The Magic of Thinking Big
"The way to combat that kind of fear—yes, any kind of fear—yes, any kind of fear—is action. Dread making a certain phone call? Make it, and dread disappears. Put it off, and it will get harder and harder to make. Dread going to a doctor for a checkup? Go, and your worry vanishes. Chances are nothing serious is wrong with you, and if there is, you know where you stand. Put off that checkup, and you feed your fear until it may grow so strong that you actually are sick."
I don't think there was any new idea in here. Nothing I've not read elsewhere. Many of the suggestions the author makes I have seen many times before, in all sorts of different books. Often, this means they are good suggestions!
This is dense for a self-help book, full of (what I think is) good advice. I found myself nodding along and thinking "yes, I should do that" and taking down actions. I have been seeping myself in self-improvement writing for a long time now, so this book was not life-changing, but I can see why all these ideas brought together could have a huge impact on the right person at the right time.
Personally, I think he could focus more on leading a happy life, rather than assuming that 'winning' is a big house and fast cars, but that is not really the point of this particular book, so I won't hold it against him. There is no reason you could not apply the same suggestions toward living the most virtuous and happy life possible, and win in that way, if you prefer.
Book notes for The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz
The more I observed, the more people I talked with, the deeper I dug into what’s really behind success, the clearer was the answer. Case history after case history proved that the size of bank accounts, the size of happiness accounts, and the size of one’s general satisfaction account is dependent on the size of one’s thinking. There is magic in thinking big.
WHAT THIS BOOK WILL DO FOR YOU
people do. On some occasion you’ve probably heard someone say something like “It’s nonsense to think you can make a mountain move away just by saying ‘Mountain, move away.’ It’s simply impossible.” People who think this way have belief confused with wishful thinking. And true enough, you can’t wish away a mountain. You can’t wish yourself into an executive suite. Nor can you wish yourself into a five-bedroom, three-bath house or the high-income brackets. You can’t wish yourself into a position of leadership. But you can move a mountain with belief. You can win success by believing you can succeed. There is nothing magical or mystical about the power of belief. Belief works this way. Belief, the “I’m-positive-I-can” attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do. When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops. Every day all over the nation young people start working in new jobs. Each of them “wishes” that someday he could enjoy the success that goes with reaching the top. But the majority of these young people simply don’t have the belief that it takes to reach the top rungs. And they don’t reach the top. Believing it’s impossible to climb high, they do not discover the steps that lead to great heights. Their behavior remains that of the “average” person.
Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure ways and means and how-to. And believing you can succeed makes others place confidence in you.
Currently, there is some talk of building a tunnel under the English Channel to connect England with the Continent. Whether this tunnel is ever built depends on whether responsible people believe it can be built.
> It was built!
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. Think doubt and fail. Think victory and succeed.
Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life. Study the fellow who is shuffling down there in mediocrity. He believes he is worth little, so he receives little. He believes he can’t do big things, and he doesn’t. He believes he is unimportant, so everything he does has an unimportant mark. As times goes by, lack of belief in himself shows through in the way the fellow talks, walks, acts. Unless he readjusts his thermostat forward, he shrinks, grows smaller and smaller, in his own estimation. And, since others see in us what we see in ourselves, he grows smaller in the estimation of the people around him.
“Finally, I got down to another success quality one hears a lot about: initiative. Here I hated to admit it, but I had to. On this point my record showed I was far below that of my successful friends. “It was now about 3 A.M., but my mind was astonishingly clear. I was seeing my weak point for the first time. I discovered that I had held back. I had always carried a little stick. I dug into myself deeper and deeper and found the reason I lacked initiative was because I didn’t believe inside that I was worth very much.
Believe Big. 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. Remember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier—certainly no more difficult—than small ideas and small plans.
CURE YOURSELF OF EXCUSITIS, THE FAILURE DISEASE
You will discover that excusitis explains the difference between the person who is going places and the fellow who is barely holding his own. You will find that the more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses.
My friend, who now is seventy-eight years old, expresses his philosophy in these words: “I’m going to live until I die and I’m not going to get life and death confused. While I’m on this earth I’m going to live. Why be only half alive? Every minute a person spends worrying about dying is just one minute that fellow might as well have been dead.”
