101 posts categorized "Goal setting"

Thought process: Vision

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Epictetus, A Greek Philosopher, wrote: " What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are." Centuries later, Johnny Carson proved Old Epictetus right when he joked on his late night television show about a shortage of toilet paper in the US. Fiendishly, Carson went into exaggerated detail about the dire consequences of the Tissue Paper shortage. To his amazement and distributors dismay, people took Carson seriously and bough up all the toilet paper in sight. People who heard Carson's retraction later remain unconvinced; they knew there was a shortage. after all the shelves were empty. This was a vision gone awry.

This is a funny story but having a vision of your future enables you to make it come true through your actions.


Thought for today: Important lessons you learn from pencil

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today morning, I was reviewing my notes from some time back. This was shared by entrepreneur Visu Ar about the important lessons we learn from humble pencil.

  • It tells you that everything you do will always leave a mark.
  • You can always correct the mistake you make.
  • The important thing in life is what you are from inside and not from outside.
  • In life you will undergo painful sharpening which will make you better in whatever you do.
  • Finally, to be the best you can be, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

Prudence

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Caution is a good risk to take.

Prudence is all about good judgment, weighing all the possibilities, considering the consequences of one's actions, thinking before one acts, being thoughtful, using common sense, doing what's best for oneself, using discretion, exercising caution, and conforming to reason and decency. It is the avoidance of thoughtless and reckless behavior. It is the ability to distinguish the difference between what is harmful and what is helpful and following the right course of action. Imagine how much misery would be eliminated if we all following the dictum, " Look before you leap.

You see, part of being prudent is being balanced; it is imprudent to be otherwise. Because of the need of balance, prudence may direct us to hold our tongue on one occasion and to speak up on another.

There are two types of risks, those with bad payoffs and those with good payoffs. A prudent person doesn't smoke because it is a health risk; it has a bad payoff.Prudent people avoid risks with poor payoffs, but have no problem taking risks that have good payoffs. Part of being prudent is valuing courage.

Some disasters are avoidable while others are unavoidable. The consequences of our actions are always unavoidable. But as long as they are governed by prudence, we will have nothing to fear. Prudence is a protective shield and the absence of caution is more harmful than the absence of knowledge.

In the thirteenth century, Persian Poet Saadi wrote, "Learn from the misfortunes of others, so others may not learn from you." Besides learning from the mistakes of others, prudent people also learn from the accomplishments of others. Every person we meet is an example, one to be followed or one to be avoided.

 


From today's readings

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today I was reading the book, "Day by Day with James Allen".

This is what I got from my reading.

  • We need to keep reminding ourselves that we have tremendous reservoirs of potential within us, and therefore we are quite capable of doing anything that we set our mind to. All we must do is figure how we can do it, not whether or not. And once we have made our mind to do it, it is amazing how our mind begins to figure out how.
  • We are either living in the problem or living in the solution. We always have to focus on solutions.
  • In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons.

Importance of playing in creativity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

We often hear extremely productive people say that their vocation is also their avocation, that they love what they do, that they have fun at work. Too often we fail to realize what this tells us about the way they work; it is not solely linear reason and disciplined routine, it is fun. Too many of us handicap ourselves in life and at work by approaching problems analytically; we cut out play and imagination and consequently close ourselves off from a vast source of ideas.

Many great achievers emphasize the importance of play and imagination in making breakthroughs. In an interview with Kary Mullis concerning how he arrived at his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which won him the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he said, "I wasn't working, I was playing. I was letting this take shape before my eyes, and deep down I knew that I was about to find  something that was going to be Nobel Prize winning..And that's what happened!"..What Kary Mullis demonstrates for us  is that his Nobel Prize- winning breakthrough did not come from him following the linear path of logic and reason alone. In fact, breakthroughs  must disrupt the logic of what we know; because they bring new knowledge, breakthroughs can come only from parts unknown to the conscious mind and therefore unknown to reason. So breakthroughs- even the most intellectual and sophisticated ones - can manifest only at times when we disengage from what we know and from what we understand logically. This is why play is crucial: it disconnects us from reason and logic and opens us to new and different thoughts we wouldn't have access to.

