Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!by Tony Robbins
In Awaken the Giant Within, the author covers life-changing perspectives and techniques anyone can use to massively improve all areas of their life and take control of their future. The book is packed with actionable advice and exercises to master one’s emotions, behaviors, relationships, financial life, and health.
Dreams of Destiny
“A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance.”
Many individuals struggle to make positive changes in their lives. Sure, they may succeed for a while, but because the changes are short-lived and inconsistent, they just end up disappointing themselves.
To solve this, you can follow the three organizing principles of lasting change. The first principle is to set higher standards for yourself by deciding what you will no longer accept in your life and who you want to become. The second principle is to change your limiting beliefs in order to gain confidence in your ability to achieve your goals and meet your standards. The third is to alter your strategy to achieve your goals, which should entail learning from people who have achieved your desired results.
Creating positive life changes also requires you to master the five areas of your life that impact you the most: your emotions, physical health, relationships, finances, and time:
Mastering your emotions will help you harness empowering emotions and handle the negative ones. Mastering your physical health will provide you with the vitality and energy you need to achieve your goals. Mastering your relationships will allow you to connect with others on a deeper level and reap its benefits. Mastering your finances will help you create more abundance in your life, and finally, mastering your time will let you progress toward long-term goals that enable you to express your full potential.
Actions to take
Decisions: The Pathway to Power
“Everything that happens in your life—both what you’re thrilled with and what you’re challenged by—began with a decision.”
Your decisions greatly shape your destiny. This is because decisions guide actions, and your actions determine the outcomes in your life. If you don’t make a decision, your destiny will likely be determined by circumstances rather than your own ambitions.
When you make a decision, on the other hand, it means you’re committing to achieving an outcome without accepting any other possibility. It provides you with a long-term focus, preventing you from being discouraged by short-term failures.
There are three kinds of decisions that determine the course of your life: decisions on what to focus on, decisions about what things mean to you, and decisions about your approach to creating the desired results.
To truly harness the power of decisions, it’s important to understand your brain’s decision-making system. It relies on five factors: your core beliefs and unconscious rules, life values, references, the questions you ask yourself, and your emotions. Changing any of these factors allows you to create massive changes in your life.
Along your decision-making journey, you may find yourself making the wrong choices, which is totally alright. The key is to not be discouraged by them but rather learn from your mistakes so you can make better decisions in the future.
After making a decision, make sure to fully commit to it and take massive action toward it, adjusting your approach over time and using whatever life gives you along the way.
Finally, strengthen your decision-making muscles by constantly making decisions. Over time, you’ll master how to make better decisions, leading you to your desired destiny.
Actions to take
The Force That Shapes Your Life
“Everything you and I do, we do either out of our need to avoid pain or our desire to gain pleasure.”
Every decision you make is driven by either one of these factors: to avoid pain or gain pleasure. If a certain action is associated with pain, you will resist performing it. Conversely, If it’s associated with pleasure, you’ll be motivated to perform it. For example, if you procrastinate on a specific task, it’s because the idea of performing a task seems more painful than putting it off.
Most people are unconsciously guided by pain and pleasure. To take control of your life, you must learn how to consciously associate pleasure with the behaviors that improve your life and associate intense pain with those that don’t serve you.
To do this, you need to be attentive to what will give you pleasure in the long term rather than the short term only. If a decision is painful in the short term (such as restricting your food intake as part of a diet), decide to overcome it and focus on the long-term reward.
For more difficult decisions, such as ending a relationship or leaving behind something familiar and venturing into the unknown, it helps to acknowledge that fears over the future are unreal. The pain is imaginary. This acknowledgment allows you to override your fears and give you the courage to make the right and best decisions.
Actions to take
Belief Systems: The Power to Create and the Power to Destroy
“Once accepted, our beliefs become unquestioned commands to our nervous systems, and they have the power to expand or destroy the possibilities of our present and future. If we want to dire”
Beliefs have a massive influence on our behaviors, our emotions, and even our bodies. They also determine our perceptions of the pain and pleasure associated with certain actions. For example, if you want to start a new business but believe that becoming wealthy is only possible with massive effort and pain, you’ll likely avoid taking action.
There are two major kinds of beliefs: global beliefs (which encompass general aspects of your life, such as your beliefs about people and about abundance) and if-then beliefs, such as “If I consistently put effort, then I'll succeed.”
