“The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz Book Summary & PDF
the magic of thinking big summary

‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David J. Schwartz Book Summary (+ Free PDF)

"Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.
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.
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... Start now, right now, to discover how to make your thinking make magic for you. Start out with this thought of the great philosopher Disraeli: ‘Life is too short to be little."

- David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

magic of thinking big

The Magic Of Thinking Big is a personal development book written in 1965 by David J. Schwartz.

The premise of the book is simple:

Think BIG to live BIG.

David Schwartz tells us that we need to upgrade our thinking in order to upgrade our life. Before we can achieve BIG things, we have to think BIG things.

In his eyes success has very little to do with intelligence, having rich parents, being lucky, or whatever. He claims that SUCCESS is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.

He offers countless strategies to help us UPGRADE our thinking and become more successful in everything we do.

In this summary we will look at 12 of his BEST ideas. These ideas have made a HUGE difference in my life and I’m convinced that they will help you transform your life for the better, too.

The Magic of Thinking Big is one of my all-time favorite books. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Let’s get started!


magic of thinking big

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Lesson #1: Believe You Can Succeed and You Will

Belief, the “I-am-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.
The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.
Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figuring ways and means and how-to.

Belief, or how Schwartz also calls it:

The “I-am-positive-I-can” attitude, is POWERFUL.

He tells us that if we believe we can succeed, then we will succeed.

If we believe that we can become a professional football player, then we will become a professional football player (if we want to). If we believe we can become a millionaire, then we will become a millionaire (if we want to). If we believe we can achieve big things in life, then we will achieve big things in life (if we want to).

I added the “if we want to” for a simple reason:

I believe for example that I could be a great politician. However, I DON’T want to become a politician.

We could say:

If we want to achieve something and believe we can achieve it, then we will achieve it.

No matter what it is that we want to achieve in our life, we must first BELIEVE that it’s possible.

  • Want to gain 50 pounds of muscles in the next few years? Well, if you BELIEVE you can… you can! (It’s certainly been done before, hasn’t it? So, why can’t you?)
  • Want to become a millionaire? You sure can… If you BELIEVE you can! (As far as I know there are quite a lot of millionaires around today? So, why can’t you, too?)
  • Want to own a Porsche? If you BELIEVE you can… then you definitely can! (Many people already own a Porsche. Why shouldn’t you, too?)

By the way if you just said to yourself, “Just because someone else has a Porsche, doesn’t mean that I can do it. I am different. For me it’s impossible because of…,” then you might suffer from Excusitis, which we’ll discuss in the next chapter.

EVERYTHING is possible if we believe it’s possible!

If we DON’T believe that we can do it, we’re SCREWED. Here’s why:

Beliefs work both ways…

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.

If you think you can’t, you will find reasons why you won’t.

DISBELIEF = Negative Power, Doubts, Excuses, Reasons why you can’t

If you think you can, you will find ways to do it…

BELIEF = Power, Energy, Skills

Whatever we believe to be true… it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, before we can achieve any goal in life, we must first BELIEVE that we can make it happen.

Lesson #2: Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease

You will find that the more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses.
But the fellow who has gone nowhere and has no plans for getting anywhere always has a bookful of reasons to explain why. Persons with mediocre accomplishments are quick to explain why they haven’t, why they don’t, why they can’t, and why they aren’t.

Do you also suffer from Excusitis? Do you have an excuse for everything? Do you often say things like:

  • “I’m just too tired to work out today… I’ll do it tomorrow”
  • “I’m too young to…”
  • “I’m too old to get started…”
  • “I’ve never done this before…”
  • “I don’t feel like doing this today…”
  • “I’m just not smart enough…”
  • “I’m just never lucky…”
  • “This is really hard…”
  • “I don’t have enough money for this…”


Schwartz says that the more successful a person, the less excuses he or she makes. It’s always the mediocre people, the people who aren’t getting anywhere in life that have excuses for why they can’t, why they won’t and why they aren’t.

There’s a funny quote about the difference between rich and poor people that matches perfectly:

Successful people don’t waste time and energy to make excuses. They believe it’s possible (remember step 1) and find ways to make things happen…

What helps me is to remind myself all the time that we live in a universe of CAUSE and EFFECT.

Accept the law of cause and effect. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “good luck.” You’ll find not luck but preparation, planning, and success-producing thinking preceded his good fortune. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “bad luck.” Look, and you’ll discover certain specific reasons. Mr. Success receives a setback: he learns and profits. But when Mr. Mediocre loses, he fails to learn.

For every action there is a reaction.

Whatever happens in our lives is the result of our own accumulated actions over time. Luck has very little to do with whether we will be successful or not. It’s all about the ACTIONS we take on a daily basis.

