeper within his subconsciousness. Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilised with constant repetition.

Procedure One, then, in your individual program of thinking yourself to success, must be to vaccinate yourself against excusitis, the disease of the failures.

Four Things You Can Do to Lick Health Excusitis

The best vaccine against health excusitis consists of these four doses:

  1. Refuse to talk about your health. The more you talk about an ailment, even the common cold, the worse it seems to get. Talking about bad health is like putting fertilizer on weeds. Besides, talking about your health is a bad habit. It bores people. It makes one appear self-centered and old-maidish. Success-minded people defeat the natural tendency to talk about their “bad” health. One may (and let me emphasize the word may) get a little sympathy, but one doesn’t get respect and loyalty by being a chronic complainer.

  2. Refuse to worry about your health. Dr. Walter Alvarez, emeritus consultant to the world-famous Mayo Clinic, wrote recently, “I always beg worriers to exercise some self-control. For instance, when I saw this man (a fellow who was convinced he had a diseased gallbladder although eight separate X-ray examinations showed that the organ was perfectly normal), I begged him to quit getting his gallbladder X-rayed. I have begged hundreds of heart-conscious men to quit getting electrocardiograms made.”

  3. Be genuinely grateful that your health is as good as it is. There’s an old saying worth repeating often: “I felt sorry for myself because I had ragged shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Instead of complaining about “not feeling good,” it’s far better to be glad you are as healthy as you are. Just being grateful for the health you have is powerful vaccination against developing new aches and pains and real illness.

  4. Remind yourself often, “It’s better to wear out than rust out.” Life is yours to enjoy. Don’t waste it. Don’t pass up living by thinking yourself into a hospital bed.

Three Ways to Cure Intelligence Excusitis

Three easy ways to cure intelligence excusitis are:

  1. Never underestimate your own intelligence, and never overestimate the intelligence of others. Don’t sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets. Discover your superior talents. Remember, it’s not how many brains you’ve got that matters. Rather, it’s how you use your brains that counts. Manage your brains instead of worrying about how much IQ you’ve got.

  2. Remind yourself several times daily, “My attitudes are more important than my intelligence.” At work and at home practice positive attitudes. See the reasons why you can do it, not the reasons why you can’t. Develop an “I’m winning” attitude. Put your intelligence to creative positive use. Use it to find ways to win, not to prove you will lose.

  3. Remember that the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. Use your mind to create and develop ideas, to find new and better ways to do things. Ask yourself, “Am I using my mental ability to make history, or am I using it merely to record history made by others?”

The cure for age excusitis is:

  1. Look at your present age positively. Think, “I’m still young,” not “I’m already old.” Practice looking forward to new horizons and gain the enthusiasm and the feel of youth.

  2. Compute how much productive time you have left. Remember, a person age thirty still has 80 percent of his productive life ahead of him. And the fifty-year-old still has a big 40 percent—the best 40 percent—of his opportunity years left. Life is actually longer than most people think!

  3. Invest future time in doing what you really want to do. It’s too late only when you let your mind go negative and think it’s too late. Stop thinking “I should have started years ago.” That’s failure thinking. Instead think, “I’m going to start now, my best years are ahead of me.” That’s the way successful people think.

Conquer Luck Excusitis in Two Ways

  1. Accept the law of cause and effect. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “good luck.” You’ll find that not luck but preparation, planning, and success-producing thinking preceded his good fortune. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “bad luck.” Look, and you’ll discover certain specific reasons. Mr. Success receives a setback; he learns and profits. But when Mr. Mediocre loses, he fails to learn.

  2. Don’t be a wishful thinker. Don’t waste your mental muscles dreaming of an effortless way to win success. We don’t become successful simply through luck. Success comes from doing those things and mastering those principles that produce success. Don’t count on luck for promotions, victories, the good things in life. Luck simply isn’t designed to deliver these good things. Instead, just concentrate on developing those qualities in yourself that will make you a winner.


  1. Action cures fear. Isolate your fear and then take constructive action. Inaction—doing nothing about a situation—strengthens fear and destroys confidence.

  2. Make a supreme effort to put only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Don’t let negative, self-deprecatory thoughts grow into mental monsters. Simply refuse to recall unpleasant events or situations.

  3. Put people in proper perspective. Remember, people are more alike, much more alike, than they are different. Get a balanced view of the other fellow. He is just another human being. And develop an understanding attitude. Many people will bark, but it’s a rare one who bites.

