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Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life | Donald Trump

Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life | Donald Trump

1. How much money do you want to have in five years?

If you chose the lowest amount, why did you do that? You have a choice of getting any amount from $100,000 to $5 million in the next five years. It is completely up to you. Nobody is telling you what to choose. So why would anyone choose $100,000? Yet in life that is exactly what many people do. They settle for $100,000 when they could just as easily have $5 million. Choosing less money shows a lack of ambition and a lack of confidence. Do not start out by settling. Always shoot for the top. Every great athlete and every great billionaire goes for the gold, not the bronze. If it were me answering this question, I would scratch out $5 million and write in $50 billion! That is the attitude you must have to make it big.

2. What are your financial dreams?

What you dream about is what you will do. If you cannot even dream of doing big things, you will never do anything big in life. I spent my first few weeks in Manhattan dreaming of what I would do with a huge piece of vacant real estate on New York’s West Side that was owned by the bankrupt Pennsylvania and New York Central Transportation Company. After eighteen months of hard work and focus, I took an option to the property, worth $62 million, with no money down. I conceived the Javits Center on the land. That is the power of big dreams. What kind of big dreams excite you and make you feel great? Do not worry about whether you can do it. That does not matter. It does not cost anything to dream. Spend your time enjoying your big dreams.

3. Which statement best describes your?

This question shows how hungry you are. Hungry people work harder and are much more motivated to make great strides forward in life. If you are satisfied with your current financial situation, what is going to motivate you to do all the things you need to do to become rich and successful? You have to set higher and higher goals. You have to want more or you will start slipping backwards fast.

4. How much time do you spend each day building your wealth?

Wealth comes from big goals and sustained action toward those goals every day. Many people start with big goals. Yet after they run into a few problems or get distracted by other things that compete for their attention every day, they lose focus on their goals. To keep your goals alive you must take action every single day for at least two hours. No one should care about your money and success more than you do.

5. How much money do you spend on business, financial education, and training?

Finance and business are dangerous waters where vicious sharks are swimming around looking to feed on innocent novices. In this game, knowledge is the key to power. Spend the money necessary to know what you are doing or somebody will quickly be doing you. Financial illiteracy is a huge problem in this country. People get trapped in very bad situations because they did not do their homework.

6. What do you do when you are faced with a difficult problem?

Rich people are rich because they solve difficult problems. You must learn to thrive on problems. CEOs of big companies are paid huge amounts of money because they solve problems that nobody else can solve. Some are good at what they do and some are terrible and overpaid. I face problems every day. It is one of the things I do best. If you want to be in the top 2 percent, you must become very good at finding creative solutions to what appear to be impossible problems.

7. What is your attitude toward work?

There is no worse feeling than being trapped in a job you do not enjoy. You have to love what you do. To be a success the most important thing is to love what you do. You have to put in long hours and face enormous challenges to be successful. If you do not love what you do, you will never make it through. If you love your work, the difficulties will be balanced out by the enjoyment. I love making deals and constructing great buildings. The fun I am having every day keeps me going when things get tough.

8. What would you do if you lost your job or source of income?

This is the ultimate test. If disaster struck, would you fold up and go home to your mother? Or would you pick yourself up and make something happen? The biggest doers often suffer the biggest setbacks in life. So if you want to aim high, you have to have the guts to handle the inevitable bumps in the road. If you strike out, nobody is going to help you—not your friends, not the government. You have to look out for yourself, and your attitude is the key to surviving a setback. Look at shoe maven Steve Madden: he had some legal trouble, but he had a successful attitude that could not be subdued, and he staged a big-time comeback. You have to know that you have what it takes to come back from anything. Martha Stewart is another example—what a great and brave comeback she made—few people could have done what she did!

9. Which statement best describes your energy and concentration level?

In truth you have more energy than you think you have. Most people are working at about 50 percent capacity. You can do much more. It takes a crisis or an emergency to get most people up to full steam. I get charged up by loving what I do. Nothing is more important to me than the excitement of putting caution to the wind and doing something that has never been done before. I love the thrill of jumping headfirst into a big challenge, and then using all of my talents to make it successful. Passion is why Mark Burnett, Jim Cramer, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are at the tops of their fields. All successful people are high-energy people who are passionate about what they do. Find a passion that energizes you!

10. Which best describes your reaction when someone tells you that you cannot do something?

If you want to be a success, you have to get used to frequently hearing the word no and ignoring it. As a child, when your mother told you no, your father told you no, the teacher told you no, or the coach told you no, if you were a good little boy or girl, you listened to the word no and stopped what you were doing. That is why 98 percent of adults are conditioned to stop when they hear the word no. Quitters do not get anywhere. You will not be successful if you listen to nos. If you want to be in the top 2 percent, you have to get real. In business you are not dealing with your mother, your father, or your teacher. People are not looking out for you. They do not want the best for you; they are looking out for themselves. When most people say no, they are doing it to further their own ends. Do not let somebody’s arbitrary “no” stop you. Find a way to turn the “no” into a “yes,” or find a creative way to sidestep the “no.” Do not let anybody stop you!

