Tony Robbins is probably the most influential figure in the world of personal development. He’s the author of multiple best-selling books, and a sought-after peak performance coach for a wide-range of people—from entrepreneurs and politicians, to athletes and actors—he’s helped a whole lot of folks up their game in life + business. And in Awaken the Giant Within, he lays out some of his best strategies on how you, too, can get the best out of yourself on a daily basis by teaching you how to effectively manage your emotions, your body, your relationships and even your financial situation.
In the book, Tony focuses on the psychology of change and takes you through the actionable steps and lessons necessary for you to learn how to gain control of your own life, shape your destiny in the direction you want to go, and become happier and more successful than you ever thought possible.
Everything you need in order to make lasting changes in life is already within you, the big ideas from this book will simply teach you how to dig the best version of yourself out, and let it help you live up to your full potential.
Awaken the Giant Within – How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Journey! By Tony Robbins
Here’s what you’ll learn about in this book review plus cliff notes and complete summary, in short:
– How damaging self talk can hold you back from your potential and cause you to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.
– The seven steps you can start taking today to gain control over every area of your life again.
– The benefits of dreaming big and setting goals for the future, and what you can do right now to make those goals a reality.
Interesting Quotes from this book
“If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in your life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.”
“Remember: Success truly is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgment!”
“Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility.”
You can live the life you desire + deserve the moment you DECIDE to do so.
Part 1: Unleash Your Power
1. Decisions: Your Pathway to Power
We all want to live our best lives. That goes without saying. Often times we even spend hours of our time sitting and dreaming about what that ideal future might look like. But, how many of us take the necessary steps to start turning that dream existence into the reality of our future lives?
Tony tells us that we’re always making decisions in life that bring us to where we are today and where we end up in the future. More specifically, he writes about three big decisions that control our ultimate destiny:
1. Your decisions about what to FOCUS on.
2. Your decisions about what things MEAN to you.
3. Your decisions about what TO DO to create the results you desire.
Take a moment to think about a meaningful event that occurred in your life about ten years ago; or think back to some of the big political events that happened in the world about a decade ago…
If you really try to put yourself in the mental place that you were in back then, it can really feel unreal how quickly the time has flown. Poof—just like that, ten whole years have flown by, and it feels like it was just yesterday that you were doing/going/seeing [insert important memory here].
Looking forward, ten years can feel like an eternity, but in reality the time sweeps by faster than any of us can comprehend.
But what if you chose to think about time differently?
Rather than allowing it to fly past you without noticing or acknowledging it, you can choose to be intentional about how you want the next ten years to look.
Different actions produce different results, so take the time to form the path you want to travel in the next decade.
Grab a journal and write down your answers to the following questions:
1. What kind of person do you want to be ten years from now?
2. What dreams + goals do you want to accomplish over the next…
– 10 YEARS?
– 5 YEARS?
– 3 YEARS?
– 1 YEAR?
– 6 MONTHS?
– 30 DAYS?
Work backwards from the end goal so that you can see what you need to have accomplished in nine years to get to your goal for ten years, and then eight, and seven and so on until you know exactly what you need to do today to make your goal for the future an obtainable reality.
Tony used this technique when he was at his lowest point — sitting in his tiny apartment, feeling helpless and completely out of control in life. He was overweight and out of shape, his finances were a train wreck, and he really felt like he had nothing to look forward to in life. Learning to focus on the goals that he had and finding a way to work towards them every day was the secret solution that caused him to accomplish more in the next decade than most people could do with several lifetimes.
If you want to live your life at the highest level, but feel like you’re short on resources or skills or anything else — keep in mind that it’s your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.
In other words: you can change your life the moment you decide to do so. And in the coming Big Ideas, we’ll talk about some successful strategies to help you do exactly that.
2. Change happens in an Instant
“Things do not change; we change.” —Henry David Thoreau
How long does it take to make lasting change in life?
Many people assume that it takes years of intense therapy with counselors that dig deep into your childhood history to dig up the pains of your past.
But Tony believes that long lasting changes can happen in an instant and simply depend on reshaping your neurological focus so that a negative thought loop is broken. One way to do that is by tapping into the power of questions. Here’s how Tony puts it:
“Questions immediately change what we’re focusing on and therefore how we feel. If you keep asking questions like “How come I’m so depressed?” or “Why doesn’t anybody like me?” you will focus on, look for, and find references to back up the idea that there is a reason for you to feel depressed and unloved. As a result, you’ll stay in those unresourceful states. If instead you ask, “How can I change my state so that I am feeling happy and am being more lovable?,” you’ll focus on solutions. Even if your brain initially responds, “There’s nothing I can do,” but … you persist with a sense of certainty and expectation in spite of it all, then eventually you will get the answers you need and deserve. You will come up with authentic reasons for feeling better, and as you focus on them, your emotional state will immediately follow suit.”