Refuse to talk about your health. The more you talk about an ailment, even the common cold, the worse it seems to get. Talking about bad health is like putting fertilizer on weeds. Besides, talking about your health is a bad habit. It bores people. It makes one appear self-centered and old-maidish.
With a positive, optimistic, and cooperative attitude a person with an IQ of 100 will earn more money, win more respect, and achieve more success than a negative, pessimistic, uncooperative individual with an IQ of 120. Just enough sense to stick with something—a chore, task, project—until it’s completed pays off much better than idle intelligence, even if idle intelligence be of genius caliber.
Despite this very high native intelligence, he is one of the most unsuccessful people I know. He has a very mediocre job (he’s afraid of responsibility). He has never married (lots of marriages end in divorce). He has few friends (people bore him). He’s never invested in property of any kind (he might lose his money). This man uses his great brainpower to prove why things won’t work rather than directing his mental power to searching for ways to succeed.
With tons of faith but little else, he enrolled in a five-year ministerial training program in Wisconsin. Five years later he was ordained as a minister and settled down with a fine congregation in Illinois. Old? Of course not. He still has twenty years of productive life ahead of him. I talked with this man not long ago, and he said to me, “You know, if I had not made that great decision when I was forty-five, I would have spent the rest of my life growing old and bitter. Now I feel every bit as young as I did twenty-five years ago.”
Many young people feel that they are being held back because of their youth. Now, it is true that another person in an organization who is insecure and job-scared may try to block your way forward, using age or some other reason. But the people who really count in the company will not. They will give you as much responsibility as they feel you can handle well. Demonstrate that you have ability and positive attitudes and your youthfulness will be considered an advantage.
Compute how much productive time you have left. Remember, a person age thirty still has 80 percent of his productive life ahead of him. And the fifty-year-old still has a big 40 percent—the best 40 percent—of his opportunity years left. Life is actually longer than most people think!
BUILD CONFIDENCE AND DESTROY FEAR
The old “it’s-only-in-your-mind” treatment presumes fear doesn’t really exist. But it does. Fear is real. Fear is success enemy number one. Fear stops people from capitalizing on opportunity; fear wears down physical vitality; fear actually makes people sick, causes organic difficulties, shortens life;
action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear. Jot that down in your success rule book right now. Action
Use this two-step procedure to cure fear and win confidence: 1. Isolate your fear. Pin it down. Determine exactly what you are afraid of. 2. Then take action. There is some kind of action for any kind of fear. And remember, hesitation only enlarges, magnifies the fear. Take action promptly. Be decisive.
Get a balanced view of the other fellow. Keep these two points in mind when dealing with people: first, the other fellow is important. Emphatically, he is important. Every human being is. But remember this, also: You are important, too. So when you meet another person, make it a policy to think, “We’re just two important people sitting down to discuss something of mutual interest and benefit.” A couple of months ago, a business executive phoned to tell me he had just employed a young man whom I had recommended to him shortly before. “Do you know what really sold me on that fellow?” asked my friend. “What?” I asked. “Well, it was the way he handled himself. Most job applicants when they walk in here are half scared. They give me all the answers they think I want to hear. In a way, most job applicants are a little like beggars—they’ll accept anything, and they aren’t particular. “But G. handled himself differently. He respected me, but what’s just as important, he respects himself. What’s more, he asked me as many questions as I asked him. He’s no mouse. He’s a real man, and he’s going to do all right.”
“Well, sir,” he said, “I really can’t get mad at a fellow like that. You see, he really isn’t mad at me. I was just the scapegoat. The poor fellow may be in bad trouble with his wife, or his business may be off, or maybe he feels inferior and this was his golden chance to feel like a wheel. I’m just the guy who gave him a chance to get something out of his system.” The clerk added, “Underneath he’s probably a very nice guy. Most folks are.”
“Paul,” I continued, “you wanted an A so badly you did something you knew was wrong. There are many times in life when you’ll want to make an A so badly you’ll be tempted to do something that is contrary to your conscience. For example, someday you may want to make a sale so badly you’ll think of deliberately misleading the customer to buy. And you may succeed. But here’s what will happen. Your guilty feeling will grab hold of you and the next time you see your customer, you’ll be self-conscious, ill at ease. You’ll be wondering ‘Has he discovered that I put something over?’ Your presentation will be ineffective because you can’t concentrate. Chances are you’ll never make the second, third, fourth, and the many repeat sales. In the long run, making that sale using tactics that hurt your conscience will cost you a lot of income.”
