The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz

By | June 21, 10

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz is a powerful book that will surely change your life. If you want more out of your relationship, business, career, or any area of your life, this book will help you achieve it by setting your mind on the path of success and making all achievements possible for you.

Below is a chapter from the book, How to Think and Dream Creatively for your enjoyment. After reading this chapter, you will find how possible it is for you to achieve anything you want in your life. Your mind will be repositioned for you to be able to achieve those things you have thought you wouldn’t be able to ever accomplish before.

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How to Think and Dream Creatively

FIRST, LET’S CLEAR UP a common fallacy about the meaning of creative thinking. For some illogical reason, science, engineering, art, and writing got tabbed as about the only truly creative pursuits. Most people associate creative thinking with things like the discovery of electricity or polio vaccine, or the writing of a novel or the development of color television.

Certainly, accomplishments like these are evidence of creative thinking. Each forward step made in the conquest of space is the result of creative thinking, lots of it. But creative thinking, lots of it. But creative thinking is not reserved for certain occupations, nor is it restricted to super intelligent people.

Well, then, what is creative thinking?

A low-income family devises a plan to send their son to a leading university. That’s creative thinking.

A family turns the street’s most undesirable lot into the neighborhood beauty spot. That’s creative thinking.

A minister develops a plan that doubles his Sunday evening attendance. That’s creative thinking.

Figuring out ways to simplify record keeping, selling the “impossible” customer, keeping the children occupied constructively, making employees really like their work, or preventing a “certain” quarrel – all of these are examples of practical, everyday creative thinking.

Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything. The rewards of all types of success – success in the home, at work, in the community – hinge on finding ways to do things better. Now let’s see what we can do to develop and strengthen our creative thinking ability.

Step One: Believe it can be done. Here is a basic truth: To do anything, we must first believe it can be done. Believing something can be done sets the mind in motion to find a way to do it.

To illustrate this point of creative thinking in training sessions, I often use this example: I ask the group, “How many of you feel it is possible to eliminate jails within the next thirty years?”

Invariably the group looks bewildered, not quite sure they heard right and thinking they are listening to a real fuzzy-wuzzy. So after a pause I repeat, “How many of you feel it is possible to eliminate jails within the next thirty years?”

Once they’re sure I’m not joking, someone always blasts me with something like “You mean to say you want to turn all those murderers, thieves, and rapists loose? Don’t you realize what this would mean? Why, none of us would be safe. We have to have jails.”

Then the others cut loose:

“All order would break down if we didn’t have jails.”
“Some people are born criminals.”

“If anything, we need more jails.”
“Did you read in this morning’s paper about that murder?”

And the group goes on, telling me all sorts of good reasons why we must have jails. One fellow even suggested we’ve got to have jails so the police and prison guards can have jobs.

After about ten minutes of letting the group “prove” why we can’t eliminate the need for jails, I say to them, “Now let me mention here that this question of eliminating jails is used to make a point.

“Each of you has come up with reasons why we can’t eliminate the need for jails. Will you do me a favour? Will you try extra hard for a few minutes to believe we can eliminate jails?”

Joining in the spirit of the experiment, the group says, in effect, “Oh, well, but just for kicks.” Then I ask, “Now, assuming we can eliminate jails, how could we begin?”

Suggestions come slowly at first. Someone hesitantly says something like, “Well, you might cut down crime if you established more youth centers.”

Before long, the group, which ten minutes ago was solidly against the idea, now begins to work up real enthusiasm.

“Work to eliminate poverty. Most crime stems from the low income levels.”

“Conduct research to spot potential criminals before they commit a crime.”

“Develop surgical procedures to cure some kinds of criminals.”

“Educate law enforcement personnel in positive methods of reform.”

These are just samples of the seventy-eight specific ideas I’ve tabulated that could help accomplish the goal of eliminating jails. WHEN YOU BELIEVE, YOUR MIND FIND WAYS TO DO.

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. The political leaders who do not genuinely believe permanent world peace can be established will fail because their minds are closed to creative ways to bring about peace. The economists who believe business depressions are inevitable will not develop creative ways to beat the business cycle.
In a similar fashion, you can find ways to like a person if you believe you can.
You can discover solutions to personal problems if you believe you can.
You can find a way to purchase that new, larger home if you believe you can.
Believe releases creative powers. Disbelief puts the brakes on.
Believe, and you’ll start thinking constructively.

Your mind will create a way if you let it. A little over two years ago a young man asked me to help him find a job with more future. He was employed as a clerk in the credit department of a mail-order company and felt that he was getting nowhere. We talked about his past record and what he wanted to do. After knowing something about him, I said, “I admire you very much for wanting to move up the ladder to a better job and more responsibility. But getting a start in the kind of job you want requires a college degree these days. I notice you’ve finished three semesters. May I suggest you finish college. Going summers, you can do it in two years. Then I’m sure you can land the job you want, with the company you want to work for.”