11. You have an important decision to make and you do not know what to do.

Which statement best describes your decision-making process? I really believe that if you are good and if you are smart and if you know your business, you have to go with your gut on occasion and go against the tide. In some of the best deals I have made, I went against what everybody else believed. Television producer Mark Burnett went from selling T-shirts on Venice Beach to reaching the pinnacle of Hollywood power because he followed his instincts about the kind of reality TV that would appeal to the masses. We all have instincts. The important thing is to know how to use them. You may have superb academic credentials, but if you do not use your instincts, you might have a hard time getting to and staying at the top.

12. What is your attitude toward people?

The world is a vicious and brutal place. We think we’re civilized. In truth, it’s a cruel world and people are ruthless. They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you. You have to know how to defend yourself. People will be mean and nasty and try to hurt you just for sport. Lions in the jungle only kill for food, but humans kill for fun. Even your friends are out to get you: they want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife, and they even want your dog. Those are your friends; your enemies are even worse! My motto is “Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.”

13. When someone intentionally harms you or your reputation, how do you react?

When someone crosses you, my advice is “Get even!” That is not typical advice, but it is real-life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and you know what? People do not play around with me as much as they do with others. They know that if they do, they are in for a big fight. Always get even. Go after people that go after you. Don’t let people push you around. Always fight back and always get even. It’s a jungle out there, filled with bullies of all kinds who will try to push you around. If you’re afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a “schmuck”! They will know they can get away with insulting you, disrespecting you, and taking advantage of you. Don’t let it happen! Always fight back and get even. People will respect you for it.

14. You are “on a roll” and everything seems to be going your way. What do you do now?

If you are on a quest for the golden ring, you cannot afford to be complacent. You can never rest, no matter how good things are going. Your current “good times” are only a result of the hard work and dedication you have put forth. What you do today will produce results tomorrow. If you want to keep the good times rolling, you have to keep on planting those seeds every day! If you stop focusing even for one minute, you will start slipping backwards. It is true that a few people are born to be successful. They possess a special talent that makes it easy to succeed—the gifted musician, the natural athlete, or the talented businessperson. The vast majority of successful people were not handed success on a silver platter. They worked hard for it. They set goals, and they stayed focused until they reached them. Some people are born with an exceptional talent that makes it easy for them to excel, like Mozart or Shakespeare. Most great successes weren’t born that way. It took many years of hard work and intense focus to get to the top.

15. What is your attitude toward the business of being married?

Now, I have seen bad deals, I have seen bad partnerships, I have seen many business deals in litigation—and litigation is not nice—but there is nothing worse than a man and a woman who fight, especially when they are fighting over their assets, their business, their home, their cars, and everything else. It is terrible. You were in love with somebody, and now you are no longer in love. The hatred is so intense, far more intense than it usually gets in a business transaction. There is nothing more vicious than a man or woman going through a divorce. It is pure hell, like nothing else I have ever seen. You need a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself and your business interests.

I have learned that it is important to focus on the solution, not the problem.

Think about how 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001— tragic; and how 300,000 people died from the tsunami in Asia in 2004; 100 times more . What does it really matter if you have a big presentation to give to the president of Citibank at 9 a.m.? Just be wise and have a great sense of humor because problems that may seem big to you really do not matter in the grand scheme of things.

A lawyer friend of mine— a great guy, a very smart guy— came up to me the other day and said he heard that I had spoken in front of over 62,000 people in Los Angeles. He said , “How do you do that? Don’t you get scared?” I said, “I don’t want to think about it.” It is true: I don’t want to think about it. I just do it. Then he called me up the next day and said, “That’s the smartest thing I’ve ever heard.”

The best way to learn is through studying the history of successes and failures in your industry.

To be a winner in life, find a passion, get out of your comfort zone, and be a doer. Learn to handle pressure, to bounce back from failure, and to never give up.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

It is important to think positively. Negative thinking, especially about yourself and about your prospects for success, will kill your focus and destroy any chance you have of being successful .

Always hope for the best in people, but be prepared for the worst.

“Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.”

My motto is: “Never give up.” I follow this very strictly. I only give up on something when it is perfectly clear that there is no other option. I do not let problems and challenges stop me; they are normal in any endeavor, but when dishonesty and outright cruelty creep into any undertaking, I closely re-evaluate my reasons for being involved.

The worst hell you will ever face is the hell you create with your own mind.