All kinds of beliefs are ultimately interpretations based on certain references. For example, if you believe you are physically attractive, you’ve developed this belief due to references such as people telling you that you are attractive.
Since interpretations and references can be changed, you have full control over which beliefs to maintain and which beliefs to remove. You can create virtually any belief if you find enough references to confirm it and associate it with pleasure.
References can also be created by vividly imagining and feeling them since the brain cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality. You can also remove disempowering beliefs by questioning their validity and associating them with pain.
To harness the power of beliefs in your life, you may change your personal beliefs and adopt the beliefs of successful people. One common belief among successful people is that constant and never-ending improvement leads to happiness. This belief allows you to make gradual and consistent improvements that lead to major results.
Actions to take
Can Change Happen in an Instant?
“What NAC really provides is a specific syntax—an order and sequence—of ways to use any set of skills to create long-term change.”
Contrary to popular belief, life-altering changes can happen in a single moment. Most people tend to think otherwise because they’ve tried to change in the past and failed. They develop the assumption that change is hard when in reality, it can be easy as long as they use the right methods.
One effective method you can use for making lasting changes quickly is Neuro Associative Conditioning (NAC). It is a step-by-step process for wiring your nervous system to associate pleasure with things that drive you forward and pain with things that set you back.
The first step to using NAC is to develop the belief that change can happen instantly. It’s also essential to state that something must change rather than “should” change so you can take full responsibility and believe in your ability to change it. Aside from this, you must also understand how the brain makes connections: every time you experience pain or pleasure, the brain searches for its cause so you can make better decisions in the future.
The brain’s criteria for forming neuro-associations are the following: it searches for something that is happening simultaneously to the feeling of pain and pleasure, appears to be unique, and happens consistently with the feeling. Since these criteria are imprecise, the brain often forms false neuro-associations. Mixed neuro-associations can also happen - for example, you may associate money with pleasure but also with greed and hard work.
Actions to take
How to Get What You Really Want
“The difference between acting badly or brilliantly is not based on your ability, but on the state of your mind and/or body in any given moment”
When thinking about what they want in life, most people would mention external factors such as more money, a good family life, and fulfilling relationships. Ultimately, they truly want to be in a state in which they feel good. External factors are merely a way to experience positive emotions. But good states are not dependent on anything external - the truth is that you can make yourself feel good immediately.
One way to do so is by changing your physiology. Every emotion has a specific physiology associated with it, such as posture and facial expression. Emotions lead to physical acts, but the opposite is also true: physical acts can change your emotions. You can consciously choose patterns of movement that reflect happiness, strength, and confidence. For example, smiling for no reason can make you feel better immediately.
Another way to control your state is by changing your focus. By simply choosing to focus on positive memories and interpretations, you can significantly improve your emotions. Moreover, you can directly control the level of emotion associated with anything by controlling submodalities. Submodalities are elements such as pictures, sounds, and other sensations associated with memories.
To use submodalities to improve your mental state, think of a memory that typically bothers you and play around with elements such as color, brightness, and sounds. You’ll find that if you make it black and white and lower the sounds, the emotional intensity will diminish significantly.
Finally, you can add feel-good emotions and pleasure to your life by choosing activities that make you feel good. The key is to perform these activities in your daily life rather than destructive behaviors, which will, in turn, improve your state and your behaviors.
Actions to take
Questions Are the Answer
“Quality questions create a quality life.”
Ultimately, events don’t directly affect how you feel. It’s the way you interpret events, and all interpretations ultimately arise from the questions you ask yourself. The questions you ask yourself also determine what you focus on, which can massively affect the way you live.
When asking questions, your mind will always give you answers. If you ask bad questions like “Why do I keep failing?” your mind will come up with references to back it up. Similarly, if you ask quality questions such as “What plan do I need to achieve my financial goals?” your mind will also come up with answers.
A key aspect of taking control of your life is to control the questions you ask yourself consciously. This starts by first believing that you will always receive an answer if you consistently ask a question. Therefore, you must commit to asking only quality questions in every area of your life.
In moments of crisis, for example, you may ask empowering questions such as “How can I turn this around?” To nurture a sense of appreciation in your daily life, ask questions such as “What am I grateful for?” and “What am I enjoying most in my life right now?” To direct your focus towards success, ask yourself questions like “What am I committed to in my life right now?” and “What actions can I take to achieve my goals?”.