People who are shy in introducing themselves can replace this timidity with confidence just by taking three simple actions simultaneously: First, reach for the other person’s hand and clasp it warmly. Second, look directly at the other person. And third, say, “I’m very glad to know you.” These three simple actions automatically and instantaneously banish shyness. Confident action produces confident thinking.
Be a front seater. Ever notice in meetings—in church, classrooms, and other kinds of assemblies—how the back seats fill up first? Most folks scramble to sit in the back rows so they won’t be “too conspicuous.” And the reason they are afraid to be conspicuous is that they lack confidence. Sitting up front builds confidence. Practice it. From now on make it a rule to sit as close to the front as you can. Sure, you may be a little more conspicuous in the front, but remember, there is nothing inconspicuous about success.
The conference clam thinks to himself, “My opinion is probably worthless. If I say something, I’ll probably look foolish. I’ll just say nothing. Besides, the others in the group probably know more than I. I don’t want the others to know how ignorant I am.” Each time the conference clam fails to speak, he feels even more inadequate, more inferior. Often he makes a faint promise to himself (that down deep he knows he won’t keep) to speak “next time.” This is very important: each time our clam fails to speak, he takes one more dose of confidence poison. He becomes less and less confident of himself. But on the positive side, the more you speak up, the more you add to your confidence, and the easier it is to speak up the next time. Speak up. It’s a confidence-building vitamin.
Make it a rule to speak up at every open meeting you attend. Speak up, say something voluntarily at every business conference, committee meeting, community forum you attend. Make no exception. Comment, make a suggestion, ask a question. And don’t be the last to speak. Try to be the icebreaker, the first one in with a comment.
A big smile gives you confidence. A big smile beats fear, rolls away worry, defeats despondency. And a real smile does more than cure just your ill feeling. A real smile melts away the opposition of others—and instantly, too. Another person simply can’t be angry with you if you give him a big, sincere smile.
Probably the greatest human weakness is self-deprecation—that is, selling oneself short. Self-deprecation shows through in countless ways. John sees a job advertisement in the paper; it’s exactly what he would like. But he does nothing about it because he thinks, “I’m not good enough for that job, so why bother?” Or Jim wants a date with Joan, but he doesn’t call her because he thinks he wouldn’t rate with her. Tom feels Mr. Richards would be a very good prospect for his product, but Tom doesn’t call. He feels Mr. Richards is too big to see him. Pete is filling out a job application form. One question asks, “What beginning salary do you expect?” Pete puts down a modest figure because he feels he really isn’t worth the bigger sum that he would like to earn.
The person who says “adamantine” when in plain talk he means “immovable” or says “coquette” when we would understand him better if he said “flirt” may have a big vocabulary. But does he have a big thinker’s vocabulary? Probably not. People who use difficult, high-sounding words and phrases that most folks have to strain themselves to understand are inclined to be overbearing and stuffed shirts. And stuffed shirts are usually small thinkers.
Suppose you say, “We face a problem.” You have created a picture in the minds of others of something difficult, unpleasant to solve. Instead say, “We face a challenge,” and you create a mind picture of fun, sport, something pleasant to do. Or tell a group, “We incurred a big expense,” and people see money spent that will never return. Indeed, this is unpleasant. Instead say, “We made a big investment,” and people see a picture of something that will return profits later on, a very pleasant sight. The point is this: Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others. To think big, we must use words and phrases that produce big, positive mental images.
Practice this: it’s a very simple point, but it has tremendous power. Every time someone asks you, “How are you?” or “How are you feeling today?” respond with a “Just wonderful thanks, and you?” or say “Great” or “Fine.” Say you feel wonderful at every possible opportunity, and you will begin to feel wonderful—and bigger, too. Become known as a person who always feels great. It wins friends.
Use positive language to encourage others. Compliment people personally at every opportunity, Everyone you know craves praise. Have a special good word for your wife or husband every day. Notice and compliment the people who work with you. Praise, sincerely administered, is a success tool. Use it! Use it again and again and again. Compliment people on their appearance, their work, their achievements, their families.
