Big thinking

There is a tendency of most people to think small in more secured terms. The problem is that there is no particular reason for people these days to be so ultra-conservative, so narrow in their view of the future. Despite the global economic downturn, there are signs of expanding opportunity. The world was able to find a vaccine to fight the COVID 19 global pandemic. The world is constantly making scientific and industrial development. If there was a time to be optimistic about our planet, it is now.

Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches or pounds or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking. How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments.



Dr. David Schwartz believes that probably the greatest human weak­ness is self-depreciation – that is, sell­ing yourself short. Self-depreciation shows through in countless ways. Jojo sees a job advertisement in the paper; it is exactly what he would like. But he does nothing about it because he thinks, “I am not good enough for that job, so why bother?” Or Fifi wants a date with Afi, but he does not call her because he thinks he would not rate with her.

Tom feels Mr. Richards would be a very good prospect for his product, but Tom does not call. He feels Mr. Richards is too big to see him. Kwasi is filling out a job application form. One question asks, “What beginning salary do you expect?” Kwasi puts down a modest figure because he feels he really is not worth the bigger sum that he would like to earn.

Philosophers for thousands of years have issued good advice: KNOW THYSELF. However, most people, it seems, interpret this suggestion to mean, “Know only thy negative self.” Most self-evaluation consists of making long mental lists of one’s faults, shortcomings, inadequacies.

It is well to know our inabilities, for this shows us areas in which we can improve. Nevertheless, if we know only our negative charac­teristics, were in a mess. Our value is small.

Dr. Schwartz provides an exercise to help us measure our true size. First, you list your five chief assets. Then invite some objective friend to help – some intelligent person who will give you an honest opinion. (Examples of assets frequently listed are edu­cation, experience, technical skills, appearance, well-adjusted home life, attitudes, personality, and ini­tiative). Next under each asset, he suggests, you write the names of three persons you know who have achieved success but who do not have this asset to as great degree as you.

He promises that when you have completed this exercise, you will find you outrank many successful people on at least one asset. He reiterates there is only one conclusion you can honestly reach. “You are bigger than you think. So fit your thinking to your true size. Think as big as you really are. Never, never, sell yourself short.”


The person who says “ad­amantine” when in plain talk he means “immovable” or says “tintinnabulation” when we would understand him better if he said “ringing” 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 pompous; and self-conceited people are usual­ly small thinkers.

The important measure of a person’s vocabulary is not the size or the number of words he uses. Rather, the thing that counts, the ONLY thing that counts about one’s vocabulary; is the effect his words and phrases have on his own and others’ thinking.

Here is something very basic: We do not think in words and phrases. We think only in pic­tures and/or images. Words are the raw materials of thought. When spoken or read, that amazing instrument, the mind, automatically converts words and phrases into mind pictures. Each word, each phrase, creates a slightly different mind picture.

Look at it this way. When you speak or write, you are, in a sense, a projector showing movies in the minds of others; and the pictures you create de­termine how you and others react.

Suppose you tell a group of people, “I am sorry to report we have 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 is a new approach that I think will work.” They would feel encouraged, ready to try again.

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.


Just about everyone wishes he had the “ability” to do a first-class job of speaking in public. But most people do not get their wish. Most folks are lousy public speak­ers. Why? The reason is simple: most people concentrate on the small, trivial things of speaking at the expense of the big, important things. In preparing to give a talk, most people give themselves a host of mental instructions, like “I have got to remember to stand straight,” “Do not move around and don’t use your hands,” “Do not let the audience see you use your notes,” “Remember, do not make mistakes in grammar.”

Now, what happens when the speaker gets up to speak? He is scared because he has given himself a terrific list of things not to do. He gets confused in his talk and finds himself silently asking, “Have I made a mistake?” He is, in brief, a flop. He is a flop because he concentrated on the petty, trivial, relatively unim­portant qualities of a good speaker and failed to concentrate on the big things that make a good speaker: knowledge of what he is going to talk about and an intense desire to tell it to other people.

The real test of a speaker is not did he stand straight or did he make any mistakes in grammar, but rather did the audience get the points he wanted to put across.

Yet all these successful public speakers have one thing in common: They have something to say and they feel a bunting desire for other people to hear it. Do not let concern with trivia keep you from speaking successfully in public.

Ever stop to ask yourself just what causes quarrels? At least 99 percent of the time, quarrels start over petty, unimportant matters like this: John comes home a little tired, a little on edge.

Dinner does not exactly please him, so he turns up his nose and complains. Joan’s day was not perfect either, so she rallies to her own defense with “Well, what do you expect on my food budget?” or “Maybe I could cook better if I had a new stove like everybody else.” This insults John’s pride, so he attacks with “Now, Joan, it is not lack of money; it is simply that you do not know how to manage.”

Both parties leave the battle ner­vous, tense. Nothing has been settled, and both parties have new ammuni­tion to make the next quarrel more vicious. “Little things, petty thinking, causes arguments. So, to eliminate quarrels, eliminate petty thinking.”

When you feel like taking negative action, ask yourself, “Is it really im­portant?” That question works magic in building a finer home situation. It works at the office, too. It works in home-going traffic when another driver cuts in ahead of you. It works in any situation in life that is apt to produce quarrels.


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