The Magic of Thinking Big Summary

If there is really magic in thinking big, then why doesn’t everyone think this way?

In this summary of his best selling book, The Magic of Thinking Big, Author David Schwartz has this to say:

The successful person doesn't ask, "Can I do it better?" He knows he can. So he phrases the question: How can I do it 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. Top success is reserved for the I-can-do-it-better kind of person."

Who should read this?

People who want to get the most out of their lives. Those who keep wondering why they always get what they’ve been getting, never getting to that “next level”.

The Magic of Thinking Big Main Ideas

  • Think success, don't think failure.
  • Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are
  • Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief.

Quick Summary of The Magic of Thinking Big

Everybody wants success in life. However, most of this “want” ends up as wishful thinking. 

Why? Because most of us have too little confidence in ourselves. We don’t think big enough, we settle for the usual. Stay within our comfort zone. We tell ourselves, why put in more than the usual effort? It’s just a waste of my time.

Yet after “being ok” with what they are right now, deep inside they wish for more, long to achieve greater things, to accomplish their wildest dreams and goals.

So they feel like a failure, even though they have it in them to achieve what they want.

What’s missing?

Answer: They’re not thinking big enough.

In other words: People don’t realize that all it takes to start their climb to success is a change in perspective. To acknowledge that they have what it takes---they just first need to believe it---to think bigger and aim higher.

I think this quote from the first chapter encapsulates how most of us think when it comes to doing things in our lives:

The "Okay-I'll-give-it-a-try-but-I-don't-think-it-will-work" attitude produces failures.

Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts "reasons" to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures.

It aligns perfectly with one of my favorite quotes:

“What you focus on, grows.”

If we believe that we don’t have what it takes, then our minds will most definitely agree. It’s that simple. Why even bother? You’ve already locked yourself in the narrative that what you have right now is all you can ever have.

But if you really think about it, we’re just hiding behind our own excuses.

It’s just too much work, I’ll just waste my time, I’ll probably fail---are what we tell ourselves.

But Schwartz tells us that it doesn’t have to be this way. That there’s greatness within each and every one of us.

We all just have to shift our perspectives, to think big, and take action.

My Personal Takeaways

Think small, aim small, stay within your comfort zone = you’ll get what you’ve always have.

Think big and aim big = The first step towards achieving the best things you want in life.


My Favorite Quotes from The Magic of Thinking Big

“You can’t wish away a mountain. You can’t wish yourself into an executive suit or a position of leadership. But you can move a mountain with belief…Belief works this way. It generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do. When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops.”

“The search proved beyond any question that no significant difference existed in native intelligence. The difference in the very successful and the very unsuccessful finally reduced to difference in attitudes, or difference in thought management. The top group worried less, was more enthusiastic, and had a sincere liking for people.”

“Age won’t be a handicap unless you make it one.”

“The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success.”

“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.”

“Capacity is a state of mind. How much we can do depends on how much we think we can do. When you really believe you can do more, your mind thinks creatively and shows you the way.”

“Every day you and I see half-alive people who are no longer sold on themselves. They lack self-respect for their most important product–themselves. These folks are indifferent. They feel small. They feel like nobodies, and because they feel that way, that’s what they are.”

“Experts agree also that the person you will be one, five, ten, twenty years from now depends almost entirely on your future environment. You will change over the months and years. But how you will change depends on your future environment, the mind food you feed yourself.”

“We are lifted to higher levels by those who know us as likable, personable individuals. Every friend you make lifts you just one notch higher. And being likable makes you lighter to lift.”

“The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same person. Almost without exception, the more successful the person, the more he practices conversation generosity, that is, he encourages the other person to talk about himself, his views, his accomplishments, his family, his job, his problems.”

“Big people do not laugh at big ideas.”

“Nothing happens, no forward steps are taken until a goal is established. Without goals individuals just wander through life. They stumble along, never knowing where they are going, so they never get anywhere. Goals are as essential to success as air is to life.”

“We can and should plan at least ten years ahead. You must form an image now of the person you want to be ten years from now if you are to become that image.”

“As you press forward to success, set goals: deadlines, target dates, self-imposed quotas. You will accomplish only what you plan to accomplish.”

“Now is the magic word of success. Tomorrow, next week, later, sometime, someday, often as not are synonyms for the failure word, never.”

About the Author David Schwartz:

Dr. David J. Schwartz was a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the president of Creative Educational Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leadership development. He passed away in 1987. The Magic of Thinking Big was his most popular book.

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