This week we will be breaking down Chapters 7-9 of The Magic of Thinking Big. If you haven’t read the breakdown for week 2 yet, go do so before continuing on with week 3.
Manage Your Environment
At some point in every child’s life they get a lecture about how the people we hang around with affect us, either positively or negatively. Unless you are a small child – and I am guessing your aren’t since you are reading this – you can probably remember your parents giving your this same lecture. The book uses the old saying “You are a product of your environment.”
One of my all time favorite quotes says that “We are the average of the five people we spend out time with”. Think about the five people you spend the most time with. Are they building your up, or tearing your down?
But, this idea applies to more than just the people we surround ourselves with. It also applies to the things we read, watch, and listen to. It applies to the situations we put ourselves in. It applies to every aspect of our “environment”.
When we put ourselves in environments that don’t support our goals and don’t encourage us to think positively and grow, our environments have a negative affect on our lives.
The author suggests that we do the following 6 things to make the most of our environments:
- Be environment conscious. The things, and people, we surround ourself with affect the way we think. Make sure you feed your mind the right things and surround yourself with the right people.
- Make our environments work for us, not against us. Why spend time with negative people who are going to drag you down? We are in control of our environment. Choose an environment that builds you up rather than tearing you down. The book says, “Make no mistake about it. You are judged by the company you keep. Birds of a feather do flock together.”
- Seek advice from successful people. Would you take health and fitness advice from an extremely overweight person? Probably not. So why is it so common to take advice from people in other areas of life who aren’t any closer to the “goal” than we are? Find someone who has been a success at whatever you are wanting to achieve and take advice from them. Ignore advice from anyone who hasn’t done what you want to do.
- Get physiological sunshine. Surround yourself with new people. Talk about new and exciting topics. Keep things exciting.
- Get rid of thought poison. There is nothing good about gossip, and yet we all gossip (at least at times). Make it a point to cut gossip out of your life. Want an easy way to determine what is gossip?If you are taking to someone else about a third person, and the person you are talking to does not have a direct way to help solve the issue you are discussing, it’s gossip.
- Go first class in everything. Would you rather have 5 really crappy pairs of shoes or 1 really nice pair? What about your car, would you rather have one that you really love or three that you don’t really like all that much? Start focusing on “less but better” (How about that nice little throwback to Essentialism ?) in all areas of your life. It can be in regards to your possessions, friends, time at work, or anything else. Quality is always better than quantity.
Attitude is Everything
I am a huge believer that the attitude we have towards something is what will either make or break our success.
If you were following along last month you may know that I am not naturally a morning person. But, over the last few years I have developed a new attitude towards morning, and it has made a huge difference.
I used to dread mornings, but now I think of mornings with excitement.
Sure, some mornings still suck. Some mornings I still want to turn over and go back to sleep.
So what is it that allows me to get out of bed to work on my goals and make it to the gym? It’s the attitude I have about the things I do in the morning.
I now begin each day with true excitement and enthusiasm towards my day. I am excited to get up and move one step closer to my goals.
If I had not changed the way I think about mornings there is exactly a 0% chance I would get out of bed at 5:15 am every day.
Getting up in the morning isn’t the only place that our attitude is important. It is important in all areas of life.
The book recommends that we grow the following three types of attitudes:
- Activated. The book uses this term for an attitude of enthusiasm. The author points out that when we are excited and enthusiastic about something, we make others excited as well. If you want to get people involved in something you are doing, you need to get them excited.
- You Are Important. Have you ever noticed that people do a lot more for you when you are nice to them? The book recommends that we develop a sincere appreciation of other people. Learn to see “importance” in every person you meet. Spend a little time getting to know someone, and showing interest in them, and you may be shocked how they go out of their way to help you in the future.
- Service First. I love the way Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com talks about this idea. He says, “Your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience.” Its as simple as that. Want to earn more money? Serve your audience well, and the money will follow. Want a better relationship with your significant other? Spend some time serving them. The book says “Make it a rule in everything you do: give people more than they expect to get.”