  4. Practice doing what your conscience tells you is right. This prevents a poisonous guilt complex from developing. Doing what’s right is a very practical rule for success.

  5. Make everything about you say, “I’m confident, really confident.” Practice these little techniques in your day-to-day activities:

Be a front seater. Make eye contact. Walk 25 percent faster. Speak up. Smile big.


Here are four ways to help you develop a big thinker’s vocabulary:

  1. Use big, positive, cheerful words and phrases to describe how you feel. When someone asks, “How do you feel today?” and you respond with an “I’m tired (I have a headache, I wish it were Saturday, I don’t feel so good),” you actually make yourself feel worse. Practice this: it’s a very simple point, but it has tremendous power. Every time someone asks you, “How are you?” or “How are you feeling today?” respond with a “Just wonderful! thanks, and you?” or say “Great” or “Fine.” Say you feel wonderful at every possible opportunity, and you will begin to feel wonderful—and bigger, too. Become known as a person who always feels great. It wins friends.

  2. Use bright, cheerful, favorable words and phrases to describe other people. Make it a rule to have a big, positive word for all your friends and associates. When you and someone else are discussing an absent third party, be sure you compliment him with big words and phrases like “He’s really a fine fellow.” “They tell me he’s working out wonderfully well.” Be extremely careful to avoid the petty cut-him-down language. Sooner or later third parties hear what’s been said, and then such talk only cuts you down.

  3. 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.

  4. Use positive words to outline plans to others. When people hear something like this: “Here is some good news. We face a genuine opportunity . . .” their minds start to sparkle. But when they hear something like “Whether we like it or not, we’ve got a job to do,” the mind movie is dull and boring, and they react accordingly. Promise victory and watch eyes light up. Promise victory and win support. Build castles, don’t dig graves!

Here is how you can develop your power to see what can be, not just what is. I call these the “practice adding value” exercises.

  1. Practice adding value to things. Remember the real estate example. Ask yourself, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to this room or this house or this business?” Look for ideas to make things worth more. A thing—whether it be a vacant lot, a house, or a business—has value in proportion to the ideas for using it.

  2. Practice adding value to people. As you move higher and higher in the world of success, more and more of your job becomes “people development.” Ask, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to my subordinates? What can I do to help them to become more effective?” Remember, to bring out the best in a person, you must first visualize his best.

  3. Practice adding value to yourself. Conduct a daily interview with yourself. Ask, “What can I do to make myself more valuable today?” Visualize yourself not as you are but as you can be. Then specific ways for attaining your potential value will suggest themselves. Just try and see.

  4. Don’t sell yourself short. Conquer the crime of self-deprecation. Concentrate on your assets. You’re better than you think you are.

  5. Use the big thinker’s vocabulary. Use big, bright, cheerful words. Use words that promise victory, hope, happiness, pleasure; avoid words that create unpleasant images of failure, defeat, grief.

  6. Stretch your vision. See what can be, not just what is. Practice adding value to things, to people, and to yourself.

  7. Get the big view of your job. Think, really think your present job is important. That next promotion depends mostly on how you think toward your present job.

  8. Think above trivial things. Focus your attention on big objectives. Before getting involved in a petty matter, ask yourself, “Is it really important?”

Grow big by thinking big!

How to think and dream creatively

Traditional thinking freezes your mind, blocks your progress, and prevents you from developing creative power. Here are three ways to fight it:

  1. Become receptive to ideas. Welcome new ideas. Destroy these thought repellents: “Won’t work,” “Can’t be done,” “It’s useless,” and “It’s stupid.” A very successful friend of mine who holds a major position with an insurance company said to me, “I don’t pretend to be the smartest guy in the business. But I think I am the best sponge in the insurance industry. I make it a point to soak up all the good ideas I can.”

  2. Be an experimental person. Break up fixed routines. Expose yourself to new restaurants, new books, new theaters, new friends; take a different route to work someday, take a different vacation this year, do something new and different this weekend.

If your work is in distribution, develop an interest in production, accounting, finance, and the other elements of business. This gives you breadth and prepares you for larger responsibilities.

  1. Be progressive, not regressive. Not “That’s the way we did it where I used to work, so we ought to do it that way here” but “How can we do it better than we did it where I used to work?” Not backward, regressive thinking but forward, progressive thinking. Because you got up at 5:30 A.M. to deliver papers or milk the cows when you were a youngster doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea for you to require your children to do the same.

