Summary of “Awaken the giant within”: To be successful, you have to succeed in mastering your emotions, body, relationships, belief and finance, in other words your whole life, which is what Anthony Robbins puts forward: capture your dreams.
By Anthony Robbins, 1991, 566 pages.
Note: This guest chronicle is by Quentin Cottereau from the “Les Outils du Mentaliste” blog
Chronicle and summary of “Awaken the giant within”:
When Anthony Robbins was in his twenties he lived in a small studio flat at the heart of a big American city. His sink was also his dish-washer and washing machine. He was carrying a good 10 kilos too many and didn’t’ have a dime to his name. One day, he had enough. And he decided to change things. From the moment the decision was taken, Tony put his best foot forward to attain his dreams. Today, Anthony Robbins is a world-renown coach as well as being the CEO of various companies. Thanks to books, cassettes, training, and seminars, he has changed the lives of millions: the homeless, employees, entrepreneurs, and even Presidents like Bill Clinton!
He is also married and the happy father of four children, and lives in a luxurious villa. His book “Awaken The Giant Within” is the result of over 20 years of research analyzing the difference between those who succeed and those who stay at the bottom of the pile. The point of this book? To help you reach your dreams! It’s therefore a very rich book, full of historical anecdotes, divided into four sections.
The first, “Understanding your power”, takes you on a trip of self-discovery. Because your success is within you. The second, “Taking control: the master plan” talks of specific keys, like how do you think? The third, “7 days to remodel your life”, provides 7 principles to apply to your everyday life. And finally, Tony talks about one’s destiny. In “Awaken The Giant Within” he will take you deep into the world of personal development, in order to uncover the mysteries of your identity. How do beliefs influence you, how to get what you want, why ask the best questions? Changing one’s vocabulary, how do your values and rules determine your happiness? You will obtain the answers to all these questions.
Part 1 : Understanding your power
Without a doubt the biggest part of the book. It takes you to the very heart of yourself, and shows you what determines your success. Or your failure. We find out that all we need to succeed is already inside us.
All I need is in me now ! – Anthony Robbins
Chapter 1: Dreams of destiny
This book starts with a story. His story. Like everyone, he also had dreams. He had dreams of change. And to find out how to effect real changes, long-lasting changes, he sought out all the key elements of successful people, that have achieved these changes. This research showed him the commonalities shared by all successful people; success factors. Thus, he established 3 stages to reach success:
- Raise your standards: For example, he made a list of everything he could no longer tolerate in his life.
- Change those beliefs that limit you: Beliefs are “orders” that come from your subconscious. They influence each of your actions. If you want to reach your goals, your dreams have to be in sync with your belief.
- Modify your strategy: The most important thing is to persevere, but if you want to reach your goals, you must adopt the best and most appropriate strategies. But you can also change them on the fly! If something isn’t working, change it!
The three steps to reach your goal are all very well but you will need to acquire certain qualities. And to obtain those, Anthony Robbins proposes he becomes your personal trainer via this book. He plans to get you to master 5 aspects of life:
- Master your emotions,
- Your body,
- Your relationships,
- The money,
- And Master the time.
He is also very clear that:
Awaken The Giant Within is intended as a step guide, a manual designed to increase your quality of life and the satisfaction you can get from it.
You’ve understood it. Tony doesn’t do things by halves. He intends to get the best possible results, even without being physically present. But, it depends entirely upon you.
Chapter 2: Decisions: the power path
At the start of this chronicle, I mentioned that his life changed the moment he decided to not tolerate certain things. It’s the moment you make your decision that determines your future! The day a smoker stops smoking is not the day he has his last cigarette, it is the day he decides to stop. What I want to illustrate is that this power, the power to decide, is already within you! As Tony puts it, making a real decision is about being determined to get a particular result and to refuse any other possibility. Then, this power can be worked on like a muscle, and you can train it. To make good decisions you must make as many as possible!
Even if you make mistakes; even if you encounter failure. Do you know any CEOs? They often make excellent decisions. Why? Because they spend all day making them. But in our world, the ones with money are the managers, those who make decisions. The rest take home the crumbs, in other words, nothing. Decisions are essential to your success and this power resides in you! So, don’t hesitate, decide.
