'The Magic of Dreaming Big', by David J. Schwartz, PH.D.
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November 23, 2020

'The Magic of Dreaming Big', by David J. Schwartz, PH.D.

Dream bigger, set the bar higher, have a more positive attitude, achieve more. These are some of the themes in this classic book by David J. Schwartz. In this week's episode we talk about how to achieve more on the way to self-actualization.

How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments. Now let’s see how we can enlarge our thinking.Chapter 4, ‘How To Think Big’, pg. 76, David J. Schwartz, PH.D.

Think Big

As we’ve discussed in many of our podcast episodes and blogs so far, thinking big - really big - can be quite difficult. It can be especially difficult if we have no context for achieving the things in our big thoughts, nor do we have the mental tools and stategies for having the confidence (and correct attitude) for achieving our big ideas. For this reason, I think my favorite chapter in this book is Chapter 4: ‘How To Think Big’.

Thinking big is both a muscle and a skill. Once learned, the skill of thinking big needs to be practiced and exercised.

Big thinkers are specialist in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.Chapter 4, ‘How To Think Big’, pg. 79, David J. Schwartz, PH.D.

Aha! Big thinkers are leaders too!

In this chapter Dr. Schwartz tells the story of a real estate agent who sold farmland by telling a compelling business story about what the farmland could become, not based on what it was at present. The Real Estate Agent was highly successful selling farmland based on the vision he created and instilled in the mind of his buyers.

Look at things not as they are, but as they can be. Visualization adds value to everything. A big thinker always visualizes what can be done in the future. He isn’t stuck with the present.Chapter 4, ‘How To Think Big’, pg. 84, David J. Schwartz, PH.D.

This is probably one of my favorite quotes from this book. Adding value to something simply by visualizing it and telling a story around your vision.

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Add Value

Several years ago I read an article in the Harvard Business Review that introduced me to the concept of ‘adding value’ to things. This concept has represented a small turning point in my life - the idea that my thoughts and actions could in fact add value to something that could in turn be sold for more than the purchase price, or at least intrinsically increase the value of some thing I worked to add value to.

For example, I can add value to my home just by taking good care of the lawn on a regular basis and perhaps by doing some simple landscaping, thus creating greater curb appeal of the property. Some people pay for lawn service, but I like to do it myself because it makes me feel like I am personally adding value to some thing.

Dr. Schwartz says: ‘Look for ideas to make things worth more. A thing - whether it be a vacant lot, a house, or a business - has value in proportion to the ideas for using it.’

Dr. Schwarz says you can add value to people too! Are there ways you can help your subordinates achieve more in their own careers? What a powerful concept and way of looking at your own position!

But wait, it is even possible to add value to yourself! Invest in yourself and your own education and understanding of things and you can even add value to yourself!

The concept of adding value to things, other people and yourself is, I think, a billion dollar concept. I am constantly thinking about how I can add value to increase my overall net worth, but I also need to think of ways to add value to the overall net worth of others around me - my employer, my wife, my kids, etc.


In this podcast episode Dr. Caple and I discuss the book’s take on goals versus dreams and the relation between the two. Chapter 12, pg 252.


This book is chock-a-block with lofty concepts and quotable quotes, which you will no doubt find very uplifting and motivational. I found it much more apropos and encouraging to Dream 10X and career progress than the previous book I read; I love people who relate big ideas and dreaming to success, and how to cross the chasm from one’s present reality to those big, terrifying, life-altering dreams.

This book is the closest thing to a how-to manual I have read thus far for achieving big dream success!

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Dialogue & Discussion