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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

10 Things I Learned From 'The Magic Of Thinking Big'

In case you hadn't already realised, I'm big on personal development. I'm a serial goal maker, avid content consumer and lover of learning. I get super excited to fill my brain with new information, with the aim of using it to improve myself and my life. Books, articles, videos and podcasts have become a daily ritual for me, and I'm all about putting inspirational information into practice for tangible results.

Recently, I read The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. It was an interesting read and, whilst I didn't agree with everything he had to say, I found plenty of useful and practicable advice buried in its pages. I also didn't like the assumption that he was only talking to men about how to achieve their goals, but, hey, it was published in 1959 so I'll let it go for now. As the title suggests, this book focuses on letting go of self-limiting beliefs and giving yourself the permission to dream big.

Whenever I'm consuming information, I try to make notes on anything I find interesting and important. Otherwise, I find it goes in one ear and out the other. Spending all that time reading and researching is no good if you can't put it all into practice. Looking at my notes for The Magic of Thinking Big, I could see 9 main lessons that stood out as particularly useful and worthwhile remembering. In case you don't feel like wading your way through 250 pages, I've broken it down into a list of top tips.

1 // Walk Successfully

Schwartz recommends walking with purpose. Head up, back straight, striding towards whatever it is you want. Not slouching, looking at your phone and moving slower than your great-grandma. Physicality is so important when it comes to success. Not only does it command the respect of others, but it also sends a powerful message to yourself. Fake it until you make it. Top tip: listen to some tunes while you're walking that make you feel like a badass.

2 // Sit At The Front

This is something I'm still working on. Sitting at the front of the room, in a lecture or seminar, or placing yourself in the middle of the action at a networking event can feel overwhelming. However, it's also an act of backing yourself. Make yourself the centre of attention and don't be scared to take up space in a educational or professional environment. You belong there, so you should act like it.

3 // Weekly Reviews

I'm a big advocate of checking in on your goals frequently to see how you're progressing. This concept was slightly new to me, however. Schwartz suggests a review at the end of each week and working out how you can improve in the next seven days. This could be in your business, in your mental health or even your fitness regime. I think this concept makes improvement much more manageable. The focus is on small changes to improve from last week, rather than massive leaps that are likely to leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you do this week in, week out, you're bound to see positive change.

4 // Carry A Notebook

Carrying a notebook with you wherever you go means that you're ready whenever inspiration strikes. I find that I often get my best ideas in the strangest of places - on the bus, in class or out shopping. By having a notebook on hand, I can quickly jot down my thoughts before they evaporate into the atmosphere, never to be seen again. I used to write things down on random slips of paper or in the notes on my phone, but it was always so difficult to find anything. Using a notebook means that everything is all in one place and I know exactly where to go if I'm ever feeling uninspired.

5 // Ignore Doubters

There are going to be lots of negative Nellies in your life that feel the need to put you down or doubt your dreams. Ignore them. Take no notice of those who aren't supportive of your goals. Usually people do this because they struggle to think as big as you do, so don't let their small minds stop you from achieving your dreams.

6 // Don't Valorise People

This really struck a chord with me. For the longest time, I've had a problem with authority figures. As a child, I was always very shy and scared of anyone 'above me' in the societal food chain. I hated getting told off or breaking the rules. Not much has changed really. It's taken me a long time to realise that the people at the top aren't all that different from me. We all have to start from somewhere and we're all only human. Putting it not so delicately, everyone's shit stinks. Remember, just because you admire someone doesn't mean you have to agree with everything they do. Stay critical and remember that your opinion is just as valid and important as theirs.

7 // Conversation Generosity

Schwartz's thoughts on social interactions centre around what he dubs 'conversation generosity'. This means listening more than you speak. Most of us are more excited about ourselves than other people. We wait for someone to finish talking so that we can say what we want to say, rather than truly listening to them and taking an interest in their lives. Generous conversation not only helps us to build stronger connections with people in our lives, but also provides us with more opportunities to learn from others. Being a good listener and supportive friend is so important in moulding a good personal and professional reputation.

8 // Active, Not Passive

Simple but easily overlooked, Schwartz 8th tip is to become an active individual. Be the kind of person who takes action as soon as something pops into their mind, rather than telling yourself you'll do it later. This goes for absolutely everything - making your bed in the morning, writing a blogpost or applying for an internship. Do it now! This habit propels your forward and keeps you hungry.

9 // Thinking Makes It So

'Whether you think you can or you think your can't, you're right'. This is the main take away from the book. Your attitude and your thoughts determine your success. Back yourself, stay positive and persistent and the results will come.



  1. I love this post and all the points that you've mentioned! Do you think it's worth reading the book? :) xx

    1. Thanks Natalie! Hmm, I don't know if I would necessarily recommend it. It was interesting and I did pick up some helpful information but I think there are so many better books out there nowadays to choose from! xoxo

  2. I love carrying a notepad, call me old fashioned but I love jotting things down!

    Danielle xx


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