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Book Summary – The Magic of Thinking Big: Acquire the Secrets of Success…Achieve Everything You’ve Always Wanted

The Magic of Thinking Big - Book summary

The secret to success doesn’t lie in superior talent or intellect. It lies in your thinking. This book by David Schwartz explains how you can think big to motivate yourself, improve your results, earn more money, and get more happiness and fulfillment out of life. In this free version of The Magic of Thinking Big summary, we’ll outline the key principles for living and succeeding at a higher level.

Unlocking the Magic of Thinking Big

David Schwartz presents 13 key principles behind true success–to earn more, lead fearlessly and live a happier life. We’ll now dive into 2 of these ideas in detail and outline the remainder. Do get the complete version of The Magic of Thinking Big summary for more details and tips!

The Magic of Thinking Big summary - 13 success principles


Harness the Power of Belief

The first step to success is to believe that you can succeed. Your brain is a “thought factory”: what you focus on determines what type of thoughts you produce.

  • If you believe you can do something, your mind will seek out ways to make it happen (e.g. how to acquire the necessary skills or resources). You’ll feel energized and motivated to take action, and others can sense your confidence and conviction.
  • If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. If you think something is impossible, you won’t even try and others can sense your doubts or disbelief.

To develop the power of belief, you need 3 things:

  • Focus on success, not failure. If you focus on why/how you’ll fail, your mind will come up with all sorts of problems and obstacles. If you focus on why/how you’ll succeed, your mind will look for opportunities and solutions. Stay away from thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “I will fail”. Instead, focus on thoughts like “I can do this” and “I will succeed.”
  • Don’t short-change yourself. Remember: successful people are just ordinary people who believe in themselves and what they do. You don’t need special powers or talents to succeed.
  • Your level of success is proportionate to the size of your belief. So, think big and believe big!

Enlarge your Thinking

The size of your achievements will never outgrow the size of your thinking. To increase your success, you must upsize your thinking.

Start by seeing yourself in a positive light. Identify your 5 top assets (e.g. education, attitude, connections). Get feedback from friends, family and colleagues if necessary. For each asset, list down 3 people who’ve done well even though they lack your strengths. Realize that you’re actually better than you think.

Our brains think visually using images. Use positive, expansive vocabulary that create empowering mental images and possibilities.

  • Words like “It’s hopeless. Were completely boxed in.” can make you feel stuck and powerless. You can paint a totally different picture by changing your vocabulary to, “Let’s look at things from a fresh angle to see what new possibilities emerge.”
  • Use strong, positive and energizing words to describe your emotions and plans. Saying “I feel wonderful!” makes you feel much better than “I’m fine” or “I’m ok”. Saying “this is an exciting opportunity” moves others more than “the numbers look positive”.
  • Describe other people using positive words and phrases, and avoid putting others down. Compliment others wherever possible (e.g. their appearance, actions, or achievements).

Enlarge your vision. Look beyond how things are at present, to see how things can be in the future.

  • Ask yourself questions like, “How can I double the value of this old house?” or “How can I increase our customers’ average spend from $5 to $500?” This triggers your brain to explore possibilities.
  • Focus on how you can add value to things (e.g. a house or business), people (e.g. your colleagues or family), and yourself (i.e. to realize your potential).
  • Don’t get so lost in the trivialities that you lose sight of the big picture. Remind yourself of the overall objective, and ask yourself “Is this important enough for me to get worked up?” or “Am I focusing on what truly matters?” For example:

(i) Great public speaking is less about perfecting your choice of words or delivery. It’s more about sharing something meaningful that you’re passionate about.
(ii) Before you lash out at someone for a petty mistake/flaw, consider if it’s really important or if it’ll just create unnecessary conflict, waste your time/energy and hurt your relationships.

Eliminate your Excuses

Cure yourself from excusitis. Don’t make excuses for what you can’t or won’t do. Read our complete version of The Magic of Thinking Big summary for insights to overcome 4 common excuses (health, intelligence, age, luck).

Conquer your Fears

Fear can hold you back from doing what’s required. Grow your confidence to quench your fears. Find out how from our complete 15-page summary!

Think Creatively

Creative thinking is about finding new and better ways to do things. Get more tools/tips from our full summary bundle to improve your creative thinking.

See Yourself in a Better Light

Your self-image affects your appearance and actions, which affect how others respond to you. Find out how you can improve your appearance, self-image and upgrade your thinking in all aspects of life!

Create a First-Class Environment

Our mental health, beliefs and habits are shaped by our environment, just like how our physical health is affected by the food we consume. Change your current environment to change the person you become in the future.

Improve your Attitude to Improve your Results

Your attitudes affect how you think, feel and act, to affect your outcomes. If you hold negative attitudes toward something or someone, others can sense it from your body language. Get the full version of The Magic of Thinking Big summary to learn why you should become activated, treat everyone like they’re important, and put service first.

Treat People Right

No one can succeed without others’ support. So, learn to make friends, be likeable and build positive, constructive relationships.

Take Action Proactively

Ideas alone are useless without action. Don’t wait for the perfect plan or conditions before you act. Find out how to kick-start your mental engine and take initiative to generate your desired results.

Turn Defeat into Triumph

Successful people also face opposition, setbacks and defeat, but they overcome setbacks to bounce back stronger. Learn to turn adversity to advantage.

Make Progress with Clear, Meaningful Goals

To take purposeful action, know where you want to go. Work toward a clear objective.

Be an Effective Leader

No leader can rise or succeed without the support of his/her followers. Learn the 4 rules of leadership to become an effective leader!

Getting the Most from The Magic of Thinking Big

No matter what challenge you’re facing—whether you’re feeling stuck, discouraged, struggling with a project or relationship—you can conquer it by thinking bigger and becoming a bigger person. However, thinking big is not the same as wishful thinking. Take action now to apply the principles above, and observe how successful and unsuccessful people around you embrace or ignore these principles.

Get our  complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 15-page text summary, and a 27-minute audio summary for more insights on all 13 principles behind the magic of thinking big.

The Magic of Thinking Big summary - book summary bundle

In the book, David Schwartz also shares many personal anecdotes and observations behind the principles in this summary. If you’ve enjoyed the ideas in this summary, you can get the book here for the full mojo.

Getting the Most from The Magic of Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking Big: Acquire the Secrets of Success…Achieve Everything You’ve Always Wanted is written by David Schwartz–an American motivational writer and coach. He was a professor of marketing, chairman of the department, and Chair of Consumer Finance at Georgia State University. He received a BS degree at the University of Nebraska in 1948, and his MA and PhD in 1953 from Ohio State University.

The Magic of Thinking Big Quotes

“Think Big and you’ll live big. You’ll live big in happiness. You’ll live big in accomplishment. Big in income. Big in friends. Big in respect.”

“Think doubt and fail. Think victory and succeed.”

“The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief.”

“The price tag the world puts on us is just about identical to the one we put on ourselves.”

“To eliminate quarrels, eliminate petty thinking.”

“Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.”

“Before you start out, know where you want to go.”

Click here to download The Magic of Thinking Big summary & infographic

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