To truly change your life with the power of questions, make it a habit to ask yourself a set of empowering questions every morning.
Actions to take
The Vocabulary of Ultimate Success
“An effective selection of words to describe the experience of our lives can heighten our most empowering emotions. A poor selection of words can devastate us just as surely and just as swiftly. ”
The words you use daily significantly impact how you feel, think, and live. This is because they can help you break emotional patterns and lower emotional intensity. If you face an undesirable situation and say that you’re “furious,” for example, you’re likely to have negative thoughts and actions as a result. Conversely, if you just say you’re “a bit bothered,” you’re likely to have a more balanced way of thinking and will eventually elicit a better response.
To use the power of words to change your life, you must commit to consciously choosing the words you use to describe how you’re feeling. You should also think carefully about the words you use when communicating with others, as they can significantly impact the quality and course of your relationships.
Pay attention to any words you often use that are disempowering (such as angry, afraid, and depressed), and commit to removing them from your vocabulary by using better words (such as disenchanted, uncomfortable, and on the road to a turn-around).
You can also use words to enhance the emotional intensity of positive emotions. Instead of saying you’re feeling “okay,” you can say that you feel “fantastic.”
Actions to take
The Power of Life Metaphors
“A whole set of rules, ideas, and preconceived notions accompany any metaphor you adopt.”
Metaphors are the specific category of words that carry a lot of meaning and emotional intensity. Changing the metaphors you use can interrupt unwanted patterns and change how you feel.
Global metaphors are the most important because they involve all areas of your life. If you approach life with a “life is a dance” metaphor, you’d feel much better than if you approached it with a “life is a competition” metaphor.
Metaphors can also help you feel better in more specific situations. If you feel stuck, avoid using metaphors such as “I keep hitting a wall.” When dealing with a rough patch, you can use an empowering metaphor such as “Life has its seasons, and I’m in winter right now.” When it comes to relationships, the use of the right metaphor has the power to maintain feelings of love and passion.
Actions to take
The Ten Emotions of Power
“The emotions you once thought of as negative are merely a call to action.”
When dealing with difficult emotions, most people cope with the wrong methods. They may deny and suppress their feelings, avoid situations that may cause negative emotions, or make the emotion part of their identity by fully indulging in their suffering. There is, however, a more constructive way of dealing with emotions—that is, to use them to your advantage.
Emotions are not bad per se - they’re simply a signal alerting you that something is wrong. Discomfort (such as unease and boredom) signals something is not quite right. Fear tells you to prepare for something that is happening soon. Hurt signals that one of your expectations have not been met. Anger arises when an important rule or standard you hold for your life has been violated. Feeling overwhelmed means you’re focusing on too many things at a time.
Learning to use your emotions to your advantage starts with identifying what you truly feel. Then, make it a habit to appreciate your emotions, knowing they exist to support you. Once you feel a negative emotion, get curious about what the emotion is trying to tell you. Try to recall a time when you’ve felt the same emotion and handled it successfully to gain confidence, and boost your confidence further by visualizing yourself handling the emotion easily. Finally, be excited about handling your emotion well and take action to prove it.
Other than using negative emotions to your advantage, you should also nurture emotions of power: love, gratitude, curiosity, excitement, determination, flexibility, confidence, cheerfulness, vitality, and contribution.
Actions to take
Creating a Compelling Future
“Many people in life know what they should do, but they never do it. The reason is that they’re lacking the drive that only a compelling future can provide”
Most people struggle to do the things they know they have to do. This usually happens because their goals are not exciting enough, resulting in a lack of drive and motivation to work toward them. The solution is to create goals that excite and push you beyond your limits in all areas of your life.
These goals can be related to personal development (such as learning a new language), financial experiences and “toys” (such as buying a Lamborghini), and contribution-related (such as volunteering).
When working towards goals, remember that goals, by themselves, cannot lead to long-term happiness. Instead, acknowledge that the growth and quality of life you experience along the way matter more. When things don’t work out, be willing to change your approach and realize that sometimes failures are blessings in disguise.
