Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, one thing that cannot be contested is his remarkable rise to financial supremacy in the United States. Whether it’s in regards to his real estate business, his hit TV show, or his hair, Donald Trump is a man who thinks big. Not surprisingly, his most recent book (co-authored by the Founder of the Learning Annex, Bill Zanker) is aptly titled Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life.
So what does “Thinking Big” mean to Donald Trump? For those who only know his TV personality, you may be surprised to learn that he actually gives some pretty solid advice. Yes, he’s arrogant. Yes, he drops more celebrity names than a Beverly Hills mail carrier. But as you gain a better understanding of what he’s accomplished in his life, you’ve got to ask yourself – doesn’t he have a right to that attitude? At least a little bit? Like I said – love him or hate him, Donald Trump knows a thing or two about “Thinking Big”, and achieving big, in business and in life.
The Big Idea
It’s all about attitude
But maybe, if you don’t know Trump, not the attitude you were expecting:
“In the game of life, money is how you score. Yet the real fun is not simply in scoring; rather it is in the excitement you will have in coming up with creative ways to get the ball in the goal. Find your passion in doing something useful for people and the money will follow.”
Donald Trump, Think Big, page 43
Here’s what I love: billionaire real estate tycoon talks about living his life like a nine year old playing soccer. I love the words “fun”, “excitement”, “creative”, and “passion”. Trump makes it very clear in his books that, while making the money is great, it’s the way in which he makes it that makes getting out of bed worth it in the morning. He has fun. He looks forward to challenges. He dreams big dreams, then works like crazy to accomplish those dreams. He has terrible hair…. but a phenomenal attitude.
“The ideas always stay in their heads and never get in their hearts. Without heart the ideas fizzle out fast. Ideas themselves are light and fluffy. They need tremendous passion to make them into concrete, stone, and glass.”
Donald Trump, Think Big, page 47
There’s a subtle yet powerful difference between excitement and passion. People everywhere are excited about ideas. It’s easy to get excited about ideas; easy to get caught up in someone else’s enthusiasm or dreams. Passion, though, is when that excitement sinks from your head, and settled in your heart. It’s where the idea aligns with your core beliefs and you take that first step into action. The next time you get excited about a new business, relationship or experience, take 5 minutes out to ask yourself if what you’re feeling is fleeting excitement, or if it has enough substance to crystallize as passion.
Eyes on the road.
“Don’t get caught up in all the crap. Acknowledge the problem, and then shift your attention immediately to possible solutions. Start by thinking about what is good about the existing situation. Then dream up scenarios in which things are better. Then come up with as many ideas as you can of ways to attain the results you want. Write these ideas without judging them. Do not let your mind come up with reasons your ideas can’t work. Then take the best ideas and act on them. Your constructive actions will eventually lead you to a solution. This is the Trump way of using focus to solve problems.”
Donald Trump, Think Big, page 237
How many people get paralyzed the moment something goes wrong? How many people “what if” and “should have” after a problem arises and before the problem is solved? Are you one of those people? There’s always time to second guess and assign blame afterwards. You can add tremendous value to your company, your team and your family if you take the role of looking for solutions, rather than looking for scapegoats. Trump’s “action plan” listed above is simple, and perhaps that is why it works so well. There’s no need to over complicate the obvious – when a problem arises, it needs to get solved. The sooner you solve it, the sooner you can move on. And oddly enough, “who was responsible” doesn’t seem to matter as much once the issues resolved. Pretty neat stuff, that.
Think Big is a fun read. Trump’s “larger than life” personality virtually leaps of the pages. Full of anecdotal stories and to-the-point advice, Think Big a great reminder (especially in today’s economic doom and gloom) that greatness has ever only come from big ideas and big thinkers. If you’re a fan of Trump, I’d definitely add this to your library. And if you’re not – hey… it may be worth giving him a second chance. He’s as crass as they come, but he’s got some pretty good points. And my god, is he entertaining.