That’s great news isn’t it? It means that we are NOT at the mercy of our circumstances. We are the CREATORS. We are the ones who are deciding our destiny. We can CHOOSE the actions we take on a daily basis. If we want to be successful, we just copy the actions of successful people. If we want to be ripped, we copy the actions of other ripped people. If we want to be rich, we copy rich people’s actions. Life really becomes really simple once we accept the law of cause and effect…

Instead of whining and complaining all the time, we should start to believe in ourselves and start to take the daily actions that move us closer to the completion of our goals.

Lesson #3: Don't Sell Yourself Short

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.

Most people think TOO LITTLE of themselves.

They think they can’t do this and can’t do that. They see themselves as smaller than they are. They have too low self-esteem, or as Schwartz puts it: Suffer from self-deprecation.

Did you know that in general low to medium paid jobs receive a lot more applications than higher paid jobs? It’s true.

Why do you think that is?

If most people see a high paid job they immediately think that they aren’t good enough for it, that they are not qualified, that they will need to work too hard, that others are better suited, that other applicants are smarter than them, or even that they would be laughed at for thinking they’re good enough for such a job (I mean… come on!) As a result of that most people don’t even try.

So, funny enough, well paid jobs usually have less competition and it’s actually EASIER to get that kind of job. How sick is that?! (Though good for the people reading this book)

I’m sure you know a few people who are a lot dumber than you, but in a higher position at work. And that fcking SUCKS, right? You should be in that position! You should tell them what to do, NOT the other way around… So do you know why they are in a higher position than you? I mean it’s weird, isn’t it? They’re certainly not smarter, more qualified, or even better at the job. So why are they in a higher position?

Simple- It’s because they think more highly of themselves. That’s all it is! They think more highly of themselves. They have more self-belief, more self-esteem, a better self image, whatever you want to call it. They think they can do the job. They think, in fact, that they can do the job better than other people (like you for example). They don’t suffer from self-deprecation. They don’t see themselves as smaller than they are. They don’t think that others are better. NO! The opposite is true. They believe they are great. In other words: They don’t underestimate themselves or overestimate everybody else. They have a higher self-esteem.

The good news is you can do that, too! You just have to realize that you are bigger than you think. Don’t underestimate yourself…

Remind yourself of this:

The human mind has a tendency to overestimate everybody else and to underestimate ourselves. When you think that someone else is much smart than you, think again. Most people seem much smarter from the outside than they actually are. Don’t believe that you’re the only one with negative thoughts, the only one who’s struggling, or the only one who thinks he’s getting absolutely nowhere in life. Most of us are actually quite similar. We all have the same negative thinking, the same troubles, the same struggles, the same problems, and the same worries.

Don’t think you’re the rotten apple. You’re better than you think you are.


When you speak or write you are, in a sense, a projector showing movies in the mind of others. And the pictures you create determine how you and others react.”
“Suppose you tell a group of people, “I’m sorry to report we’ve failed.” What do these people see? They see defeat and all the disappointment and grief the word “failed” conveys. Now suppose you said instead, “Here’s a new approach which I think will work.” They would feel encouraged, ready to try again.

Our mind doesn’t think in words… it thinks in pictures, images, and movies. The words we use are translated into images/movies by the mind. When we say “pink elephant”, our mind shows us a picture of a pink elephant. When we say “dolphins”, “pool”, “tunnel”, our mind translates these words into pictures of dolphins, a pool, and a tunnel.

Why is that important?

Well, because that means that we have to choose our words very carefully. Here’s a quick example:

If you hear the word “Problem” you create pictures of something difficult, unpleasant and hard to solve.

If you use the word “challenge” instead, your mind creates pictures of fun, sport and something exciting and pleasant.

If you use the word “try”, then this tells your mind that it’s probably not so important. That you’ll just do your best, but ultimately it’s not a make or break situation. This sounds super weird, but there is a big difference between saying, “I’ll do it” and saying “I’ll try to do it”. Seriously. Just merely trying to do something SUCKS.

The word “try” almost presupposes that we will fail. Think about it. Has anyone ever said to you, “I’ll try to be there at 5pm?” Does that mean that they’ll be there at 5pm? No… in fact, you have no clue when they’ll be there. Whereas if they said, “I’ll be there at 5pm”, then you could completely count on them being there at 5pm.

Another such TERRIBLE word is “bad”. Why do we have to constantly label things as bad, when honestly we have no clue how a certain so-called bad situation will turn out. How often does it happen that a supposedly bad thing turns out to be a great blessing in disguise… Labeling things as bad just doesn’t help you us in any way. We won’t ever know if something is ultimately good or bad. As far as I know none of us can yet foresee the future…

Anyway, so how do you use this POWER OF WORDS? Here are three ways that I use it in…

First, I restrict my use of certain words on purpose. As I’ve said earlier, I try to limit words like “try”, “bad”, “but”, “need”, “can’t”, and some more.