Chapter 3: The power that determines your life
Each of your actions is determined by one simple force. Even if you are not aware of it yet. This force? Pain and pleasure. My life, your life, lives all over the world are driven by this one force. We all seek pleasure and all seek to avoid short-term pain. Imagine this: you have the choice of two things, the first means you avoid a bit of short-term pleasure but will hurt you in the long term. The other means a bit of pain in the short-term but will deliver enormous pleasure in the long-term.
What would you choose? Intellectually, there is no competition: the second offer is surely perfect. But your brain doesn’t reason this way. It will default to the first option. Why? Because it will do everything it can to avoid short-term pain, even if in the long-term, it will cause even more pain. In fact, we could go even further; it’s not pleasure and pain that rules in most people, rather the idea of pleasure and the fear of pain. Everything is a question of reality perception. In this chapter, he teaches you to use this phenomenon through associations.
Chapter 4: The belief system, the power to create and destroy
What is a belief? It’s something we generalize, which becomes a feeling of certainty, which we do not question. For example, if you got bad grades in French when you were a teenager, you could have thought, “I’m rubbish at French”, and because we generalize, you’ve adopted it and never question this belief, even now. This belief crushes you, to the extent that you’ve stopped working on the subject, which only drives even worse grades. This is the power of belief. But it also works in reverse; a conviction such as “I’m good at French” can have positive effects, you might then work harder to get better grades, motivated by your previous results. In this chapter, Tony puts forward beliefs that are common amongst winners and helps you obtain them thanks to a very powerful calling-into-question technique.
Chapter 5: Can one change immediately?
This is the subject of the 5th chapter. The answer is simple, it’s up to you to believe in it. If you have the conviction, the certainty that change can be immediate, then you can change in a fraction of a second.
How many psychiatrists do you need to change a light bulb? – only one…but it’s very expensive, takes a lot of time and crucially, the light bulb has to want to change.
According to Tony, we need to prepare ourselves for change, and take our lives into our own hands, unlike the light bulb! The belief I mention above isn’t enough, you have to be aware that no one other than you can be responsible for this long term change! Finally, you have to believe with the bottom of your heart that one thing needs to change.
Chapter 6: How to change any aspect of your life: the science of neuro-associative conditioning.
Anthony Robbins works on the basis that if we want to change our behavior, we have to associate insufferable pain to the old behavior and sensations of pleasure to the new one. This is the scientific basis of Neuro-associative Conditioning, derived from PNL, that Tony created. To obtain change he used a strategy of 6 conditioning steps:
- Decide what you really want and what is stopping you from obtaining it
- Find a motivation: associate profound suffering to not changing now, and great joy to changing immediately!
- Drop the model that restricts you
- Find a new, dynamic model
- Reproduce this new model so that it becomes constant
- Put your model to the test!
These are the basics of Neuro-associative Conditioning.
Chapter 7: How to get what you really want
You have to start with a simple question:
What do you want?
What really matters to you? A happy marriage, your children’s respect?A new car? Money? And why do you want all these things? Is it to change the way you feel? But to obtain what you want, you first have to be able to consciously change your state of mind. Emotion is created by movement and you can do it by using your body. Some movements help you to be calm, others to have self-confidence, and others to be motivated. The way you use your body will affect your state of mind! To change your life, you first have to change your state of mind!
Chapter 8: Questions are the best tools
Ask yourself a question: What determines your thoughts? Exactly. It’s the questions that you ask yourself. And the difference between a CEO and a homeless person is the quality of their questions. This is also why people are all so different. We all ask different questions. But, why are questions so effective? It’s precisely because they instantly modify our perspective therefore the way we feel. Also, if you ask a question, your brain will do everything it can to answer it. So ask good questions. For example, if you encounter a problem, rather than pity yourself, ask key, stimulating questions like:
- What is great about this problem?
- What isn’t quite perfect yet?
- Am I prepared to do to get what I want?
- How I can use this situation to my advantage?
I know it isn’t always easy to ask oneself questions. But in difficult moments, I can recommend another, that I ask all the time.
