Awaken the Giant Within Tony Robbins – Book Summary/Notes

Achieve Limitless Success, Happiness and Gratitude

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3 elementary principles to change your life

-raise your standards – change what you demand of yourself. (Write down all the things you no longer accept in your life and tolerate and all the things you aspire to become)

-Change your limiting beliefs – our beliefs are unquestioned commands and control and dictate our potential. Must change our belief system for lasting change. Must develop a sense of certainty that we can and will meet our new standards before we actually do. 

-change your strategy – emulate a role model or someone successful who you admire. Learn what they do, their core beliefs and how they think. 

Knowing isn’t enough, you must take action. 

5 areas of life that impact us most

-emotional mastery 

-physical mastery 

-relationship mastery

-financial mastery

-time mastery 


Our decisions determine our destiny not our conditions or circumstances. 

If you truly decide to, you can do almost anything. You don’t have to do things you don’t like, you can make a decision to change them instantly. 

If you truly commit to taking action once you decide what you want, learn along the way and adjust as needed, you will create the momentum vital for achieving the result. 

3 decisions that control your destiny 

-what to focus on

-what things mean to you

-what to do to create the results you desire (what to do in spite of the challenge that may appear to limit us)

Mastery takes as long as you want It to take. Gain experience quicker by working and doing more, resulting in growing and acquiring the talent faster. 

Must commit to long term results rather than short term fixes, as important as any decision you’ll make in your lifetime. 

The force behind all decisions 

The force for all decisions derive from either avoiding pain or gaining pleasure. By changing what we link pain and pleasure to, we can instantly change our behaviors. 

You don’t do important things because you believe that taking action in the moment would be more painful than just putting It off. 

By linking massive pain to any behavior or emotional pattern, we will avoid indulging in It at all costs. 

Example – if you see first hand how terrible drugs or alcohol are for a person, you will create neuro-associations that prevent you from wanting to do them, linking It to pain. 

Example – people who work out intensely to look better link feelings of pleasure to the pain of physical exertion, converting discomfort of discipline into satisfaction of personal growth. 

To change you must link pain to our old behavior and pleasure to our new behavior and condition it until it’s consistent. Think of something you’d never do and the emotional intensity attached to it, link that to the behavior you want to avoid. 

We all do more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure. 

First step to creating change – becoming aware of the power that pain and pleasure exert over every decision and action we take. Understanding the links. 


-write down four actions you need to take that you’ve been putting off

-under each action write down the answer to why haven’t I taken action? In the past what pain have I linked to taking this action? 

-write down all the pleasure you’ve had in the past by indulging in this negative pattern

-write down what It will cost you if you don’t change now. How does that make you feel?

-write down all the pleasure you’ll receive by taking each of these actions right now. Envision all the positive impacts both in the present and in the long term. 


Guiding force on what leads to pain or pleasure.

Whenever something happens in your life your brain asks two questions 

1-will this mean pain or pleasure 

2-what must I do now to avoid pain or gain pleasure 

The answers to these questions are based on our beliefs which are driven by our generalizations about what we’ve learned could lead to pain or pleasure which guide all of our actions and direction and quality of our lives.

Most of our beliefs are generalizations about our past based on our interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences. 

-we don’t consciously decide what to believe 

-often these beliefs are based on misinterpretations of past experiences 

-once we adopt a brief we forget it’s merely an interpretation 

We begin to treat our beliefs as if they’re realities and we rarely if ever question them. 

Global beliefs – giant beliefs we have about everything in our life (identities, people, work, time, money, life itself)

Beliefs have different levels of emotional certainty and intensity.

3 different types of beliefs

-opinions (easily changed, based on impressions during the moment) 

-beliefs (certainty, from references such as personal experiences, information from other sources, vivid imaginations). 

-convictions (much more emotionally intense feelings than a basic belief. Completely resistant to new input. Willing to take massive action and is extremely

passionate about the belief). 

Create a conviction by 

-starting with a basic belief

-reinforce it by adding new and more powerful references (from books, podcasts, talking to others that are likeminded). The more emotional they are the stronger the conviction becomes 

-find a triggering event or make one (ask questions or put yourself in situations that will create emotional intensity, example – if you want to quit smoking view an x ray of a smokers black lungs). 

-take action (each action strengthens your commitment and raises the level of emotional intensity and conviction) 

Social proof – belief in things because everyone else believes in it. Great way to limit your life. 

Kaizen – continuous improvement in small steps, compounding over the long term into colossal proportions. Essential to use this concept in all facets of our lives. 