Second, I use only positive words to describe my mood and my feelings. If someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t tell them that I’m tired or not feeling so well. This creates terrible pictures and emotions in my and my friend’s mind. Instead I proudly say that I’m feeling TERRIFIC or GREAT. These words will create much more PLEASANT images and emotions.

Third, I use positive words when I’m talking with or about other people. I try to create pleasant pictures about other people. I often use phrases like “He’s an absolute LEGEND!” “Such a GREAT lad!” “She’s super FUN!”… and by the way I also use these phrases if I speak about the person I’m talking with. “Man, you’re really AMAZING at this!” “Wow, your … is GREAT!” “I can really learn a lot from how you do that!” These positive words create positive emotions in both my and my friend’s brain.

In other words, I try to use emotionally packed words to create pleasant feelings in the other person. An added benefit of this is that the other person will start to associate you with these good feelings. So whenever he or she sees or thinks about you, this person recreates those positive feelings. Pretty ninja, eh 😉

Words have a lot of power… BIG, BRIGHT, CHEERFUL words create positive feelings.

So, start using more of those positive, mood-enhancing words.

*Psssst… still not convinced that words have magic powers? Here’s an excerpt from the book Words can Change Your Brain by Mark Waldman & Andrew Newberg:

If you repetitiously focus on the word “peace”, saying it aloud or silently, you will begin to experience a sense of peacefulness in yourself and in others. The thalamus will respond to this incoming message of peace, and it will relay the information to the rest of the brain. Pleasure chemicals like dopamine will be released, the reward system of your brain will be stimulated, anxieties and doubts will fade away, and your entire body will relax.

– Excerpt from Words Can Change Your Brain

Yep, words have MAGIC powers…

Lesson #5: Look Important - It Helps You Think Important

Rule: Remember your appearance “talks.” Be sure it says positive things about you. Never leave home without feeling certain you look like the kind of person you want to be.
The well-dressed person’s appearance says positive things. It tells people, “Here is an important person: intelligent, prosperous, and dependable. This man can be looked up to, admired, trusted, He respects himself and I respect him.”
The shabby-looking fellow’s appearance says negative things. It says, “Here is a person who isn’t doing well. He’s careless, inefficient, unimportant. He’s just an average person. He deserves no special consideration. He’s used to being pushed around.”

In theory it’s nice to think that we shouldn’t judge other people by how they look and what kind of clothes they wear. In reality, though, this is simply not how it works.

We DO evaluate and judge others on the basis of their appearance.

It’s the very first impression that we have of a person. And very often the first impression is the ONE factor that determines whether for example we will get in contact together or not.

Think about it: If you look nice, make a genuine and friendly impression, chances are much better that others will approach you. And chances are much better that they will react positively if you approach them.

So, that’s kind of the first reason why looks are important - they are a big part of what other people think of you and how they act towards you.

Even if they’ve never seen you before. Even if you never even talk to them… your clothes WILL talk to them. The way you handle yourself talks to them. Your posture talks to them. Your entire body language talks to them. Your smile talks to them. Your frown talks to them.

Point is: How you LOOK communicates certain personality traits, beliefs, moods, or whatever to other people.

If you see someone on the streets wearing a nice suit, this might communicate many different things to you. It might say to you that he’s a business person, or rich, or successful, or a snob, or whatever.

How that person looks, will determine what you think about him. That is just a FACT.

So, if you look like someone with a lot of self-respect, then other people will think that you have a lot of self-respect. And in turn, they will treat you like someone with a lot of self-respect. Hence, they will treat you with a lot of respect.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

You can basically choose how other people will treat you by choosing what clothes you’re going to wear. (Body language obviously plays a huge role too as I mentioned earlier)

But wait! There’s more…

Here comes the REAL cool part:

Your appearance doesn’t just affect other people’s thinking. Oh no. It will also heavily affect YOUR thinking.

Let me repeat that:

Your appearance will heavily influence your thinking.

Your physical exterior affects your mental interior. How you look on the outside affects how you think and feel on the inside.

Is that awesome or what?!

Not only does how you look influence other people, but it also influences you. That’s GREAT news. This means we can use clothing as a tool to make us feel better, to make us more intelligent, to make us more confident, etc…. Yes, I even believe that how we look will determine how intelligent we are temporarily.

Look sharp because it will help you think sharp.

So that’s it!

Really cool and actionable concept I think. Start using it.

Start using your clothes, posture, facial expression, and entire body language as a tool to improve yourself.

Lesson #6: Build a Sell-Yourself-On-Yourself Commercial

You are what you think you are. Think more of yourself and there is more of you.

