This week we will be breaking down Chapters 4-6 of The Magic of Thinking Big. If you haven’t read the breakdown for week 1 yet, go do so before continuing on with week 2.
Learn to Think Big
In the book the author mentions that “We do not think in words and phrases. We think only in pictures and/or images.” Have you ever realized this? If you think of a “gorilla” what does you mind do?
It pictures a gorilla!
What does this have to do with thinking big?
It means that we need to change the way we think. It is so common to think thoughts like “Don’t blow this opportunity”. While this may seem like an okay thought, it is actually a terrible way of thinking.
Remember, our brains think in pictures and images, so when you think a thought like this, your brain pictures you blowing the opportunity. It cannot picture the word “don’t”. So instead, think a thought such as, “You can make this opportunity a reality” or “You’ve got this”.
Some other aspects of thinking big that the author mentions in the book include:
- Don’t sell yourself short. If there is one thing that kills big thinking, it is selling yourself short. As he mentions in the book, “Conquer the crime of self-deprecation. Concentrate on your assets. You’re better than you think you are.”
- Use the big thinker’s vocabulary. This doesn’t mean you should start using words nobody else knows just to make yourself sound smarter or more important. It means you should be using “big, bright, cheerful words” to do the following four things: describe how you feel, describe other people, encourage others, and to outline plans to others.
- Stretch your vision. Too many people only see “what is” rather than “what can be”. Next time you find yourself facing a tough situation, try to focus on “what can be” from the situation. It will help you create a larger, more empowering mindset.
- Get the big view of your job. If you don’t think your current job is important, how do you ever expect to get one that has more responsibility, and most likely more pay? Even if your job doesn’t seem super important, focus on the most important aspects of your job, and use them to build a positive outlook about the work you do every day.
- Think above trivial things. Have you ever gotten caught up in an argument only to look back later and realize that it was a complete waste of your time? Next time, first ask yourself “Is this really important” before you engage in the argument or discussion. Asking this question will help you to avoid many situations that are of little importance or value.
Everyone is different. Some people by nature are “big thinkers” and this section of the book will seem very natural to them. However, some others tend to think a bit smaller, and this section of the book will be a bit more challenging for them.
Regardless of where you tend to fall, make it a goal today to begin applying the six tactics above to begin developing – or to strengthen – your mind towards big thinking!
Learn to Think Creatively
Chapter 5 of the book defines creative thinking as, “simply finding new, improved ways to do anything.” This idea can be applied to any area of your life. Whether it is in your work, your relationships, your finances, or any other area there are ways to think differently than the “traditional ways” that will help you achieve results that are much greater than most people get.
Have you ever realized that what sets many of the most successful people apart is that they have had a cool or unique idea? Maybe its a business idea that nobody else had thought of. Or, maybe its a different way of doing something in their family life. Whatever area it is in, the success that many people experience is because they thought differently about a problem than everyone else who faced that same problem.
The good news for you is that you can do the same thing! You just have to train yourself to think more creatively.
How does that differ from the usual way of thinking?
Can you think of a time recently when you found yourself saying – or thinking – “Im sure there is a different way to do this, but this is the way I have always done it”?
I bet you can!
We all fall victim to this type of thinking at times. In the book he refers to this idea by saying that we let “tradition paralyze our minds.”
Many times this kind of thinking is due to using “small” thinking. We tend to focus on what has worked before, because we don’t truly believe that we can find a new, better way. Instead, we should tell ourselves there is a better way, and that we can figure it out. As he says in the book, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The author suggests the following six things to help us to become more creative thinkers:
- Believe it can be done. Belief by itself does not guarantee you will be successful, but it does give you the best chance. However, if you don’t believe you can achieve something, you have exactly a 0% chance of achieving it. Choose to believe.
- Don’t let tradition paralyze your mind. Just because something has “always been done that way” doesn’t mean it should continue to be done that way. Challenge the things you do, and the way you do them. The author encourages us to “be progressive in everything you do.”
- Ask yourself daily, “How can I do better?” No matter where you are, there is still progress to be made. Ask yourself this question in every area of your life.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
I am absolutely obsessed with this topic. I always am looking for new, creative ways to do things. Sometimes it works out great, and some times it backfires. But, I believe that every time I challenge myself to think creatively I give myself a better chance of achieving my desired results than I would if I just went with the “traditional” type of thinking.