At his seminars, Tony regularly brings up people that have deep physical and emotional problems like overeating or smoking, and transforms their behaviors in an instant by making them rethink their damaging habits in a completely new way. In one instance, a man’s five year old daughter begged him to stop smoking so that he could live to see her married. In another, a chocolate addict was required to eat nothing but chocolate until he felt so sick he didn’t want to touch the treat again. In both cases, these men had been struggling to overcome these addictions for years but only found success when their entire mindset was changed in an instant.
One of the reasons that people don’t often change their behaviors in an instant is that this goes against our cultural narrative of what change is. Long lasting change from bad behaviors to good behaviors is “supposed” to be hard, and oftentimes we don’t believe that change will really be permanent unless there is a struggle involved. Not only is this untrue, claims Tony, it’s actually damaging because it prevents us from moving to action to actually make changes.
To believe that change is possible, it’s important that we internalize the following three messages. Read them. Write them down. Say them aloud. And then do it all again, until you believe that in order to change anything in life, you must recognize that…
1. Something MUST change.
2. I must change it.
3. I CAN change it.
If you internalize these three messages, you’ll be on your way to making massive changes at every level of life.
3. Learning the Vocabulary of Long Term Success
“A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words… the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.” — Mark Twain
How much credit do you give the words that you use for affecting your life? If you’re like most people, probably not enough. Not only can words change your emotional state in an instant, they are able to convey complex messages to you that most likely go underneath your conscious mind so that you aren’t even aware of them. When used correctly, words can motivate us and move us and get us to change our behavior dramatically, but when used incorrectly they can stop you from making any positive progress at all.
How can words have so much of an impact? Because words are the way we communicate our feelings to ourselves.
By labeling an emotion as “furious” we are able to put ourselves in a category of feeling where our pulse has quickened, our vision has blurred, and we feel ready to explode at a moment’s notice. Crucially, labeling what once was simply mild anger as rage can actually cause your anger levels to be raised to the level of rage, simply by the suggestion that it is.
In this way, the words that we use control the emotional spectrum that we experience. Most people use fewer than a dozen words to describe their emotions in a given week, meaning that they tend to keep themselves emotionally stunted.
If you want to change your emotional states for the better, you need to control the words that you use to describe your feelings.
In the book, Tony lays out a number of word substitutions you can use to replace words with negative associations to those with positive ones, such as: “anxious” to “expectant” and “exhausted” to “recharging”. These small changes will affect how you label yourself and allow you to move in a more positive direction emotionally, simply because you won’t be bogged down with the baggage of overly negative and untrue emotions.
4. The 10-Day Mental Overhaul
“Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” —Nathaniel Emmons
As we’ve already mentioned, creating lasting changes in life can happen in an instant, and changes to your mental mindset can happen just as fast.
In his book, Tony has outlined some key ways that you can transform your entire mindset about the state of your life and your own future in just ten days. This plan will prevent you from dwelling on problems and instead focus on solutions that can make your entire life better. To follow this plan, simply follow these four simple rules for the next ten days.
– Rule 1: No more disempowering thought-patterns. Refuse to let yourself think about anything that is unproductive or dis-empowering for yourself.
– Rule 2: Force yourself to find something useful out of every situation (even if it’s a negative one.) When you find yourself breaking Rule 1 (which you will), redirect your mind to a better, more positive mental state by looking to find the positive in every situation, no matter how difficult it seems to be.
– Rule 3: Focus on solutions, not problems. Keep all of your mental focus on solutions, not
– Rule 4: Let failure move you forward, rather than hold you backward. Don’t beat yourself up
when you fail to follow these guidelines. Instead, use each setback as an opportunity for improving
for the future.
Practice these four rules every single day.
At the end of your ten days, you’ll have reworked your own neurological pathways enough to have begun to form new habits and thought patterns in your brain. Now, instead of getting laden down with problems that seemingly don’t have answers, your brain will begin to look for solutions for every problem that it faces.
Part 2. Taking Control- The Master System
5. Using Your Life Values as a Personal Compass
“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” —Bruce Barton
There’s a reason why the most universally respected people in our culture are the ones that have aligned their value systems with their actions. Would Gandhi have been as powerful if he had given up his stance against nonviolent protest and thrown some fists? Hardly.
The values that you set for yourself will guide your entire life, from the jobs that you take to the people that you spend your time with. Moreover, what you value most in life is what you will endlessly pursue. So many people go through life without actively deciding what they want to strive for, and this causes them pain when they continue to go after things that don’t lead to the happiness they are looking for. A better way to live is to make a conscious decision about what you value most and do everything in your power to align every decision you make with that value system.