Where is the gift in this situation?
One day or another, you will find it. Believe me, asking this question is not easy, especially in some situations. But, if you take the time to do it, even despite the sadness, I can assure you, you will come out stronger.
Chapter 9: The vocabulary of ultimate success
Words are used to describe your biggest failures just as much as your greatest victories, great men have all too well understood the power of some of them, to get people to react. By using the right words to describe experiences, we can intensify our stimulating emotions, but if we choose badly we can destroy them. This is the power of words.
People with limited vocabulary render their emotional life poorer; people with a rich vocabulary have a large diversity of terms to describe their experiences – not only to others, but also to themselves.
So, by simply changing the words you use every day, you can instantly change the way you think, your feelings, and your way of life. What I particularly like about this book is that it is full of examples, exhilarating anecdotes as well as ways to change. And here, Tony offers up a list of words you can use in your everyday life, which will change the way you live. Here are my favorite ones to really get pumped up!
- To revel,
Chapter 10: Overcome the obstacles and launch your success: the power of metaphors
Metaphors are pretty exceptional as their powers are out of the ordinary. In hypnotherapy, I often use them as your subconscious is hyper-receptive to little stories. So, what exactly is a metaphor? When you explain a concept by comparing it to something else, it’s a metaphor. Imagine the following metaphor: You’re tired and it feels like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders. Not a great feeling is it? Wouldn’t the best way to rid yourself of this, be to just put the world down? Doing this will break your train of thought. Even if this method might seem simplistic, test it out and tell me about it. It’s up to you to take control of your metaphors!
Life is a game
That’s a metaphor that can completely change your life, especially if you think life is a battle…
Chapter 11: The ten dynamic emotions
Too many people are locked in a routine. Every day, they get up at the same time and do the same thing, which goes on forever. For twenty, sometimes 30 years, if not more. Their lives are comfortable but there is no passion. Too many people think they have no control over their emotions. So, they allow themselves to get stuck in a routine, one that is always much the same, so as to not have to suffer through anything else. Tony works on the basis that there are 4 ways to reckon with your emotions:
- Avoid them,
- Deny them,
- Exaggerate them,
- Learn from them and use them
On this basis, all your emotions are practical. Those that you consider to be negative become calls to action! Anthony Robbins calls them “action signals.” All emotions that you feel, are a gift. But where does this gift come from? Where do these emotions come from? They come from within you. You are the source! So, since you are the source, you can always feel exactly the way you want to feel.
You don’t need to a particular reason to feel good; you could decide right now to feel good, simply because you are alive, and because it’s what you want.
Anthony Robbins – Awakening The Giant Within
This coach has fine-tuned a six-step method to help you master your emotions:
- Identify the real feelings you are experiencing,
- Discover and appreciate your emotions, realize that they are there to help you,
- Be curious about the messages your emotions are giving you,
- Be confident,
- To ensure you will easily handle this emotion in the future, plan the strategy you intend to use,
- Get motivated and act!
Thanks to this method, you’ll always benefit from these action signals in order to progress!
Chapter 12: A magnificent obsession: an extraordinary future
Big goals stimulate motivation. Imagine if you become a kid again, with big dreams. It’s those dreams that will give you the energy to attain them! For Tony, no one is lazy, it’s just goals that make some powerless. If after too short a night’s sleep you’re able to get up, that’s because you’re really passionate about your goals! To reach them you’ll need all your energy, which is why living your dreams is so important.
We need to discover everything or come up with a magnificent obsession that can stimulate us.
It’s up to you to transform the invisible into the visible! Once you have your target in mind, you must immediately create a plan to take the necessary steps to hit it. To maintain this motivation, at least once a day you need to feel that you have reached each of your goals, in the short term.
Chapter 13: The ten-day challenge
1 challenge, 10 days, 4 rules.
- For 10 consecutive days, refuse to be drawn into unproductive thoughts or feelings.
- If you concentrate on negative things, use different techniques to get yourself into a productive state of mind.
- Concentrate only on solutions.
- If you get moments of weakness, pull yourself together!
Part 2 : Taking control: the master plan
This part of the book is designed to help you to take control of your master plan of evaluation, in other words the power that controls the way you think and act at every moment.