Play done properly is the lifeblood of our work. It fuels motivation and enables us to move beyond what we perceive as insurmountable limitations. Play isn't some reprehensible at-risk behavior that threatens to make slackers of us all. Play opens us up the possibility that we don't need more of anything- time, money, knowledge and so on - in order to produce more.  Human motivation is not linear; the way  one person gets motivated is a complex function of many intertwined factors, which do not follow a linear continuum but which can be greatly influenced by play. When we tap  into the part of people that responds to play and inspiration, we unleash possibilities and a huge potential for new sources of motivation that we could not have predicted or accessed otherwise. Thus when people are engaged in play, truly or deeply engaged, they lose track of time, they stop thinking about whether their check is bigger today than it was yesterday, they withstand discomfort and inconvenience, and more often than you might imagine, they create magic. Play moves people into an optimistic frame of mind, a place where they are more adaptable to change and more likely to improvise, and where they begin to dance in the groove of life.

So we all need to lighten up and we can break through the mental barriers that are keeping us stuck.


Leadership Nuggets from Books Part 9

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today I am going to write about a book which I quote often in my presentations. The book I am talking about is "How to be Rich" by J. Paul Getty. For people who are in the Los Angeles area, you might have heard about famous Getty museum in LA. Back in the 60s, he was named richest man in the world. I learned that How to be Rich is essentially a series of articles that Getty was commissioned to write by Playboy magazine. His intention was to explain himself and why he was a businessman, and secondly to get behind the myths of what it was like to have great wealth. Hence the title of the book: not to get rich, but to be rich.

Wildcatter to mogul

J.  Paul Getty's (JPG) father, George Getty had grown up poor on an Ohio farm, but managed to get through law school supported by his wife. He became a successful Minneapolis attorney and did well in the Oklahoma oil rush.

JPG was born into this relative prosperity in 1892, an only child. He writes fondly of a teenage apprenticeship of a roustabout in the oil fields, then very much a dusty frontier place of rough men, "where gambling halls were viewed as the ultimate in civic improvements." In utter contrast, he then spent two years at Oxford University in the UK before returning to the States.

He had planned to enter the US diplomatic service but at 22 went into business on his own as a wildcatter (an independent oil driller and speculator) and got lucky with some oil leases. He was a millionaire by age 24. Deciding to "retire" he enjoyed himself for a couple of years, but his parents were not pleased, his father telling him that he had a duty to build and operate businesses that created wealth and better life for people.

The oil rush had shifted to California and Getty decided to invest in new oil leases near Los Angeles. His business rapidly expanded over the next few years, but his father's death in 1930 was a setback. It was said that Getty Sr. left JPG $15 million. Actually it was $500,000.

During the Depression of the 1930s, Getty came up with the idea of an integrated oil company spanning exploration, refining and retail marketing. He bought up oil stocks, which were now very cheap, purchased the Pierre Hotel in New York at a bargain price, and began a difficult 15-year take over of the Tidewater Oil company, then one of California's largest. After the Second World War Getty Oil gambled $12 million on oil concessions in Saudi Arabia. Though it took a further four years and $18 million for the wells to produce, by then the world had become aware of the vast reserves in the area, and the gamble paid off handsomely.

In 1957, Fortune magazine named Getty the richest man in America with an estimated worth of $1 billion. He would from then on receive an average of 3,000 letters a week from strangers requesting money.

JPG's tip on success in business and in life

Beat your own path

How to be Rich was written at the zenith of large-company capitalism, when the species "organization man" evolved to make the most of his small place in the corporate machinery. Getty described this person as "dedicated to serving the complex rituals of memorandums and buck-passing." In contrast, Getty's "office" in his early years in the oil fields was the front seat of a battered Model T ford.

Most executives, Getty observed, would rather become "boot-lickers" to those above them than risk rocking the boat. This was actually counterproductive, because the only real security in the workplace was reserved for those who demonstrated that they could add value. Successful businesspeople, he believed, were usually rebels of some description whose wealth was built on rejection of the status quo. For example, Getty does not mention his purchase of low prices after the Wall street Crash as a boast, but to demonstrate that the person who does not follow the pack often "reaps fantastic rewards"

Be open-minded

Getty had invited an outspoken socialist to a  dinner party at his Sutton Place mansion just outside London. Another guest, a fellow American, was appalled. Getty did not apologize; in fact he felt he was honoring the great American tradition of encouraging dissent. Hearing views different to your own, he believed, "adds spice, spirit, and an invigorating quality to life."

Writing at the beginning of the 1960s, he correctly forecast that the "vanished dissenters" would soon reappear,  and knew that the economic future would brighter because of it. Getty's moral was that wealth was only ever generated by open minds, because only such intellectual openness enables us to see opportunities that others do not. 

