Day 10. Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement by Anthony Robbins

Recommendation Do you want to take control of your life, abolish your limitations and achieve your most elusive goals? Anthony Robbins teaches you how to do just that. You’ll learn how your brain processes information and how to manipulate that process to your advantage. You’ll explore the science of "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" (NLP), the study of human neurology, so you can analyze and duplicate your successes. Robbins uses NLP extensively, although many experts debunk it. He explains that the best path to success is to find an accomplished person, discover his or her strategies for becoming successful, and duplicate that process. He also weighs in on how to keep your weight down, communicate and eliminate bad habits. By the way, he cautions against skimming this book to separate the self-help wheat from the chaff. Instead, he encourages you to read every page and perform every exercise. This is not easy because he explains each concept at least two or three ways. However, Robbins has a big following and is clearly onto something; getAbstract thinks you might want to find out just what. This book is a good place to start if you seek a personal achievement makeover.


  • Who you can be and what you can do is unlimited.

  • To achieve your goals, take control of your brain processes.

  • Follow the four steps of the "Ultimate Success Formula:" define what you want, take action, gauge your results and make changes.

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, is the study of how to maneuver the brain to produce the results you want.

  • You can succeed by modeling a successful person’s behavior.

  • Take care of your body to attain a high energy level.

  • Define your goals, don’t set limits and learn how to ask for what you want.

  • Build rapport by mirroring the other person’s beliefs, values and physiology.

  • Use "reframing" and "anchoring" techniques to reshape your internal representations into a powerful, positive force.

  • You will only achieve true happiness when you learn how to give.

Summary No Limits What you can be and achieve has no limits. "Unlimited power" connotes your ability to revamp your life and produce every outcome you’ve ever wanted while generating value for the people around you. Unlimited power gives you the ability to fulfill your needs and the needs of the other people in your life.

Two Types of Communication Human communication exists in two basic forms: external and internal. External communication is the way you communicate to others through your words, tone, gestures, posture and facial expressions. Your success in society depends upon how well you communicate externally. “The power to magically transform our lives into our greatest dreams lies waiting within us all.” On the other hand, internal communication combines your internal dialogue with the images you conjure in your mind. Feeling happy, sad, excited or depressed is the direct result of the way you communicate with yourself. You can control what goes on in your mind by controlling your internal dialogue. This means you have the power to govern your emotional states, from misery to joy, by assuming the point of view that corresponds to the emotion you want. Change your mental and physical posture to match the emotion you wish to feel. “There is no greatness without a passion to be great.” People receive information through the five senses: vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell. The brain sifts this information, retaining what it needs and disregarding the rest. This filtering process is responsible for the differences in perception from person to person. Your "internal representation" is not a precise depiction of an event. Instead, it is an interpretation colored by your belief system, outlook and values. Knowing that, you can choose to interpret events in an empowering way. Taking control of your internal communications by consistently sending positive images to your brain will produce the results you want every time.

"The Ultimate Success Formula" Why do some people who have everything going for them end up unsuccessful and unhappy, while others succeed in the face of seemingly overwhelming problems? It’s not that people who succeed encounter fewer obstacles than those who fail. The difference lies in the method you use to communicate internally and the actions you choose to take. Successful people tend to follow a generally similar route, the four steps of the "ultimate success formula," which are:

  1. Formulate a precise definition of you what you wish to achieve.

  2. Take action.

  3. Gauge the success of your actions.

  4. Fine-tune your approach and your procedures until you reach your goal.

“People don’t usually lack resources; they lack control over their resources.” One way to get the results you want is to reprogram your brain. "Neuro-Linguistic Programming," or NLP, is the study of how to reprogram your brain to produce the desired results. NLP is based on the concept that all human beings share the same neurology, so if one person can do something, others can do it, too, if they operate their nervous system the same way. “Life is like a river. It’s moving, and you can be at the mercy of the river if you don’t take deliberate, conscious action to steer yourself in a direction you have predetermined.” NLP’s founders, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, developed this system to replicate human excellence. They discovered that the way to succeed, simply, is to imitate those who have already succeeded, whether at losing weight, making a million dollars or creating the perfect relationship. This process is called "modeling." Begin by modeling the beliefs that support your goals.

Beliefs and Values Beliefs are the most influential directing force in human nature. A belief is "any guiding principle, dictum, faith or passion that can provide meaning and direction in life." The five major influences that affect your beliefs are the environment around you, experiences, knowledge, past results and "experiencing results in advance." To change your behavior, modify your beliefs by modeling the principles of someone who has the success that you wish to attain. Adopt these seven beliefs to realize positive results and achieve excellence:

  1. "Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us."

  2. "There is no such thing as failure. There are only results."

  3. "Whatever happens, take responsibility."

  4. "It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything."

  5. "People are your greatest resource."

  6. "Work is play."

  7. "There’s no abiding success without commitment."

“Once we discover the different ways we represent things and how they affect us, we can take charge of our own mind and begin to represent things in a way that empowers rather than limits us.” Values are a person’s beliefs about what is most important in life. You will feel complete and happy only if your behavior moves you toward fulfilling your values. That alignment is crucial to happiness. To meet your needs on every level, first identify your values. Make a list of everything that matters to you, such as love, honesty, freedom, beauty and creativity. Next, list these values in order of importance. That is your "value hierarchy." Look at it carefully; consider what it really means to you and those you love.

