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3 Things I Learned from The Magic of Thinking Big


Have you ever felt unable to realize your potential? Like you haven’t done everything you’re capable of? It feels like there’s a Xavierian lock keeping you from your abilities.  I just got through reading The Magic of Thinking Big, a book that freed me from that feeling. Read on for the top 3 things I learned from The Magic of Thinking Big.

Some books just make sense. They lay ideas out so clearly you can’t help but adopt them as your own. Sometimes books feed you your own ideas more eloquently than you can. The Magic of Thinking Big is one of those books. It taught me:

  • Positivity works when you work positively
  • Do the work and doors open
  • When your motivation runs low, think bigger

Positivity works when you work positively

In other words, have the right mindset when you take action.  I used to be more of a procrastinator than I am now. It might be something simple like waiting until everyone was through eating to wash dishes. My thinking was “Why should I grab those plates now when I’m just going to have to go back and get more of them later?”

Then I realized washing a dish as soon as it’s done being used is a win-win. Fresh dishes are easier to wash. When I take care of it immediately there’s no opportunity for me to forget or for dishes to pile up on me. If I’m taking care of someone else’s dish, they feel good to have their plate out of the way and one less thing to worry about.

It feels good getting things done. It feels good doing things for other people. It feels good doing things for yourself.

Do the work and doors open

Buckling down and doing the work can lead you to experiences you wouldn’t believe. If you told me 2 years ago that I was going to interview Talib Kweli I’d’ve looked at you with Stephen A. Smith or Steve Buscemi levels of incredulity.


What started as an attempt to gain music exposure through the music blog, Neoclef, turned into me helping renovate the Neoclef website. That turned into becoming a writer for Neoclef. Fast forward through writing reviews of artists whose work I enjoy and a few marathon Skype sessions to last December. I got a call from the Neoclef founder, Curtis Brown, asking if I wanted to help with the Talib interview.

Since we were used to working with local artists, I thought he was talking about some new Midwest artist named Talib. Then it became clear he was talking about Talib Kweli, one of the dopest MCs of all time (to me).

Long story made short, I got to interview Talib Kweli because of a series of fortunate events that all stemmed from me doing work to move myself forward.

When your motivation runs low, think bigger

Running out of motivation sucks.

Sometimes you get burnt out.

As your motivation runs off your internal drivetrain, fewer and fewer things matter and your thinking shrinks.

The only way to fix it is to think bigger.

I remember being pissed off about school. American post-secondary education is essentially a Ponzi scheme. College students pay tuition using loans they can’t repay to get a job that requires them to get a degree provided by the colleges. With the exception of App Academy (the one place I know of with a deliberately symbiotic relationship with students), there’s absolutely no guarantee you’ll get a job after going to college.

Anyway, for a time, I demotivated myself by trying to fight academia from the inside. My thinking was too small. Now, I see getting my degree as a totem of my ability to finish something and a tool to use in the future. It might actually enable me to bring down the very system that awarded it to me and make education deliberately beneficial to students.

My fault for the education rant at the end.

In summary: Think Big. Do the Work. If you don’t feel like doing the work. Think bigger.