Get the facts, then act

In a chapter titled "Business blunders and booby traps," JPG says that many mistakes in business and in life result from a failure to distinguish between fact and opinion or hearsay.

He once commissioned a geologist to report on the potential of an oil lease. The report said that there was little chance of finding oil, so Getty sold the lease. It later turned out to be part of the huge oil pool. Yet Getty did not blame the expert, only himself for accepting his view without question and not getting another opinion.

Businesspeople frequently accept as fact what they have heard or read without doing their own investigation or study. This is not so bad on its own, but when the results will affect a whole enterprise and the livelihoods of workers, it is an important point. If you have made a decision that is based on facts, stick to it. Have the courage of your convictions. The relaxed business person, Getty says, is always much more effective, and if you have done your homework your resolve will be less likely to be sabotaged by worry.

Final comments

Getty notes that of the tens of thousands of Americans who take their lives each year, a significant number are classed as "economic suicides." His point is that many scramble for and achieve financial success, but when they get it they find that it lacks meaning. People need to believe that their efforts are increasing value and enriching the world in some way, that they are engaged in real creative effort and not simply status seeking.

Getty himself gained a reputation as a miser because he famously put a payphone in the hall of his Sutton Place mansion. (Guests had been using the regular phones to make transatlantic calls). Yet with the passage of time, we can see that if it were not for the man's dedication to eliminating waste and maximizing resources, millions of people would not be enjoying what he left. He is now, after all, more famous as an art collector and philanthropist. The collection he created is one the world's best-as anyone who has been to the Getty Museum at Malibu, California will attest.

Getty was a great believer in the free enterprise system, but was the arch capitalist that many people think. He never complained about high wages, taking the Henry Ford view that a work force that was not well paid would not buy the products you were trying to sell.

A millionaire had to accept everything with good humor, Getty realized. When he was named "richest man in the world," he had a hard time explaining to journalissts that he did not sit on mountains of cash; nearly all his wealth was tied up in infrastructure and operations, and he was working 16-18 hours a day to keep it all going. He admits that his marriages suffered and fell apart as the result of his dedication to work, and there were books he had wanted to read and didn't have the time for- but on the whole, he reflected, he had led an exciting and rewarding life.

This concludes the nuggets from books part for now. Will continue back on the same after a break.


Leadership Nuggets from Books Part 7

by Karthik Gurumurthy

 Today I am going to talk about another popular runaway best seller named "Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley. This book revealed to the world a most unexpected picture of America's millionaires. The Millionaire Mind is more thoughtful and insightful look into the psychology of millionaires, the "soft" factors in terms of attitudes and beliefs that have made these people financially successful.

The research base was broadened to encompass an even wealthier set of millionaires (including many "decamillionaires", with a balance sheet value of $10 million or more). In all, the author received 733 responses to his carefully targeted questionairres, and the sum effect of this book is a little like being invited into the living rooms of 733 wealthy people for fireside chat.

The key question asked is: Is it possible to have a very enjoyable, balanced life but still achieve millionaire status? Stanley's surprising answer is that while money can't buy happiness, millionaires are perhaps more aware than most that the best things in life are free. Rather than, as you might expect, spending their non working time visiting glamor spots or engaging in expensive hobbies, the great majority of millionaires prefer to spend time with family and friends. If they are not doing this they are involved in community activities or playing a round of golf.

Vocation, vocation, vocation

The way to sustainable wealth and an enjoyable life is simple.: Do work that you love to do. The more you love your work, the more likely you are to excel at it, and the more rewards will accrue to you. You are also much more likely to create a profitable niche through the process of deepening your skills, knowledge and contacts in your chosen field.

Millionaires are happy to make a life out of truck spare parts or car washes if they see opportunities, no matter what others think. Compare this to people who don't particularyl like what they do but were led to the belief that it would given them financial and career security. Ironically, this perception leads many to choose similar business opportunities, with thet result that they find stiff competition. Above all, millionaires "think differently from the crowd": they spend much of their time looking for things that others have overlooked, overturning assumptions and creating profitable niches within generic industries.

Still haven't found your vocation? Against the conventional view that you go directly into a field after school or college, stick at it, and eventually do well, most millionaires did a variety of hobs and had a good spread of life experiences before they found their vocation. Looking at the data, Stanley concludes, "It is hard for a person to recognize opportunities if he stays in one place and remains in one job."