Brain Control To use your unlimited power, change your internal representations so that you become capable of the behavior that will enable you to reach your goals. Several tactics accomplish this outcome, including manipulating your "submodalities," reframing negative events, anchoring or practicing a "swish pattern." “The path to success consists of knowing your outcome, taking action, knowing what results you’re getting, and having the flexibility to change until you’re successful.” Submodalities are "the precise building blocks that make up the structure of the human experience." Submodalities can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Visual submodalities include color, brightness, focus and size. Auditory submodalities are such variables as volume, cadence, tempo and tonality. Kinesthetic submodalities include texture, pressure, weight and temperature. Certain brain exercises based on submodalities enable you to manipulate and influence your feelings. For example, you can enhance a good, warm feeling by visualizing a positive image and making it bigger, closer and brighter in your mind. Conversely, you can strip a negative image of its power by mentally making it smaller and dimmer. “If you want to be a better friend, a richer person, a better parent, a better athlete, a more successful businessman, all you need to do is find models of excellence.” Several tactics allow you to manipulate your internal representations so that they work for you rather than against you. These strategies include:

  • "Reframing" - Cast a negative experience as positive one by changing your internal perspective. In other words, view the glass as half-full, not half-empty.

  • "Anchoring" - Use anchoring to trick your unconscious into creating the state of mind or emotion you want. An anchor is an association between a stimulus and a response, best illustrated by Pavlov’s dogs. Create an anchor by putting yourself into the state you want to achieve. Establish to a unique stimulus you can react to consistently, something you can always associate with entering that positive state.

  • Using the swish pattern - Use this patterning technique to vanquish a persistent problem or a bad habit. A swish pattern creates a new, positive internal representation by linking two representations and switching them. To employ a swish pattern, first visualize a behavior you want to change. Then, imagine how you would look and feel after you make that change. "Swish" the two images, by switching the pictures in your mind while saying the word "whoosh" loudly and enthusiastically. Repeat this exercise several times.

Physiologies: Not Just Face Time Physiology and internal representations are clearly linked. To change one, you must change the other. For example, if you adopt the body language of depression - a downcast stare, slumped shoulders or low energy - you automatically enter a depressed state. Instead, take on the specific physiology of the state you want to enter. Doing so will cause a corresponding change in your emotions. When you exactly mirror a successful person’s physiology, you can replicate that person’s emotional state. “You can learn from every human experience and can thereby always succeed in anything you do.” To maintain healthy "biochemical functions," cleanse, nourish and fuel your body correctly. Energy is called "the fuel of excellence" because having a high energy level allows your body to function more efficiently. This will help you feel better. To achieve a healthy, powerful and resilient physiology, be sure you are breathing properly, eating "water-rich" foods, combining foods effectively, controlling your consumption of food, consuming fruit separately and eating only the amount of protein you really need.

Setting Goals Don’t be afraid to set lofty goals. To create meaningful objectives, envision what you want to achieve as precisely as possible. Imagine how you will look and feel when you attain those goals. List your dreams, aspirations and desires. Put a timeline on realizing these goals. Select four high priority goals for the year. Review your resources and write a step-by-step plan to meet your objectives. Find successful examples you can model as you pursue your targets. “You can learn to read a person as skillfully as you can learn to read a map or a book.” Learn how to ask for what you want by using these five tools:

  1. "Ask specifically."

  2. "Ask someone who can help you."

  3. "Create value for the person you’re asking."

  4. "Ask with focused, congruent belief."

  5. "Ask until you get what you want."

Building Rapport One of the most useful communication skills is the ability to establish rapport. It’s easiest to create rapport by sharing beliefs and experiences you have in common with someone else. Learn to mirror the other person’s body language or physiology. You can instantly establish rapport with some if you subtly match their gestures, expressions and voice pattern. “Physiology is the most powerful tool we have for instantly changing states, for instantly producing dynamic results.” To elicit a person’s strategies or to gather clues about how his or her mind works, ask the right questions. First, get the person into the state you wish to explore, such as being motivated, feeling loved or being creative. Ask the person to think back to a specific time when he or she was in that state. Then, ask clear, succinct questions about what he or she saw, heard and felt. Lastly, have the person describe the submodalities of the strategy that put him or her in the right state of mind. You can model any strategy by staying attuned to what people do well, and then finding out how they do it. “There are ways to see our biggest problems as our greatest opportunities - if only we can step out of our trained patterns of perception.” Effective persuaders and communicators learn to identify other people’s "metaprograms," the approaches individuals use to processes information. For example, some people are risk takers while others tend to be more cautious. Some personalities want external confirmation, while others comfortably rely on their own instincts. “No amount of money can buy what you get when you give of yourself.” Some people view human interactions in terms of how the conversation affects them, while others consider the impact on the outside world. Other metaprograms deal with whether a person is a "matcher" or "mismatcher," or if someone emphasizes possibility versus necessity.

The Five Avenues to Success To consistently achieve success, learn to recognize and follow the "five keys to wealth and happiness." The first four keys are learning how to cope with the four primary obstacles to success: frustration, rejection, financial pressure and complacency. “Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it.” The fifth and most important key is to give more than you expect to receive. To realize your life dreams and goals, you must know how to give.

About the Author Anthony Robbins is a life coach and motivational seminar leader. He has written of several international best sellers and he chairs several companies. Robbins has consulted politicians, world-class athletes and Fortune 500 executives.

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