The Magic of Thinking Big, first published in 1959, is a self-help book by David J. Schwartz. Some of the concepts haven’t aged well, but there is still plenty of wisdom to be found.

Below are the lessons that have stood the test of time.

#1 Always Keep a Firm Belief.

When you hold onto a strong belief, your mind will figure out ways and means to make your goals happen. Your confidence will carry you forward, keeping you energized and alert.

But this isn’t just a personal matter — your belief affects the people in your life too. When you believe that you can succeed, others will place their confidence in you. It will, in turn, give you extra motivation to forge on despite the difficulties.

So learn to control your thoughts and become an optimist!

#2 Stop Worrying Too Much About Your Health.

Sure, if something’s wrong, you need to get it checked out. But don’t pass up on living by thinking yourself into a hospital bed. Instead, be grateful to be healthy.

Also: don’t discuss your health more than you have to. The more you talk about an ailment, the worse it tends to feel.

When people ask how you’re feeling, it’s best to stick to “great, thank you!”. Your words are powerful, and they impact both you and the person asking.

#3 Give People More Than They Expect to Get.

If you have clients, over-deliver on your promises, if you get deadlines from your manager, finish your work earlier.

You might be hesitant to set expectations high, especially if you’re not sure you’ll be able to follow through every time.

But that’s no reason to refrain from giving it your all. When you show the world what you’re capable of, the momentum will help you move on to even greater things.

Don’t be afraid of your potential. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are.

#4 The Ability to Think is of Much Higher Value Than the Ability to Memorize Facts.

Ask yourself: “Am I using my mental ability to make history, or am I using it merely to record history made by others?”

Use your mind to create and develop ideas, to find new and better ways to do things.

Look at things not as they are, but as they can be. It is the highest value you can add to the world.

Creative thinkers know that it’s dangerous to get stuck in the present. You always want to keep looking ahead, staying open to any new possibility.

#5 Action Cures Fear.

When we’re faced with difficult situations, we have only two choices.

Indecision and postponement fuel fear — the more you wait, the scarier the jump will become.

But what happens when you start taking action? You will see that you can master fear and uncertainty, and the experience will make you stronger.

#6 Put People in the Proper Perspective.

To get ahead in life, you need to be aware of how others view you, but you also need to learn to see people realistically. Don’t listen to mediocrity; it will only hold you back.

Those who tell you it cannot be done are almost always unsuccessful people, average at best in terms of accomplishment. Cut them out of your life as much as possible.

Fear of rejection or judgment is another thing that can hold you back.

But do not be afraid to talk in public or voice your opinion. Always ask, what’s the worst that could happen? Many people will bark, but it’s a rare one who bites.

#7 Look Important.

Even if you’re working from home, as is the case for me, you should dress up in the morning. It will put you in the right frame of mind to get work done.

Remember that your appearance talks to you. Be sure it lifts your spirits and builds your confidence.

At the same time: your appearance talks to others. Make sure it says: “here is an important person.”

#8 Practice Doing What Your Conscience Tells You is Right.

Avoid making compromises you’ll regret later. Trust in your moral compass and stick to your principles. It is the only way to prevent a poisonous guilt complex from torturing you in the future.

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.” ― David J. Schwartz

Eric Sangerma is an entrepreneur, founder of and  and co-host of The Wholistique Show  which explores how to reach peak personal and professional performance while living a minimal and balanced life. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.




Image courtesy of Ante Hamersmit.