 Risk, reward and self-belief

Stanley notes the strong correlation between willingness to take financial risk and financial success. While most of us would see starting a business as a great risk, the financially successful see working 9-5 for someone else as risky. You are dependent on your employer for your livelihood. and your income is related to how much time you spend working. Millionaires tend to choose a career in which there is no ceiling on how much money that can make if they are successful at it.

You may ask, what about all those among Stanley's respondents who don't own businesses? Surely the list includes doctors, lawyers, accountants and people who have done well as employees in large firms? There are indeed many, but they tend not to among the decamilion-aires surveyed. Even if a person is at the top of the profession in one of these areas, they are required to give the service personally in return for a fee, one client at time. As an employer, you can always get other people to put in the time, but you reap more and more of the fruits.

One of the book's most fascinating chapters concerns the link between courage and wealth. The millionaires in Stanley's surveys all seemed to have one thing in common: A belief in their ability to generate wealth. People talk ad nauseam about the importance of investing in the stock market, but, as Stanley rightly points out, few really think about the source of wealth; generally an idea turned into business, initially owned by a small group of people. Real wealth creators focus on creating a prosperous business instead of gambling on public companies about which they can never have all the information. This may seem like putting all your eggs in one basket, but those eggs can be watched like a hawk.

School

A good  proportion of self-made millionaires worked hard in school but were not the top students. What they learned most in school was how to judge people well and get along with them, and that hard work could bring surprising level of success. Many were judged not intelligent enough to succeed because they lacked the high levels of analytical intelligence or IQ to get them into medical school or law school. Yet later in life, most of the millionaires admit that these judgmentns only made them more determined to achieve. Knowing that they would never with the "beautiful people," they sought to prove their worth in other ways. They became very good at dealing with people and scoping out opportunities.

People often put success down to good luck, but Stanley's millionaires rate luck quite lowly on the scale of success factors, "The harder you work, the luckier you get" seems to be a consensus view.

Spouse

Nine out of ten married millionaires say that their marriage has been a significant factor in their success. A spouse provides on-tap psychological support and advice that is likely to be honest.

After love, attractiveness, and sharing common interests, most millionaires chose their spouses for a certain "x-factor": small things they noticed that indicated self-worth, integrity, even compassion. It turns out that millionaire spouses have the sort of qualities that would be helpful in running a business: intelligent, honest, reliable, cheerful. Millionaires choose their lifelong partners astutely, knowing that it will greatly affect their own success.

Every little helps

Becoming wealthy involves a set of habits and ways of doing things, some of which seem of minor importance or common sense, although many of us don't do them.

  • Acquiring antique furniture or quality reproductions, which can be reupholstered instead of buying cheaper pieces every few years.
  • Investing in better-quality shoes and getting them repaired or resoled when necessary, instead of buying a new pair,
  • Buying household items at bulk discount stores. Half of the millionaires surveyed always make a list before going supermarket shopping.
  • The typical millionaire from the survey has never spent more than $41,000 on buying an automobile (a good proportion buy quality used cards at much less than this figure), nor spent more than $38 on a haircut.
  • Millionaires are frugal, but are not into DIY. They get other people to paint their house because they know their time is better spent focusing on their investments. They employ top experts to sort out their tax and legal matters. Big accountancy and legal firms cost more, but their better advice and contacts make their cost low over the long term.

Final comments

The Millionaire Mind could have been better edited (many statements were repeated), but it si not for lovely elegant prose that you will buy this book. At less than the price of a main course at a good restaurant, its insights may prove an insanely good investment.

There are multitude of revealing facts and ideas, including the five "foundation stones" of financial success most often mentioned by millionaires, and enjoyable case histores and anecdotes of specific millionaires. Forty-six tables display the research data in a manner that even the numerically challenged can understand.

What is the millionaire mind? Not living a spartan lifestyle and making money your God, but staying free from reliance on credit and being in control of your finances. The great self-discipline of the average millionaire means that they can't help piling up wealth long after their modest needs have been satisfied. The millionaire mind evokes the famous biblical saying,  "To them that hath, more will be given." Not only do these people have money, they love their work. Most people will think, "Of course they love their work, they can do what they want," but few appreciate that it was their love of their vocation that helped to make them wealthy in the first place.


Leadership Nuggets from Books Part 3

-Karthik Gurumurthy

This is again one classic favorite of mine and Shobana's. The book I am referring to is, "See you at the Top" by Late Zig Ziglar. This was written in 1975 and has sold over two million copies all over the world.