If you don’t know what the highest value is for you, Tony believes that you need to sit down and be with yourself until you identify it. Why waste any more time in your life without a concrete goal to work towards?
Think of your inner values as a compass that points you in the direction you need to go in life. With a properly tuned compass, every decision becomes easier to make because you can eliminate every option that doesn’t push you forward in the direction of your values.
6. Expand Your Identity
When you see someone using drugs, do you think of them as a “drug addict” or as someone who “has a drug problem”? The identity and labeling that we give to those around us is revealing as to how much of their identity we attribute to their problems. In the same way, the way that you can create long term change in yourself is to shift your perception of your identity.
Our beliefs about ourselves are the ways that we value things as good or bad, and helpful or hurtful. These beliefs make up our overall identity, and often many of the assumptions that are made are unconscious and easily manipulated. Research has consistently shown that poor achieving kids who are told they are gifted consistently perform at the gifted level in their classrooms. By taking on the sense of being gifted into their own identities, they make it part of themselves and actually benefit from the belief.
This same principle can work on you as well. If you think of yourself as an over-eater or an angry person, then you will see these characteristics as an innate part of yourself that is difficult, if not completely impossible, to change. However, if you think of yourself as having a problem with portion control or having difficultly controlling angry emotions, you will see these behaviors as something separate from your overall identity, and likewise give yourself a much better chance of controlling them.
Hold yourself to a higher standard. Change your identity about who you are, and you will be amazed how much easier it is to stop your bad habits.
Part 3. Shape Your Life
7. Seven Steps to Change Your Life
Throughout his years of counseling, Tony as identified seven simple steps that everyone can take to change their life and move it in a better direction. All you need to do is consciously address each of these trouble areas in your life and make a decision to expect better from yourself and from your own life. You can follow these seven steps by focusing completely on one for each day of the week, and repeat the entire process for as many weeks as it takes you to make long-lasting changes.
Day 1. Emotional Destiny: take control of your emotions and use them to shape your life the way you want it.
Day 2. Physical Destiny: in the same way that you focus on fine-tuning your mind, strive to keep your body in peak condition so that it can keep you healthy and whole.
Day 3. Relationship Destiny: enhance your primary relationships and learn to invest deeply into other people by becoming more attuned to their lives and experiences.
Day 4. Financial Destiny: take control of your money situation by finding ways for each dollar to do more for you. Don’t become a slave to your income!
Day 5. Be Impeccable With Your Code of Conduct: keep your values aligned with your actions and lasting change will begin to occur in your life, so long as you behave consistently.
Day 6. Master Your Time and Your Life: find ways to use time to your advantage instead of allowing it to keep you stressed and anxious.
Day 7. Rest and Play: choose at least one day out of the week to rest and rejuvenate.
Part 4. A Lesson in Destiny
8. Take Charge of Your Destiny
“If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in your life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.”
The motivation to make changes in your own life needs to come from within you; no one else can give you the motivation that you need to change. However, never underestimate the power that your simple changes can make both for your own life and for the rest of the world.
A small change that you make for bettering your own life can have far reaching consequences that go beyond what you ever though possible for yourself, but it always needs to start with determination.
To make sustainable/lasting changes in life, you need to fight against your internalized “learned helplessness”. Many of us are taught when we are young that lots of what happens in life is beyond our control and shouldn’t be fought against. Not only is this belief untrue, it is incredibly damaging and can prevent us from making the progress in life that is necessary to achieve our dreams.
Reject this damaging narrative and take ownership of your own life. Your life will travel in the direction that you point it, so take charge of your own destiny to ensure that you keep making steps towards the future that you want to experience. No one is responsible for your future besides yourself.
My Takeaway from this book:
The truth is, right now, most of us aren’t living our best lives. There are so many barriers that hold us back from achieving the destiny that we all crave to live, and most of these barriers are self imposed.
To truly wake up your innate potential, you need to come to terms with the messages you are sending yourself. Are you dwelling on the negative? Talking to yourself in a damaging way? Failing to dream big because you don’t truly believe in your own potential? Then you will hold yourself back. Remember, you achieve the standards that you set out for yourself, so by continuing to dream small you will limit what you can do. Remove these blinders from your life so that you can set concrete goals for the future, and you might be surprised how much you can truly accomplish in your life.
Actionplan Checklist form this book:
– You are often your own worst enemy: get rid of negative beliefs of your abilities and you will start to see success.
– Every big achievement starts with a plan put into action, so push yourself towards the future you want by taking baby steps today.
– Remember that your past failures do not have the power to dictate your future—your decisions do— so decide today that you will take control awaken the giant within.
“Man is born to live and not to prepare to live.” —Boris Pasternak