Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Quest for Confidence

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwartz

Chapter 3 – Build Confidence and Destroy Fear


This chapter is about overcoming fear. Most is psychological, “Worry, tension, embarrassment, panic all stem from mismanaged, negative imagination.” (pg 46)

Fear is overcome by “specific, proved treatments”. (pg 47)

A few points to understand:

Understand that all confidence is developed (pg 47)

Understand that action kills fear, while waiting on an action fertilizes fear. (pg 47)

On page 50, there is a table with types of fears and the action steps to overcome them (Paraphrased):

  1. Embarrassed of personal appearance. – Improve it; hair salon, shoes, clothes, better grooming, etc.
  2. Losing an important customer – Focus on customer service.
  3. Failing an exam – More study
  4. Beyond control issues – Switch attention to something totally different.
  5. Physical hurt, natural disaster, etc. – “Turn attention to helping to relieve fear of others. Pray.”
  6. What people say or think – Plan and do what is right, “No one ever does anything worthwhile for which he is not criticized.”
  7. Investment or home purchase – Trust your judgment is your researched decision.
  8. Fear of People – Place all people in perspective since you are all humans.

Two step procedure to cure fear and win confidence (Page 50):

  1. “Isolate your fear. Pin it down. Determine exactly what you are afraid of.”
  2. “Then take action. There is some kind of action for any kind of fear.”

The author concludes this procedure with an illustration that your mind is like a bank of thoughts. If you go to your ‘mind teller’ and ask for negative thoughts, you will get negative thoughts, but if you ask for positive thoughts, you will get positive responses. Thus, you are in total control of your fear or confidence.

The author goes on to give two specific examples of how to build confidence with this ‘bank’:

  1. “Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank” (pg 51) This is explained more that you should simply ignore the negative, and remember to always put positive thoughts in your bank at home, in the car, before bed, etc.
  2. “Withdraw only positive thoughts from your memory bank.” (pg 52) – Don’t dwell on or think about anything negative.

Above, the author mentioned putting people in perspective. He lists two ways to do this:

  1. “Get a balanced view of the other fellow” (pg 56) – To do this, remember that both of you are important because you are people. He suggests a positive mind thought I find a little disturbing: “We’re just two important people sitting down to discuss something of mutual interest and benefit.” (pg 56)
  2. “Develop an understanding attitude.” – Be prepared to have to deal with a bully in life, many people are looking for a place to vent.

This is an interesting quote in an explanation section: The author is talking to a person named Paul and he just handed him a copy of ‘Fifty Years with the Golden Rule’ and he says, “See how, in J.C. Penney’s own words, just doing what’s right made him one of America’s richest men.” (pg 60)

Here are some steps to build confidence:

  1. “Be a front seater” (pg 61): Sit in the front rows during meetings, classes, and seminars and this will lead to confidence of success.
  2. “Practice making eye contact” (pg 61): This will show that you are confident.
  3. “Walk 25% faster” (pg 61): Confident people evidently walk faster than less confident people.
  4. “Practice speaking up” (pg 62): People who are confident will speak their mind, while those that are not confident will not.
  5. “Smile big” (pg 63): This just gives you confidence.

Christian Refutation

I must affirm part of the definition of fear given. The words used to express fear are good, but the ‘negative thoughts’ is far too vague of a term. In the context of the book, negative seems to mean ‘anything contrary to my desire’, and we know where the desires of people often lie. I will submit that fear, worry, anxiety, all come from lack of faith in God that He will take care of you. I must caution here, that I am NOT referring to God taking care to get you the next promotion or a fast car, or a big house to stroke your ego or give you success, I am speaking in terms of your direct physical needs.

Matthew 6:25:

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

28And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

31Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'

32For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

There are a few steps to confidence that lie contrary to the teaching of Magic of Thinking Big. Confidence does not come from ‘faking it until you make’, as the steps to confidence may lead you to believe. You can not act confident and then get that way; what the author did was pick out the symptoms of a confident person and suggest that if you do them, you will be confident, too. That is not the way it works. Confidence comes in knowing who you are before God. Thus, 1. You are a sinner, and deserving of death (Romans 6:23). 2. You know that your sins are forgiven with the sacrifice that Christ made for you (Hebrews 2:9) 3. You walk in obedience to Him (1 John 2:28-9). Once you possess these things, you will start to grow in confidence.

Regarding the comment about J.C. Penny’s, if you think that true obedience to God will give you wealth, money, riches, fame, and fortune, I would kindly ask you to read and understand Matthew 10:38-39:

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

39He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

It is not about you, it is about God. It is about following Him to His glory, not yours. There is no promise of wealth in following Jesus Christ, there is promise of separation, persecution, and a whole host of other unpleasant things, but whoever endures to the end will be rewarded greatly in Heaven.


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