Convinced it pays to do more and better? Then try this two-step procedure:

  1. Eagerly accept the opportunity to do more. It’s a compliment to be asked to take on a new responsibility. Accepting greater responsibility on the job makes you stand out and shows that you’re more valuable. When your neighbors ask you to represent them on a civic matter, accept. It helps you to become a community leader.

  2. Next, concentrate on “How can I do more?” Creative answers will come. Some of these answers may be better planning and organization of your present work or taking intelligent shortcuts in your routine activities, or possibly dropping nonessential activities altogether. But, let me repeat, the solution for doing more will appear.

Use these three ways to harness and develop your ideas:

  1. Don’t let ideas escape. Write them down. Every day lots of good ideas are born only to die quickly because they aren’t nailed to paper. Memory is a weak slave when it comes to preserving and nurturing brand-new ideas.

Carry a notebook or some small cards with you.

When you get an idea, write it down. A friend who travels a lot keeps a clipboard beside him so that he can write down an idea the instant it occurs to him. People with fertile, creative minds know a good idea may sprout any time, any place.

Don’t let ideas escape; else you destroy the fruits of your thinking. Fence them in.

  1. Next, review your ideas. File these ideas in an active file. The file can be an elaborate cabinet, or it can be a desk drawer. A shoe box will do. But build a file and then examine your storehouse of ideas regularly.

As you go over your ideas, some may, for very good reasons, have no value at all. Get rid of them. But so long as the idea has any promise, keep it.

  1. Cultivate and fertilize your idea. Now make your idea grow. Think about it.

Tie the idea to related ideas. Read anything you can find that is in any way akin to your idea.

Investigate all angles. Then, when the time is ripe, put it to work for yourself, your job, your future.

Try this three-stage program to strengthen your creativity through asking and listening:

  1. Encourage others to talk. In personal conversation or in group meetings, draw out people with little urges, such as “Tell me about your experience . . .” or “What do you think should be done about . . .?” or “What do you think is the key point?” Encourage others to talk, and you win a double-barreled victory: your mind soaks up raw material that you can use to produce creative thought, and you win friends.

There is no surer way to get people to like you than to encourage them to talk to you.

  1. Test your own views in the form of questions. Let other people help you smooth and polish your ideas. Use the what-do-you-think-of-this-suggestion? approach.

Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t announce a fresh idea as if it were handed down on a gold tablet. Do a little informal research first. See how your associates react to it. If you do, chances are you’ll end up with a better idea.

  1. 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.


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

Eliminate “impossible,” “won’t work,” “can’t do,” “no use trying” from your thinking and speaking vocabularies.

  1. Don’t let tradition paralyze your mind. Be receptive to new ideas. Be experimental. Try new approaches. Be progressive in everything you do.

  2. Ask yourself daily, “How can I do better?” There is no limit to self-improvement. When you ask yourself, “How can I do better?” sound answers will appear. Try it and see.

  3. Ask yourself, “How can I do more?” Capacity is a state of mind. Asking yourself this question puts your mind to work to find intelligent shortcuts.

The success combination in business is: Do what you do better (improve the quality of your output), and: Do more of what you do (increase the quantity of your output).

  1. Practice asking and listening. Ask and listen, and you’ll obtain raw material for reaching sound decisions. Remember: Big people monopolize the listening; small people monopolize the talking.

  2. 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.


in a nutshell, remember:

  1. Look important; it helps you think important. Your appearance talks to you. Be sure it lifts your spirits and builds your confidence. Your appearance talks to others. Make certain it says, “Here is an important person: intelligent, prosperous, and dependable.”

  2. Think your work is important. Think this way, and you will receive mental signals on how to do your job better. Think your work is important, and your subordinates will think their work is important too.

  3. Give yourself a pep talk several times daily. Build a “sell-yourself-to-yourself” commercial. Remind yourself at every opportunity that you’re a first-class person.

  4. In all of life’s situations, ask yourself, “Is this the way an important person thinks?” Then obey the answer.


Here are a few simple “do’s” to help make your social environment first class:

  1. 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.

Make new friends, join new organizations, enlarge your social orbit. Then too, variety in people, like variety in anything else, adds spice to life and gives it a broader dimension. It’s good mind food.

  1. Do select friends who have views different from your own. In this modern age, the narrow individual hasn’t much future. Responsibility and positions of importance gravitate to the person who is able to see both sides.

