Book summary: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

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Book summary

1. Confidence is key. To develop it, practice using it.

2. Avoiding things because of fear is the tragedy of many people’s lives.

3. If you’re feeling out of sorts emotionally, get back to the basics – breathe

4. Every feeling or situation is there to serve you

  • Dissatisfaction can be a major key to success.
  • “Some of your worst experiences have truly been your best. They’ve sculpted you, trained you, developed within you a sensitivity and set you in a direction that reaches out to impact your ultimate destiny.”
  • “Live in an attitude of positive expectancy, knowing that everything that happens in your life benefits you in some way. Know that you are guided along a path of never-ending growth and learning, and with it, the path of everlasting love.”

5. Avoid the trap of making a living rather than designing a life

  • “Most people’s goals are to “pay their lousy bills,” to get by, to survive, to make it through the day—in short, they are caught up in the trap of making a living rather than designing a life. Do you think these goals will give you the power to tap the vast reserve of power within you?”

6. Know how important your goals are

  • “You and I must remember that our goals affect us, whatever they are. If we don’t consciously plant the seeds we want in the gardens of our minds, we’ll end up with weeds! Weeds are automatic; you don’t have to work to get them.”
  • “If we want to discover the unlimited possibilities within us, we must find a goal big enough and grand enough to challenge us to push beyond our limits and discover our true potential.”
  • “The way I usually know I’ve set the right goal is when it seems impossible but at the same time it’s giving me a sense of crazed excitement just to think about the possibility of achieving it.”
  • You already have this power to act. If you haven’t been able to summon it, it’s merely because you have failed to set goals that inspire you.
  • Do you have a list of clearly defined goals for the results you will absolutely produce in your life mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially?

7. All goal setting must be immediately followed by both the development of a plan, and massive and consistent action toward its fulfillment.

8. It’s about who we become on the way to reaching our goals that usually matters most.

9. Design your life

  • Will you create a masterpiece or interpret life through the paintings of others? Will you put out a thimble to collect your life’s experiences or a giant rain barrel?

10. Persistence overshadows talent as the most valuable resource in creating and shaping quality of life

  • I believe that life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent.
  • If there’s any one skill that I’ve seen in champions—people who have really achieved their highest desires—it’s an unbelievable level of persistence. They’ll change their approach as necessary, but they won’t abandon their ultimate vision.

11. Do a life audit of 5 years ago, the present, and 5 years into the future

12. Design your ideal future

  • “With nothing to write on but the back of an old Russian map, I wrote down all my long-term goals for my spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial destinies, and then created a series of milestones for each one, working backward.”
  • “On that day, I set specific goals that transformed my life. I described the woman of my dreams, detailing what she would be like mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. I described what my kids would be like, the huge income that I would enjoy, and the home that I would live in, including the third-story circular office area that would overlook the ocean.”
  • “Create for yourself an anticipation so great, a future so compelling, that you can’t help but take the first steps today.”
  • “So right now, put yourself in a state of mind of absolute faith and total expectation that you can create anything you want.”

13. Turn your ideal future into a plan

  • “The simple act of deciding when you’ll achieve a goal sets in motion conscious and unconscious forces to make your goals a reality.”

14. Have strong enough reasons to achieve your goals

  • Choose your single most important one-year goal in each category — “Take two minutes to write a paragraph about why you are absolutely committed to achieving this goal within the year. Why is this compelling for you? What will you gain by achieving it? What would you miss out on if you didn’t achieve it? Are these reasons strong enough to get you to actually follow through? If not, either come up with a better goal or better reasons.”

15. Be the kind of person you need to be to reach your ideal future, starting now

  • “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?””
  • “Please take a moment now, and write a paragraph describing all the character traits, skills, abilities, attitudes, and beliefs that you would need to develop in order to achieve all of the goals you’ve written down previously.”
  • “Years ago my present and past weren’t terribly exciting, so I consciously fused my identity with the vision I had of who I knew I would become. I didn’t have to wait; I began to live as this man now.”

16. Create momentum immediately after setting your goals

  • “The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.”

17. Experience the feeling of reaching your top goals every day

18. Set new goals as soon as you’ve reached one, keep moving

19. Get clear on your values – Write them down and then put them into a hierarchy

  • “What do my values need to be in order to create my ultimate destiny, in order to be the best person I could possibly be, in order to have the largest impact in my lifetime?”
  • Nothing in life can match the fulfillment of knowing you’ve done what you truly believe is the right thing.
  • Are the rules that guide your life today still appropriate for who you’ve become? Or have you clung to rules that helped you in the past, but hurt you in the present? Have you clung to any inappropriate rules from your childhood?