“I realize,” he answered, “that a college education would help. But it’s impossible for me to go back to school.”

“Impossible? Why?” I asked.

“Well, for one thing,” he began, “I’m twenty-four. On top of that, my wife and I are expecting our second child in a couple of months. We barely get by now on what I make. I wouldn’t have time to study since I’d have to keep my job. It’s just impossible, that’s all.”

This young man really had himself convinced that finishing college was impossible.

Then I said to him, “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.”

My young friend returned two weeks later.

“I thought a lot about what you said,” he began. “I’ve decided I must go back to school. I haven’t figured out all the angles yet, but I’ll find a solution.”

And he did.

He managed to get a scholarship provided by a trade association, which paid his tuition, books, and incidentals. He rearranged his work schedule so he could attend classes. His enthusiasm and the promise of a better life won him his wife’s full support. Together they creatively found ways to budget money and time more effectively.

Last month he received his degree one day and went to work the next as a management trainee for a large corporation.

Where there’s a will, there is a way.

Believe it can be done. That’s basic to creative thinking. Here are suggestions to help you develop creative power through belief.

1. Eliminate the word impossible from your thinking and speaking vocabularies. Impossible is a failure word. The thought “It’s impossible” sets off a chain reaction of other thoughts to prove you’re right.

2. Think of something special you’ve been wanting to do but felt you couldn’t. now make a list of reasons why you can do it. Many of us whip and defeat our desires simply because we concentrate on why we can’t when the only thing worthy of our mental concentration is why we can.

Recently I read a newspaper item that said there are too many countries in most states. The article pointed out that most country boundaries were established decades before the first automobile was built and while the horse and buggy was the chief mode of travel. But today, with fast automobiles and good roads, there is no reason why three or four countries could not be combined. This would cut down greatly on duplicated services so that taxpayers would actually get better service for less money.

The writer of this article said he thought he had stumbled across a really live idea, so he interviewed thirty people at random to get their reactions. The result: not one person thought the idea had merit, even though it would provide them with better local government at less cost.

That’s an example of traditional thinking. The traditional thinker’s mind is paralyzed. He reasons, “It’s been this way for a hundred years. Therefore, it must be good and must stay this way. Why risk a changer?”

“Average” people have always resented progress. Many voiced a protest toward the automobile on the grounds that nature meant for us to walk or use horses. The airplane seemed drastic to many. Man had no “right” to enter the province “reserved” for birds. A lot of “status-quo-ers” still insist that man has no business in space.

One top missile expert recently gave an answer to this kind of thinking. “Man belongs,” says Dr. Von Braun, “where man wants to go.”

Around 1900 a sales executive discovered a “scientific” principle of sales management. It received a lot of publicity and even found its way into textbooks. The principle was this: There is one best way to sell a product. Find the best way. Then never deviate from it.

Fortunately for this man’s company, new leadership came in in time to save the organization from financial ruin.

Contrast that experience with the philosophy of Crawford H. Greenewalt, president of one of the nation’s largest business organizations, E.I. du Pont de Nemours. In a talk at Columbia University, Mr. Greenewalt said, “…there are many ways in which a good job can be done – as many ways, in fact, as there are men to whom the task is given.”

In truth, there is no one best way to do anything. There is no one best way to decorate an apartment, landscape a lawn, make a sale, rear a child, or cook a steak. There are as many best ways as there are creative minds.

Nothing grows in ice. If we let tradition freeze our minds, new ideas can’t sprout. Make this test sometime soon. Propose one of the ideas below to someone and then watch his behavior.

1. The postal system, long a government monopoly, should be turned over to private enterprise.
2. Presidential elections should be held every two or six years instead of four.
3. Regular hours for retail stores should be 1P.M. to 8P.M., instead of 9 A.M. to 5:30P.M.
4. The retirement age should be raised to seventy.

Whether these ideas are sound or practical is not the point. What is significant is how a person handles propositions like these. If he laughs at the idea and doesn’t give it a second thought (and probably 95 percent will laugh at it) chances are he suffers from tradition paralysis. But the one in twenty who says, “That’s an interesting idea; tell me more about it,” has a mind that’s turned to creativity.

Traditional thinking is personal enemy number one for the person who is interested in a creative personal success program. Traditional thinking freezes your mind, blocks your progress, and prevents you from developing creative power.

Recommended Resource

This is a great book by all standard, and I very much gladly recommend it to you.


The Magic of Thinking Big

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