If you’re a Republican, make sure you have some friends who are Democrats, and vice versa. Get to know people of different religious faiths. Associate with opposites. But just be sure they are persons with real potential.

  1. Do select friends who stand above petty, unimportant things. Folks who are more concerned with the square footage of your home or the appliances you have or don’t have than with your ideas and your conversation are inclined to be petty. Guard your psychological environment.

Select friends who are interested in positive things, friends who really do want to see you succeed. Find friends who breathe encouragement into your plans and ideals. If you don’t, if you select petty thinkers as your close friends, you’ll gradually develop into a petty thinker yourself.

  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.

  4. 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.


In quick recap, grow attitudes that will carry you forward to success.

  1. Grow the “I’m activated” attitude. Results come in proportion to the enthusiasm invested. Three things to do to activate yourself are:

Dig into it deeper. When you find yourself uninterested in something, dig in and learn more about it. This sets off enthusiasm.

Life up everything about you: your smile, your handshake, your talk, even your walk. Act alive.

Broadcast good news. No one ever accomplished anything positive telling bad news.

  1. Grow the “You are important” attitude. People do more for you when you make them feel important. Remember to do these things:

Show appreciation at every opportunity. Make people feel important.

Call people by name.

  1. Grow the “Service first” attitude, and watch money take care of itself. Make it a rule in everything you do: give people more than they expect to get.


Here is a basic rule for winning success. Let’s mark it in the mind and remember it. The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people. The only hurdle between you and what you want to be is the support of others.

President Lyndon Johnson Formula for success:

  1. Learn to remember names. Inefficiency at this point may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing.

  2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-shoe kind of individual.

  3. Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you.

  4. Don’t be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all.

  5. Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you.

  6. Study to get the “scratchy” elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious.

  7. Sincerely attempt to heal, on an honest basis, every misunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances.

  8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely.

  9. Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone’s achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment.

  10. Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you.

Here are six ways to win friends by exercising just a little initiative:

  1. Introduce yourself to others at every possible opportunity—at parties, meetings, on airplanes, at work, everywhere.

  2. Be sure the other person gets your name straight.

  3. Be sure you can pronounce the other person’s name the way he pronounces it.

  4. Write down the other person’s name, and be mighty sure you have it spelled correctly; people have a fetish about the correct spelling of their own names! If possible, get his address and phone number, also.

  5. Drop a personal note or make a phone call to the new friends you feel you want to know better. This is an important point. Most successful people follow through on new friends with a letter or a phone call.

  6. And last but not least, say pleasant things to strangers. It warms you up and gets you ready for the task ahead.

Three suggestions:

  1. Recognize the fact that no person is perfect. Some people are more nearly perfect than others, but no man is absolutely perfect. The most human quality about human beings is that they make mistakes, all kinds of them.

  2. Recognize the fact that the other fellow has a right to be different.Never play God about anything. Never dislike people because their habits are different from your own or because they prefer different clothes, religion, parties, or automobiles. You don’t have to approve of what another fellow does, but you must not dislike him for doing it.

  3. Don’t be a reformer. Put a little more “live and let live” into your philosophy. Most people intensely dislike being told “you’re wrong.” You have a right to your own opinion, but sometimes it’s better to keep it to yourself.


  1. Make yourself lighter to lift. Be likable. Practice being the kind of person people like. This wins their support and puts fuel in your success-building program.

  2. Take the initiative in building friendships. Introduce yourself to others at every opportunity. Make sure you get the other person’s name straight, and make certain he gets your name straight too. Drop a personal note to your new friends you want to get to know better.

  3. Accept human differences and limitations. Don’t expect anyone to be perfect. Remember, the other person has a right to be different. And don’t be a reformer.

  4. Tune in Channel P, the Good Thoughts Station. Find qualities to like and admire in a person, not things to dislike. And don’t let others prejudice your thinking about a third person. Think positive thoughts towards people—and get positive results.

  5. Practice conversation generosity. Be like successful people. Encourage others to talk. Let the other person talk to you about his views, his opinions, his accomplishments.

  6. Practice courtesy all the time. It makes other people feel better. It makes you feel better too.

  7. Don’t blame others when you receive a setback. Remember, how you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.


Use the mechanical way to accomplish simple but sometimes unpleasant business and household chores. Rather than think about the unpleasant features of the task, jump right in and get going without a lot of deliberation.

