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 wouldnâ€™t be able to ever accomplish before.
How to Think and Dream Creatively
FIRST, LETâ€™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. Thatâ€™s creative thinking.
A family turns the streetâ€™s most undesirable lot into the neighborhood beauty spot. Thatâ€™s creative thinking.
A minister develops a plan that doubles his Sunday evening attendance. Thatâ€™s creative thinking.
Figuring out ways to simplify record keeping, selling the â€œimpossibleâ€ customer, keeping the children occupied constructively, making employees really like their work, or preventing a â€œcertainâ€ quarrel â€“ 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 â€“ success in the home, at work, in the community â€“ hinge on finding ways to do things better. Now letâ€™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, â€œHow many of you feel it is possible to eliminate jails within the next thirty years?â€
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, â€œHow many of you feel it is possible to eliminate jails within the next thirty years?â€
Once theyâ€™re sure Iâ€™m not joking, someone always blasts me with something like â€œYou mean to say you want to turn all those murderers, thieves, and rapists loose? Donâ€™t you realize what this would mean? Why, none of us would be safe. We have to have jails.â€
Then the others cut loose:
â€œAll order would break down if we didnâ€™t have jails.â€
â€œSome people are born criminals.â€
â€œIf anything, we need more jails.â€
â€œDid you read in this morningâ€™s paper about that murder?â€
And the group goes on, telling me all sorts of good reasons why we must have jails. One fellow even suggested weâ€™ve got to have jails so the police and prison guards can have jobs.
After about ten minutes of letting the group â€œproveâ€ why we canâ€™t eliminate the need for jails, I say to them, â€œNow let me mention here that this question of eliminating jails is used to make a point.
â€œEach of you has come up with reasons why we canâ€™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?â€
Joining in the spirit of the experiment, the group says, in effect, â€œOh, well, but just for kicks.â€ Then I ask, â€œNow, assuming we can eliminate jails, how could we begin?â€
Suggestions come slowly at first. Someone hesitantly says something like, â€œWell, you might cut down crime if you established more youth centers.â€
Before long, the group, which ten minutes ago was solidly against the idea, now begins to work up real enthusiasm.
â€œWork to eliminate poverty. Most crime stems from the low income levels.â€
â€œConduct research to spot potential criminals before they commit a crime.â€
â€œDevelop surgical procedures to cure some kinds of criminals.â€
â€œEducate law enforcement personnel in positive methods of reform.â€
These are just samples of the seventy-eight specific ideas Iâ€™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 canâ€™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 youâ€™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, â€œI 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 youâ€™ve finished three semesters. May I suggest you finish college. Going summers, you can do it in two years. Then Iâ€™m sure you can land the job you want, with the company you want to work for.â€
â€œI realize,â€ he answered, â€œthat a college education would help. But itâ€™s impossible for me to go back to school.â€
â€œImpossible? Why?â€ I asked.
â€œWell, for one thing,â€ he began, â€œIâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t have time to study since Iâ€™d have to keep my job. Itâ€™s just impossible, thatâ€™s all.â€
This young man really had himself convinced that finishing college was impossible.
Then I said to him, â€œif you believe it is impossible to finish school, then it is. But by the same token, if youâ€™ll just believe it is possible to return to the university, a solution will come.
â€œNow, hereâ€™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 youâ€™ve come up with.â€
My young friend returned two weeks later.
â€œI thought a lot about what you said,â€ he began. â€œIâ€™ve decided I must go back to school. I havenâ€™t figured out all the angles yet, but Iâ€™ll find a solution.â€
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 wifeâ€™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 thereâ€™s a will, there is a way.
Believe it can be done. Thatâ€™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 â€œItâ€™s impossibleâ€ sets off a chain reaction of other thoughts to prove youâ€™re right.
2. Think of something special youâ€™ve been wanting to do but felt you couldnâ€™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 canâ€™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.
Thatâ€™s an example of traditional thinking. The traditional thinkerâ€™s mind is paralyzed. He reasons, â€œItâ€™s been this way for a hundred years. Therefore, it must be good and must stay this way. Why risk a changer?â€
â€œAverageâ€ 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 â€œrightâ€ to enter the province â€œreservedâ€ for birds. A lot of â€œstatus-quo-ersâ€ still insist that man has no business in space.
One top missile expert recently gave an answer to this kind of thinking. â€œMan belongs,â€ says Dr. Von Braun, â€œwhere man wants to go.â€
Around 1900 a sales executive discovered a â€œscientificâ€ 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 manâ€™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 nationâ€™s largest business organizations, E.I. du Pont de Nemours. In a talk at Columbia University, Mr. Greenewalt said, â€œâ€¦there are many ways in which a good job can be done â€“ as many ways, in fact, as there are men to whom the task is given.â€
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 canâ€™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 doesnâ€™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, â€œThatâ€™s an interesting idea; tell me more about it,â€ has a mind thatâ€™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.
This is a great book by all standard, and I very much gladly recommend it to you.