Practice adding value to things. Remember the real estate example. Ask yourself, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to this room or this house or this business?” Look for ideas to make things worth more. A thing—whether it be a vacant lot, a house, or a business—has value in proportion to the ideas for using it. 2. Practice adding value to people. As you move higher and higher in the world of success, more and more of your job becomes “people development.” Ask, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to my subordinates? What can I do to help them to become more effective?” Remember, to bring out the best in a person, you must first visualize his best.
Conduct a daily interview with yourself. Ask, “What can I do to make myself more valuable today?” Visualize yourself not as you are but as you can be. Then specific ways for attaining your potential value will suggest themselves.
We can all learn a lesson from Harry. The “I‘m doing my job and that’s enough” attitude is small, negative thinking. Big thinkers see themselves as members of a team effort, as winning or losing with the team, not by themselves. They help in every way they can, even when there is no direct and immediate compensation or other reward. The fellow who shrugs off a problem outside his own department with the comment “Well, that’s no concern of mine, let them worry with it” hasn’t got the attitude it takes for top leadership.
This experiment has just one point: 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. Believing something can be done paves the way for creative solutions. Believing something can’t be done is destructive thinking. This point applies to all situations, little and big.
“If you believe it is impossible to finish school, then it is. But by the same token, if you’ll just believe it is possible to return to the university, a solution will come. “Now, here’s what I would like you to do. Make up your mind you are going to go back to school. Let that one thought dominate your thinking. Then think, really think, about how you can do it and still support your family. Come back in a couple of weeks and let me know what ideas you’ve come up with.”
> Like Hpmor "think, really think, 5mins by the clock"
“A weekly improvement program? Sounds impressive. How does it work?” I asked. “Well, it really isn’t anything elaborate,” she continued, “it’s just a plan to help me do a better job as each week rolls around. “To keep my forward thinking on the track, I’ve divided my job into four elements: customers, employees, merchandise, and promotion. All during the week I make notes and jot down ideas as to how I can improve my business. “Then, every Monday evening, I set aside four hours to review the ideas I’ve jotted down and figure out how to put the solid ones to use in the business. “In this four-hour period I force myself to take a hard look at my operation. I don’t simply wish more customers would shop in my store. Instead I ask myself, ‘What can I do to attract more customers?’ ‘How can I develop regular, loyal customers?
> Constant, intentional, foward progress
Each day before you begin work, devote ten minutes to thinking “How can I do a better job today?”
“I proved to myself that how much I can do depends on how much I think I can do.” Capacity is indeed a state of mind.
Try this three-stage program to strengthen your creativity through asking and listening: 1. Encourage others to talk. In personal conversation or in group meetings, draw out people with little urges, such as “Tell me about your experience…” or “What do you think should be done about…?” or “What do you think is the key point?” Encourage others to talk, and you win a double-barreled victory: your mind soaks up raw material that you can use to produce creative thought, and you win friends. There is no surer way to get people to like you than to encourage them to talk to you.
Test your own views in the form of questions. Let other people help you smooth and polish your ideas. Use the what-do-you-think-of-this-suggestion? approach. Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t announce a fresh idea as if it were handed down on a gold tablet. Do a little informal research first. See how your associates react to it. If you do, chances are you’ll end up with a better idea.
There are many ways to get mental stimulation, but here are two that you can incorporate into your pattern of life. First, join and meet regularly with at least one professional group that provides stimulation in your own occupational area. Rub shoulders—and minds—with other success-oriented people.
Thinking does make it so. Others see in us what we see in ourselves. We receive the kind of treatment we think we deserve. Thinking does make it so. The fellow who thinks he is inferior, regardless of what his real qualifications may be, is inferior. For thinking regulates actions. If a man feels inferior, he acts that way, and no veneer of cover-up or bluff will hide this basic feeling for long. The person who feels he isn’t important, isn’t.
The professor knew his psychology. Make no mistake about it. Your physical exterior affects your mental interior. How you look on the outside affects how you think and feel on the inside.
> Power pose?