We’ve talked about this before. Most of us sell ourselves short. We suffer from self-deprecation. We suffer from low-self-esteem.

So how do we change that?

One way to do it is through our self-talk…

Practice uplifting self-praise. Don’t practice belittling self-punishment.

So, how do YOU talk to yourself?

Are you building yourself up? Making yourself stronger? And more confident? Telling yourself that you’re a badass? That you’ll achieve GREAT things in life? That you’re destined for GREATNESS?

Or are you belittling yourself? Making yourself small and weak? Giving yourself mental beatings? Telling yourself you’re not good enough? That you’re a failure? That you won’t ever be great? That you’ll never achieve much?

Sadly, most of us talk to ourselves in a negative way. And it’s not our fault either. We were never told how to do it any different. If anything we were told that we’re fcking losers for having such negative self-talk, doubts, and fears. But how to change it? Nobody has any advice on that, right? So here it is…

…here is some advice on how to change that… on how to change the way you talk to yourself…

Build your own `sell yourself on yourself` commercial.

Sell-yourself-on-yourself commercials.

This is the tool that David Schwartz offers us to improve our self-talk.

It’s just a short 100-200 word talk that you give to yourself several times a day. Whether you do it 2-3 times or 10 times in a day is totally up to you. Whatever feels good for you.

Here’s a quick version I just wrote:

(Notice the BIG, BRIGHT, CHEERFUL, MOOD-BOOSTING words I’m using )

[Name] you’re a BADASS. A real fcking badass. I can see that you are going places. You are a man of ACTION. A man who knows where he wants to go in life. You are absolutely on your way to achieve GREAT things in life.

You are a bold, courageous, risks-loving MASSIVE ACTION TAKER! You get shit done! You move forward in your life! Towards the completion of your goals like you’re supposed to. You’re the real deal!

Look at you: you look FANTASTIC! No wonder that you feel so AMAZING about yourself. I’m impressed! And damn proud of you!

Keep dominating your path! I will see you at the top!

Now go out there and break shit!


Uhm, okay… Maybe this is just my weird-ass way of doing it.

The point is:

It’s all about making yourself BIGGER, making yourself feel better about yourself, and improving your self-esteem. I’m pretty sure that if you practice this kind of uplifting self-talk, your life will drastically improve.

(When I’m talking about making yourself better, I’m not talking about developing a big ego. I’m talking about creating a healthy self-esteem so that you can do, be, and have more of what you want in life.)

Lesson #7: Ask Yourself: “Is This The Way An Important Person Thinks?”

Upgrade your thinking. Think like important people think. Upgrading your thinking upgrades your actions and this produces success.
Ask yourself: “Is this the way an important person thinks?”

The term “important person” could be replaced with any other term. Here are a few examples that I think will make it clearer what David Schwartz means:

  • The best version of myself
    (“Is this the way the best version of myself thinks?”)
  • A person with 100% self-respect
    (“Is this the way a person with 100% self-respect thinks?”)
  • A person with abundant self-love
    (“Is this the way a person with abundant self-love thinks?”)
  • A mentor of yours
    (“Is this the way Tony Robbins thinks?”)

The goal here is to ask yourself if what you’re thinking is smart or not. It’s to ask yourself whether a more successful/confident/self-loving person would think that way, too.

Maybe you have a test the next day and you catch yourself thinking, “I’m terribly prepared for this test. I will write a very bad exam and get a super low grade. Man that fcking SUCKS! I’m so dumb!”

Now ask yourself:

Is this the way a successful, confident, positive, or self-loving person would think? In this example… definitely fcking NOT!

So Schwartz tells us that we should upgrade our thinking and start to change negative thoughts like in this example. We should replace them with better, more positive thoughts, and a great way to make this change is by constantly ask ourselves the aforementioned question.

In my opinion, changing our thoughts this way is not so easy. I personally prefer to use this question for actions, instead of just thinking. So before making decisions, I like to ask myself: Would the best version of myself do this? And then I’ll hopefully have enough willpower to follow the answer. Here are a few examples…

  • Would the best version of myself argue about that?
  • Would the best version of myself eat that bag of chips?
  • Would the best version of myself read this?
  • Would the best version of myself worry about this?

If you obey the answers, you are guaranteed to make better decisions in your life.

Your best version of yourself would probably not eat the bag of chips, would probly not watch TV for hours on end, would probly not be on Facebook all day long, would probly not argue about unnecessary stuff, would probly go to the gym, would probly read great books, and would probly eat pretty healthy. So, logically, if you obey the answers, you will make smarter decisions.

Maybe instead of eating cereals in the morning, you might end up eating eggs, or something else that’s healthier than cereals.

Maybe instead of watching TV for an hour, you might end up reading a book because that’s what an important person would maybe do.

