BORROW this book if you have to!
BORROW the information inside of it if you are smart!
And make it your own if you are wise!
This 1991, Five hundred thirty-nine page classic is as good today as it was when I first read it about ten years ago. A decade ago I couldn’t believe that no one else had told me about the powerful insights that Anthony Robbins was sharing in his simple, easy to understand book. He is such a master communicator! As I am reading this book today I now can’t believe how much valuable information I had forgotten and have sadly let just lay dormant on a shelf somewhere in my basement collecting dust.
I imagine some of you are now curious about this older book, and some of you may be grinning right now remembering how awesome it was way back then to read and listen to Tony’s work. Well, let’s start with the central message of Awaken the Giant Within. It is a very simple, but yet, powerful message that proudly claims, We all have the power right now to control how we think, how we feel, and what we do. Period. It’s that simple. A life transformation really is that simple, but unfortunately, most of us just won’t do it.
Well, let me explain this some more by giving you an example from the book. Have you ever seen a little kid pretending to be a superhero? One day he pretends to be Batman and he pretends that he is driving his bat mobile. The next day he wants to be Spiderman so he pretends to do something completely different than yesterday by pretending today to be scaling walls and shooting webs. The following day he acts differently again as he plays Superman and flies away with his arms up in the air. Every day this small kid behaves differently as he pretends to be something different. Furthermore, he does all this seamlessly, and not even for one moment does he consider asking for permission to be what he wants to be at any given moment.
Kids know a secret here that we adults have forgotten. We can be anything we want, and act anyway we want, anytime we want; and we don’t need permission to do so!
Now let’s look at one of the few times that we adults feel this freedom that kids can feel in an instant. Adults feel this freedom of being what they want during Halloween and/or Mardi Gras. “Why is that?” you ask. Well, that is because Halloween and/or Mardi Gras allows adults to dress up and gives them permission to act differently. The good thing here is that it shows adults still have the ability to act differently when they chose to. The bad thing is that it also shows that unlike kids, adults are seeking permission first before they think and act differently.
So here is the big question. If adults can think differently, act differently, and behave differently in a way that can catapult them to their wildest dreams, and they don’t have to ask for permission to do this, then why don’t they just do what they really want to do?
Well, there are a lot of reasons for adult’s fear of change. But the main one comes down to having control over their emotions and the tools that shape their emotions. You see, we tend to let our thoughts run wild, and unfortunately unharnessed thoughts run all over the place in every which way except for the one that we want them to go. A good tool to use to control our thoughts and emotions is what Tony calls Transformational Vocabulary. This is when we consciously change the word we are thinking and/or speaking to a different word that will lessen the intensity of the experience if it’s a bad one that we want less of. We can also use Transformational Vocabulary to heighten the intensity if we’re experiencing something good that we want more of.
Tony also talks a lot about the type of Questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis. He says that only 10% of our time should be on the problem and 90% should be on the solution. So, instead of asking poor quality, and disempowering questions like, Why does this always happen to me? We should ask ourselves instead more empowering questions like, Okay, what’s good about this? What can I learn from this? Higher quality questions gives us a higher quality life!
Another thing we all need to work on is our State of Mind. When we are in a good state of mind, most bad news deflects right off of us. But, if we are in a bad state of mind, then more bad news could sink us. We all need to make the conscious decision to face life in a good state of mind!
Next, Tony talks about Beliefs and References. Believe it or not, it’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean. And what causes those beliefs? Well, our references do, of course! If we believe trying something new will be painful because we’re using one of our past experiences or even our friend Billy’s recent disaster as a reference do you think we are going to try something new? Everybody knows what happened to Billy when he recently tried something new; he failed, and everyone laughed at him. Do you think that reference is going to get us to try something daring? Nope.
Well, if our past failures and Billy’s recent disaster are our only references, then we certainly aren’t going to try something new that might be painful, while staying right here in the same spot might be safe and more pleasurable, right? But, what if, instead of having the pain and pleasure principle use us, we chose to use it to get what we wanted? What if we consciously chose a different reference, say old man Mike. You know Mike, he is the guy that has been in this same place forever and is living a life of misery and regret? If we used old man Mike as a reference, would we now believe that it is painful to stay in the same spot all of our lives and more pleasurable to take a calculated risk every once in a while? You bet we would!
Tony’s book is jam packed with more information than I could ever share with you here in this blog. But, regardless, I would like to take just a little more time here to talk about Tony’s concept of Identity. There is a big difference between a person who identifies him or herself as a drug addict, and a person who sees him or herself as a person who just experimented. These two types of identity are going to behave very differently. One of them is not going to be able to kick the drugs down the road no matter how hard he or she tries. And I think you already know which one, or which self-proclaimed identity it is.
Another identity example is the difference that exist in someone who thinks they just aren’t good enough to make it big, and another who sees him or herself as already successful, but just not all the way there yet. One is never going to move beyond average, and the other will eventually be successful. Again, I think you already know which one is which.
My personal thoughts about this book are that I can’t write enough to do any real kind of justice to Anthony Robbins’ amazing work. But, I will however, dust off a few of his other older books and CDs, and refresh my thinking, feeling, and actions with his empowering insights as I continue to work on improving my identity through his (C.A.N.I.) Constant And Never-ending Improvement. I think you would also benefit from doing the same, wouldn’t you agree?
Daniel Blanchard is the author of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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