Change can be made in an instant. It’s the “getting ready to change” that takes time. 

In order to create long term change we must have the belief that we are responsible for our own change nobody else. 

Responsibility beliefs 

-believe that something must change, not should or ought to.

-we must be the ones to change It/the source of the change, cannot look for someone else to do It or be able to blame.

-must truly believe that we can change it.

Neuro associative conditioning 

-people link more pain to changing than to not. 

-to get true leverage you must ask yourself pain inducing questions such as “what will this cost me if I don’t change?” What will I miss out on in my life if I don’t make the shift?

What is it already costing me mentally emotionally physically financially spiritually?

How will It affect my loved ones? 

-then use pleasure associating questions – if I do change how will that make me feel about myself? What kind of momentum could I create if I change this in my life?

-The key is to get a lot of strong enough reasons why change should be taken immediately. 

To create change you must interrupt patterns. Example – guy who wanted to stop eating chocolate. Tony forced him to eat nothing but chocolate until he got sick of it and began associating (creating new neural pathways) painful sensations to the idea of eating it. 

You must do unexpected things, radically different from what you’ve experienced before. (If you’re upset or depressed jump up and scream at the sky hallelujah my feet don’t stink today! It will shift your attention and change your state and those around you) 

The more outrageous your approach to breaking a pattern the more effective it’ll be. 

You must do It in the moment the pattern is recurring. (Just like when you’re speaking to someone and get distracted and forget where you left off). 

Fixed schedule of reinforcement – small rewards each time you do the new behavior. 

Variable schedule of reinforcement – vary up the rewards so one doesn’t get stagnant and expect It and end up only doing the bare minimum. 

Jackpot – giving more than anticipated results in working harder and hopes of it happening again. 

Must find an empowering alternative that gives you the same pleasure or more from the old behavior. 

Condition it with emotional intensity and repetition until it’s automatic. Then test It to see if It works in your mind. 

Your body leads your emotions. Change your posture, your facial expression, focus on putting your body in pleasurable states consistently. 

Make an effort to laugh and smile more often daily. 

Whatever we focus on determines how we feel. 


Our questions determine our thoughts.

To change the quality of our life we must change our habitual questions. 

Successful people (in any area) ask better questions and as a result get better answers. 

Quality questions create a quality life. 

Questioning our limitations is what tears down the walls in life, all human profess is preceded by new questions. 

The questions you ask will determine where you focus, how you think, feel and what you do. 

It’s not only the questions you ask, but the questions you fail to ask (what’s the worst that can happen if I make this decision) that shape your destiny. 

Questions immediately change what you’re focusing on and therefore how we feel. By focusing on something positive and potentially empowering you will then look for and find references and solutions. If It at first you respond with negativity, but remain persistent with a sense of certainty and expectation in spite of it all, you’ll eventually get the answers you need and deserve. 

By repeatedly asking questions like what am I happy about right now what am I grateful for in my life how can I be happier or more grateful, you’ll come up with the real references that will make you begin to focus on the reasons that do in fact exist for you to feel happy and grateful providing you with a sense of certainty. 

Questions provide actual reasons to feel the emotion. 

Empowering and important questions to ask ourselves when a problem arises (versus focusing on disempowering questions that limit and prevent you from seeking opportunities clearly) 

-what is great about this problem?

-what is not perfect yet? (Presupposition that things will be perfect in the future, versus thinking negatively) 

-what am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?

-what am I willing to no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?

-how can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?

By putting yourself in a better state, you can come up with better ways of dealing with challenges. Break the pattern and put yourself in a positive emotional environment. 

What are you happy about? What could you be happy about right now if you want to be? Excited, grateful, committed, loving. 

What’s great about this?

How can I use this? 


The words you habitually choose also affect how you communicate with yourself and therefore what you experience. 

Using emotionally charged words can magically transform your own state or someone else’s. How you think feel and live. They shape our beliefs and impact our actions. 

We unconsciously form habitual favorite words that shape and transform our life experience. We don’t evaluate the impact of these words we’ve grown accustomed to using. 

The problem occurs when we start consistently pouring any form of negative sensation into words, such as furious or depressed, and this word may not accurately reflect actual experience. The moment we place this feeling around our experience the label we put on it becomes our experience. 

Transformational vocabulary – The words that we attach to experience become our experience. Must consciously choose the words we use to describe our emotional states or suffer the penalty of creating greater pain than is warranted or appropriate. Also gives us the power to take negative feelings and lower their intensity and also take positive experiences and life them to greater heights of pleasure and empowerment. 

