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1-Page PDF Summary of The Magic of Thinking Big
We are surrounded by people who seem more successful than us and who earn more money than we do. We may think, “What do they have that I haven’t got? Are they just smarter?” In The Magic of Thinking Big, author David J. Schwartz says it’s a matter of mindset. Successful people “think bigger” — they believe in themselves, have a grander scale of imagination, and see bigger possibilities. And they behave accordingly — they have magnetic attitudes, prefer action to waiting, and learn from every setback. Learn the strategies and techniques that successful people use.
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- Get some mental stimulation. New experiences generate new ideas. Explore interests outside your occupation; interact with people outside the mold of your social circle.
The Behavior of Thinking Big
By Default, Take Action
There are a lot of great ideas and plans floating around out there, but if you don’t act, nothing will happen. Successful people take decisive action on their ideas. Action-takers understand that:
- Action cures fear. If you’re nervous about something, often starting to do it makes the anxiety melt away.
- Conditions are never going to be perfect, so don’t wait for perfection to act. Don’t use “things aren’t perfect right now” as an excuse for inaction.
- “Now” is the default time to take action. Not “someday,” not “tomorrow.”
- Taking initiative means taking action without being told to take action. This is universally respected and sought after.
Find a Victory in Every Setback
Highly successful people use setbacks as fuel and motivation to move forward. Successful people handle setbacks productively:
- They salvage something from every “failure.” They find the lesson and apply it.
- They don’t blame others for a setback. Instead, they ask themselves, “What could I have done differently?”
- They try something different in their approach if things aren’t working out. It’s great to be persistent, but you also have to experiment with different ways of doing things.
- Even if the setback is someone else’s fault, go easy on them. Don’t expect perfection from people, since this sets you up for disappointment. Figure out how you can adjust yourself to match them.
Set Specific Goals for a Motivating Target
Goals are energizing and motivating. They give you a target to work toward, and you work harder than if you’re aimless. Big thinkers set and achieve goals with these key strategies:
- Figure out what you really want to do. You are only going to be great at something you can put your whole heart and soul into.
- Visualize your ideal future 10 years from now in three areas: work, personal/home and social.
- Make progress one step at a time. Every big accomplishment is the result of a steady series of little accomplishments.
- Create a 30-day improvement guide. Set little goals for yourself for the next 30 days to build positive new habits and destroy old bad habits.
Create a Magnetic Attitude
Your facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language all convey your attitude. Other people pick up on your attitude; if it’s negative, you drag yourself down and look bad in the process. Successful people convey three attitudes:
- Enthusiasm: You have to be enthusiastic if you want anyone else to get excited. Approach little interactions like handshakes with energy. Spread good news with joy.
- YOU-are-important attitude: Others react positively to you when you make them feel important.
- Service-first attitude: Give people more than they expect. Think: what can I do for other people? This builds a loyal customer base and social group.
Think Like a Successful Leader
Successful people are often in leadership positions, but they didn’t get there alone or by luck. They have the support and cooperation of others.To develop as a leader, follow four guidelines:
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Try to think as they would think.
- Think about the “human” way to handle a situation. Treat other people with basic human decency.
- Have a “progress mindset”: Keep the attitude that “there’s always room for improvement.”
- Take time out away from all the noise to think things over and confer with yourself.
Make Your Environment First Class
Your mind is a product of your environment: the people you surround yourself with, the clothes you wear, the neighborhood you live in, the food you eat. Your environment changes how you think. Improve your environment to improve how you think.
- Take a look at the people in your life. Tune out the negative people and seek out those who think positively.
- Go first class. From restaurants to furniture, surrounding yourself with quality helps you feel and look successful. Often, choosing a first-class option doesn’t cost much more, but it makes you feel much better.
- Look important. Dress in a way that makes you feel proud and important.
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