Maybe instead of coming home after work and do nothing, you might end up going to the gym because maybe that’s what your best version would do.

All of these better decisions will add up and ultimately improve your life in DRAMATIC ways.

Life is made up of chances to make choices, decisions of what you wish to do; the accumulated result of those choices is what you call your life.

– Steven Redhead

Lesson #8: Make Your Environment Work For You, NOT Against You

Experts agree also that the person you will be one, five, ten, twenty years from now almost entirely depends on your future environment.
More important, the size of your thinking, your goals, your attitudes, your very personality is formed by your environment.

Your environment is the BIGGEST factor that determines your future.

How much money will you make? How happy will you be? How successful will you be? In what kind of house will you live in? What kind of car will you drive? How many children will you have? Will you get married? What political parties will you support? What books will you be reading? Will you read much at all? Will you travel a lot? Where will you travel?

It ALL depends mainly on your environment.

In fact, YOUR ENTIRE FUTURE depends mainly on your environment.

Sure, your genes and personality traits like ambition, drive, intelligence, self-discipline, laziness, procrastination, or whatever all play a role, too. (Though both the genes and personality traits are HEAVILY influenced by your environment. Yes, depending on your environment your body will be switching ON or OFF different genes.)

So, what exactly makes up your environment?

It’s the people you surround yourself with, the books and news and articles and magazines you read, the videos and movies and TV series you watch.

Ultimately it’s EVERYTHING that somehow impacts you in any way, shape, or form. The biggest portion of it is definitely the people you surround yourself with. That would be your peer group, your friends, your family, your school or work mates, your sports team, your theatre group. Simply all the people that are around you.

You will become the combined average of the five people you hang around the most. You will have the combined attitude, health and income of the five people you hang around the most.

– Jim Rohn

If you surround yourself with rich people, read books and watch videos on how to get rich, and really change your environment similar to a rich person’s environment, then you will take on the rich people’s attitudes, beliefs, personality traits, style of talking etc… And if you do that, then you will become rich, too.

If you surround yourself with very spiritual people, then you are probably very spiritual, too.

If you’re surrounded by criminals and are brought up in a criminal environment, chances are you’ll end up a criminal too. I like to say that criminals are made, not born.

The mind reflects what its environment feeds it just as surely as the body reflects the food you feed it.

If you eat healthy food, then you will be healthy. If you eat junk food all the time, then you will be unhealthy. It’s obvious, right? Your body reflects the food you feed it.

Exactly the same happens with your brain. If you feed it a positive environment, then you will become positive, too. If you feed it a negative environment, then you will become a more negative person.

As I wrote earlier:

Your environment is the BIGGEST factor that determines your future. Therefore It’s HUGELY important that we control our environment as good as possible.

Before we look at a few ways to do that, we quickly have to look at negative influences in our environment, namely negators…

Stay away from negators

People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishment. Opinions of these people can be poison.
Develop a defence against people who want to convince you that you cant do it. Accept negative advice only as a challenge to prove that you can do it.
We must fight off the suppressive influences of our environment.
Be extra, extra cautious about this: don’t let negative thinking people – “negators” – destroy your plan to think yourself to success. Negators are everywhere and they seem to delight in sabotaging the positive progress of others.

Let’s say you have a great business idea and are super EXCITED. You run off to one of your friends and tell them all about your plan, expecting encouragement and praise.

Yet, that’s NOT what happens.

Instead you get an answer similar to this, “Hmm the idea is not bad, but I don’t think it will work. The economy right now is really in a bad situation and it would be almost impossible to make it happen. I think it’s smarter if you just focus on your job…”

BAM! That guy just fcked you up! Messed with your head! There you were… all excited about your plan… ready to make something happen… but NO! Instead of encouragement you learn that your idea is lame, that you would be silly for trying, and that you should focus on your job. Well, THANKS A LOT…

That guy is what David Schwartz calls a “negator”.

Negators are absolutely fcking everywhere and destroy more dreams, aspirations, and hopes than any other force on the entire world.

Negators don’t want that other people to achieve big things. How would that make them look? They would feel small, inferior, and like a loser if other people all of a sudden achieved more than them. They don’t want that. They want everything to stay the same. Therefore they will discourage you if you want to make something happen in your life. They will tell you that it’s ridiculous, that it would never work, that you should be realistic instead, that other people will laugh at you, that you’re stupid for wanting to change, that you should be happy with what you have, or whatever.

Point is this:

Negators will try to talk you out of your amazing ideas.

Negators are everywhere. Some negators are well-meaning folks. But others are jealous people who, not moving ahead themselves, want you to stumble too. They feel inadequate themselves, so they want to make a mediocre person out of you.

