When I decided to read Awken the Giant Within, I was a bit surprised. I thought it’s much newer, but in fact, it’s from the very beginning of the 1990s. It doesn’t make it less relevant and this book is still very popular. Kind of a good sign.
I find the author, Tony Robbins, an authentic person to write such a book. He left home at the age of 17, he also left college and started to work as a janitor. Then he made up his mind and became one of the most important coaches, motivational speakers of our age.
If you are interested in similar books and you read motivational writers, bloggers, etc, you’ll realize that so many of their ideas are coming from this book. Reading Awaken the Giant Within helps to understand the work of many of the later authors.
What makes this book particularly powerful is that it gives exercises broken down into small steps. as such they are easy to answer, easy to implement, but they are still relevant. they also help to discover your values, your rules.
Let’s have a look at a couple of examples.
Neuro Associative Conditioning (NAC)
One of the key concepts of the book is Neuro Associative Conditioning (NAC). Like every strategic goal setting, it starts with defining what do you want (not what you don’t want) and where are you heading right now?
We all know the mantra, no pain, no gain. What Robbins suggests - though not with exactly these words - is no pain, change. We all can change, and we can change much faster than you’d think. Change has nothing to do with our capabilities. We all can change. In regards to the NAC, it’s about motivation, you have the feel an urgency to change.
The best way to produce that urgency is actually associating a huge pain not to change. You must break your own patterns in a way that they become too painful.
I will always remember what he proposed in case you overeat in a restaurant and you want to break that pattern. You stand up, step aside from the table, point at your place and shout “Pig! Pig! Pig!”. The result according to him? This will be so painful that for sure you won’t have to repeat it many times.
Of course, you don’t simply want to break and thus remove the patterns, you have to replace them with something. After all, that’s why defined where you want to go? You have to break it down and elevate the necessary steps to your daily patterns. More on this in the book.
Mastering Our Systems
If we want to live a happy life we must understand our internal operating system and moreover, we have to configure it properly.
It all starts with understanding our values. Robbins proposes a few exercises - again Awaken the Giant Within is like a big exercise book. With the help of the prescribed tasks, you’ll come up with your core values, you’ll rank them, and you’ll also have to explain what each means to you.
This step is crucial because you might realize that your goals are conflicting with each other. Up to a certain level, it’s fine, but they might block each other and cause you huge pain. Not the kind of pain, that would bring you good patterns.
You have to question yourself if there would be other values making more sense. If so, you should change your values and thus change your life.
To live up to your values, you must live by your rules. Rules that you should also understand and probably alter. First, you must understand that there are two kinds of rules: should and must rules.
Should rules can be easily violated with causing you big pain. Oh, I shouldn’t crack up a beer 7 nights a day. But what if you do? Well, life goes on, probably you won’t even feel bad, maybe for a few minutes.
On the other hand, you’ll do everything through your day to meet your must rules. You are so much committed to them that even by the end of the day, you’ll look for a way to meet them, you simply cannot go to bed before. For example, I have a must rule of producing seven lessons for the Daily C++ Interview every day as long as I run the project as such.
The book helps you to review your rules and to set up empowering rules. Rules that are simple and not impossible to meet. They should be challenging, they should help you move forward, but they should be simple, you should be in control. And they should provide you with lots of ways to feel good.
When you are upset, it’s always about violations of your rules. Setting them correctly and communicating them with the people around you will also lead to better relationships.
The final exercise
On the final - couple of dozens - pages, you receive a challenge from Tony Robbins. A challenge to reshape your life, to reshape your destiny.
Every day, a different aspect of life is tackled:
- emotional destiny
- physical destiny
- relationship destiny
- financial destiny
- your code of conduct
- time management
- some rest and play
Obviously, a day is not enough to change your physics or your financial situation (at least not in the good direction…), but it can be a good start thinking about the daunting question Robbins asks and laying down the foundations of some good new habits and eventually change your destiny.
This book can be life-changing and whether it will be one or just one more book that is not followed by action… it depends on you!
It won’t be easy and it will require time. The book is so well written, so fun to read that you will not want to stop for the exercises.
This is something that happened to me many times before, and I felt it happening once more when I was reading Awaken the Giant Within.
The difference is that in this book, there is a lot of exercises and are of high quality.
So I decided to read the book through and started it over. A bite at a time and I stop for the exercises, sometimes for days.
That’s the same method I’d advise you to follow. First, read the book, grasp the main ideas, then read again and complete the exercises and look for the mental shift it will bring you.
Awaken The Giant Within is about who you are, what your real values are, what rules you follow on a day to day basis.
It will also provide you with very interesting ways to eliminate your limiting convictions and habits and replace them with empowering beliefs.
You can use all these knowledge to finetune your mental operating system and start moving towards to your goals or to move into that direction faster if you’re already on the good path.