Do this today: Pick the one thing you like to do least. Then, without letting yourself deliberate on or dread the task, do it. That’s the most efficient way to handle chores.

Next, use the mechanical way to create ideas, map out plans, solve problems, and do other work that requires top mental performance. Rather than wait for the spirit to move you, sit down and move your spirit.

Grow the action habit

Practice these key points:

  1. Be an activationist. Be someone who does things. Be a doer, not a don’t-er.

  2. Don’t wait until conditions are perfect. They never will be. Expect future obstacles and difficulties and solve them as they arise.

  3. Remember, ideas alone won’t bring success. Ideas have value only when you act upon them.

  4. Use action to cure fear and gain confidence. Do what you fear, and fear disappears. Just try it and see.

  5. Start your mental engine mechanically. Don’t wait for the spirit to move you. Take action, dig in, and you move the spirit.

  6. Think in terms of now. Tomorrow, next week, later, and similar words often are synonymous with the failure word, never. Be an “I’m starting right now” kind of person.

  7. Get down to business—pronto. Don’t waste time getting ready to act. Start acting instead.

  8. Seize the initiative. Be a crusader. Pick up the ball and run. Be a volunteer. Show that you have the ability and ambition to do.

Get in gear and go!


The difference between success and failure is found in one’s attitudes toward setbacks, handicaps, discouragements, and other disappointing situations.

Five guideposts to help you turn defeat into victory are:

  1. Study setbacks to pave your way to success. When you lose, learn, and then go on to win next time.

  2. Have the courage to be your own constructive critic.Seek out your faults and weaknesses and then correct them. This makes you a professional.

  3. Stop blaming luck. Research each setback. Find out what went wrong. Remember, blaming luck never got anyone where he wanted to go.

  4. Blend persistence with experimentation. Stay with your goal but don’t beat your head against a stone wall. Try new approaches. Experiment.

  5. Remember, there is a good side in every situation. Find it. See the good side and whip discouragement.



A. Work Department: 10 years from now:

  1. What income level do I want to attain?

  2. What level of responsibility do I seek?

  3. How much authority do I want to command?

  4. What prestige do I expect to gain from my work?

B. Home Department: 10 years from now:

  1. What kind of standard of living do I want to provide for my family and myself?

  2. What kind of house do I want to live in?

  3. What kind of vacations do I want to take?

  4. What financial support do I want to give my children in their early adult years?

C. Social Department: 10 years from now:

  1. What kinds of friends do I want to have?

  2. What social groups do I want to join?

  3. What community leadership positions would I like to hold?

  4. What worthwhile causes do I want to champion?


Between now and _____ I will.

A. Break these habits: (suggestions)

  1. Putting off things.

  2. Negative language.

  3. Watching TV more than 60 minutes per day.

  4. Gossip.

B. Acquire these habits: (suggestions)

  1. A rigid morning examination of my appearance.

  2. Plan each day’s work the night before.

  3. Compliment people at every possible opportunity.

C. Increase my value to my employer in these ways: (suggestions)

  1. Do a better job of developing my subordinates.

  2. Learn more about my company, what it does, and the customers it serves.

  3. Make three specific suggestions to help my company become more efficient.

D. Increase my value to my home in these ways: (suggestions)

  1. Show more appreciation for the little things my wife does that I’ve been taking for granted.

  2. Once each week, do something special with my whole family.

  3. Give one hour each day of my undivided attention to my family.

E. Sharpen my mind in these ways: (suggestions)

  1. Invest two hours each week in reading professional magazines in my field.

  2. Read one self-help book.

  3. Make four new friends.

  4. Spend 30 minutes daily in quiet, undisturbed thinking.


Now in a quick recap, put these success-building principles to work:

  1. Get a clear fix on where you want to go. Create an image of yourself ten years from now.

  2. Write out your ten-year plan. Your life is too important to be left to chance. Put down on paper what you want to accomplish in your work, your home, and your social departments.

  3. Surrender yourself to your desires. Set goals to get more energy. Set goals to get things done. Set goals and discover the real enjoyment of living.

  4. Let your major goal be your automatic pilot. When you let your goal absorb you, you’ll find yourself making the right decisions to reach your goal.

  5. Achieve your goal one step at a time. Regard each task you perform, regardless of how small it may seem, as a step toward your goal.