Chapter 14: Supreme influence: your master plan
What is a master plan? It’s 5 elements that determine how you evaluate life events. Once you understand someone’s master plan, you’ll know their values and will understand what motivates them. Above all, bear in mind that people care about more than just their behavior. Never judge someone on an isolated act. We all use a system to determine the meaning of things and what we should do in nearly all situations. We don’t all allocate the same importance to things. Everything depends on perspective. If you want to achieve success, you have to be able to assess every aspect of your life and do so in a way that will produce the results you want. Using this kind of process isn’t always easy. Tony has put together a method that can help you enhance the process:
- Your state of mind makes all the difference. Always have a positive mindset before taking important decisions,
- Ask yourself the right questions,
- Are you in sync with your values?
- Are you in sync with your overall beliefs and rules?
- Do you have standards?
This is what makes up a master plan.
Chapter 15: Values: your personal compass
What is a value? It’s more than a belief; in a way, it’s an ideal. You need to clearly define your values in order to uphold them, whatever the situation is. You must remain faithful to your values at all times, even if life doesn’t always reward you for it. If you want to be happy, you have to live by your ideals. We often don’t choose our own values. They are carved into us, as we move through our life story. If you had to write down your values by order of importance, would you be able to? If you don’t know your ideals, how do you make good decisions? In order to help you find those ideals that suit you best, Tony provides various exercises to do, which clarify the mind.
Chapter 16: The rules: if you are unhappy here is why!
The rules are the beliefs that determine whether we feel pleasure or pain. What needs to happen for you to feel happy? All the reasons are the rules. But, on the other hand, you don’t need anything in particular to feel good. You have to want it. In today’s society, most people have a huge amount of reasons to be unhappy and very few to be happy. As a result, they are unhappy most of the time. It’s therefore time to change the system, and rely on rules that allow us to be happy, every time we want to! It’s up to you to set the rules of the game, for you to be happy. A rule can provide a lot of power, or conversely deny it. How do you know what? These 3 criteria will help you. A rule removes power from you if:
- It is impossible to adhere to,
- You rely on something that is out of your control in order to respect it,
- It provides a few ways to be happy but dozens of ways to be unhappy.
So, if you have this kind of rule, best to adjust it as soon as possible. Rules are really the basis of your personality. They are often the source of conflict between people. Also, there are some that you simply cannot break.
Chapter 17: Standards, the fabric of life
Standards are all the experiences you’ve stored in your nervous system. In other words, everything you’ve seen, heard, tasted, felt. You can be conscious or unconscious of these standards. These standards are used to support your beliefs but you must constantly develop them, grow them as much as possible. People can have the same experience, but create different beliefs from it. Because, it’s not the standard itself that is important, it is the meaning you attach to it. Limited standards create a limited life. If you want to enrich your life, you must extend your standards by nurturing ideas and experiences that wouldn’t be part of your life if you didn’t seek them out. And you can find standards everywhere.
Every day new ones are added to your personality through people you meet, your adventures, and even by reading! Also, standards are not limited to just your experience. Anthony Robbins cites the example of Roger Bannister the first man to run a mile in four minutes. He developed the certainty that it was possible, using visualization. Just by using imagination, he convinced himself it was possible, and did it!
Unbridled imagination delivers a sense-certainty far beyond the limits of our past. If you have experienced what we commonly call “failure” don’t forget whatever you do, do not go searching in the past using a rear-view mirror as a guide. If you want to learn from past experience, don’t live in the past; concentrate on the things that give you power! And you will succeed! To build up your standards to the best they can be, do something unusual, why not take up a new language, leave home, discover and help the world?
Chapter 18: Identity: the key to personal growth
At the beginning of every chapter, Anthony Robbins recounts a real story and I want to share this particular with you. An American soldier was captured by Chinese Communists. They didn’t torture him, quite the opposite, they even offered him a cigarette. At the end of the conversation, the American soldier held a document he had written himself, describing on the one hand the countless injustices and destructive effects of American life – a capitalist society – and on the other the merits of a communist system. Later on, this very same soldier would divulge military secrets, betray his own compatriots and fervently denounce his own country. How was it that this man completely changed his vision of the world, abandoned his beliefs, and renounced all his values in order to collaborate with the enemy? In fact, he ended up transforming his very identity.
