23 Jan 2023
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life.

The Better You Think, the better results you will get and the more successful you will be in every area. The most important measure, the only measure of the quality of your thinking, is the results you get, the consequences of what you decide to do as a result of the decisions you make. Milton Friedman, the economist, once wrote.

“The best measure of quality thinking is your ability to accurately predict the consequences of your ideas and subsequent actions.” His point was that economic theory divorced from what actually happened when that theory was applied was clearly incorrect. Consequences are everything! The only question is, “Did your idea work or not?” Some people are confused about the importance of long-term consequences.

They think that their intentions are most important, not the results. This is a major cause of confusion in our society today. They say, “If I intend for good things to happen as the result of my ideas, my decisions, and my actions and they don’t, you can’t blame me.” Your ability to accurately foresee and predict the consequences of your decisions and actions is the true measure of your intelligence.

What Is Intelligence?

Intelligence is not a matter of IQ, grades in school, or years of study. Intelligence is instead a “way of acting.” This means that if you act intelligently, you are smart. If you act stupidly, you are stupid, irrespective of grades or measures on IQ tests. What, then, by definition, is an intelligent act?

The answer is simple. An intelligent act is something you do that moves you closer to something you really want. A stupid act is something you do that does not move you closer to something you want or, even worse, moves you away from it.

You personally define a smart or stupid act when you decide what you want and what you don’t want. As Winston Churchill said, “I long ago stopped listening to what people said. Instead, I look at what they do. Behavior is the only truth.”

Action Is Everything

How can you tell what a person really wants, thinks, feels, believes, and is committed to? Simple. You just look at his or her actions. It is not what people say, wish, hope, or intend that counts. It is only what they do, and especially what they do when faced with temptation or put under pressure.

Someone says, “I want to be successful in my career and in life.” He actually believes it. But then you observe his behavior. This person arrives at work at the last possible minute, leaves at the first possible minute, and hurries home so that he doesn’t miss the latest episode of his favorite television show.

Clearly, based on his behavior, his goal is not to be successful in his career but rather to watch television. How do you know? Because that is exactly what he is doing, every night after work.

Did It Work?

The only real measure of your decisions and action is “Did it work?” Did your action, based on your thinking, move you toward something that you wanted or something that is important to you? There are two laws that trip people up all the time, in personal life, in politics, and in international affairs.

They are the Law of Unintended Consequences and the Law of Perverse Consequences. The economist Hazlitt, in his classic Economics in One Lesson, wrote that human beings are self-seeking. Therefore, every action is an attempt to improve one’s conditions in some way. People always seek the fastest and easiest way to get the things they want as soon as possible, with little consideration of secondary consequences.

Hazlitt said that the desired result of any action is always an improvement in conditions of some kind. The improvement is the primary consequence aimed at. It is always positive. All action is focused on the improvement of some kind.

Time Perspective and Income

At the lowest socioeconomic level, lower-lower class, the time perspective was often only a few hours, or minutes, such as in the case of the hopeless alcoholic or drug addict, who thinks only about the next drink or dose.

At the highest level, those who were second-or third-generation wealthy, their time perspective was many years, decades, even generations into the future. It turns out that successful people are intensely future-oriented.

They think about the future most of the time. Peter Drucker said that the primary job of the leader, especially in business, is to think about the future; no one else is tasked with that responsibility. This is your responsibility as well.

The top people in every society projected years, even decades into the future when they made their day-to-day decisions. They thought carefully about what might happen before they made important or irrevocable commitments.

Here is a great discovery: The very act of thinking long term sharpens your perspective and dramatically improves the quality of your short-term decision making. Because “you become what you think about,” the very act of long-term thinking changes the way you think and act in the present, thereby increasing the likelihood of greater success in the future.

Back from the Future

The starting point of developing a long-term time perspective is for you to practice “back from the future” thinking. Imagine you could wave a magic wand and make your life perfect sometime in the future.

What would your perfect life look like? How would it be different from today? Then come back to the present and ask, “What would have to happen, starting today, for me to create my perfect life sometime in the future?” Practice idealization.

Imagine that there are no limits on what you can accomplish sometime in the future. Analyze your life in the four most important areas:-

(1) business and career

(2) family and relationships

(3) health and fitness

(4) financial independence


1.) Resolve today to think long term, to consider the likely consequences of a decision before you act.

2.) Project forward three to five years, and imagine that your life was ideal in every way. How would it be different from today?

3.) Decide upon one action that you are going to take immediately to create your ideal future. And then take the first step.

#How To Think Big

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