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Synopsis

Awaken the Giant Within is a toolkit for helping people be more successful and happier. Tony Robbins identifies the areas of your life that you likely have no control over and are negatively impacting your experiences. Then, he suggests the ways you can regain this lost control. In doing so, you will be in charge of your purpose. You will be able to turn any negative event or emotion into a positive experience that pushes you towards success and happiness. 

About Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins has been honored by Accenture as one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World.” Plus, he was named by Harvard Business Press as one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus.” Finally, he was recently described by American Express as one of the “Top Six Business Leaders in the World” to coach its entrepreneurial clients. Fortune’s recent cover article named him the “CEO Whisperer.” He has been named in the top 50 of Worth Magazine’s 100 most powerful people in global finance for three consecutive years. He’s America’s #1 life and business strategist.

“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”

– Tony Robbins

Commit to the Right Decisions

“Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”

– Tony Robbins

Change Your Decision-Making

It is relatively easy for us to understand the desires we have to change our lives. Additionally, we often can identify decisions we could make that would help these desires become a reality. However, instead of stating you ‘will’ make this change, you might frame this decision as you ‘would like’ to make this change. The difference between these approaches is the level of commitment to the correct decision. 

To change anything about your life, you must make clear decisions and commit to them. Irrespective of the obstacles you might face after making this decision, you must remain committed. This might mean you have to adapt your approach to overcome these obstacles. For example, say you commit to running daily. However, one day it is so icy it would be too dangerous to run outside. To overcome this, you can adapt your decision by taking out a one-day membership at a gym and run on one of their treadmills. 

The Example of Honda

Tony Robbins provides a business example of Soichiro Honda to showcase the importance of adapting to obstacles. Soichiro is the founder of the car company Honda. As a schoolboy, Soichiro had already decided he wanted to create effective piston rings for cars. He committed to this and ultimately succeeded. However, he did not obtain this goal without adapting his decisions along the way to meet this goal. For example, during World War II, the Japanese government was unwilling to provide Honda with concrete. Honda needed this concrete to build factories to manufacture his product. However, instead of giving up on the decisions he had made to acquire his goals, he adapted. Specifically, Soichiro invented his own way of making concrete. 

Committing to major decisions isn’t always easy. However, the process will become easier the more you do it. Therefore, Tony Robbins recommends learning from any mistakes along the way. Perseverance is key to success.

Use Conditioning to Form New Habits

Committing to our goals and decisions is crucial. However, commitment to changing established behaviors is not necessarily easy. One way to encourage yourself to change your behavior is to utilize your natural associations with pain and pleasure. We seek pleasure and aim to avoid pain in all we do. 

Tony Robbins explains an effective way of encouraging yourself to break a particular habit is to associate it with pain. Suppose you consistently associate this bad habit with pain, either mental or physical. In that case, you will no longer obtain pleasure from this bad habit. Subsequently, it should become easier to break this old habit. 

As well as associating your bad habit with something you find painful, you should also fill this void with a good habit. This is key to changing your behavior over the longer term. This new habit should provide you with equal pleasure as your old habit. Plus, it should be healthier and more productive. Subsequently, you will obtain the benefits of giving up on your old habit and the pleasure of a new, more healthy habit. These two benefits combined should prevent you from falling into your old habits. 

Tony Robbins explains this technique has a track record of effectively helping people break bad habits. Tony cites a study into the effectiveness of this approach for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Those addicts who had an alternative habit that was healthy and pleasurable were far less likely to revert to taking drugs. 

Change Your Beliefs

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

– Tony Robbins

Defining Beliefs

Our beliefs determine the way we experience the world. Tony Robbins describes your beliefs as any idea you have that is supported by evidence. Therefore, any event in our lives can inform our beliefs, as these events act as evidence. For example, suppose you have never played tennis before but have the idea that you reckon you might be talented due to your height. This is an idea. This idea can be changed into a belief that you are good at tennis by playing and winning or losing a few tennis matches. 

Turn Adverse Events Into Positive Events

The issue surrounding beliefs can arise when individuals experience adverse events. For example, traumatic life events can override all other life events. Subsequently, we may falsely view our entire lives as being terrible. This belief will negatively impact the rest of our lives. Therefore, Tony Robbins recommends always interpreting events positively. In doing so, we can direct our lives and our decisions in a more optimistic way. Traumatic events can be considered experiences that help make you a stronger person. This does not mean you should not mourn the death of loved ones or other traumatic events. However, this is not something you should focus on over the long-term. You certainly shouldn’t let these adverse events influence your beliefs. 

Tony Robbins buys into the notion that changing your life relies upon your ability to change your beliefs. Like habits, frequent negative beliefs can be challenged by realizing the pain associated with negative beliefs and the pleasure associated with positive beliefs. Sometimes it can be difficult to realize that fixating on the negative of a traumatic event is only causing you more suffering. Therefore, Tony Robbins suggests identifying another individual you can use as your role model. Observe how they have successfully turned an adverse life event into a positive one. Specifically, how they have allowed a traumatic event to positively change their beliefs, leading to better decision-making.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Tony Robbins outlines that our vocabulary can significantly influence our emotions. Crucially, the English language is filled with 3000 words describing emotions. However, roughly two-thirds of these words describe negative emotions. Tony Robbins believes this is a factor underpinning why we tend to experience negative emotions more frequently. Therefore, you have to pay close attention to the vocabulary you are utilizing. The words you are using daily will shape your thinking and perception of the world. Tony describes the vocabulary used to frame emotional events, like trauma or success, as Transformational Vocabulary. 