Usually the bigger your idea or plan, the worse it gets. Tell someone you want to change the world and ridicule, laughter, and belittlement is what’ll follow.

Yet, even with the small things the negators will try to stop you. Let’s say in your circle of friends nobody does any type of sport or exercise and you are all a bit chubby or overweight. Oh, and you all eat junk food all day long. Fck veggies, right? One day you decide to make a positive, healthy change in your life. You start exercising and eating healthy with the goal of losing weight and getting fit. Good for you!

How do you think your friends will react?

“What? You’re eating healthy now? Lol, do you want to be one of those Beverly Hills chicks, or what? Are you now so concerned with your looks? Are you going to turn into the next Paris Hilton? OMG. Or even worse… You might become one of those health freaks who are hyper concerned about what they eat. You know the people who only buy organic foods and make those green smoothies haha! Naw I’m just kidding. Eat healthy. That’s cool.”

That would be a typical reaction from a negator trying to ridicule you and talk you out of making a positive change. This is the exact same person that will then make you feel bad for passing on the dessert, or soft drink, or whatever.

I think you get the point:

Some people will try to “hold you back”.

That’s OK. Just be aware of them, and don’t talk to them about your big dreams and aspirations. It won’t do either of you any good. Especially won’t do you any good because sometimes even just one small negative comment can be enough to completely kill your motivation.

Unfortunately, there is no legal protection against those who, either by design or ignorance, poison the minds of others by negative suggestion. This form of destruction should be punishable by heavy legal penalties, because it may and often does destroy one’s chances of acquiring material things which are protected by law.

– Napoleon Hill

(IMPORTANT NOTE*: I’m making crazy generalizations here. There are many, many people who will encourage you and root for you. Also, negators aren’t bad people at all. Very often they will say these things unconsciously, and are not necessarily trying to stop you from changing…)

How to make your environment work for you, NOT against you

Okay, so staying away from negators is one way to improve your environment. By staying away I just mean that you don’t talk to them about your goals, dreams, aspirations etc…

Also, it’s in general a good idea to spend less time with negative people.

People who complain all the time are not going to improve your mood, your attitudes, your beliefs, and so on. In other words, they are not going to help you achieve your goals in life. If anything, they will hold you back (if you let them).

If you have negative friends, co-workers, or family members, you probably can’t spend less time with all of them. I get that. There are a lot of other ways to make your environment more POSITIVE, UPLIFITNG, MOOD-ENHANCING, and SUCCESS-CREATING. I’ll list some below:

  • Reduce the time you spend with negative people who belittle you, bring you down, or kill your mood.
  • Spend more time with POSITIVE, EXCITED, AMBITIOUS, INSPIRING, and SUCCESSFUL people.
  • Read biographies of highly successful and inspiring people
  • Read books on positive psychology, wealth attraction, personal development, etc.
  • Watch YouTube videos of people who inspire you.

Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make your environment as positive, inspiring, and success-creating as possible.

Lesson #9: Practice Conversation Generosity

Hundreds of my own little experiments have revealed this: 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.
Remember this: the average person would rather talk about himself than anything else in this world. When you give him the chance, he likes you for it.

People LOVE talking about themselves.

They love telling you how great they are, or how hard their life is, or how unfairly their boss treats them, or how hard they are working and how exhausted they are, or…

It’s human nature. We care about ourselves and we want to talk about OUR life, OUR problems, OUR relationships, OUR goals, OUR ambitions etc…

Dale Carnegie explains the phenomena in his best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, too:

Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.

– Dale Carnegie

So, why not practice conversation generosity?

Why not give people the pleasure of talking about themselves, their problems, their aspirations, their struggles, etc.? Why not give them the pleasure of doing most of the talking? We’ve got nothing to lose and a LOT to gain.

Conversation generosity is the easiest, simplest, and surest way there is to win a friend.

Next time you’re in a conversation with someone, just ask yourself:

Who is doing most of the talking? You or your opposite? What are you talking about? Only about your life, your problems, your interests? Or mainly about the other persons’ life, problems, and interests?

If you catch yourself talking too much, slow down, and let the other person talk.

Lesson #10: Be An Activationist. Be Someone Who Does Things. Be A Doer, Not a Don’t-er.

The successful are active; we’ll call them activationists. The just average, the mediocre, the unsuccessful are passive. We’ll call them passivationists.
Mr. Activationist is a doer. He 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.
Mr. Activationist does. Mr. Passivationist is “going to do but doesn’t.”

Are you an Activationist or a Passivationist?

A doer or a don’ter?

An action taker or someone who’s suffering from a “wait and see” attitude?

Most of us (me included) are Passivationists by nature. We like to wait for the perfect opportunity, the perfect time, the perfect circumstances, and until we’re “perfectly prepared”.