Various types of beliefs
There are various types of beliefs, specific ones, general ones, and those that determine our identity. Your abilities are a constant, but the use you make of them depends on the meaning of your identity. Also, what others perceive (belief) of your personality will determine the way they want to interact with you. Even if it has nothing to do with who you really are. We therefore always behave based on the perceptions of who we really are, whether those perceptions are correct or not.
And we all need continuity, certainty. Most people are afraid of the unknown so they prefer to stay as they are. Even if the consequences could be disastrous. If you don’t know who you are, how can you make good decisions? How do you adopt values, rules for happiness? How do you succeed? Therefore right from the start, it’s important to adopt the belief that one can change. And develop new beliefs that define our identity. Our behavior will adapt as a result of these new beliefs.
Who are you?
It’s a question that is often met with blank looks or incomplete answers. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to create your best calling card. Imagine if you were in the dictionary, what would your description be?
Part 3: Remodel your life in seven days
You have seven days to transform every aspect of yourself…
Chapter 19: Emotional destiny: the only real success
At the end of the first day, you will have taken control of your emotions, and begin to consciously and voluntarily reshape your daily life.
There is no real success without emotional success. ~Anthony Robbins
In Awaken the Giant Within, Tony provides many tools to spend more time in a positive state of mind.
Here is a list of different factors that you can influence in order to be more dynamic:
- Your physiology,
- Your perspective,
- The questions you have,
- Neuro-associative conditioning,
- Your beliefs,
- A promising future,
- Your values,
- The rules,
- Your standards,
- Sense of identity.
It is quite a lot, it’s true.
Chapter 20: Physical destiny: pain prison or pleasure palace
At the end of day two, you will learn how to condition your metabolism and your muscles so that they provide you with the energy and fitness you desire because your physical destiny depends on it.
In this chapter, Anthony Robbins shows you why and how you can be healthy and physically fit!
True to himself, he delivers a plan but this time in seven steps:
- Differentiate between being in good shape and being healthy: to be in good shape is the physical ability to engage in athletic activities. Being healthy is when all systems of the organism function optimally.
- Take the decision to be in good shape,
- Work out what state you’re in: Do you need to start exercising? Are you tired first thing in the morning?
- Buy a heart rate monitor,
- Establish an exercise routine,
- Take on a bigger challenge, the one in his book Unlimited Power, “Energy: the fuel of excellence”
- Decide to integrate your exercise into your sense of identity.
Chapter 21: The destiny of human relationships: sharing and love
At the end of day three, you will have improved the quality of your personal relationships and your emotional ties with those who are most dear to you.
Success has no value if you cannot share it
Here are the six fundamental principles for happy relationships:
- If you do not understand the values and rules of the person you are in a relationship with, prepare to suffer,
- The relationship you are in can only last if you see through it the lens of giving rather than receiving,
- For a happy relationship, you should seek out certain things and avoid others.
- Make sure your relationship is the priority of your life!
- Everyday strive to make your relationship better,
- Remind yourself every day, what it is your love about the person you are with. Reinforce your feelings of belonging and renew your feelings of intimacy and the attraction you have for them.
Chapter 22: The financial objective: small steps towards a small (or big) fortune
You’ll take your financial future into your own hands on this fourth day.
To help, Tony provides five fundamentals in order to acquire wealth.
- Make yourself even more useful,
- Preserve your wealth: spend less than you earn and invest the difference,
- Increase your wealth: After having invested the difference, re-invest your profits in order to obtain a compound return,
- Protect your wealth,
- Enjoy your wealth: Real wealth is a feeling of fulfillment.
Chapter 23: Be irreproachable: your code of ethics
How would I feel if I was at my best? Which virtues should I aim for every day, whatever the circumstances?
