Awaken The Giant Within - By Anthony Robbins

Date read: 
August 18, 2018
See My Collection of 50+ Book Notes

My Thoughts

The granddaddy of self-help books. Filled to the brim with great advice, hard-hitting questions, and compelling methods to change your behavior and get clear on your goals. I solely credit this book for getting me to quit smoking. Can be long-winded at times and a tad dated.

Summary Notes

Most people fail in life simply because they major in minor things.

The mastery of the five areas of life:

  1. Emotional Mastery
    Virtually everything we do is to change the way we feel
  2. Physical Mastery
    Is it worth it to have everything you've ever dreamed of, yet not have the physical health to be able to enjoy it? Will your current lifestyle make you a statistic?
  3. Relationship Mastery
    Who wants to learn, grow, and become successful and happy all by themselves?
  4. Financial Mastery
  5. Time Mastery
    Masterpieces take time. Yet how many of us really know how to use it?
    Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year— and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!

Imagine yourself ten years ago:

  • Where were you then?
  • What were you like?
  • Who were your friends?
  • What were your hopes and dreams? I
  • If someone had asked you, "Where will you be in ten or fifteen years?" what would you have told them?
  • Are you today where you wanted to be back then?

It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. It's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.

Right now you can make a decision: to go back to school, to master dancing or singing, to take control of your finances, to learn to fly a helicopter, to turn your body into an inspiration, to begin meditating, to enroll' in ballroom dancing, to attend a NASA space camp, to learn to speak French, to read more to your children, to spend more time in the flower garden, even to fly to Fiji and live on an island.

Most of us have used the term "decision" so loosely that it's come to describe something like a wish list. Instead of making decisions, we keep stating preferences. Making a true decision, unlike saying, " I'd like to quit smoking," is cutting off any other possibility.

Information is power only when it's acted upon

The three decisions that control your destiny are:

  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.

It's likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream.

Any extremely successful person you meet will tell you— if they're honest with you—that the reason they're more successful is that they've made more poor decisions than you have.

Success and failure are not overnight experiences. It's all the small decisions along the way that cause people to fail. It's failure to follow up. It's failure to take action. It's failure to persist. It's failure to manage our mental and emotional states. It's failure to control what we focus on. Conversely, success is the result of making small decisions: deciding to hold yourself to a higher standard , deciding to contribute, deciding to feed your mind rather than allowing the environment to control you

Never to leave the scene of a decision without first taking a specific action toward its realization.

What you link pain and pleasure to will shape your destiny.

"People may or may not slow down to look at a beautiful pastoral scene along the highway. But everyone looks at an auto accident."*

It's not actual pain that drives us, but our fear that something will lead to pain. And it's not actual pleasure that drives us, but our belief that somehow taking a certain action will lead to pleasure.

Most people focus on how to avoid pain and gain pleasure in the short term, and thereby create long term pain for themselves.

  • Write down four actions that you need to take that you've been putting off.
  • Why haven't I taken action? In the past, what pain have I linked to taking this action?
  • Write down all the pleasure you've had in the past by indulging in this negative pattern
  • Write down what it will cost you if you don't change now.
  • Write down all the pleasure you'll receive by taking each of these actions right now. Make a huge list that will drive you emotionally, that will really get you excited

It's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events— how we interpret them—that shapes who we are today and who we'll become tomorrow.

Think of an idea as being like a tabletop with no legs, you'll have a fair representation of why an idea doesn't feel as certain as a belief. Without any legs, that tabletop won't even stand up by itself. Belief, on the other hand, has legs. If you really believe, "I'm sexy," how do you know you're sexy? Isn't it true that you have some references to support the idea—some experiences in life to back it up? Those are the legs that make your tabletop solid, that make your belief certain. We can develop beliefs about anything if we just find enough legs— enough reference experiences— to build it up.

Within one year of Roger's breaking the four-minute mile barrier, 37 other runners also broke it. His experience provided them with references strong enough to create a sense of certainty that they, too , could "do the impossible." And the year after that, 300 other runners did the same thing!

If you're going to make an error in life, err on the side of overestimating your capabilities

Achievers rarely, if ever, see a problem as permanent, while those who fail see even the smallest problems as permanent.

Using social proof is a great way to limit your life— to make it just like everybody else's.

How do you know what beliefs to adopt? The answer is to find someone who's producing the results you truly want in your life.

Kaizen = "Constant improvement"

I don't worry about maintaining the quality of my life, because every day I work on improving it.

Everyone felt certain that they could improve at least 1 percent over their personal bests in the five major areas of the game, and that sense of certainty in pursuit of their goals caused them to tap even greater potentials. The result? Most of them increased by at least 5 percent, and many of them by as much as 50 percent.