20. Know your personal rules

  • You could be winning and feel like you’re losing because the scorecard you’re using is unfair.
  • Have clear rules for knowing when you’re happy, successful, and so on.
  • e.g.  Love: I experience love anytime I express love, give love to others, or allow myself to receive it.
  • Don’t expect people to live by your rules if you don’t clearly communicate what they are. And don’t expect people to live by your rules if you’re not willing to compromise and live by some of theirs.
  • If we’re burdened with too many musts to meet, we lose our enthusiasm and zest for life; we just don’t want to play the game anymore.
  • Design your rules so that you’re in control, so that the outside world is not what determines whether you feel good or bad. Set it up so that it’s incredibly easy for you to feel good, and incredibly hard to feel bad.

21. Feed your inspiration

  • Early in my life, I chose to focus on those who had made it, those who had succeeded and contributed and were impacting people’s lives in a major way. I did so by reading biographies of successful people.
  • I believe in the old computer term GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Each day that we live, we’re taking in new information, ideas, concepts, experiences, and sensations. We need to consciously stand guard at the doors of our minds to make sure that whatever we’re allowing to enter will cause our lives to be enriched, that the experiences we pursue will add to our stockpile of possibility.
  • I developed the belief that leaders are readers. Books could take me to other lands where I could meet unique people like Abraham Lincoln or Ralph Waldo Emerson whom I could utilize as my personal coaches. I also knew that within the pages of books I could find the answers to virtually any question I had.
  • “In order to really succeed at the highest level, to achieve what I really want for my life, what are some references I need?” Maybe what you need to do is model somebody who has really made their relationships work; find out what some of their beliefs are, what some of their references are about what makes a relationship work.

22. Growth in one area of your life can spill over to another

  • I earned my black belt in tae kwon do in eight months by studying directly with the great Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee and modeling his incredibly intense focus. I realized that if I could have the experience of disciplining myself so fiercely in that area of my life, then that reference would spill over to many other areas—and it did. So, what else could you do?

23. Keep expanding your experiences

  • When are you going to do something unusual and new?
  • Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of all those things you could explore and experience—and begin immediately. What new experience could you pursue today that would expand your life? What kind of person will you become? Take action and enjoy exploring the possibilities.
  • “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” —THOMAS A. EDISON

24. Constantly redefine yourself and expand your identity to get where you want to go

  • I am continually redefining myself, and people often wonder at my level of confidence in pursuing new ventures. I’m often asked, “How have you accomplished so much in your life?” I think that a big part of it is that I look at things in a different way than most: while most people have to establish competence before they feel confident, I decide to feel confident, and that provides the sense of certainty to persist until I am competent.
  • The next time you catch yourself saying, “I could never do that,” or “That’s just not me,” take a moment to consider the impact of what you’re saying. Have you limited your concept of self? If so, take advantage of every opportunity to expand your identity.
  • Begin to ask yourself, “What more can I be? What more will I be? Who am I becoming now?”
  • Think about your values and dream list, and commit to yourself that, regardless of the environment, “I will consistently act as a person who is already achieving these goals. I will breathe this way. I will move this way. I will respond to people this way. I will treat people with the kind of dignity, respect, compassion, and love that this person would.” If we decide to think, feel, and act as the kind of person we want to be, we will become that person. We won’t just be behaving “like” that person; we will be that person.

25. Use your beautiful body

  • Decide to make exercise part of your identity. It is only through a long-term, lifelong commitment to exercise that we can truly reap the rewards that life has to offer us.

26. Prioritise your relationships

  • Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give.
  • Make your relationships one of the highest priorities in your life; otherwise they will take a back seat to any or all of the other things that are more urgent that happen during your day.
  • You want to focus on where you want to go in a relationship, not on what you fear.

27. Successful companies deliver massive value

  • The true purpose of any corporation is to create products and services that increase the quality of life for all the customers they serve. If this is achieved on a consistent basis, then profit is absolutely assured.
  • Products and services are changing constantly, but those who’ve figured a way to take something of tremendous value and deliver it to a mass number of people will prosper.
  • Any company that continually gives people raises without its employees finding ways to add more value is a company that’s going deeper in the hole and will eventually find itself economically troubled or destroyed. If you’re asking for a raise, you’ve got to find a way to add at least ten times more value than what you’re asking for in return.
  • There is no better investment that companies can make than in the education and development of their own people.

28. To be wealthy, deliver massive value

  • What you must do every day is to continually expand your knowledge, your skill, and your ability to give more. This is why self-education is so critical. I became a very wealthy man at an extremely young age for one reason: I mastered skills and abilities that could instantaneously increase the quality of life for virtually anyone. Then I figured out a way to share that information and those skills with a huge number of people in a short period of time.
  • Can you earn twice as much money as you do now in the same amount of time? Can you earn three times as much money? Ten times? Is it possible that you could earn 1,000 times the amount of money you do now in the same amount of time? Absolutely!—if you find a way to be worth 1,000 times more to your company or your fellow man.
  • The key to wealth is to be more valuable. If you have more skills, more ability, more intelligence, specialized knowledge, a capacity to do things few others can do, or if you just think creatively and contribute on a massive scale, you can earn more than you ever thought possible.
  • The single most important and potent way to expand your income is to devise a way to consistently add real value to people’s lives, and you will prosper.