The way we interpret translate and label experience immediately changes the sensations produced in our nervous systems. Words create a biochemical effect. 

“Words form the thread on which we string our experiences” – Aldous Huxley

We tend to experience the same emotions due to the same words we use to describe the experience we are having. By analyzing our sensations more critically and being more creative in evaluating things we can attach new labels to our experience and change our emotional reality. 

To change our lives and shape our destiny we need to consciously select the words we use and constantly strive to expand our level of choice of words. 

The words we use impact others emotions as well. By adopting someone else’s habitual vocabulary you begin to adopt their emotional patterns as well.

Commonly used old disempowering words (that intensify negative emotion) to change to new empowering words to either lower intensity or break pattern and laugh at. 

Annoyed/irritated/pissed – ruffled, my feathers are a tad bit ruffled

Bullshit – this is utter nonsense, this is blasphemy, this is preposterous 

I feel exhausted/like shit – I feel a little droopy

I’m starving/hungry – my belly is rumbling, I can’t hear over the rumbles in my tummy  

How I respond when asked how are you or how are you doing, how do you feel

Good – change this to – fantastic, exceptional, terrific, spectacular, superb, outstanding, fabulous, awesome, phenomenal


Metaphors are extremely powerful and dictate our beliefs behaviors thoughts feelings and actions. They can severely limit our beliefs and potential, as well as positively impact them. 

Most of the time we never consciously recognize the metaphors that we’ve adopted into habits and therefore believe in and let control our views. 

When you hear someone using a metaphor that places limits, step in and break their pattern and offer a new one. Do this for yourself as well. 


If you constantly dwell over reasons that you don’t do positive things or that your life isn’t the way you want It to be, your brain will comply by providing references to back up these excuses, leading to negative emotions. 

You can effectively use your emotions by understanding that all of them serve you and that negative ones are just a call to action that can serve as a compass to navigate you towards which way to go in life. 

You are the source of all your emotions, you create them. You can feel any way you choose at any moment in time. 

“Your perceptions are controlled by what you focus on and the meaning you interpret from things.”

If you focus on positive improvement, your perception will come from a positive state. 

When something happens, negative or positive, you have the power to decide how you want to interpret It, whether that’s by saying this is good and can help me grow or that It’s bad and allow It to negatively impact your emotional state of mind. 

You can change your perception in a moment by your physiology or by asking yourself a better question. 

Six steps to emotional mastery

Step 1 – identify what you’re really feeling. Question yourself, use transformational vocabulary and recognize your intensity lowers.

Step 2 – acknowledge and appreciate your emotions, knowing they support you.

Step 3 – get curious about the message the emotion is offering you. This allow you to master the emotion, solve the challenge and prevent the same problem from occurring in the future. 

What do I really want to feel?

What would I have to believe in order to feel the way I’ve been feeling?

What am I willing to do to create a solution and handle this right now?

What can I learn from this?

Step 4 – get confident. Recall a past time when you felt this emotion and successfully handled it. What questions did you ask yourself or perceptions did you view through to overcome it previously? 

Step 5 – get certain you can handle this not only today but in the future as well. Visualize yourself handling the situation easily. See hear and feel it. 

Step 6- get excited and take action. 

Negative emotions are just calls to action to switch up your approach/actions and/or to see things from a different perspective. 

The feeling of frustration is a good sign it means that the solution to your problem is within range that you simply have to change your approach in order to achieve it. Realize that frustration is actually your friend. 

Guilt allows you to realize that you violated one of your standards and it can serve its purpose to drive you to hold a higher standard in the future so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. 


Lacking powerful goals leads to lack of drive and energy. 

Stop focusing on making a living as your goal and start designing a life that you want to live! 

Consciously decide on your goals. 

Your current circumstances are far from you reaching your true potential, they’re simply the limited goals you focus on.  

Eustress – positive force of pressure that pushes you to constantly increase the quality of your life and those closest to you. 

Persistence is the way those most successful have succeeded. 

Master system of evaluation

Five components that determine how you evaluate everything that happens in your life.

What things mean and what to do about them. 

1 – mental and emotional state when making an evaluation. 

2 – questions 

3 – hierarchy of values 

4 – beliefs/global beliefs – determine our expectations and often control what we’re even willing to evaluate in the first place. 

5 – reference experiences – we use these past experiences to compare to something present to determine what It means. Which references we choose decides the meaning we take from an experience, how we feel about It and the action we will take. 