This is a good question and it’s the theme for this fifth day. There are different credos that help live an irreproachable life. Here is the credo in seven points by John Wooden. Demand the best of yourself:
- Be faithful to yourself,
- Make every day a masterpiece,
- Help others,
- Dig deep into the source of good books,
- Make friendship an art form,
- Build yourself a shelter for difficult days,
- Every day pray to God for guidance and thank the heavens for the blessings.
Chapter 24: Master your time and your life
The sixth and penultimate day is all about time.
Learn to use it to your advantage rather than let it stress you out. Our beliefs also distort our perception of time. Tony explains “three tricks” he uses to save time.
- The ability to distort time,
- Managing your priorities,
- Save years by using the experience of others.
Chapter 25: Rest and fun: even God rested on the seventh day!
Last and final day of the week. Your goal? Find balance.
You’ve worked hard to get where you are, now, have fun!
Part 4: A lesson in destiny
Chapter 26: The supreme challenge: what everyone can do individually
For this final anecdote, Anthony Robbins tells the story of the tuna hunt. The boats were tracking the dolphins, as they knew that schools of tuna would follow them, just below. As soon as the dolphins got closer, the fishermen cast their nets and brought them back in, sometimes containing a hundred dead dolphins as they couldn’t get back to the surface to breathe. All this for what? Tuna! Then, they threw all the dead fish back into the sea…To tackle this, a man decided to film this with a hidden camera. He had conned himself onto the boat as a sailor and he knew he risked death if he was caught. In the end, his expedition was a success.
The tuna hunt
An 11-minute film put an end to this barbaric activity. Thanks to this man, many big companies stopped this massacre and many thousands of dolphins – if not more – were saved. And this is just one of many examples. In all walks of life, there are injustices and miseries to combat. Nothing is more demoralizing and paralyzing than a sense of impotence. It is the main obstacle that prevents us from changing our lives or doing something to help others to change theirs. Thanks to this book you find out how to change yours, but it would be selfish to stop there. It’s time to go beyond that and to contribute to collective decisions concerning the future of the world. Your future, my future, our future, that of our families, and the destiny of all our children and grandchildren. This is the theme of the final chapter.
The majority of problems in this world are caused by human behavior. One can therefore conclude that the solution is a change of behavior. Anthony Robbins believes that you and I and all the people we meet in our lives are capable of heroism, and I fully believe this too. But when the time comes, will you have the courage to be a hero and forget yourself for the benefit of those in need? Will I have that courage too?A final word on this chapter is that our characters are forged through challenges.
Book critique of “Awaken The Giant Within”
This is one of those books that can change a life. They are rare, but also different for each person. And of all the books I have read, this is the one that has most overwhelmed me. It has taught me the most about myself and made me want to change, and it provides the tools. Anthony Robbins is a surprising character. Imagine that at one of his UPW seminars, you learn to walk on fire? It’s his metaphor to demonstrate that the mind, your mind, has formidable powers. He takes us through his book with surprising fluidity.
What did I like most? All his anecdotes! At the start of every chapter, he tells a true story which sets the theme of the chapter. There are quotes all the way through this book that provide strength and some of them have even become part of my life philosophy.
The number of references is truly extraordinary
He studied an incredible array of people, the homeless, financiers, sportspeople, presidents, Mr and Mrs every day and artists, bringing them all together in this book.
This is a sizeable undertaking; it is after all a 600-page tome. So all the anecdotes become the spirit of the book, but sometimes there are just a bit too many of them. On the other hand, it allows us to expand our own set of references, even if occasionally, there’s a regretful lack of clarity on certain issues. This is a must-have book. It will unveil personal development in a very original and unique way! And if it has the same effect on you that it had on me, your life will be turned upside down and you’ll decide to live your dreams and belief.
And you, what do you think? Did it also change your life? Say so in the comments!
Strong Points of Awaken the Giant Within:
- Huge amount of anecdotes which open up the mind
- Quotes from well-known people illustrate his thoughts
- Very dynamic! You never get bored with Tony
- Simple concepts, methods, and ideas for personal development
- Unveils a different, unusual way to see the world
- Applicable immediately and easily, with exercises in every chapter
Weak Point of Awaken the Giant Within:
- Too heavy, all these anecdotes are a strength but reducing the volume slightly would have been good
My rating :
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