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Awaken the Giant Within

By Anthony Robbins


The message contained within the pages of this book is that if you genuinely want to make a change in your life, you must raise your standards and believe that you can meet them. This means changing your belief system to develop a true sense of certainty; a belief that you can and will meet the new standards that you set for yourself before you do in reality. Your habits are the driving force behind your success or failure in life, so it’s not what you do from time to time that shapes your life, it’s what you do consistently.

Many of us have thought about making changes in life, and those changes often revolve around breaking bad habits and developing better ones, but not many of us go on to actually bring about those changes. According to the author, the reason for this is generally the way we frame the change we want to make. Instead of focusing on what we want to achieve – “I want to eat healthily” – we tend to focus on what we’re giving up – “I want to stop eating junk food.” To succeed in making any changes in life, a clear decision about what you want to gain by making those changes must be made, and then that decision must be stuck to, no matter what challenges are faced.  Awakening the Giant within is all about setting higher standards and making better decisions, or as Tony puts it, “Why be good when you can be excellent!”

My Top 3 Takes from the Summary

  • If you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards and believe you can meet them. Good is the enemy of great.

  • If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything.

  • There are three specific beliefs about responsibility that a person must have if they’re going to create long-term change. First, they must believe, ‘Something must change’ – not that it should change, not that it could or ought to, but that it absolutely must. Second, they must not only believe that things must change, but they must believe, ‘I must change it’. Third, they have to believe, ‘I can change it.’



How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Financial Destiny!

The sub-heading on the front cover makes a bold statement, and it’s one that perhaps many who pick up this book would like to believe, but in truth doubt, if it could ever happen for them. It’s this negative voice of doubt that holds people back, and it’s why the author believes the programme he sets out will help readers to erase these negative ‘mental tapes’ that play on a loop, helping to interrupt old patterns of thinking and behaving, and thereby paving the way to learn new ones.

Making Better Decisions


Tony sets out three decisions that he believes control your destiny: Your decisions about what to focus on; your decisions about what things mean to you; and your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.

He tells the reader that everything they do is done either out of a need to avoid pain or a desire to gain pleasure and for most people, the fear of loss is much greater than the desire for gain. Whenever something happens in your life, your brain asks two questions: will this mean pain or pleasure; and what must I do now to avoid pain and/or gain pleasure?


Tony questions why it is that people can find themselves experiencing pain, but yet fail to change, and he then explains that it’s because they haven’t hit what he calls the “emotional threshold,” meaning they haven’t experienced enough pain – yet. It’s only when massive pain becomes linked to a pattern of behaviour that people will take action to avoid indulging in that behaviour at all costs, but a point he wants to get across is that anything that’s wanted and of value in life requires breaking through some short-term pain in order to gain long-term pleasure.

Raising Standards


Tony asserts that any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards and believe you can meet them. To do this, you must change your belief system and develop a sense of certainty that you can and will meet the new standards before you actually do. Of course, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know they should do, and the point is made that if you want to direct your life, you must take control of your consistent actions. It’s not what you do once in a while that shapes your life, but what you do consistently, and it’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.

In saying that standards need to be raised, Tony is telling the reader that they not only have to decide what results they are committed to but also the kind of person they’re committed to becoming. He comments that it’s your decisions, not your conditions, that determine your destiny, and that if you truly decide to, you can do almost anything. Another important point made is that whatever challenges you have in your life currently, it’s most likely they could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream. Success truly is the result of good judgement. Good judgement is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgement!



Changing Beliefs


The message Tony drives home is that we’re not driven by the reality, but by our perception of reality. This means it’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean, so it’s never the environment; it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events – how we interpret them – that shapes who we are today and whom we’ll become tomorrow. He urges readers to understand that if they develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then they can get themselves to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.

The only way for us to have long-term happiness is to live by our highest ideals, to consistently act in accordance with what we believe our life is truly about. The problem here is that whenever we believe something, we no longer question it. New experiences can only trigger change if they cause us to question our beliefs. Asking questions is also the way to expand our lives. By modelling people we see as already succeeding in life, we can then question what it is that makes us different, and what beliefs we have that separate us from others.


Tony believes that all of us want to change either how we feel about things, or our behaviours. He states that there are three specific beliefs about responsibility that a person must have if they’re going to create long-term change. First, we must believe, ‘Something must change’ – not that it should change, not that it could or ought to, but that it absolutely must. Second, we must not only believe that things must change, but we must believe, ‘I must change it’. Third, we have to believe, ‘I can change it.’



Asking Questions


Tony tells the reader that one of the ways he has discovered to increase the quality of his life is to model the habitual questions of people he really respects. He believes that quality questions create a quality life, and that genuine quality of life comes from consistent, quality questions.

The difference between acting badly or brilliantly is not based on your ability, but on the state of your mind and/or body at any given moment. He encourages readers to keep their focus on where they want to go, not what they fear, adding that anyone can change how they feel in an instant by simply changing their focus. With focus comes determination, and a determined state of mind is needed to succeed.



Choosing Words


According to Tony, the words you habitually choose also affect how you communicate with yourself and therefore what you experience. He believes that people with an impoverished vocabulary live an impoverished emotional life; people with rich vocabularies have a multi-hued palette of colours with which to paint their experience, not only for others but for themselves as well. It’s because of this he suggests that by simply changing your habitual vocabulary – the words you consistently use to describe the emotions of your life – you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live. If we want to change our lives and shape our destiny, we need to consciously select the words we’re going to use, and we need to constantly strive to expand our level of choice.



Setting Goals


Tony states that the foundation for all success in life is the setting of goals and that setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. He points out that all goal setting must be immediately followed by both the development of a plan, and massive and consistent action toward its fulfilment, reminding readers that it’s not about ignoring the problems of life, it’s about putting themselves in a better mental and emotional state to come up with solutions and act on them. It’s not just getting a goal that matters, but the quality of life you experience along the way, something he draws attention to by commenting that many people know what they want to have, but have no idea whom they want to be.


Know Your Values


Knowing whom you want to be becomes easier when you know what you believe in and what you value in life. Tony tells readers that their values – whatever they are – are the compass that’s guiding them to their ultimate destiny. He states that to value something means to place importance upon it; anything that you hold dear can be called a ‘value,’ and anytime you have difficulty making an important decision, you can be sure that it’s the result of being unclear about your values. Another important point made on this topic is that feeling angry or upset with someone is not because of their behaviour, it’s because of your rules; you’re upset because of things that matter to you – your values.

Having given the reader all the information and motivation they need to raise the bar and believe in their ability to achieve the life they want, Tony provides a succinct reminder of how to take immediate control of their mental, emotional, physical, and financial destiny in four simple steps:

  1. Decide what you want.

  2. Take action.

  3. Notice what’s working or not.

  4. Change your approach until you achieve what you want.




As a world-renowned personal development coach, Tony Robbins uses this book to remind readers of messages they may have heard before, both from him and from other self-help gurus, but they are motivational messages that everyone interested in making changes in life can benefit from. In reading the clear advice presented in a straightforward and actionable way, readers are encouraged to think about their goals, commit to them – not just hope things will happen – take action, assess the results, and then make the adjustments needed to stay on track to achieving what they want, and whom they want to be.





Tony’s popular approach to life coaching can be considered a motivational boost and a trusted helping hand towards breaking old patterns of thinking and behaviour and learning new ones. In his inimitable style, he not only shows the reader how to raise the bar, but he also gives them belief in their ability to clear it.


Bio of the Author


Anthony (Tony) Robbins is an American author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist.


Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, 1992 (first published), ISBN: 978-0-671-79154-4 is available to buy at Amazon.


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