Describing a situation differently will allow you to think differently about a situation. Our words have a significant impact on the way we perceive negative events. For example, responding to daily nuisances with words like ‘angry’ and ‘annoying’ will undoubtedly leave you feeling more stressed. Tony suggests you use more neutral words to describe adverse events, like something being ‘inconvenient’ or ‘unexpected.’ This neutral approach should prevent you from entering a negative emotional state.

Neutrality during negative events is an example of limiting the intensity of the words you are using in response to negative events. Comparatively, Tony Robbins recommends exaggerating the severity of positive words you use for beneficial events. Therefore, instead of saying you are ‘happy’ with a result, you could describe your emotional state as being in ‘total bliss.’

As well as altering your words’ intensity, Tony also suggests using unusual words to express negative emotions. The unusual nature of these words should amuse you and subsequently lift your mood slightly. 

Ask the Right Questions

“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.”

– Tony Robbins

As explained, our thoughts and beliefs have a significant impact on our emotions. Tony goes more in-depth and explains our thoughts consist of a series of questions and answers. Subsequently, the questions we are asking ourselves significantly impact our thought processes. Following on from this, our thought processes impact how we experience our lives. Taken together, the questions we are asking ourselves are indirectly impacting our life experiences. Negative questions precede negative answers. For example, suppose you are experiencing an adverse event. In this instance, asking yourself, ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ will only further highlight the negatives in your life. Subsequently, your mood will undoubtedly sink in response to this question and answer. 

Tony Robbins recommends compiling a list of questions you can utilize after different negative events. Then, create a habit of using these positive questions whenever a negative event surfaces. These questions should be something like, ‘What is good about this situation?’ These questions will help you to arrive at an effective solution rather than focusing on negative emotions. You can develop this step by starting daily by asking yourself positive questions that help you appreciate your life’s positive aspects.

Discover Your Life Values

You should have an understanding of the aspects of life that are most important to you. These aspects are life values. The most successful and happiest people in the world have a concrete idea of their values. These values guide every decision they make. Tony Robbins notes insufficient fulfillment in life could be attributed to your life values not being concrete enough. Without concrete life values, you could be living in a way that contradicts the aspects of life that are most important to you.

You should take time to reflect on and list your most important life values. Then, once you have this list, you should place them in order of their importance. Finally, alongside each value, you should describe the reasons for including this value. This will remind you each time you look back at this list when you feel lost. After establishing this list, you can identify certain values that are not well-suited to your life goals. Additionally, you may realize that specific actions you engage with are not aligned with one of your life values. 

Establish Life Rules

All of us have rules that determine the decisions we make in our daily lives and the emotions we experience. Tony Robbins highlights the importance of continually considering whether our current rules are leading to happiness or unhappiness. Some rules can limit your experience and, consequently, your happiness. You may view your parents appreciating your achievements as integral to your happiness. However, this is something that you have no control over. Hence, Tony Robbins encourages you to establish life rules you can control. One way to do this is to focus on life rules based on personal goals rather than others’ expectations. 

One of the leading causes of unhappiness is other people’s actions not meeting your expectations. For example, your parents not congratulating you on a significant achievement. To be genuinely happy, you have to accept that others’ rules in life will be different from your own. Therefore, it is likely that others’ actions will let you down. It is not a good idea to base your life rules on the actions of others. To ensure your happiness, you need to communicate your life rules with yourself and others. If others know what is essential to you, then they are more likely to meet these needs.

Understand Your Emotional Triggers

Look Beyond Your Emotions

Awaken the Giant Within proposes you can gain control over your emotions. This control relies on your ability to identify your genuine emotions. Negative emotions tend to have a more significant impact on us as we are more likely to generalize them. Hence, you need to look beyond your negative emotions and reflect on your emotional pain’s actual cause. In doing so, you may realize there is another factor that often triggers this negative emotion. For example, the author uses the example of anger being caused by exhaustion.

After identifying emotional triggers, Transformational Vocabulary is crucial to challenging this trigger. In this instance, you should approach anger by describing your exhaustion neutrally and unusually. This approach should diminish the exhaustion feeding your anger and subsequently make it easier to overcome. 

Instigate Change in Your Life

Looking beyond negative emotions and inspecting the triggers is also crucial for instigating change in your life. You can only make positive changes in your life if you understand the root cause of the negative experiences. After identifying the root cause of the negative experiences, you can start considering the events that increase the likelihood of this emotional trigger. For example, you might realize that checking your emails outside of work hours makes you feel exhausted, leading to anger. Subsequently, you should remove this bad habit from your life and replace it with a more positive, healthy habit using the methods previously mentioned. 


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