You are what you think you are. Most people think too little of themselves and devalue their own abilities. They give other people credit for being a lot smarter than they really are, and downplay their own intelligence. Reverse this: give yourself credit for being smarter than most other people, because it is true. Let that be reflected in your attitude about yourself.

Do not look for approval from others. That is a sure sign of weakness.

Excuses are a symptom of fear. Plunge in and do the thing you fear the most and your fear will vanish. Nobody is born with confidence. All confidence is acquired. Get the action habit, and your confidence will soar.

To be successful you have to separate yourself from 98 percent of the rest of the world. Sure, you can get into that special 2 percent at the top, and it is not just by being smart, working hard, and investing wisely. There is a formula, a recipe for success that the top 2 percent live by and that you too can follow to be successful.

Wealth comes from big goals and sustained action toward those goals every day. Many people start with big goals. Yet after they run into a few problems or get distracted by other things that compete for their attention every day, they lose focus on their goals. To keep your goals alive you must take action every single day for at least two hours. No one should care about your money and success more than you do.

  • Dream big because what you dream is what you will do.
  • If you want to make tons of money, do not be shy: set a big goal.
  • Be lean and hungry, and at every level set even higher goals and challenges for yourself.
  • Take action every day, and stay focused for the long haul.

With everything you do, find a mission or grand purpose beyond money that you can become passionate about. Find the higher ground above the greedy exclusiveness of people who only care about money. Broaden your vision to see the total picture of what you are offering. Fill as many needs as you can: creating beauty, efficiency, health, security, and livelihood for as many people as possible.

A lot of times, stress has more to do with focusing on what you love than with anything else. I have learned that it is important to focus on the solution, not the problem. If you put all your energy into the problem, how much passion do you have left for finding a solution? I have known developers who get caught up in lengthy discussions with everybody involved when they encounter something unexpected such as zoning restrictions, code violations, too much groundwater, or missing materials. They spend too much time discussing what caused the problem and who is to blame. Then they start imagining the worst: the job will be late, they will be way over budget, the banks will pull the financing, or the city will pull the permits. That energy would be better spent on finding a solution.

When I started my career in real estate, I had a problem. I had no money to invest in the properties I wanted. But I didn’t focus on it and let it stop me. I focused all my attention on buying properties without money!

My advice is to acknowledge the problem and then move on to a more positive level. If we were to say to ourselves, “I’m so unfocused” instead of “I’m so stressed out,” I think we could clear things up more quickly. The more focused I am on doing things I love, the less stress I experience.

It is good to dream big. You will get nowhere unless you create big dreams, but you must have the courage to make those dreams real. Once you set your goals, start looking for opportunities to start acting on them. If you hesitate when an opportunity presents itself to you, it may be the fear of failure that makes you procrastinate. Break through this fear, for if you make a habit of procrastinating then all your goals become empty promises that will never be fulfilled. Always keep your promises to yourself by making a habit of acting on your goals.

Never do anything just for money. Do it for love. To be supersuccessful you have to love what you are doing. Find a career you are passionate about. You will need passion to overcome obstacles, recover from setbacks, and make it through the tough times. Sure, money is a scorecard, and it is certainly useful, but it should not be the be-all and end-all. Give your goals substance and assign them a value that is not monetary. To be a winner in life, find a passion, get out of your comfort zone, and be a doer. Learn to handle pressure, to bounce back from failure, and to never give up.

  • Handle pressure by learning not to dwell on negative thoughts and opinions of others.
  • Learn from mistakes, but do not let them take you down.
  • Be mentally tough and never give up.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

You have to know what you are doing. You have to have confidence in yourself and confidence to know that what you are doing is right. You will have your biggest successes when you go against the tide. Many people get consultants and pay them a lot of money. That is a waste of time and money. By the time the consultant comes back with the report, the deal is dead or it has gone to someone else—and, in any event, you should not be in a business where you need to rely on consultants. Know your business inside and out, get all the facts, ask people their opinions, and then go with your gut.

Positive thinking is not merely wishful thinking. It is all about incorporating a sense of optimism into everything you do while also acknowledging the negative. Former British prime minister Winston Churchill had this kind of optimism even though he faced a major challenge to England’s very survival. President Ronald Reagan, too, was a sunny optimist in the midst of a frightening cold war when the world could have been blown to smithereens on a whim. Reagan knew the dangers, yet he stayed positive, and he triumphed and left a great legacy. Learn how to be optimistic even in the face of large and intimidating challenges and it will revolutionize your life.

A truly positive mental attitude is when you are good at what you do and you are prepared for every possibility, both positive and negative. You can boost your positive mental attitude by being thoroughly prepared. You cannot expect to be successful 100 percent of the time no matter whether you are in business, finance, real estate, management, medicine, or science. If you are not prepared for a negative result, a few minor setbacks, the loss of a promotion, or a deal falling through, such an experience will cause you an unnecessary amount of confusion and doubt. Both a positive mental attitude and a good work ethic are important in creating your own luck, but you cannot rely solely on them.