Unfortunately that means we never get anything done.

If we wait until we are absolutely certain and sure before we act we will never do anything

– Maxwell Maltz

Let’s accept that it will never be perfect. It will never be convenient and we will probably never be 100% certain of success.

To get ahead in life we must learn to take imperfect action. We must start to make things happen and move forward whether we feel like it or not. We must become MASSIVE ACTION TAKERS.

If we have some goals that we want to achieve, it’s important to take action and move towards the accomplishment of those goals.

It won’t help us to overanalyze, make detailed plans, wait for a perfect opportunity, or prepare ourselves even better.

Instead, what helps us to actually achieve our dreams is to take action. We have to make that phone call, enroll in the training program, start going to the gym, change our diet, sign up those guitar lessons, start writing that book, or do whatever it is that will move us towards the completion of our dreams and aspirations.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

– Abraham Lincoln

In my own life I like to remind myself that nothing works the first time. Think about it…

When you tried riding a bike for the first time… did it work? (Probably not)

When Bradley Cooper started acting… do you think his first ever role in a movie was a big success? (Probably not)

Whenever we try something new, we’re usually not very good at it. Yet if we never start… how could we ever get better? Answer: We CAN’T… We need some sort of FEEDBACK to course-correct and get ahead FASTER.

I want to make another example to make this really clear for you:

Let’s say you want to lose weight. You could read hundreds of articles, every book on diet and nutrition that is out there and you would still not lose a single pound unless you actually took ACTION and started changing your diet and developed an exercise habit.

We can’t read ourselves thin. We can’t think ourselves rich and we can’t hope ourselves successful.

We must take action and actively DO something.

In Lessons #11 and #12 you’ll learn a good way of continuously taking action. It’s pretty simple, too:

We must set goals, create a plan, work the plan and create a new plan if we fail…

(I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s move on to the next point!)

Lesson #11: Blend Persistence With Experimentation To GUARANTEE Success

Persisting in one way is not a guarantee of victory. But persistence blended with experimentation does guarantee success.
Many ambitious people go through life with admirable persistence and show of ambition, but they fail to succeed because they don’t experiment with new approaches. Stay with your goal. Don’t waver an inch from it. But don’t beat your head against a wall. If you aren’t getting results, try a new approach.

Persistence blended with experimentation guarantees success.

Let me repeat that:

Persistence blended with experimentation GUARNATEES success.

The first person that came to my mind when reading this was Thomas Edison, one of the most successful innovators in all of human history. He’s probably most famous for inventing the light bulb. Yet, he’s almost equally as famous for failing over 10,000 times (!) before making the light bulb work successfully.

Ten-thousand-fcking-failures until he succeeded.

10,000 new experiments until he finally hit the jackpot. He stayed with his goal. He didn’t waver an inch from it. But he did NOT beat his head against the wall. Oh no, he tried new approaches… and guess what? It worked!

Persistence blended with experimentation worked…

If the first plan which you adopt does not work successfully, replace it with a new plan, if this new plan fails to work, replace it, in turn with still another, and so on, until you find a plan which DOES WORK. Right here is the point at which the majority of men meet with failure, because of their lack of PERSISTENCE in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.

– Napoleon Hill

Let’s say your goal is to gain some muscle mass.

Your first plan is to go jogging 3x per week. You take action on your plan and actually do go jogging 3x per week for a month. Unfortunately you realize that you haven’t built any new muscle mass at all. Your first inclination is to quit and give up, but then you remember that persistence blended with experimentation guarantees success.

So you create a new plan:

You now work out with weights 3x per week. You dominate the action taking and push through for a month. After that first month of consistent working out with weights you realize that you built some muscle mass. GREAT! This new plan works! Now you know how to build muscle mass.

The ingredients in this small success were: First, taking action on your plans as learned in the previous chapter. Second, being persistent in following your plan. And third, making a new plan/experiment after the first plan/experiment failed.

It’s as simple as that. Yet, without taking action you could have never achieved your goal. Without humble persistence you could have never done it either. And without experimentation you would probly still be jogging 3x per week and wonder why you aren’t building any muscle mass.

So, whatever goal you have in life, come up with a plan to achieve it and start working the plan (remember: be an Activationist).

If you achieve your goal, great! If not, come up with a new plan and try again… until sooner or later you achieve your goal - GUARANTEED.

Lesson #12: Use Goals to Help You Grow

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.

NOTHING HAPPENS until a goal is established.

No forward steps are taken until a goal is established.

Without goals you’re leaving your life to chance.

Let that sink in for a bit…

If you don’t know what you’re chasing, how will you ever catch it? If you don’t know what you want from life, how can you possibly get it? If you don’t know where you’re going how would you know if you’ve arrived?