Pay twice as much and buy half as many. Commit this answer to memory. Then practice it. Apply it to hats, suits, shoes, socks, coats—everything you wear. Insofar as appearance is concerned, quality is far more important than quantity. When you practice this principle, you’ll find that both your respect for yourself and the respect of others for you will zoom upward. And you’ll find you’re actually ahead money-wise
> Such a common piece of advice, yet another book suggesting it. Must be really, really true
As you approach your job each day, ask yourself, “Am I worthy in every respect of being imitated? Are all my habits such that I would be glad to see them in my subordinates?”
I wish you could have been there to hear the difference. That brief, self-administered, hard-hitting pep talk helped him to make a splendid speech. The moral: Practice uplifting self-praise. Don’t practice belittling self-punishment. You are what you think you are. Think more of yourself and there is more of you.
Tom regularly resells himself on himself three times every day with what he calls “Tom Staley’s 60-Second Commercial.” He carries his personalized commercial in his wallet at all times. Here is exactly what it says: Tom Staley, meet Tom Staley—an important, a really important person. Tom, you’re a big thinker, so think big. Think Big about Everything. You’ve got plenty of ability to do a first-class job, so do a first-class job. Tom, you believe in Happiness, Progress, and Prosperity. So: talk only Happiness, talk only Progress, talk only Prosperity. You have lots of drive, Tom, lots of drive. So put that drive to work. Nothing can stop you, Tom, nothing, Tom, you’re enthusiastic. Let your enthusiasm show through. You look good, Tom, and you feel good. Stay that way. Tom Staley, you were a great fellow yesterday and you’re going to be an even greater fellow today. Now go to it, Tom. Go forward. Tom credits his commercial with helping him become a more successful, dynamic person. “Before I started selling myself to myself,” says Tom, “I thought I was inferior to just about anybody and everybody. Now I realize that I’ve got what it takes to win and I’m winning. And I’m always going to win.”
The number one obstacle on the road to high-level success is the feeling that major accomplishment is beyond reach. This attitude stems from many, many suppressive forces that direct our thinking toward mediocre levels. To understand these suppressive forces, let’s go back to the time we were children. As children, all of us set high goals. At a surprisingly young age we made plans to conquer the unknown, to be leaders, to attain positions of high importance, to do exciting and stimulating things, to become wealthy and famous—in short, to be first, biggest, and best. And in our blessed ignorance we saw our way clear to accomplish these goals.
First group: Those who surrendered completely. The majority of people are convinced deep down inside that they haven’t got what it takes, that real success, real accomplishment, is for others who are lucky or fortunate in some special respect. You can easily spot these people because they go to great lengths to rationalize their status and explain how “happy” they really are.
Second group: Those who surrendered partially. A second but much smaller group enters adult life with considerable hope for success. These people prepare themselves. They work. They plan. But, after a decade or so, resistance begins to build up, competition for top-level jobs looks rugged. This group then decides that greater success is not worth the effort. They rationalize, “We’re earning more than the average and we live better than the average. Why should we knock ourselves out?” Actually, this group has developed a set of fears: fear of failure, fear of social disapproval, fear of insecurity, fear of losing what they already have. These people aren’t satisfied because deep down they know they have surrendered. This group includes many talented, intelligent people who elect to crawl through life because they are afraid to stand up and run.
suppose you tell some average people you plan to own an expensive home, and they may laugh at you because they think it’s impossible. But tell your plan to a person already living in an expensive home, and he won’t be surprised. He knows it isn’t impossible, because he’s already done it. Remember: People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishment. The opinions of these people can be poison. Develop a defense against people who want to convince you that you can’t do it. Accept negative advice only as a challenge to prove that you can do it.
John’s environmental pattern leaves him refreshed, gives him ideas, tunes up his thinking. He’s like an athlete being fed steak. Milton’s environmental pattern leaves him psychologically starved. His thinking mechanism is impaired. He’s like an athlete being fed candy and beer.
> Candy and beer? A runner maybe
Here are a few simple “do’s” to help make your social environment first class: 1. Do circulate in new groups. Restricting your social environment to the same small group produces boredom, dullness, dissatisfaction; equally important, remember that your success-building program requires that you become an expert in understanding people. Trying to learn all there is to know about people by studying one small group is like trying to master mathematics by reading one short book.
it’s better to have fewer things and have quality than to have many things and have junk. It’s better, for example, to have one really good pair of shoes than to have three pairs of second-class shoes.