You Are What You Think You Are
Thinking big, and creatively, not only applies to things such as work and finances, but it also applies to the way you think about yourself.
Have you ever noticed that when you are confident about something, you are far more likely to act in ways that support your success?
Why is that?
According to the book it is because “How you think determines how you act.” Which also determines how other people react to you.
When you think in positive ways about yourself you are more likely to act in ways that show that confidence. It is also more likely that you will identify more opportunities, thereby making it more likely that you can capitalize on one of them.
In chapter 6 of the book the author gives us four ways to improve the way we think about ourselves:
- Look important; it helps you think important. It’s amazing how looking good can give you a boost in confidence. Im not saying you have to get dressed up. After all, I am the last person on earth who you should listen to about getting dressed up. I like wearing a suit about as much as I like going to the dentist. However, I am a huge believer in dressing in a way that makes you appear “put together”. For you this may mean wearing a suit, or maybe it means wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Whatever you choose to wear just make sure it gives off the appearance you want others to have of you.
- Think your work is important. If you don’t have the mindset that your work is important, the people who work with you or under you won’t have the mindset either. No matter what kind of work you do, there is importance in it. The only way to get a more “important” job is to treat the current one you have as if it is important.
- Give yourself a pep talk several times daily. In the book he uses the example of creating a “sell-yourself-to-yourself commercial” as a way to do this. I personally do this through my morning affirmations, both options work. Pick the one you like best and implement it into your life.
- “Is this the way an important person thinks?” The author suggests we ask ourselves this question “in all of life’s situations.” However, asking yourself the question is not what makes this action powerful. It is the act of obeying the answer to that question that makes all the difference.
My Favorite Quotes
- The tendency for so many people to think small means there is much less competition than you think for a very rewarding career.
- Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches or pounds or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.
- How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments.
- We do not think in words and phrases. We think only in pictures and/or images.
- Use big, positive, cheerful words and phrases to describe how you feel.
- Use bright, cheerful, favorable words and phrases to describe other people.
- To do anything, we must first believe it can be done. Believing something can be done sets the mind in motion to find a way to do it.
- When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why. But when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and helps you find the ways to do it.
- Where there’s a will, there is a way.
- “Average” people have always resented progress.
- In truth, there is no one best way to do anything.
- Successful people, like successful businesses, live with these questions: “How can I improve the quality of my performance? How can I do better?”
- Big success calls for persons who continually set higher standards for themselves and others, persons who are searching for ways to increase efficiency, to get more output at lower cost, do more with less effort.
- Each day before you begin work, devote ten minutes to thinking “How can I do a better job today?” Ask, “What can I do today to encourage my employees?” “What special favor can I do for my customers?” “How can I increase my personal efficiency?”
- Ideas are fruits of your thinking. But they’ve got to be harnessed and put to work to have value.
- Look closer still, and you’ll also observe that those persons who command the most respect are also the most successful.
- Others see in us what we see in ourselves. We receive the kind of treatment we think we deserve.
- The fellow who thinks he is inferior, regardless of what his real qualifications may be, is inferior. For thinking regulates actions.
- To be important, we must think we are important, really think so; then others will think so too.
- How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you.
- Remember: look important because it helps you to think important.
- Your physical exterior affects your mental interior. How you look on the outside affects how you think and feel on the inside.
- You are what you think you are.
- To be on top, you’ve got to feel like you’re on top. Give yourself a pep talk and discover how much bigger and stronger you feel.
It’s Action Time
- Change an area of “small thinking” to “big thinking”: Take 10 minutes to write down any areas of your life where you find yourself thinking small. It could be things like, “I’m never going to be able to pay off my student loans” or “I can’t afford that _________ (fill in the blank)”. Once you have a list, pick the one that is the most important to you. Now take another 10 minutes to write down a list of ways you can reverse your thinking, and your results in that area. For example, you could write down “I can pay off my student loans in 5 years by paying $_____ more per month” or “I can buy that house. By selling ____ more _____ (whatever you sell) each month I will be able to afford it!” Use creative thinking to come up with answers that may not be what you would normally think of.
Coming Up Next…
Next week we will be covering Chapters 7-9 of the book. In the mean time, take the action steps above and jump into the Facebook group to help encourage others!