Chapter 1 DREAMS OF DESTINY
"A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance."
We all have dreams...We all want to believe deep down in our souls that we have a special gift, that we can make a difference, that we can touch others in a special way, and that we can make the world a better place. At one time in our lives, we all had a vision for the quality of life that we desire and deserve. Yet, for many of us, those dreams have become so shrouded in the frustrations and routines of daily life that we no longer even make an effort to accomplish them. For far too many, the dream has dissipated -- and with it, so has the will to shape our destinies. Many have lost that sense of certainty that creates the winner's edge. My life's quest has been to restore the dream and to make it real, to get each of us to remember and use the unlimited power that lies sleeping within us all.
I'll never forget the day it really hit me that I was truly living my dream. I was flying my jet helicopter from a business meeting in Los Angeles, traveling to Orange County on the way to one of my seminars. As I flew over the city of Glendale, I suddenly recognized a large building, and I stopped the helicopter and hovered above it. As I looked down, I realized this was the building that I'd worked in as a janitor a mere twelve years ago!
In those days, I had been concerned whether my 1960 Volkswagen would hang together for the 30-minute trip to work. My life had been focused on how I was going to survive; I had felt fearful and alone. But that day, as I hovered there in the sky, I thought, "What a difference a decade can make!" I did have dreams back then, but at the time, it seemed they'd never be realized. Today, though, I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy. As I continued my flight south along the coastal route, I spotted dolphins playing with the surfers in the waves below. It's a sight that my wife, Becky, and I treasure as one of life's special gifts. Finally, I reached Irvine. Looking below, I was a little disturbed when I saw that the off ramp to my seminar was jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic for more than a mile. I thought to myself, "Boy, I hope whatever else is going on tonight gets started soon so that the people coming to my seminar arrive on time."
But as I descended to the helipad, I began to see a new picture: thousands of people being held back by security where I was just about to land. Suddenly I began to grasp the reality. The traffic jam had been caused by people going to my event! Although we had expected approximately 2,000 attendees, I was facing a crowd of 7,000 -- in an auditorium that would hold only 5,000! When I walked into the arena from the landing pad, I was surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to give me a hug or tell me how my work had positively impacted their lives.
The stories they shared with me were incredible. One mother introduced me to her son who had been labeled "hyperactive" and "learning disabled." Utilizing the principles of state management taught in this book, she was not only able to get him off the drug Ritalin, but they had also since been transferred to California where her son had been retested and evaluated at the level of genius! You should have seen his face as she shared with me his new label. A gentleman talked about how he had freed himself from cocaine using some of the Success Conditioning techniques you'll learn in this book. A couple in their mid-fifties shared with me that, after fifteen years of marriage, they had been on the brink of divorce until they learned about personal rules. A salesman told me how his monthly income had jumped from $2,000 to over $12,000 in a mere six months, and an entrepreneur related that he had increased corporate revenues by over $3 million in eighteen months by applying the principles of quality questions and emotional management. A lovely young woman showed me a picture of her former self, having lost fifty-two pounds by applying the principles of leverage that are detailed in this book.
I was touched so deeply by the emotions in that room that I got choked up, and at first I couldn't speak. As I looked out on my audience and saw 5,000 smiling, cheering, loving faces, in that moment I realized that I am living my dream! What a feeling to know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I had the information, strategies, philosophies, and skills that could assist any one of these people in empowering themselves to make the changes they desired most! A flood of images and emotions flowed over me. I began to remember an experience I'd had only a few years before, sitting in my 400-square-foot bachelor apartment in Venice, California, all alone and crying as I listened to the lyrics of a Neil Diamond song: "I am, I said, to no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair. I am, I cried. I am, said I. And I am lost, and I can't even say why, leavin' me lonely still." I remembered feeling like my life didn't matter, as if the events of the world were controlling me. I also remember the moment my life changed, the moment I finally said, "I've had it! I know I'm much more than I'm demonstrating mentally, emotionally, and physically in my life." I made a decision in that moment which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually every aspect of my life. I decided I would never again settle for less than I could be. Who would have guessed that this decision would bring me to such an incredible moment?