Goals have MAGIC POWERS.

Energy increases, multiplies, when you set a desired goal and resolve to work toward that goal. Many people, millions of them, can find new energy by selecting a goal and giving all they’ve got to accomplish that goal. Goals cure boredom. Goals even cure many chronic ailments.

So what exactly is it that makes goals so POWERFUL?

The simple answer is that if you have clear goals, then you can easily judge and see if you’re moving closer or further away from your goal.

Every action you take, every thought you have, every food you eat, every conversation you have either is neutral, brings you closer, or gets you further away from achieving your goals.

Once you have a clear goal, you have a path to walk on every day. You know where you’re heading and can focus your time and effort on achieving your goals, instead of being sidetracked by diversions and distractions all the time.

You have a REASON to do certain things.

It all of a sudden makes sense to eat healthy or read that book because you know it will help you get to where you want to be. You know WHY certain menial things like eating healthy, exercising, or meditating are important for you (because they will help you achieve your goals).

If you’re not convinced that goals are powerful or if you think that you already have goals and don’t need to write them down, please read this paragraph from Brian Tracy’s book “NO EXCUSES”:

In 2006, USA Today reported a study in which researchers selected a large number people who had made New Year’s resolutions. They then divided these people into two categories: those who had set New Year’s resolutions and written them down and those who had set New Year’s resolutions but had not written them down.

Twelve months later, they followed up on the respondents in this study, and what they found was astonishing. Of the people who had set New Year’s resolutions but had not written them down, only 4 percent had actually followed through on their resolutions. But among the group who had written down their New-Year’s resolutions (an exercise requiring only a couple of minutes), 44 percent had followed through on them. This is a difference of more than 1,100 percent in success and it was achieved by the simple act of crystallizing the resolutions or goals on paper.

– Excerpt from “NO EXCUSES” by Brian Tracy

I hope that convinces you of THE POWER OF WRITTEN GOALS.

NOTE*: If you haven’t any goals yet, be sure to set some goals with the help of our free Goal-Setting Guide that you got as a bonus with your purchase.


The Magic of Thinking Big is all about upgrading your thinking.

Think BIG to live BIG.

Think and believe you can succeed and you will. Positive belief will get you all of the ENERGY, POWER, and SKILLS needed to succeed.

Think and believe you can’t succeed and you won’t. Negative belief will get you negative power, doubts, excuses, and reasons why you won’t succeed.

Whatever you believe to be true – it’s a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

So, how do you upgrade your thinking? How do you stop selling yourself short? How do you start believing in yourself?

Well, you could start by curing yourself of Excusitis, the failure disease.

Start using BIG, BRIGHT, CHEERFUL, and POSITIVE words more often. Use them to talk about the positive events in your life, instead of whining or complaining about being a little bitch.

Start updating your wardrobe, your body language, and your facial expressions. Look more important to feel more important.

Build yourself a Sell-Yourself-On-Yourself Commercial. Ask Yourself: “Is this the way an important person thinks, acts, or feels?”

Stay away from negators and start deliberately making your environment more POSITIVE, UPLIFTING, INSPIRING, AND SUCCESS-CREATING.

Take more ACTION in your life. Become a doer. Become an Activationist.

Be more persistent in your endeavors and don’t give up at the first sight of defeat. Practice conversation generosity and let other people do most of the talking. They will LOVE you for it anyway.

Start setting goals for your future and achieve anything you want in your life.

And last but not least:

DON’T sell yourself short. Don’t let other people belittle you. Don’t let anyone discourage you or talk you out of your dreams. You’re BETTER than you think you are. You can do, have, and become anything you’ve ever dreamed of. But you must…


magic of thinking big

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Nils Salzgeber

Nils Salzgeber is the author of two books and co-founder of the popular NJlifehacks blog. He is passionate about anything that helps him become a more peaceful, productive, and loving version of himself. After quitting university twice, he has recently gone back to get a psychology degree. Nils lives in Thun, Switzerland.

  • Johannes N Kirkfield says:

    Great work bro

  • Devesh says:

    Awesome Work Man!!
    Keep it up

  • Rahul says:


  • Anil Kumar says:

    This brought an enormous positive change in me.

  • Bijay says:

    i diagnosis my disease of failure,and that is excusitis. Now i started curing my self by finding ways to make things happen.

  • lamzy says:

    praise to Jesus have enjoyed this so much

  • Saksham says:

    I have already reached a mile following through this book and still learning by having 2-3 times glimpse of its summary in a month.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  • I grasp the point, I must believe that I can do it, and take action to do it well. Thanks for the summary.

  • Bhumika Shah says:

    ITS SO AMAZING!!!! Thank you so much ….. lot of learning have happened . Grateful !! 🙂

  • Kamau Charles says:

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