Executives and managers and leaders of any kind are too busy to tend to every detail, so delegation is crucial. However, in order to assign tasks to others, you have to keep track of the people who work for you. They must respect or even fear you, or things will go very wrong. If you are worried about being liked, you are in trouble. It is more important to be respected and feared than to be liked by employees. Creating a company climate where employees respect you and are loyal to you is important for keeping employees in line.

People should not be underestimated. Give them a chance; be the catalyst for their success. That way, everyone wins. Remember, you are not living in an ideal world. People are not perfect and some of them are outright vicious and hell-bent on doing you in. Use your gut to hire the best people you can find, but do not trust them. Create a work environment where you reward good people for doing good work and for being loyal to you and your company. Be demanding of people and they will rise to the occasion. Do not be too hard when they make mistakes; everyone makes mistakes. Always be willing to give someone who wants to do better a second chance.

As a child your parents and teachers told you not to fight and to try to get along with people. They meant well, trying to protect you from the harsh realities of the world, but in the world of grown-ups, things are different. Many bullies out there try to push you around. They can get very nasty. When a bully comes after you, do not fold up and play nice. Do not lie down and take it, “Get even!” This is not your typical advice, but it is real-life advice. If you do not get even you are just a schmuck! Most business writers won’t be so blunt and honest with you about getting even. They know it’s the truth, but won’t tell you because they want people to think of them as a “nice person.” I don’t like to mince words. When you’re wronged and you do nothing about it, you aren’t “nice” you’re a schmuck.

With each passing day and each contact you make, you are silently building momentum. You are showing people that you are not going away and still nothing happens. So you keep that up. Then one day, something breaks for you; you land an account or sign a deal. You tell all your contacts, and all of a sudden your credibility rises. They start to believe you. You keep on working, and now you are at a somewhat higher level. After a while you have so much momentum built up that things start to come to you in multiples: two or three jobs or clients or deals come your way all at once. You tell everybody about this, and your value goes up tremendously. Everybody sees that you have momentum, and they want to be a part of it!

We all experience difficulties. That is life. You show your true colors in how you handle devastating events. Time will heal all wounds, just remain positive and move on. Whenever I approach a project I know there will be problems. I expect them. I do not cry about them, because I know it is my job to solve them. Be the one to solve tough problems and you will be the one people pay big money for.

To be a big success in any field you need to build momentum. Momentum is all about energy and timing. When you start anything new, you have no momentum. That is when things are hard. People are not calling you. You do not seem to be getting anywhere, but if you keep at it and keep working toward your goals one day at a time, pretty soon you get into the flow of people and events. You get contacts, you gain credibility, you build a track record of success, and then things get much easier. Why? Because you have momentum, but do not take momentum for granted. If you lose your momentum, all your success ends, and things get much more difficult. It is dangerous to do anything when you have lost your momentum. Your timing is off, and people and events are no longer in your favor. So watch out to never lose your momentum.

If you want to become successful and stay successful, you must learn how to focus. Comedian Tim Allen is very successful now. Several decades ago he was not as successful. Allen had a substance-abuse problem. He even spent time in jail. Today he owns a production company, picks his scripts, and is a star. So his system is more than a theory. For him, at least, it has produced results.

He said that he uses three lists to maintain his focus: The first list contains the greatest goals he wants to achieve in his life; the second list has the things he needs to do this year in order to reach his life goals; and the final list keeps him focused on the things he needs to do today in order to reach his life goals. It is very simple, the key to making this system work is discipline. The ultimate winner is the man or woman who has the discipline to do this every day of their lives, without fail.

Too many people think too much about their current situation, instead of thinking about what could be. They are so caught up in the problem that they lose the ability to envision a solution. If you have a problem with a difficult employee, for example, and you focus on how bad the person is and how they are destroying morale in the whole office, you will lose your focus. Then you end up going over and over in your mind all their faults, and you torture yourself with how bad it is right now. You will never find a solution that way. You have lost the focus on your goals by letting your mind focus only on your difficulties.

Do you believe that thinking big is reserved for people with money, college degrees, family connections, or even intelligence? That is not true. Anyone can think big. The most important thing is the size of your thinking. How big you think determines how big a success you become. Everything else is secondary. The simple act of thinking big immediately distinguishes you from the vast majority of people. So start now. First find a big goal for yourself, then mold yourself to become the person who can accomplish that goal.

Speak like a big thinker. Fear often closes people’s mouths when they want to speak. Get in the habit of speaking out in business meetings and social gatherings. Make sure you know what you want to say. Then speak loudly and clearly with the attitude that you have something important to say. Do not be afraid of what other people think. Remember, people are not as smart as you think they are or they think they are.

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