To surely reach your goals, take action toward them immediately so you can create momentum. You also need to condition your nervous system in advance to feel the pleasure of attainment. Make it a habit to mentally rehearse the achievement of your goals at least twice a day. If there’s anything that may prevent you from reaching your goals, address it early in your journey.
Actions to take
The Ten-Day Mental Challenge
“The mark of a champion is consistency—and true consistency is established by our habits.”
To experience a new level of success on a personal and professional level, you also need a new level of thinking. Controlling one’s thoughts is not easy, but it is doable with enough practice.
The ten-day mental challenge is intended to help you eliminate destructive ways of thinking and replace them with constructive ways of thinking. It entails a ten-day commitment to refrain from having any negative thoughts.
Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, immediately change your focus to solutions and empowering questions such as “What’s great about this?”. Don’t beat yourself up when you have negative thoughts; instead, change them immediately. If you fail to do so, restart the challenge from day one.
Be mindful of three common challenges people face when trying to control their thoughts: laziness, fear of a different future, and habit. The ten-day mental challenge will require you to break through these barriers.
To enhance the results of this challenge, make it a habit to ask yourself empowering questions every morning.
Actions to take
Life Values: Your Personal Compass
“We need to realize that the direction of our lives is controlled by the magnetic pull of our values”
Every decision you make is guided by your life values - what you consider to be important in your life. Someone that values freedom and adventure will make very different decisions than someone who values intimacy and security.
Since most people are not clear on their own values, they struggle to make decisions. Others might have values that conflict with something they associate with pain, such as someone who values success but is scared of rejection. Conflicting values ultimately lead to self-sabotage.
There are two kinds of life values: means and end. Means values include things like money and a loving relationship. End values, on the other hand, are the emotions behind the means. In the case of money, the end value would include things like freedom and security. It’s crucial to acknowledge that successfully achieving means doesn’t equate to achieving its associated emotions. One might succeed in becoming wealthy but not experience the freedom and security they were after.
Rather than focusing on means values, one should instead focus on the end values and take action toward them. This provides you with a sense of fulfillment in the short term and the attainment of goals in the long term.
Actions to take
Rules: If You’re Not Happy, Here’s Why
“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.”
Everyone has personal rules, which are beliefs about what they believe should happen in order for them to feel good. One example is, “I feel healthy if I work out every day and abide by my diet strictly.”
Many individuals have personal rules that are disempowering. Disempowering rules are impossible to achieve, dependent on external factors, and only give you a few ways of feeling good and a lot of ways of feeling bad. One example of this rule is, “I’m only successful if I make one million per year.”
The key to experiencing more happiness is to design your rules in a way that makes it easy to feel good and hard to feel bad and pulls you toward your values. Empowering rules can also improve your self-esteem because they give you a sense of personal control. One example of an empowering rule is “I am healthy when I acknowledge how great I feel.”
Some might think that empowering rules may lead to decreased motivation, but the opposite is true: empowering rules allow you to feel better and in control, making it easier to act in ways that drive you forward.
Rules are also key in relationships. When engaging with someone, problems arise when they violate one of your rules, or you violate one of theirs. The key to healthy relationships is an understanding of others’ rules and communicating about them. When a rule gets in the way of a relationship, ask yourself what matters more—the rule or the relationship?
Actions to take
References: The Fabric of Life
“It’s up to us to pursue and create the moments that will lift us and not limit us.”
References refer to any kind of experience a person goes through that back up a certain belief, either about one’s self or about life. One example of a reference is succeeding in managing a business. This reference backs up the belief in one’s intelligence. Some references are disempowering - for example, experiencing trauma early in life may lead to the belief that life is difficult.
References can also give you perspective. By learning about people who have been through intense physical or emotional damage and somehow managed to become happy and successful, you can gain a new perspective and develop the belief that one can overcome any circumstance.
References can either set you back or drive you forward. To make good use of them, you need to expand the references that are available to you by seeking out new experiences and interpreting your references in a way that empowers you.
Actions to take
Identity: The Key to Expansion
“Your capability is constant, but how much of it you use depends upon the identity you have for yourself.”
Identity can be defined as the set of beliefs that we use to define ourselves and what makes us different from others. We all act consistently with the idea of who we are. If you believe yourself to be a caring person, you will act in ways consistent with that element of your identity (such as helping others).