Think for a moment about a club or civic organization you know that is fading away. Chances are, all it needs is enthusiasm to bring it back to life. Results come in proportion to enthusiasm applied.
That exercise supplies one important key for building enthusiasm: To get enthusiastic, learn more about the thing you are not enthusiastic about.
In everything you do, life it up. Enthusiasm, or lack of it, shows through in everything you do and say. Life up your handshaking. When you shake hands, shake. Make your handclasp say, “I’m glad to know you.” “I am glad to see you again.” A conservative, mouse-like handshake is worse than no handshake at all. It makes people think, “This guy is more dead than alive.” Try to find a highly successful person with a conservative handshake. You’ll have to look a long, long time.
Ever notice how seldom children complain about the weather? They take hot weather in their stride until the negative news corps educate them to be conscious of unpleasant temperatures. Make it a habit always to speak favorably about the weather regardless of what the weather actually is. Complaining about the weather makes you more miserable and it spreads misery to others.
Be an “I-feel-great” person. Just say “I feel great” at every possible opportunity, and you will feel better. By the same token, tell people, “I feel awful, just awful,” and you will feel worse. How we feel is, in large part, determined by how we think we feel. Remember, too, that other people want to be around alive, enthusiastic people. Being around complainers and half-dead people is uncomfortable.
Practice appreciation. Make it a rule to let others know you appreciate what they do for you. Never, never let anyone feel he is taken for granted. Practice appreciation with a warm, sincere smile. A smile lets others know you notice them and feel kindly toward them. Practice appreciation by letting others know how you depend on them. An earnest “Jim, I don’t know what we’d do without you” type of remark makes people feel necessary, and when they feel necessary they do increasingly better work. Practice appreciation with honest, personalized compliments. People thrive on compliments—whether two or twenty, nine or ninety, a person craves praise. He wants to be assured that he’s doing a good job, that he is important. Don’t feel that you should hand out praise only for big accomplishments. Compliment people on little things: their appearance, the way they do their routine work, their ideas, their loyal efforts.
Practice calling people by their names. Every year shrewd manufacturers sell more briefcases, pencils, computers, and hundreds of other items just by putting the buyer’s name on the product. People like to be called by name. It gives everyone a boost to be addressed by name. Two special things you must remember. Pronounce the name correctly, and spell it correctly. If you mispronounce or misspell someone’s name, that person feels that you feel he is unimportant.
Note this difference; the first manager squandered the vice president’s praise entirely on himself. In doing so, he offended his own people. His sales force was demoralized. The second passed the praise on to her sales force, where it could do more good. This manager knew that praise, like money, can be invested to pay dividends. She knew that passing the credit on to her salespeople would make them work even harder next year.
Here’s a daily exercise that pays off surprisingly well. Ask yourself every day, “What can I do today to make my partner and family happy?” This may seem almost too simple, but it is amazingly effective.
I will not neglect my family because it’s the most important thing in my life. It’s the main reason I work as hard as I do. I’ve worked out a schedule that enables me to give attention to my family as well as to my work. From 7:30 to 8:30 every evening I devote my time to my two young children. I play games with them, read them stories, draw, answer questions—anything they want me to do. After an hour with those kids of mine, they’re not only satisfied, but I’m 100 percent fresher. At 8:30 they trot off to bed, and I settle down to work for two hours. “At 10:30 I quit working and spend the next hour with my wife. We talk about the kids, her day at work, our plans for the future. This hour, undisturbed by anything, is a wonderful way to cap off the day. “I also reserve Sundays for my family. The whole day is theirs. I find my organized program for giving my family the attention it deserves is good not only for them, but also good for me. It gives me new energy.”
giving customers extra service is a money seed because it brings customers back; advancing a new idea that will increase efficiency is a money seed. Money seeds, of course, grow money. Plant service and harvest money. Spend some time each day answering this question: “How can I give more than is expected of me?” Then apply the answers.
Have you ever noticed how people freeze while waiting for elevators? Unless they are with someone they know, most folks never say anything to the person standing beside them. One day I resolved to do a little experimenting. I resolved to say something to the stranger who was waiting as I was; I kept track of his reaction twenty-five consecutive times. And twenty-five times I got back a positive, friendly response.