Think Right Towards People
Our attitudes affect more than just ourselves, they also affect our relationships with others.
Have you ever noticed that when you go into a conversation or meeting with a negative attitude, the results of that encounter are usually not all that great?
The way we think about others can make or break the interactions we have with them. Our attitude towards others can dramatically affect the way we interact with them, making us much more – or much less – likable.
So how should we change our thinking and our attitudes towards others?
The book recommends that we do the following 7 things:
- Make yourself “lighter to lift”. The book says, “A person is not pulled up to a higher-level job. Rather, he is lifted up.” If you want more people to like you, and help “lift” you to where you want to be in life, you have to become more likable.
- Take initiative in building friendships. Have you ever noticed that in a group of people, you are most excited to meet people who come up and introduce themselves to you? Practice being this type of person. Take the initiative towards meeting new people and making new friends. Pro tip: Make sure you get the persons name right.
- Accept differences and limitations. Everyone makes mistakes – even you – so don’t hold it against someone. Also, just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn’t make them wrong. Learn to accept and encourage different opinions.
- Focus on good thoughts. If you focus on negative thoughts about a person you will find yourself prejudiced towards them. But, if you think god thoughts about people, you will always see the good in them!
- Be generous in conversations. The book points out that in a conversation “The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same person.” Make it a point to let others do more of the talking. Encourage others to talk about themselves and their interests. This will allow you to learn about them, and will also make them like you more.
- Always be courteous. This is something that most of us are taught at a young age. Being courteous is one of the best ways to make friends.
- Don’t blame others. People who are successful rarely make excuses, and even more rarely do they blame others for their shortcomings. If you have a setback, take responsibility. Remember what the book says, “How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.”
My Favorite Quotes
- The body is what the body is fed. By the same token, the mind is what the mind is fed.
- Experts agree that the person you are today, your personality, ambitions, present status in life, are largely the result of your psychological environment. And experts agree also that the person you will be one, five, ten, twenty years from now depends almost entirely on your future environment.
- Big men do not laugh at big ideas.
- Make no mistake about it. You are judged by the company you keep. Birds of a feather do flock together.
- Meditate on this thought for just a moment: Taking an ax and chopping your neighbor’s furniture to pieces won’t make your furniture look one bit better; and using verbal axes and grenades on another person doesn’t do one thing to make you a better you or me a better me.
- Then, too, it’s better to have fewer things and have quality than to have many things and have junk.
- How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect thinking.
- When our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness and good results inevitably follow.
- A man who lacks enthusiasm never develops it in another. But a person who is enthusiastic soon has enthusiastic followers.
- Be an “I-feel-great” person. Just say “I feel great” at every possible opportunity, and you will feel better.
- Make someone feel important, and he cares about you. And when he cares about you, he does more for you.
- The seed of money is service. That’s why “put service first” is an attitude that creates wealth. Put service first, and money takes care of itself
- But today, remember, a person either supports you willingly or he doesn’t support you at all.
- Friendship can’t be bought. And when we try, we lose in two ways: 1. We waste money. 2. We create contempt.
- The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same person.
- Don’t waste time and energy being discouraged. Don’t berate yourself. Plan to win next time.
It’s Action Time
Like I said above, I believe that attitude is everything. This week I am going to challenge you to change a current attitude you have that is not supporting your success. It may be something like, “I hate waking up in the morning” or “my job sucks”. Whatever it is, make a choice to change it to an empowering attitude that will support the goals you have for your life. This can be done in three simple steps:
- Identify an area where you have a poor attitude.
- Write down a new attitude that supports your goals.
- Read this new attitude once in the morning and once at night for the next week. (I recommend you set yourself an alarm or reminder in the morning and at night to make sure you do this every day.)
Coming Up Next…
Next week we will be covering Chapters 10-13 of the book. In the mean time, take the action steps above and jump into the Facebook group to help encourage others!