I gave my all at the seminar that night, and when I left the auditorium, crowds of people followed me to the helicopter to see me off. To say I was deeply moved by the experience would be an understatement. A tear slid down my cheek as I thanked my Creator for these wonderful gifts. As I lifted off the grass and ascended into the moonlight, I had to pinch myself. Could this be real? Am I the same guy who eight years ago was struggling, frustrated, feeling alone and incapable of making my life work? Fat, broke, and wondering if I could even survive? How could a young kid like me with nothing but a high school education have created such dramatic changes?
My answer is simple: I learned to harness the principle I now call concentration of power. Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. Controlled focus is like a laser beam that can cut through anything that seems to be stopping you. When we focus consistently on improvement in any area, we develop unique distinctions on how to make that area better. One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. In fact, I believe most people fail in life simply because they major in minor things. I believe that one of life's major lessons is learning to understand what makes us do what we do. What shapes human behavior? The answers to this question provide critical keys to shaping your own destiny.
My entire life has been continually driven by a singular, compelling focus: What makes the difference in the quality of people's lives? How is it that so often people from such humble beginnings and devastating backgrounds manage in spite of it all to create lives that inspire us? Conversely, why do many of those born into privileged environments, with every resource for success at their fingertips, end up fat, frustrated, and often chemically addicted? What makes some people's lives an example and others' a warning? What is the secret that creates passionate, happy, and grateful lives in many, while for others the refrain might be, "Is that all there is?"
My own magnificent obsession began with some simple questions: "How can I take immediate control of my life? What can I do today that can make a difference -- that could help me and others to shape our destinies? How can I expand, learn, grow, and share that knowledge with others in a meaningful and enjoyable way?"
At a very early age, I developed a belief that we're all here to contribute something unique, that deep within each of us lies a special gift. You see, I truly believe we all have a sleeping giant within us. Each of us has a talent, a gift, our own bit of genius just waiting to be tapped. It might be a talent for art or music. It might be a special way of relating to the ones you love. It might be a genius for selling or innovating or reaching out in your business or your career. I choose to believe that our Creator doesn't play favorites, that we've all been created unique, but with equal opportunities for experiencing life to the fullest. I decided many years ago that the most important way I could spend my life would be to invest it in something that would outlast it. I decided that somehow I must contribute in some way that would live on long after I was gone.
Today, I have the incredible privilege of sharing my ideas and feelings with literally millions of people through my books, tapes, and television shows. I've personally worked with over a quarter of a million people in the last few years alone. I've assisted members of Congress, CEOs, presidents of companies and countries, managers and mothers, salespeople, accountants, lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and professional athletes. I've worked with phobics, the clinically depressed, people with multiple personalities, and those who thought they had no personality. Now I have the unique good fortune of sharing the best of what I've learned with you, and for that opportunity I am truly grateful and excited.
Through it all, I've continued to recognize the power individuals have to change virtually anything and everything in their lives in an instant. I've learned that the resources we need to turn our dreams into reality are within us, merely waiting for the day when we decide to wake up and claim our birthright. I wrote this book for one reason: to be a wake-up call that will challenge those who are committed to living and being more to tap their God-given power. There are ideas and strategies in this book to help you produce specific, measurable, long-lasting changes in yourself and others.
You see, I believe I know who you really are. I believe you and I must be kindred souls. Your desire to expand has brought you to this book. It is the invisible hand that guided you. I know that no matter where you are in your life, you want more! No matter how well you're already doing or how challenged you now may be, deep inside of you there lies a belief that your experience of life can and will be much greater than it already is. You are destined for your own unique form of greatness, whether it is as an outstanding professional, teacher, businessperson, mother, or father. Most importantly, you not only believe this, but you've taken action. You not only bought this book, but you're also doing something right now that unfortunately is unique -- you're reading it! Statistics show that less than 10 percent of people who buy a book read past the first chapter. What an unbelievable waste! This is a giant book that you can use to produce giant results in your life. Clearly, you're the kind of person who won't cheat yourself by dabbling. By consistently taking advantage of each of the chapters in this book, you'll ensure your ability to maximize your potential.