Things you place great importance upon

Means and ends

Means values are family and money

Ends are love, happiness, security, freedom

Money is a means to achieve a deeper set of values. 

Most people focus on means when they should focus on their desires which are their ends values. 

Ends values fulfill and make life rich and rewarding. 

Rules – specific beliefs about what has to happen in order for us to feel pleasure or pain. 

The truth is nothing has to happen to feel good. Making a million dollars doesn’t give you pleasure, it’s your rule that says when you hit this mark then I’ll give myself permission to feel good. In that moment when you decide to feel good you’ll send a message to your brain to change your muscle responses, breathing and biochemistry in your nervous system that causes you to feel sensations of pleasure. 

If we structure our lives in a way where our happiness is dependent upon something we cannot control then we will experience pain.

Judge and jury system – our rules are controlling our responses every moment we’re alive. They’ve been set up completely randomly. 

We need to reverse the process of how we are wired so that we make It hard to feel bad and easy to feel good. 

We must design rules so that we are in control and so the outside world is not what determines whether we feel good or bad. 

When you get upset or angry with someone, it’s your rules that upset you not their behavior. 

Your rules are not based on reality, they are arbitrary. Just because you use them and feel strongly about them doesn’t mean they’re the best rules or the right rules. Rules are meant to empower not destroy. 

Anytime a rule gets in the way ask yourself “what’s more important, my relationship or my rules?”

If you have conflicting rules and values you must realize It and then link enough pain to a rule that doesn’t serve you and replace it with a rule that does (ex – if you’re top value is love, yet your rules say that if you get too close you’ll get hurt since you have in the past). 

Threshold rules – must and must never do rules. Absolutely not do. 

Personal standards – should and should never. Willing to break these in short term depending on reasons. 

The more must rules, the more unlivable you make your life, the more stressful and painful. 


The more expanded references, then better understanding we can have as to what’s possible and what we are capable of, regardless of challenges.

It’s not our references, but our interpretations of them that determines our beliefs. It’s our perceptions of the experiences. 

How do you use your references? 

Do you consciously interpret them in ways that empower you in ways that support the achievement of your goals?

The way we use our references will determine how we feel because whether something is good or bad is all based on what you’re comparing It to. 


Our sense of certainty about who we are create the boundaries and limits within which we live.

We all will act consistently with our views of who we truly are, whether that view is accurate or not. 

As we develop new beliefs about who we are, our behavior will change to support the new identity. 


Create products or services that Increase the quality of life for customers you serve. Value. 

Ask the question – “how can I add more value to any environment I’m in?”

States to experience daily 

Happiness – when I laugh or make someone else laugh, or help them. When I eat delicious food, spend quality time with loved ones and do activities that I enjoy. 

Motivation – when I read, watch or listen about someone/something inspiring, when I think about ways to grow personally and in business.

Healthy – when I feel like i have lots of energy, when i exercise and eat food that’s good for me. 

Gratefulness – when I prime, when i think about all the good in my life. 

Generous/contribution – when I help others, am kind to others, even small deeds. When I make a positive impact for someone. 

Growth – when I read and learn and educate myself. When I gain more knowledge and insights. 

Goofiness – when I do something silly that puts smiles on others faces or makes them laugh. 

Fulfilled – when I reflect on my life and who I am/have become, have accomplished, my growth and what I’ll continue to accomplish as I grow. 

Engaged – when i give undivided attention to any situation and get into flow state/lose track of time. 

Passionate – when I think about helping or making an impact for others. 

Changing time frames when it comes to things like Stress

Stress comes from focusing on feeling stuck in a particular time frame (I have too much to do right now and not enough time)

By taking control of your focus and moving It to a future time frame (where you can visualize successfully completing or finding resolutions to the tasks), you can gain the resources needed to refocus on the present. 

Refocusing on what you can control in the present is important versus thinking of how stressful the future will be. 

Your experience of time is controlled by your focus. When you do something you enjoy time flies by because you aren’t focusing on time, but when you do something you don’t enjoy and you keep looking at the time it takes forever. 

When you must do things that take a lot of time (errands, working out, etc), kill two birds with one stone by adding another component that will help speed up your perception of time (listen to music, a podcast, etc). 

urgency and importance control our decisions about what to do with our time 

The goal is to set up each day where we spend the majority of It doing things that are important to us rather than urgent. 

Achieve Limitless Success, Happiness and Gratitude

Zero BS on taking Control of your Life. No spam.