There really is, as the saying goes, plenty of room at the top. As one executive explained, there are many almost-qualified people, but there is one success ingredient often missing: that is the ability to get things done, to get results.
> Execution (execution, execution)
Mrs. Activationist is a doer. She takes action, gets things done, follows through on ideas and plans. Mr. Passivationist is a “don’ter.” He postpones doing things until he has proved he shouldn’t or can’t do them or until it’s too late.
A lot of passivationists got that way because they insisted on waiting until everything was 100 percent favorable before they took action. Perfection is highly desirable. But nothing man-made or man-designed is, or can be, absolutely perfect. So to wait for the perfect set of conditions is to wait forever.
The test of a successful person is not an ability to eliminate all problems before they arise, but to meet and work out difficulties when they do arise. We must be willing to make an intelligent compromise with perfection lest we wait forever before taking action. It’s still good advice to cross bridges as we come to them.
The way to combat that kind of fear—yes, any kind of fear—yes, any kind of fear—is action. Dread making a certain phone call? Make it, and dread disappears. Put it off, and it will get harder and harder to make. Dread going to a doctor for a checkup? Go, and your worry vanishes. Chances are nothing serious is wrong with you, and if there is, you know where you stand. Put off that checkup, and you feed your fear until it may grow so strong that you actually are sick.
A humorist once said the most difficult problem in life was getting out of a warm bed into a cold room. And he had a point. The longer you lie there and think how unpleasant it will be to get up, the more difficult it becomes. Even in such a simple operation as this, mechanical action, just throwing off the covers and putting your feet on the floor, defeats dread. The point is clear. People who get things done in this world don’t wait for the spirit to move them; they move the spirit.
washing dishes. My mother is no exception. But she has mastered a mechanical approach to dispensing with this task quickly, so she can return to things she likes to do. As she leaves the table, she always mechanically picks up several dishes and, without thinking about the task ahead, just gets started. In just a few minutes she is through. Doesn’t this beat stacking dishes and dreading the unpleasant inevitable?
If I had to choose between an ultrafancy, deeply carpeted, beautifully decorated, soundproof office and a pencil and paper, I’d choose the pencil and paper every time. With a pencil and paper you can tie your mind to a problem. When you write a thought on paper, your full attention is automatically focused on that thought. That’s because the mind is not designed to think one thought and write another at the same time. And when you write on paper, you “write” on your mind, too. Tests prove conclusively that you remember something much longer and much more exactly if you write the thought on paper.
> Yes. Writing puts thoughts in order, somehow causes inspiration and you lay them out on the page.
Now is the magic word of success. Tomorrow, next week, later, sometime, someday often as not are synonyms for the failure word, never. Lots of good dreams never come true because we say, “I’ll start someday,” when we should say, “I’ll start now, right now.”
Initiative is a special kind of action. It’s doing something worthwhile without being told to do it. The person with initiative has a standing invitation to join the high income brackets in every business and profession.
Do you feel your business should develop a new department, make a new product, or in some other way expand? Well, then, crusade for it. Feel your church needs a new building? Crusade for it. Would you like your children’s school to have better equipment? Crusade and get it for them. And you can bank on this: while crusades may start out as one-man crusades, if the idea behind the enterprise is good, soon you’ll have lots of support. Be an activationist and crusade.
People place confidence in the fellow who acts. They naturally assume he knows what he is doing. I’ve never heard anyone complimented and praised because “he doesn’t disturb anyone,” “he doesn’t take action,” or “he waits until he’s told what to do.” Have you?
When we move up from skid row into the dominion of Mr. and Mrs. Average American, we see obvious differences in living habits. But again we discover that Mr. Mediocre gives essentially the same reasons to explain his mediocrity as Mr. Skid Row gave to explain his complete collapse. Inside, Mr. Mediocre feels defeated. He has unhealed wounds suffered in situations that beat him. Now he is supercautious. He plods along, ducking the thrill of living victoriously, discontented with himself. He feels beaten but tries hard to endure the sentence of mediocrity that “fate” has handed him. He, too, has surrendered to defeat, but in a reasonably clean, socially “accepted” way.