I challenge you not only to do whatever it takes to read this book in its entirety (unlike the masses who quit) but also to use what you learn in simple ways each day. This is the all-important step that's necessary for you to produce the results you're committed to.
HOW TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE
For changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent. We've all experienced change for a moment, only to feel let down and disappointed in the end. In fact, many people attempt change with a sense of fear and dread because unconsciously they believe the changes will only be temporary. A prime example of this is someone who needs to begin dieting, but finds himself putting it off, primarily because he unconsciously knows that whatever pain he endures in order to create the change will bring him only a short-term reward. For most of my life I've pursued what I consider to be the organizing principles of lasting change, and you'll learn many of these and how to utilize them in the pages that follow. But for now, I'd like to share with you three elementary principles of change that you and I can use immediately to change our lives. While these principles are simple, they are also extremely powerful when they are skillfully applied. These are the exact same changes that an individual must make in order to create personal change, that a company must make in order to maximize its potential, and that a country must make in order to carve out its place in the world. In fact, as a world community these are the changes that we all must make to preserve the quality of life around the globe.
Raise Your Standards
Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming.
Think of the far-reaching consequences set in motion by men and women who raised their standards and acted in accordance with them, deciding they would tolerate no less. History chronicles the inspiring examples of people like Leonardo da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, César Chávez, Soichiro Honda, and many others who took the magnificently powerful step of raising their standards. The same power that was available to them is available to you, if you have the courage to claim it. Changing an organization, a company, a country -- or a world -- begins with the simple step of changing yourself.
Change Your Limiting Beliefs
If you raise your standards but don't really believe you can meet them, you've already sabotaged yourself. You won't even try; you'll be lacking that sense of certainty that allows you to tap the deepest capacity that's within you even as you read this. Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what's possible and what's impossible, what we can and can not do. They shape every action, every thought, and every feeling that we experience. As a result, changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives. We must develop a sense of certainty that we can and will meet the new standards before we actually do.
Without taking control of your belief systems, you can raise your standards as much as you like, but you'll never have the conviction to back them up. How much do you think Gandhi would have accomplished had he not believed with every fiber of his being in the power of nonviolent opposition? It was the congruence of his beliefs which gave him access to his inner resources and enabled him to meet challenges which would have swayed a less committed man. Empowering beliefs -- this sense of certainty -- is the force behind any great success throughout history.
Change Your Strategy
In order to keep your commitment, you need the best strategies for achieving results. One of my core beliefs is that if you set a higher standard, and you can get yourself to believe, then you certainly can figure out the strategies. You simply will find a way. Ultimately, that's what this whole book is about. It shows you strategies for getting the job done, and I'll tell you now that the best strategy in almost any case is to find a role-model, someone who's already getting the results you want, and then tap into their knowledge. Learn what they're doing, what their core beliefs are, and how they think. Not only will this make you more effective, it will also save you a huge amount of time because you won't have to reinvent the wheel. You can fine-tune it, reshape it, and perhaps even make it better.
This book will provide you with the information and impetus to commit to all three of these master principles of quality change: it will help you raise your standards by discovering what they currently are and realizing what you want them to be; it will help you change the core beliefs that are keeping you from where you want to go and enhance those that already serve you; and it will assist you in developing a series of strategies for more elegantly, quickly, and efficiently producing the results you desire.
You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action. If you will allow me the opportunity, through this book I'll be your personal coach. What do coaches do? Well, first, they care about you. They've spent years focusing on a particular area of expertise, and they've continued to make key distinctions about how to produce results more quickly. By utilizing the strategies your coach shares with you, you can immediately and dramatically change your performance. Sometimes, your coach doesn't even tell you something new, but reminds you of what you already know, and then gets you to do it. This is the role, with your permission, that I'll be playing for you.