Culturally, we link negative associations to the idea of instant change. For most, instant change means you never really had a problem at all. If you can change that easily, why didn't you change a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, and stop complaining?

I've found that 20 percent of any change is knowing how; but 80 percent is knowing why. If we gather a set of strong enough reasons to change, we can change in a minute something we've failed to change for years.

To get true leverage, ask yourself pain-inducing questions: "What will this cost me if I don't change?" "If I do change, how will that make me feel about myself? What kind of momentum could I create if I change this in my life? What other things could I accomplish if I really made this change today?"

How can you reward yourself for succeeding? Don't wait until you've gone a year without smoking. When you've gone a day, give yourself a reward!

All that you really want in life is to change how you feel.

I realized that the main difference between the people who seemed to be successful—in any area!—and those who weren't was that successful people asked better questions, and as a result, they got better answers. They got answers that empowered them to know exactly what to do in any situation to produce the results they desired. Quality questions create a quality life.

So what's the quickest way to change focus? Simply by asking a new question.

Checklist of problem-solving questions:

  • What is great about this problem?
  • What is not perfect yet?
  • What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
  • What am I willing to no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?
  • How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?

Power questions


  • What am I happy about in my life now? What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?
  • What am I excited about In my life now? What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?
  • What am I proud about in my life now? What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?
  • What am I grateful about In my life now? What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
  • What am I enjoying most in my life right now? What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?
  • What am I committed to in my life right now? What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?
  • Who do I love? Who loves me? What about that makes me loving? How does that make me feel?


  • What have I given today? In what ways have I been a giver today?
  • What did I learn today?
  • How has today added to the quality of my life or how can I use today as an investment in my future?

The moment a patient was diagnosed—i.e., had a label to attach to his symptoms—he became worse. Labels like "cancer," "multiple sclerosis," and "heart disease" tended to produce panic in the patients, leading to helplessness and depression that actually impaired the effectiveness of the body's immune system.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is a few feet

Six steps to emotional mastery

  1. Identify What You're Really Feeling
  2. Acknowledge and Appreciate Your Emotions, Knowing They Support You You never want to make your emotions wrong.
  3. Get Curious about the Message This Emotion Is Offering You
  4. Get curious about what it really has to offer you. What do you need to do right now to make things better? What do I really want to feel? What would I have to believe in order to feel the way I've been feeling? What am I willing to do to create a solution and handle this right now? What can I learn from this?
  5. Get Confident
  6. The quickest, simplest, and most powerful way I know to handle any emotion is to remember a time when you felt a similar emotion and realize that you've successfully handled this emotion before. Since you handled it in the past, surely you can handle it again today.
  7. Get Certain You Can Handle This Not Only Today, But in the Future as Well
  8. Get Excited, and Take Action

The ten action signals

  2. FEAR
  3. HURT.
  4. Solution: Realize that in reality you may not have lost anything.
  5. ANGER.
  7. Message: You could be doing better than you currently are.
  9. GUILT.
  10. Message: You have violated one of your own highest standards
  13. Message: You need to reevaluate what's most important to you in this situation.

There is power in the pressure of dissatisfaction, in the tension of temporary discomfort. This is the kind of pain you want in your life, the kind of pain that you immediately transform into positive new actions. This kind of pressure is known as eustress as opposed to distress. Eustress can be a driving, positive force that pushes you forward to constantly increase the quality of your life for yourself and all those you have the privilege to touch.

The direction we're heading is more important than individual results. If we continue to head in the right direction, we may not only achieve the goals we're pursuing but a lot more!

What would I want for my life if I knew I could have it any way I wanted it? What would I go for if I knew I could not fail?

Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it's who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment. So maybe the key question you and I need to ask is, "What kind of person will I have to become in order to achieve all that I want?"

Someone is doing better than we are in any area of life, it's simply because they have a better way of evaluating what things mean and what they should do about it.

It doesn't take very much light to wipe out the darkness.

As long as we structure our lives in a way where our happiness is dependent upon something we cannot control, then we will experience pain.

  1. What does it take for you to feel successful?
  2. What does it take for you to feel loved— by your kids, by your spouse, by your parents, and by whoever else is important to you?
  3. What does it take for you to feel confident?
  4. What does it take for you to feel you are excellent in any area of your life?

We all will act consistently with our views of who we truly are, whether that view is accurate or not.

"I'm just this way," is a phrase that murders dreams. It carries with it the sentence of an unchangeable and permanent problem.

You become the labels you've given yourself. The way you define your identity defines your life.

Related Notes

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