Determining your identity involves looking at your current behaviors. If you go to the gym daily, you’re likely to identify as healthy. You may also determine who you are based on interpretations from past experiences. Fortunately, we are in control of how we behave, interpret our experiences, and perceive ourselves. We can choose to be the person that we want to become.
Changing your identity may sound like a difficult task, often because it entails uncertainty and dealing with the unknown. Here, you may feel uncomfortable emotions. However, effectively managing them is the key to changing your identity successfully.
Actions to take
Physical Destiny: Prison of Pain or Palace of Pleasure
“It’s ideal to have both health and fitness, but by putting health first, you will always enjoy tremendous benefits in your life.”
Just like you can condition your nervous system to lead to the behaviors you want, you can also condition your body to produce your desired level of energy and fitness by balancing them. This can be achieved by training your metabolism.
Most people’s metabolisms are trained to burn glycogen instead of fat, causing weight gain and disrupting health. If you wake up in the morning feeling tired and experience mood swings and famish after working out, your body is likely burning glycogen instead of fat.
To train your metabolism to burn fat, you need to incorporate aerobic forms of exercise, such as brisk walking, and perform them in a pleasurable but tiring way.
It’s also important to incorporate forms of anaerobic exercise (which involves short bursts of intense exercise such as weight lifting) since they stimulate the growth of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH offers numerous health benefits, including promoting the growth of bones and organs, improving flexibility, and maintaining healthy tissues.
Actions to take
Relationship Destiny: The Place to Share and Care
“Success is worthless if we don’t have someone to share it with; indeed, our most desired human emotion is that of connection with other souls.”
Your relationships shape your character, values, and quality of life. As such, prioritizing the quality of your relationships is essential for a fulfilling life. To do so, keep an eye out for the four stages that most relationships go through before breaking up.
In the first stage, resistance arises due to a partner's action that caused harm. The second stage involves resentment, where you feel anger towards your partner. In the third stage, rejection occurs, and you begin to feel unreasonably angry at your partner for minor reasons. In the last stage, partners become emotionally numb toward each other.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these stages from leading to a breakup: thoroughly understand the values and rules of your partner, focus on giving rather than receiving, prioritize the relationship, focus on improving it, and reinforce feelings of love and connection by appreciating your partner’s presence in your life.
Actions to take
Financial Destiny: Small Steps to a Small (Or Large) Fortune
“The key to wealth is to be more valuable.”
While you may believe otherwise, creating wealth is simple. The problem is that most people have disempowering beliefs about wealth. They may believe that earning more money requires working very hard and for a long period of time, or they may associate wealth with negative characteristics such as greed. Others have a scarcity mindset and believe that money and resources are scarce.
Apart from eliminating disempowering beliefs, creating wealth also requires an understanding of what it takes to build wealth. Ultimately, it comes down to providing more value. Entrepreneurs earn well because they provide value to a massive number of people. Non-entrepreneurs can provide more value by increasing their knowledge and skills. If you work for a company, a good question to ask yourself is, “How can I be worth more to this company?”
Additionally, it’s also essential to understand how to maintain your wealth - spend less than you earn and invest the difference, which should be at least 10%. Investing your money will also ensure that you’re increasing your wealth over time, which is a key aspect of wealth management.
To ensure you’re in control of your spending, develop a spending plan. The plan should include things that will bring you joy so that your brain associates wealth creation with pleasure.
Lastly, it’s important to understand how to protect your wealth, which entails legal avenues for protecting your money. This ensures that you’re protected from potential attacks.
Actions to take
Master Your Time and Your Life
“So often we forget that time is a mental construct, that it is completely relative, and that our experience of time is almost exclusively the result of our mental focus.”
Time mastery is a life skill you can use to decrease stress levels and use your time to your own advantage rather than letting it control you. One time mastery technique is to change your focus - If a task feels too difficult to perform in the present moment, you can change your focus on the future in an empowering way. You can also compress time by learning from other people’s experiences. This can save you years of trial and error.
Another critical element of time mastery is prioritizing important rather than urgent tasks. Some urgent tasks - such as picking up a phone call - are not important because they don’t lead to a long-term difference. A lot of people spend most of their time handling urgent, unimportant tasks and fail to perform the tasks that would truly fulfill them. It’s essential always to prioritize important tasks in your daily life. Aside from this, you also need to take days off to do activities that you enjoy.