Anthony Robbins wrote this book in 1991 to help people take control of their lives in every area. It is a very action focused book, very motivational and indeed a complete personal development manual. He draws heavily upon his Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training to enable us to make changes in our lives and turn our dreams into reality.

His enthusiasm and passion for life – “live with passion” being one of Tony Robbins’ favourite phrases – comes across in the book in a very conversational style. Tony tells a lot of his own story of personal growth and about the therapeutic transformations that he has made in many people’s lives.

One of Tony Robbins’ most powerful personal development insights is about making a decision. He explains that making a true decision to change is actually about cutting off any other alternative possibility – the words ‘decision’ and ‘incision’ have a similar route and it is all about cutting. Anthony Robbins says that your life can be changed in a moment of decision. He goes on to talk about how we can make decisions to change our emotions and our beliefs and gives us tools to enable inner change to take place.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Anthony Robbins explains his tools, based upon Neuro-Linguistic Programming, to enable us to interrupt our patterns of thought and behaviour and create leverage to motivate us to stay on track with the decisions that we have made. Leverage, Robbins explains, is achieved by creating, in our minds, pain to move away from and pleasure to move towards. This is not so much personal development as personal transformation.

He draws heavily upon the work of John Grinder, who was one of the driving forces in the creation of Neuro Linguistic Programming. He explains some of the technical aspects of it, such as ‘submodalities’, in a way which are accessible and applicable to everybody.

A submodality, by the way, is simply a way that you represent in your mind the world around you, using your different senses. We can see this in our own lives by the words that we use. That last sentence was a case in point: it could equally have said “we can feel this in our own lives…” or “we can hear echoes of this in our own lives by listening to the words that we say”. Some of us naturally talk about seeing and using visual sub modalities, others hearing, using auditory sub modalities and thirdly those more rooted in their body and feelings will use words that come from kinaesthetic submodalities. Tony Robbins provides interventions that enable you to change your state, change the way you feel about things and so change your life – even just by changing some of these sub modalities.

Life Coach

As with many life coaches – and Anthony Robbins was the original life coach – the ability to ask yourself the right question, or at least a better question, will lead you to a better quality of life. It can take a while to realise that the constant chatter in your mind – or what NLP practitioners call “self talk” – is going on virtually all the time. That chatter is probably reinforcing old patterns and keeping you stuck in a particular way of thinking. In “Awaken the Giant Within”, Tony Robbins gives you the keys to a better quality of life by helping you to ask yourself a better type of question.

Words are more important in personal development than many of us at first realise. We can change the quality of our experience of life by changing the words that we use to describe it. For example, a common saying might be “this is a complete nightmare” when we could say “this is a problem”. This small shift in words does not deny that there is an issue to be dealt with and does not deny that it is not welcome, but our emotional reaction to the words is quite different. It is not positive thinking mumbo-jumbo – i.e. saying that something is better than it is – it is simply not using words that make you feel worse than it actually is.

Tony Robbins teaches that we have the power to react to the world, events and other people in whatever way we want. Tony’s mentor, Jim Rohn, said that it was not important what problems came into your life, it was important how you react to them and that rather than wishing your problems were easier or not accepting them, wish that your skills to deal with them were better.

In this book Tony Robbins gives alternative words to change your vocabulary, including those on the positive side. Many of us talk about things being “nice” but he suggests that we could talk about them being “fantastic” or “spectacular”. Using these words helps exercise our “emotional muscle”, to live and experience the full range of emotion rather than being constrained to the same tired patterns of thought and behaviour that we have lived with for many years.

In the second part of this book, Tony looks at values, rules and personal identity and finishes with a whistle-stop tour through each area of your life, physical, relationships and finances.

Tony Robbins clearly is one of the most sought after coaches, speakers and teachers in the world. Most people will not be able to have him as their life coach or even attend his big events like “Unleash the Power Within” and so it may be difficult to see what he has got to offer. Reading this book will start to give you an insight into why so many people seek to learn from him.