The book has a traditional view of success that may have few people laughing, but let's remember that this former cookware salesman had been around a long time and a top motivational speaker longer than many of us have been alive. He passed away November of last year which was a huge loss.

All this said, See You at the Top is still a magnet for those who simply want the best for their family, to be successful at work, and to feel that they are free to chart their own course in life. It is filled with stories, analogies and jokes which helps in reinforcing the principles. You may not agree with all his political views, but the points he makes about seeking your best are difficult to rebut. I have gifted this to lot of my friends and family and all of them who read it thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ziglar's recipe for life at the top involves the three dimensions: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. You are the sum total of your habits and influences, he says, so if you ignore one area, you will be "a phony"

Zig Ziglar's mantra if I have to sum it up in one line: "You can have everything in life if you will just help others to get what they want."

Ziglar is a self-confessed sentimentalist about America and the free enterprise system. He notes that the countries where people are "provided for" have the highest suicide rates, because if contribution and work are not seen as necessary, people feel they have no value. Providing service creates a healthy self-image, which is not the same as an inflated ego.

Goals

You are "born to win" but must commit your goals to give them force.  People do not "wander around and find themselves in Mt. Everest". Ziglar says: if you are not planning to get anywhere in particular, you will not get anywhere in particular. Have plans that stir your soul and be specific about them, but work toward them gradually as "confidence is the handmaiden of success".

You are what you take in

Whatever goes into your mind- television programs, conversations, pornography- will come manifested as action or words. Most people live under the illusion that they are in control of their mental life, when their physical circumstances suggest otherwise. Knowing that you are the sum total of what goes into your mind is scary. Once you realize it, however, you have the rare opportunity to remake your life.

As Benjamin Franklin knew, personal development is a daily thing. Read good biographies of successful people and use your time in the car listening to empowering talks.

Marriage

Success has more to do with your marital relationship than anyone else, but what is the key ingredient to make that a happy relationship? Loyalty..Without knowing that you have loyalty, you won't have the energy or support for making a mark in the world. See you at the Top is perhaps at its best on the subject of honoring and loving your partner, and Ziglar is an unapologetic romantic when it comes to his wife, whom he married over 50 years ago.

Attitude

To keep life fresh you must avoid "hardening of attitudes". The right attitude is all-important, because in life the distance between winning and losing is often infinitesimal, and the right attitude allows you to cope with all the seconds and thirds you seem to have to go through before winning. Desire and persistence mark you out from the rest.

Habits

In changing bad habits, you don't "pay the price," you enjoy the benefits. Ziglar got into jogging in a big way to reduce his 41-inch waistline, but found it tough getting out of bed in the morning. While good habits are hard to acquire, they become easy to live with; in contrast, bad habits come slowly and easily but are hard to live with.

The best guide to your conduct is the people you spend your time with. If you want to stop smoking, quit drinking, and start getting up early, you will not achieve it by spending your nights in bards, however good your will-power. Habits are only the surface of your whole attitude to life.

Final comments

It is the sort of book you need if you life is truly and deeply in a mess and you need some black-and-white solutions for dragging yourself up. I feel, it is a must-read for everyone.


Leadership Nuggets from Books Part 2

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today I am going to write about one of my favorite books "Magic of Thinking Big" by David J. Schwartz

Think of people who earn five times as much as you. Are they five times smarter? Do they work five times harder? If the answer is no, then the question, "What do they have that I haven't?"  may occur to you. In a book that has sold several million copies, David Schwartz suggests that the main factor separating them from you is that they think five times bigger. We are all, more than we realize, the product of the thinking surrounding us, and most of this thinking is little, not big.

Plenty of room at the top

In the course of researching The Magic of Thinking Big, Schwartz spoke to many people who had reached the top in their field. Instead of getting detailed responses, he was told that the key factor in personal success was simply the desire for it. Rather than there being "too many chiefs and not enough Indians," the opposite is true. Some people choose to lead, others to follow. Success is not primarily a matter of circumstances or native talent or even intelligence- it is a choice.

From the many little comments and asides that have been made to you throughout your life, you may have unconsciously written a log of the things you can or can't have, the person you can or you cannot be. These daubs of paint many even have been applied by people who loved you very much, but the result is that it is not your picture. The Magic of Thinking Big tries to show that in fact the canvas you work on is vast. Schwartz delivers the right quote by Benjamin Disraeli: "Life is too short to be little." You must enlarge your imagination of yourself and act on it.