  6. Build thirty-day goals. Day-by-day effort pays off.

  7. Take detours in stride. A detour simply means another route. It should never mean surrendering the goal.

  8. Invest in yourself. Purchase those things that build mental power and efficiency. Invest in education. Invest in idea starters.


To be a more effective leader, put these four leadership principles to work:

  1. Trade minds with the people you want to influence. It’s easy to get others to do what you want them to do if you’ll see things through their eyes.

Ask yourself this question before you act: “What would I think of this if I exchanged places with the other person?”

  1. Apply the “Be-Human” rule in your dealings with others. Ask, “What is the human way to handle this?” In everything you do, show that you put other people first. Just give other people the kind of treatment you like to receive. You’ll be rewarded.

  2. Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress. Think improvement in everything you do. Think high standards in everything you do. Over a period of time subordinates tend to become carbon copies of their chief. Be sure the master copy is worth duplicating. Make this a personal resolution: “At home, at work, in community life, if it’s progress I’m for it.”

  3. Take time out to confer with yourself and tap your supreme thinking power. Managed solitude pays off. Use it to release your creative power. Use it to find solutions to personal and business problems. So spend some time alone every day just for thinking. Use the thinking technique all great leaders use: confer with yourself.


There is magic in thinking big. But it is so easy to forget. When you hit some rough spots, there is danger that your thinking will shrink in size. And when it does, you lose.

Below are some brief guides for staying big when you’re tempted to use the small approach.

Perhaps you’ll want to put these guides on small cards for even handier reference.

A. When Little People Try to Drive You Down, THINK BIG To be sure, there are some people who want you to lose, to experience misfortune, to be reprimanded. But these people can’t hurt you if you’ll remember three things:

  1. You win when you refuse to fight petty people. Fighting little people reduces you to their size. Stay big.

  2. Expect to be sniped at. It’s proof you’re growing.

  3. Remind yourself that snipers are psychologically sick. Be Big. Feel sorry for them.

Think Big Enough to be immune to the attacks of petty people.

B. When That “I-Haven’t-Got-What-It-Takes” Feeling Creeps Up on You, THINK BIG

Remember: if you think you are weak, you are. If you think you’re inadequate, you are. If you think you’re second-class, you are.

Whip that natural tendency to sell yourself short with these tools:

  1. Look important. It helps you think important. How you look on the outside has a lot to do with how you feel on the inside.

  2. Concentrate on your assets. Build a sell-yourself-to-yourself commercial and use it. Learn to supercharge yourself. Know your positive self.

  3. Put other people in proper perspective. The other person is just another human being, so why be afraid of him? Think Big Enough to see how good you really are!

C. When an Argument or Quarrel Seems Inevitable, THINK BIG.

Successfully resist the temptation to argue and quarrel by:

  1. Asking yourself, “Honestly now, is this thing really important enough to argue about?”

  2. Reminding yourself, you never gain anything from an argument but you always lose something.

Think Big Enough to see that quarrels, arguments, feuds, and fusses will never help you get where you want to go. D. When You Feel Defeated, THINK BIG.

It is not possible to achieve large success without hardships and setbacks. But it is possible to live the rest of your life without defeat. Big thinkers react to setbacks this way:

  1. Regard the setback as a lesson. Learn from it. Research it. Use it to propel you forward. Salvage something from every setback.

  2. Blend persistence with experimentation. Back off and start afresh with a new approach.

Think Big Enough to see that defeat is a state of mind, nothing more.

E. When Romance Starts to Slip, THINK BIG Negative, petty, “She’s-(He’s)-unfair-to-me-so-I’ll-get-even” type of thinking slaughters romance, destroys the affection that can be yours. Do this when things aren’t going right in the love department:

  1. Concentrate on the biggest qualities in the person you want to love you. Put little things where they belong—in second place.

  2. Do something special for your mate—and do it often. Think Big Enough to find the secret to marital joys.

F. When You Feel Your Progress on the Job Is Slowing Down,


No matter what you do and regardless of your occupation, higher status, higher pay come from one thing: increasing the quality and quantity of your output. Do this:

Think, “I can do better.” The best is not unattainable. There is room for doing everything better. Nothing in this world is being done as well as it could be. And when you think, “I can do better,” ways to do better will appear. Thinking “I can do better” switches on your creative power. Think Big Enough to see that if you put service first, money takes care of itself.

In the words of Publilius Syrus: A wise man will be master of his mind, A fool will be its slave.


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