A cynic might say, “It must have taken a real con man to put across an operation like this.” But the cynic would be wrong. It didn’t take a con man. And it didn’t take a brilliant man or a wealthy man or a lucky man. All (and I hesitate to use the word all because all means so much sometimes) all it took was a persistent man who never thought he was defeated.
Once the CAA has the answer, immediate steps are taken to prevent a similar accident from happening again. If the crash was caused by a structural defect, other planes of that type must have that defect corrected. Or if certain instruments are found faulty, corrections must be made. Literally hundreds of safety devices on modern aircraft have resulted from CAA investigations. The CAA studies setbacks to pave the way to safer air travel. And it’s obvious that their efforts pay off. Doctors use
> Processes causing gradual improvements
After that remark I paused for about forty-five seconds. (I’ve learned that when you’ve been sniped at, one fine way to prevent a war of words is to take a long pause before answering.)
> Government run
The advice of the literary consultant is good. We must have persistence. But persistence is only one of the ingredients of victory. We can try and try, and try and try and try again, and still fail, unless we combine persistence with experimentation.
Persisting in one way is not a guarantee of victory. But persistence blended with experimentation does guarantee success.
> Silicon Valley
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. No one ever stumbles into success without a goal. No one ever lives without air. Get a clear fix on where you want to go.
The progressive corporation plans company goals ten to fifteen years ahead.
> Back in the day? Absurd today for many buisnesses
Social Department: 10 years from now: 1. What kinds of friends do I want to have? 2. What social groups do I want to join? 3. What community leadership positions would I like to hold? 4. What worthwhile causes do I want to champion?
Switching from what you don’t like to do to what you do like to do is like putting a five-hundred-horsepower motor in a ten-year-old car.
> It will break?
Let your major goal be your automatic pilot. When you let your goal absorb you, you’ll find yourself making the right decisions to reach your goal. 5. Achieve your goal one step at a time. Regard each task you perform, regardless of how small it may seem, as a step toward your goal.
Put the trading minds principle to work for you. Consider the other person’s situation. Put yourself in his shoes, so to speak. Remember, his interests, income, intelligence, and background may differ considerably from yours. Now ask yourself, “If I were in his situation, how would I react to this?” (Whatever it is you want him to do.) Then take the action that would move you if you were the other person.
If employees are doing something wrong or are making a mistake, I am doubly careful not to hurt their feelings and make them feel small or embarrassed. I just use four simple steps: “First, I talk to them privately. “Second, I praise them for what they are doing well. “Third, I point out the one thing at the moment that they could do better and I help them find the way. “Fourth, I praise them again on their good points. “And this four-step formula works. When I do it this way, people thank me because I’ve found that’s exactly the way they like it. When they walk out of this office, they have been reminded that they are not only pretty good, they can be even better.
> "shit sandwich" technique
She appealed to their personal pride and sense of respect. She encouraged them to develop judgment. Each child was assigned a specific responsibility like washing blackboards or cleaning erasers, or practicing paper grading for the younger grades. The new teacher found creative ways to use the energy that had been so misdirected a few months before. Her educational program was centered on building character.
> Like 7.11. Give responsability, sense of ownership
But the second teacher had high, positive standards. She sincerely liked the children and wanted them to accomplish much. She considered each one as an individual. She obtained discipline easily because in everything she did, she was well disciplined.
> Setting high bar, John Stuart Mill etc.
Resolve now to set aside some time each day (at least thirty minutes) to be completely by yourself. Perhaps early in the morning before anyone else is stirring about would be best for you. Or perhaps late in the evening would be a better time. The important thing is to select a time when your mind is fresh and when you can be free from distractions. You can use this time to do two types of thinking: directed and undirected. To do directed thinking, review the major problem facing you. In solitude your mind will study the problem objectively and lead you to the right answer. To do undirected thinking, just let your mind select what it wishes to think about. In moments like these your subconscious mind taps your memory bank, which in turn feeds your conscious mind. Undirected thinking is very helpful in doing self-evaluation. It helps you get down to the very basic matters like “How can I do better? What should be my next move?”
> Deep work. Running?
Nothing in this world is being done as well as it could be. And when you think, “I can do better,” ways to do better will appear. Thinking “I can do better” switches on your creative power.