This week, Life Training Online is reviewing The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, the twenty-fifth of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.

Believe You Can Succeed and You Will

Belief and wishful thinking are quite different. Wishful thinking will never spur you to action and as a result, your wishful thought will forever remain a wish. However when you truly believe you can do it, the how to do it will reveal itself.

Strong belief in something allows your mind to figure out ways to accomplish what you believe. Belief is the driving force behind all great successes. For example, Edison wouldn’t have continued to try and try unless he really believed he could make the electric light bulb. Schwartz discovered that belief in success is the one universal, basic and essential characteristic behind all successful people.

The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. You can also consider belief to be the thermostat that regulates your accomplishments in life. If you take a look at one who is struggling in mediocrity, he believes he is worth little so as result, he receives little. Contrast this with the person who is advancing in life. They really belief they’re worth a lot, and again as a result they receive a lot.

Cure Yourself of Exusitus, the Failure Disease

The distinguishing difference between a person who is going places and the individual who is barely getting by is the latter person’s habit of excuses. Much like any other disease, this disease of ‘excusitis’, as the author calls it, will get worse if not treated properly.

The problem is, once you’ve selected for yourself a ‘good’ excuse, you end up sticking to it. You then end up using that excuse to explain to yourself and others why you’re not making progress in that area of life; And each time you use that excuse, the more it gets ingrained into your subconscious and the more you begin to believe it is true.

Successful people on the other hand learn how to vaccinate themselves against excusitis instead fertilizing their minds with the seeds of confidence and achievement.

Build Confidence and Destroy Fear

Other than excuses, fear is another very real hindrance to success. It keeps you from capitalizing on opportunity; it wears you down physically, it also closes your mouth when you want to speak. Fear can even cause you to become sick. Fear — manifested in uncertainty and lack of confidence — explains why millions of people accomplish little and enjoy little. In one way or another fear keeps people from getting what they want in life.

So is there an antidote for fear? Absolutely. The cure is found in action. If indecision and postponement further breed fear, then taking action will kill it off.

Here is a two-step procedure that Schwartz lays out to help you conquer your fear:

  1. Isolate your fear. This is where you determine exactly what it is that your afraid of.
  2. Then take action. Every type of fear has some type of action which will counter-act it. When deciding what course of action to take, do not hesitate. Hesitation only magnifies the fear. Be decisive and act immediately.

Being confident in yourself is another way of banishing your fear. Confidence is not something that people are born with, it is developed; And developing it requires a little effort on your part.

The best way to build confidence is the “fake it ’till you make it” approach. In other words, to think confidently, act confidently. Schwartz quotes the great psychologist, Dr. George W. Crane who said, “Remember, motions are the precursors of emotions. You can’t control the latter directly but only through your choice of motions or actions…Go through the proper motions each day and you’ll soon begin to feel the corresponding emotions!” This example can best be seen with smiling. It’s hard to feel sad if you try to smile as hard as you can. (Go ahead try it ;) ) The same holds true with confidence. It’s hard to be shy and uneasy if you’re body is telling you you’re confident.

How to Think Big

Schwartz explained earlier that how big we think ultimately determines the size of our accomplishments. But how can you enlarge your thinking? How do you think big? Maybe by looking at the traits of some big thinkers, we can figure out just how one can expand their thinking;

  • Big thinkers are really good at crafting positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others. The words they choose are reflective of this and help others to envision a positive outcome.
  • Big thinkers have trained themselves to not only see what is in their current reality but to see what could become their reality.
  • Big thinkers see themselves as part of a team. Success does not come alone but by working with others.
  • Big thinkers do not get bogged down by trivial details or small failings. They learn to keep moving forward, keeping their eyes on the overall objective.

How to Think and Dream Creatively

Creative thinking is nothing other than finding new and improved ways to do something. Success in any endeavor is dependent upon using creative thinking to discover these improved ways; And as with confidence, it can be learned.

Schwartz offers six steps to develop and strengthen our creative thinking ability:

  • Step 1: Believe it can be done. This is pretty self-explanatory. In order for us to do anything, we first must believe it can be done. Once we have that belief, it sets the mind in motion to find ways to accomplish it.
  • Step 2: Don’t get paralyzed by tradition. Too many of us think that something cannot change because that’s the way it always has been and always will be. Instead, experiment. Be open to new ideas. Try out new ways of doing the same thing. Be progressive in all that you do.
  • Step 3: Ask yourself daily, “How can I do better?” Self-improvement in all areas of life come when we ask ourselves this question and take the time to listen to what our mind presents to us.
  • Step 4: Ask yourself, “How can I do more?” Asking this type of question forces the mind to figure out ways to find intelligent short-cuts.
  • Step 5: Practice asking and listening. Take advantage of leveraging others’ knowledge.
  • Step 6: Associate and surround yourself with people who can help you to think of new ideas and new ways of doing things.

You Are What You Think You Are

If you look around you, you might observe that the people who command the most respect are also the most successful. Why is that? Well, according to Schwartz, it can be distilled into one word: thinking. Thinking makes it so. Others see in us what we see in ourselves and we receive what we think we deserve.

If you think you are less than someone else, you are. For thinking dictates action. If you feel inferior, you’ll act that way and no amount of bluffing will be able to hide it for long. If you feel you’re not important, you’re not. It’s as simple as that.

On the other hand, when you think you are important, when you really think so; then others will think so too. It really comes down to this: “How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you.”

The Magic of Thinking Big is the twenty-fifth of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.

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