29. Be financially wealthy

  • There’s only one way to maintain your wealth, and that is simply this: spend less than you earn, and invest the difference.
  • Those who succeed financially are those who set aside a certain percentage of their money, invest it, and continue to reinvest their profits until they produce a source of income that is large enough to provide for all their needs without ever having to work again.
  • Fortunately, the answers to your financial questions are easily accessible. They’re available in books from the masters, from the Peter Lynches to the Robert Prechters to the Warren Buffets, and there are effective financial coaches who can assist you in developing a plan that will help you to meet your lifelong financial needs.

30. Scale the ladder in your company

  • Most people, for example, expect their income to grow each and every year, whether they’ve increased their contribution to their company or not. Raises should be tied to increased value, and we can easily increase our value as long as we educate ourselves and expand our repertoire of skills.
  • If you want to earn more money where you are today, one of the simplest ways to do so is to ask yourself, “How can I be worth more to this company? How can I help it to achieve more in less time? How could I add a tremendous amount of value to it? Are there some ways that I could help cut costs and increase quality? What new system could I develop? What new technology could I use that would allow the company to produce its products and services more effectively?”

31. Set a high standard for yourself

  • On Ben Franklin – “He decided that he would take control of his life by setting a higher standard for himself, developing a strategy to achieve that higher standard, and creating a system so that he could measure his results daily. He began by selecting twelve “virtues”—twelve states that he wanted to experience every day—that he felt would take his life in the direction he wanted. Then he took out his journal and wrote down all twelve states, and next to this list he created a grid of all the days of the month. “Every time I violate any one of these virtues,” he said, “I will put a small black dot next to that value for that day. My goal is to have no black dots on my chart.”
  • I sat down and asked myself, “What states would I be in if I were my highest and best? What states will I commit to being every single day, no matter what?

32. Focus – do what’s important, not urgent

  • Have you ever had days when you got only a few things done but at the end felt that this was a day that had really mattered? These are the days when you’ve focused on what’s important rather than what urgently needed your attention.
  • The only way to truly master your time is to organize your schedule each day to spend the majority of it doing things that are important rather than urgent.

33. Model those who’ve already succeeded and gone down your path

  • Modeling those who’ve already succeeded can save you years of pain. This is why I’m a voracious reader and a committed student of tapes and seminars. I’ve always seen these experiences as necessities, not accessories, and they have given me the wisdom of decades of experience and the success that results from

34. You have complete control over your internal world, no one else has that power over you

35. Small actions, imagination and consistency have big results

  • We fail to recognize that it is the small decisions you and I make every day that create our destinies.
  • “What can one person do to truly make a difference in the world?” Virtually anything! The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.
  • These individuals did little things extraordinarily well. They decided that something must change, that they must be the ones to do it, and that they could do it—and then they summoned the courage to persist until they found a way to make it work. These are the men and women we call heroes.
  • We don’t need to wait until we have a grandiose master plan to make a difference. We can have impact in a moment, in doing the smallest things, making what often seem like insignificant decisions.

36. Make a difference by impacting others

  • You can be a hero by simply being a people-builder, that is, by noticing people around you and giving them support, encouragement, or a reminder of who they really are.
  • We don’t have to go out and save somebody’s life. But maybe getting them to smile is saving their life, or at least getting them to enjoy the life that they already have. What are some other simple ways you could make a difference today?
  • “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” —JOHN WOODEN
  • The next time you see someone who’s in trouble, instead of feeling guilty because you have so many blessings and they don’t, feel a sense of excitement that you might be able to do just some little thing that could make them think about themselves in a new way or simply feel appreciated or loved.

37. Protect the planet

  • The most powerful thing you can do is to link pain to any of your personal behaviors that perpetuate the ill use of our planet.
  • Know that the decisions you make about what to put on your dinner plate determine, in a small yet undeniable way, such things as how much carbon dioxide is released into our atmosphere and how many plant and animal species will die each day.

38. Strive for balance rather than perfection

  • Most people live in a black-and-white world where they think that they’re either a volunteer with no life of their own, or just a materialistic, achievement-oriented person who doesn’t care to make a difference. Don’t fall into this trap. Life is a balance between giving and receiving, between taking care of yourself and taking care of others.

39. Treasure the present moment, over and over again

  • Oh, I’ve had my moments. If I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else—just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
  • If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would pick more daisies.” —NADINE STAIR
  • “If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances, I would take more trips, I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.

40. How do you want to be remembered? Act that way now

  • How do you want to be remembered? As a giant among men? Start acting that way right now! Why wait to be memorable? Live each day as if it were one of the most important days of your life, and you’ll experience joy at a whole new level. Some people try to conserve their energy so that they’ll last longer. I don’t know about you, but I believe that what’s most important is not how long we live, but how we live. I’d rather wear out than rust out! Let’s have the end find us climbing a new mountain.
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