On what, specifically, will I be coaching you? I'll offer you distinctions of power in how to create lasting improvements in the quality of your life. Together, we will concentrate on (not dabble in!) the mastery of the five areas of life that I believe impact us most. They are:
1. Emotional Mastery
Mastering this lesson alone will take you most of the way toward mastering the other four! Think about it. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it just to have less fat on your body? Or is it because of the way you think you'd feel if you freed yourself of those unwanted pounds, giving yourself more energy and vitality, making yourself feel more attractive to others, and boosting your confidence and self-esteem to the stratosphere? Virtually everything we do is to change the way we feel -- yet most of us have little or no training in how to do this quickly and effectively. It's amazing how often we use the intelligence at our command to work ourselves into unresourceful emotional states, forgetting about the multitude of innate talents each of us already possesses. Too many of us leave ourselves at the mercy of outside events over which we may have no control, failing to take charge of our emotions -- over which we have all the control -- and relying instead on short-term quick fixes. How else can we explain the fact that, while less than 5 percent of the world's population lives in the United States, we consume more than 50 percent of the world's cocaine? Or that our national defense budget, which currently runs in the billions, is equaled by what we spend on alcohol consumption? Or that 15 million Americans are diagnosed every year as clinically depressed, and more than $500 million worth of prescriptions are written for the antidepressant drug Prozac?
In this book, you will discover what makes you do what you do, and the triggers for the emotions you experience most often. You will then be given a step-by-step plan to show you how to identify which emotions are empowering, which are disempowering, and how to use both kinds to your best advantage so that your emotions become not a hindrance, but instead a powerful tool in helping you achieve your highest potential.
2. Physical Mastery
Is it worth it to have everything you've ever dreamed of, yet not have the physical health to be able to enjoy it? Do you wake up every morning feeling energized, powerful, and ready to take on a new day? Or do you wake up feeling as tired as the night before, riddled with aches, and resentful at having to start all over again? Will your current lifestyle make you a statistic? One of every two Americans dies of coronary disease; one of three dies of cancer. To borrow a phrase from the seventeenth-century physician Thomas Moffett, we are "digging our graves with our teeth" as we cram our bodies with high-fat, nutritionally empty foods, poison our systems with cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, and sit passively in front of our TV sets. This second master lesson will help you take control of your physical health so that you not only look good, but you feel good and know that you're in control of your life, in a body that radiates vitality and allows you to accomplish your outcomes.
3. Relationship Mastery
Other than mastering your own emotions and physical health, there is nothing I can think of that is more important than learning to master your relationships -- romantic, family, business, and social. After all, who wants to learn, grow, and become successful and happy all by themselves? The third master lesson in this book will reveal the secrets to enable you to create quality relationships -- first with yourself, then with others. You will begin by discovering what you value most highly, what your expectations are, the rules by which you play the game of life, and how it all relates to the other players. Then, as you achieve mastery of this all-important skill, you will learn how to connect with people at the deepest level and be rewarded with something we all want to experience: a sense of contribution, of knowing that we have made a difference in other people's lives. I've found that, for me, the greatest resource is a relationship because it opens the doors to every resource I need. Mastery of this lesson will give you unlimited resources for growing and contributing.
4. Financial Mastery
By the time they reach the age of sixty-five, most Americans are either dead broke -- or dead! That's hardly what most people envision for themselves as they look ahead to the golden age of retirement. Yet without the conviction that you deserve financial well-being, backed up by a workable game plan, how can you turn your treasured scenario into reality? The fourth master lesson in this book will teach you how to go beyond the goal of mere survival in your autumn years of life, and even now, for that matter. Because we have the good fortune to live in a capitalist society, each of us has the capability to carry out our dreams. Yet most of us experience financial pressure on an ongoing basis, and we fantasize that having more money would relieve that pressure. This is a grand cultural delusion -- let me assure you that the more money you have, the more pressure you're likely to feel. The key is not the mere pursuit of wealth, but changing your beliefs and attitudes about it so you see it as a means for contribution, not the end-all and be-all for happiness.
To forge a financial destiny of abundance, you will first learn how to change what causes scarcity in your life, and then how to experience on a consistent basis the values, beliefs, and emotions that are essential to experiencing wealth and holding on to it and expanding it. Then you'll define your goals and shape your dreams with an eye toward achieving the highest possible level of well-being, filling you with peace of mind and freeing you to look forward with excitement to all the possibilities that life has to offer.