"Thinking Big" does work in relation to career goals, financial security and great relationships-but it is more significant than that. You are challenged to see yourself in a brighter light, to have a larger conception of life. This is a choice that is no more difficult than the choice to keep doing what you're doing, laboring in darkness.

You may feel that some of the ideas and suggestions are somewhat obvious or basic compared to more recent success writing, but like the other older success classics, The Magic of Thinking Big contains simple and powerful messages that do not date.

Road to success

This book is about "getting ahead" with a fair amount of attention given to increasing your income exponentially, making that dream home a reality and getting your children a first-rate education. It tells us how to think, look and feel "important."

Action drives out thought, whereas leaders set aside time for solitude to tap their supreme thinking power.

Belief is everything

There is nothing mystical about the power of belief, but you must draw a distinction between merely wishing and actually believing. Doubt attracts "reasons" for not succeeding, whereas belief finds the means to do the job. Schwartz was in conversation with an aspiring fiction writer. When the name of a successful author came up, the aspiring writer quickly said, "But I could never equal him; I am not in his league." Knowing the writer in question, Schwartz pointed out that he was neither super-intelligent nor super-perceptive, merely super-confident. The writer had at some point decided  to believe that he was among the best, and so he acted and performed accordingly.

Most of us believe that the result of an event is the best indicator of how successful we are, yet events are much more likely to reflect our level of confidence. In Schwartz's words: "Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life." Turn the thermostat up and witness the results.

Excusitis, the failure disease

Never depend on luck to get what you want. The only vaccination against "excusitis" as Schwartz calls it- "commonly known as failure's disease"- is conscious self-belief. Schwartz knew that as soon as you hit a rough spot your thinking is likely to shrink back to its normal size, yet this is exactly when it is crucial for it not to do so. Sporting champions do not collapse when, in the course of a game, they are being beaten. Instead of building a case against themselves, they remember they are champions. Tennis star Boris Becker tells up-and coming tennis players that talent is not enough: you must walk, talk and think like a champion.

Staying big

While it is said that a large vocabulary is a big determinant of success, what really counts is the effect that your words have on how you think about yourself. Instead of trying to use long words, Schwartz says, use positive language and see how it transformrs your mood and the perception of others. Don't see yourself merely in terms of how you appear now. You may have an old car, dingy apartment, debts, job stress, and a crying baby, but they are not truly a reflection of you as long as you are working on the vision of what you will be two years from now. Concentrate on your assets and how you are deploying them to change the situation, and avoid getting mired in petty recriminations. Absorbing the blows is a quality of greatness.

Schwartz also reminds you that every big success is created one step at a time, therefore it is best to measure yourself against the goals you have set rather than comparing yourself to others.

Improving the quality of your environment

Schwartz phrases it, "Go first class". This does not mean always getting the most expensive ticket. It does mean getting your advice from successful people and not giving the jealous the satisfaction of seeing you stumble. Spend time with those who think on a large scale and are generous in their friendship. After a while, the base level of what you think possible will rise. People make assessments of you whether you like it or not, and the value the world gives you matches the one you give yourself.

Schwartz has many more useful tips on how to think and act success, backed up by case histories. They include:

  • Don't wait until conditions are perfect before starting something. They never will be. Act NOW!
  • Persistence is not a guarantee of success. Combine persistence with experimentation.
  • Goal, once in the subconscious, provide energy and an invisible guide to correct action.
  • Walk 25% faster! Average people have an average walk.

Final comments

This classic book was written in the golden age of post war American industrial society. The focus is on sales, production, executives getting a great job in a good company. It may be a product of its age, but it transcends it too.  The Magic of Thinking Big has literally been worth its weight in Gold for many people. I try to read it once every six months. It  is one of the great examples of the success literature's call to break free of self-imposed limitations, to recast your idea of what is possible.

Schwartz argues, the desire for success, begins with a willingness to find the tools that can deliver it. Amazingly, although no one likes crawling in mediocrity, not everyone is seriously interested in finding and using these tools.

Around 1890, a person named Gottlieb Daimler drew a three-pointed star on a postcard to his family and wrote next to it, "One day this star will shine down on my work." He co-founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, now Daimler Chrysler. Great accomplishments such as these demonstrate Schwartz's claim that a person is best measured by the size of their dreams.