Book Review: The Magic of Thinking Big
I recently finished a self-help book called The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz. The title caught my attention as I have had first-hand experience on the topic. My expectation from the book was to see if there are consistent means to induce big thinking and in turn, derive its benefits. It turned out there is no magic pill on how to think big. Instead Dr Schwartz provided a few lifehacks that resonated with me:
- Believe you can and so you can. Self belief is key to success. If you believe you are good enough, then you are on the right track to attaining results. This message reminded me of Morpheus telling Neo in the Matrix, "Don't think you are. Know you are." This has been my mantra for some time so the chapter served as a good reinforcement on self belief. On the flip side, if you believe you cannot, that is equally self-fulfilling
- There is no excuse for mediocrity. Whether it is health, intelligence or the age-old "age" (pun intended), take none of it. You are not too weak, too dumb nor too old to go after your goals! Never, if you believe it...
- Overcome fear with action. Too many people are paralyzed by fear in life and do not get off to a start. And few know the way to overcoming fear is to take action, a step at a time. So get off the couch and start chasing your dreams
- To think confidently, act confidently. The key to self-confidence is to act with confidence. On first glance, this seems like causal non-sense as the result comes before the cause. On second thought however, it does make sense because the mind actually needs to feel confident for you to act confident. It just does not know it (yet). The same principle applies to the fact that smiling actually makes you less nervous and more cheerful. Action before feeling. Hence wearing your best suit does bring you up a notch on the confidence level!
- Avoid well meaning losers. Many loved ones, with their limit thinking, actually are guilty of holding you back. Don't give in to them when they tell you it is impossible, or you are just not good enough. Positivity is required for you to succeed. Make new friends who believe
- Defeats are okay, as long as you course correct. Even the most successful people experience hardships before reaching their apex. Very few just luck out. They persevere to make themselves lucky if you must count luck as a factor for success. The mindset you have when experiencing defeat is what separates you from the losers. Look at each failure through the lens of self improvement. Taking this one step further, try to find one thing in your life you can simply do better each week. For instance, find a shortcut to get to work. That can be your milestone for a week
- Be a great leader. Show empathy, treat others humanly, think progress, practice managed solitude. This is a long one, but it basically means: putting yourself in others' shoes. Do unto others what you expect them to do unto you. Always look for areas of improvement. But most importantly, and this is an area of my personal development, spend more time alone to reflect on yourself and problems to resolve. "Miracle solutions" will come when you can lay down your smartphone and give yourself enough alone time to clear the fog from your mind.
The book is an easy read that can benefit many. For me, many tips served as a reinforcements of what I am already practicing. One point did leave an impression however. Dr Schwartz claims that there are three groups of people in life. Those who have completely given up and they spend time justifying why they are happy where they are. Then there are those who have partially given up. They had plans entering adulthood but after a decade or so of living, fears and resistance build up, stopping them from moving beyond the middle stratas. Finally, there are those who never give up. They breathe and live success and are the happiest people even when times are tough. This unique group makes up only 2 to 3% of the population. Which group do you belong to?