5. Time Mastery
Masterpieces take time. Yet how many of us really know how to use it? I'm not talking about time management; I'm talking about actually taking time and distorting it, manipulating it so that it becomes your ally rather than your enemy. The fifth master lesson in this book will teach you, first, how short-term evaluations can lead to long-term pain. You will learn how to make a real decision and how to manage your desire for instantaneous gratification, thus allowing your ideas, your creations -- even your own potential -- the time to reach full fruition. Next you'll learn how to design the necessary maps and strategies for following up on your decision, making it a reality with the willingness to take massive action, the patience to experience "lag time," and the flexibility to change your approach as often as needed. Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year -- and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
I'm not sharing these lessons with you to say that I have all the answers or that my life has been perfect or smooth. I've certainly had my share of challenging times. But through it all, I've managed to learn, persist, and continually succeed throughout the years. Each time I've met a challenge, I've used what I've learned to take my life to a new level. And, like yours, my level of mastery in these five areas continues to expand.
Also, living my lifestyle may not be the answer for you. My dreams and goals may not be yours. I believe, though, that the lessons I've learned about how to turn dreams into reality, how to take the intangible and make it real, are fundamental to achieving any level of personal or professional success. I wrote this book to be an action guide -- a textbook for increasing the quality of your life and the amount of enjoyment that you can pull from it. While I'm obviously extremely proud of my first book, Unlimited Power, and the impact it's had on people all over the world, I feel this book will bring you some new and unique distinctions of power that can help you move your life to the next level.
We'll be reviewing some of the fundamentals, since repetition is the mother of skill. Therefore, I hope this will be a book you'll read again and again, a book you'll come back to and utilize as a tool to trigger yourself to find the answers that already lie inside you. Even so, remember that as you read this book, you don't have to believe or use everything within it. Grab hold of the things you think are useful; put them in action immediately. You won't have to implement all of the strategies or use all of the tools in this book to make some major changes. All have life-changing potential individually; used together, however, they will produce explosive results.
This book is filled with the strategies for achieving the success you desire, with organizing principles that I have modeled from some of the most powerful and interesting people in our culture. I've had the unique opportunity to meet, interview, and model a huge variety of people -- people with impact and unique character -- from Norman Cousins to Michael Jackson, from coach John Wooden to financial wizard John Templeton, from the captains of industry to cab drivers. In the following pages, you'll find not only the benefits of my own experience, but that of the thousands of books, tapes, seminars, and interviews that I've accumulated over the last ten years of my life, as I continue the exciting, ongoing quest of learning and growing a little bit more, every single day.
The purpose of this book is not just to help you make a singular change in your life, but rather to be a pivot point that can assist you in taking your entire life to a new level. The focus of this book is on creating global changes. What do I mean by this? Well, you can learn to make changes in your life -- overcome a fear or a phobia, increase the quality of a relationship, or overcome your pattern of procrastinating. All these are incredibly valuable skills, and if you've read Unlimited Power, you've already learned many of them. However, as you continue through the following pages, you'll find that there are key leverage points within your life that, if you make one small change, will literally transform every aspect of your life.
This book is designed to offer you the strategies that can help you to create, live, and enjoy the life you currently may only be dreaming of.
In this book you will learn a series of simple and specific strategies for addressing the cause of any challenge and changing it with the least amount of effort. For example, it might be hard for you to believe that merely by changing one word that is part of your habitual vocabulary, you could immediately change your emotional patterns for life. Or that by changing the consistent questions that you consciously or unconsciously ask yourself, you could instantly change what you focus on and therefore what actions you take every day of your life. Or that by making one belief change, you could powerfully change your level of happiness. Yet in the following chapters you'll learn to master these techniques -- and many more -- to effect the changes you desire.
And so it's with great respect that I begin this relationship with you as together we begin a journey of discovery and the actualization of our deepest and truest potentials. Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
So let's begin our journey by exploring...
Copyright © 1991 by Anthony Robbins