We all have unlimited potential in us. Through self-mastery, we can take control of our lives, harness the forces that shape destiny, to have and achieve anything we want in life. “Awaken the Giant Within” is a detailed action guide by Tony Robbins to show how you can make fundamental and lasting changes to transform your quality of life. In this summary, we’ll give a synopsis of the various tips, tools and techniques from Robbin to awaken the giant within yourself.
Everyone is born with talents and opportunities, and deep inside, we all wish to make a difference. Yet, we often lack the focus and confidence to do so. Here, Robbins acts as your personal coach, sharing his ideas, experiences, and distinctions, with examples and tips to awaken us to our true potential and help us take action. Let’s look at the some of the powerful ideas in the book:
Part 1: Raising your Standards
IT STARTS WITH A DECISION
Every decision – or lack of it – has consequences. If you don’t decide how you’ll live 10 years from now, you’d have, by default, decided to let circumstances dictate your life. Every successful person (e.g. Mahatma Ghandi, John F Kennedy) had, at some point in their lives, made a major decision. For Robbins, the turning point came 8 years before he wrote the book – he was fat, broke, and decided he had to change his life, and never be less than his best again. In the book, Robbins shares many examples and stories of how a real decision can change everything. Get the key insights – e.g. how your decisions are linked to commitment, action, learning and flexibility – in our full book summary.
PAIN AND PLEASURE: THE FORCES THAT DRIVE US
Everything we do is to avoid pain, or to gain pleasure. Even if we logically believe that something is good for us in the long term, we may not take action if we believe it’ll bring us short-term pain. Still, all of us have a pain threshold, where the level of pain is so high that we vow never to face it again. The key is to learn to use pain and pleasure to drive our decisions and actions, rather than be controlled by them. We’ll address this in Part 2.
Part 2: Changing your Limiting Beliefs
In the book, Robbins explains the concept of belief systems and limiting beliefs, in great detail. In a nutshell, a belief is basically a “feeling of certainty about something”. A mere idea starts to develop “legs” when we find references or experiences that support it. The strength of the belief depends on (a) the level of emotional intensity and (b) the number of references.
In our complete 15-page summary, we explain more about belief systems and references (what they are, how they’re formed, and how they affect us etc.).
We are free to interpret references in anyway we want. And, it doesn’t matter if a belief is “true”. Humans can rationalize anything we wish to believe. What’s more important is if the belief empowers us.
NEURO-ASSOCIATIVE CONDITIONING (NAC)
When we do something, our brains create a neural-connection to the associated feeling or behaviour. The more we do it, the more we reinforce the connection. Eventually, it forms a “neural super-highway”, and we do / avoid the behaviour, even when the sensation stops. Conversely, if we stop a response long enough, the pathway weakens. In the book and our full summary, we elaborate on how this works, and how we sabotage our goals with “false neuro-association” and “mixed neuro-association”.
The good news is, our habitual mental patterns can be changed quickly and permanently, using Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) – This is a 6-step system designed by Robbins to disrupt your disempowering patterns, and establish new, empowering ones that run without constant effort and willpower. Here are the 6 steps of the NAC (do get the book / complete summary for more details):
Changing your belief systems and limiting beliefs are just the first steps. To truly improve your life, you need to change your strategies.
Part 3: Changing your Strategies
GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
Everything we’ve ever wanted in life (e.g. goals about money, family, career) is to allow us to feel what we want to feel (e.g. loved, respected, happy etc.). Our feelings are our internal compass, to tell us if we are on-course.
The Power of State
Our emotional states are our internal (typically unconscious) reaction to what’s happening around us. You can change your emotional states in 2 ways: by (i) Changing your Physiology (how you use your body), and (ii) Changing your Focus (including what you focus on, and how you focus).
The Power of Questions
Successful people ask better quality questions that empower and lead them to good answers. Questions can instantly shift your focus and feelings, help us to prioritize, and uncover resources and solutions. For example, instead of asking “why am I so upset?”, ask “how can I find joy at the moment?”.
The Power of Vocabulary and Metaphors
Language is a crucial part of culture, and it shapes how we perceive, think, feel, and act. Just by changing the words and labels you put on your emotions, you can change how you feel. Robbin terms this “Transformational Vocabulary”. Words affect how we interpret events around us, and generate an immediate biochemical effect. Metaphors are also very powerful because they bring up strong emotions, imagery and associated frames/ rules. In the book, Robbins covers numerous examples and details of words you can reduce the emotional intensity of negative feelings, heighten positive sensations, or soften your approach, as well as how changes in metaphors change perceptions and frames/ rules. [You can also get a detailed overview from our 15-page book summary].
6 Steps for Mastering your Emotions
In our garden of life, weeds (like negative emotions) will always appear. We shouldn’t ignore them, nor get upset over them. Simply remove the weeds and plant your positive emotions daily so your garden will be healthy and vibrant.
Combining the NAC and using components from the 3 strategies above, Robbins walks us through the 6 steps for mastering our negative emotions. The book details 10 “action signals” and “emotions of power”.
TAKING CONCRETE ACTION
You don’t need to apply everything in the book to transform your life. However, you definitely must take consistent action. In the book, Robbins covers various action steps you can take. Here’s an overview of some of the key areas. For the full action guide, do get a copy of the book, or get our full book summary for a detailed outline.
Defining your Goals
Often, people don’t set goals for fear of failure. Yet, it’s vital to have a crystal-clear focus that you commit to. In the book, Robbins walks you through a detailed goal-setting exercise in 4 areas: (a) Personal Growth, (b) Career/ Business/ Financial, (c) Things to Own/ Do, and (d) Contribution.
Unleashing your Inner Giant
Your goals are a means to an end, a tool to direct your focus and growth. The ultimate goal is to unleash your potential – who you become, and the people you touch along the way. With clarity on your goals, you can now answer this question: “To achieve all that I want, what kind of person must I become?” The book zooms in further into (a) Your hierarchy of values (so you can make the “right” decisions, and become aware of conflicting values that bring you pain), (b) Changing your rules (so you set yourself up to win, not lose), (c) Aligning your identity with your goals (yes, you’re free to evolve and shape your own identity).
Taking Control of the Master System
Successful people stand out in their field because they’ve gotten enough distinctions, with 5 key building blocks to make great evaluations.
• The 10-Day Mental Challenge. This exercise helps you to kick off what you’ve learned in the book, to focus all your energy on possible solutions (rather than problems).
Other Details in “Awaken the Giant Within”
This book is packed with more than 500 pages of insights, examples, tips, exercises and distinctions, such as:
• References and examples of well-known personalities like Donald Trump, Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Mahatma Ghandi, Walt Disney, Warren Buffet, Soichiro Honda, Billy Joel, Robin Williams;
• Many personal examples of Robbins and his friends/ clients;
• References to real-life economic/ social issues and scientific research; and
• A complete 7-Day success program to integrate all the components.
Robbins reinforces the ideas using various perspectives, details and analogies, all of which are important to create the “aha” moment, and to inspire us to action. To get the most from the book, you’ll need to examine the details, and take consistent action. Click here to get the book, or get our Awaken the Giant Within summary bundle.
Start awakening your inner giant today!