Stand in a room with Tony Robbins and 15,000 emotionally charged adults for an afternoon, and you’ll witness the power of mindset and emotions to create or destroy your future.
That’s exactly where I was a few days ago, thanks to the company that I partner with on health and wellness nutrition.
The Tony Robbins experience isn’t new. This man has been on a decades-long mission to influence and change the way people think about themselves and the world around them. Many of you know exactly what I mean when I say the outpouring of raw emotions in the days ensuing have been all-consuming.
It’s no secret that I discovered the big, beautiful world of self-helpery after age 50. It took me that darned long to get my act together and understand my life circumstances were completely of my doing. Here’s what I’ve learned and hope to share and inspire in others.
First, to change anything, we have to first look at ourselves. And I’m not talking about a glimpse in the mirror to pick proverbial spinach out of our teeth. This is a deep dive into what really makes us tick.
We have to understand that the field of possibilities lies completely within our control. When we allow big dreams – truly get our minds in that state – we also invite self-doubt. Like, how in the hell am I going to make that dream a reality?
The field of impossibility will often overtake the field of possibility. And because that’s the easy route we’ve always taken, we allow ourselves that emotional escape instead of confronting our shortcomings. That escape hatch actually blocks us from finding the joy we so desperately want in our lives.
Power of Mindset
You see, simply understanding what drives us, is the beginning of a shift in mindset and emotions that can unlock the keys to our personal happiness and fulfillment.
As Robbins preaches new beliefs over a sea of souls, he urges us to find our true emotional homes and upgrade that dwelling if we want change. “In a state of total determination, anything can happen,” he says, urging each of us to turn our SHOULDS into MUSTS. Well that hit me like a sledgehammer to the forehead.
Here’s a good exercise: Do you focus more on the past, present or future? Robbins quizzes the crowd and correlates each point of focus with varying degrees control. For example, focusing on what’s missing in your life (the future) and only what you can control leads to feelings of scarcity, fear, frustration, resentment and anger.
I think we can agree it’s time to find a new zip code if that’s where we hang out. Robbins tells the crowd, “It’s very easy to change when you have awareness of the pattern. Acknowledge that you’re suffering by uncovering your favorite flavors of suffering.”
For the record, my personal favorite is worry, which leads to impatience, frustration and fear. Because this mentality comes from a place of expectation, it’s time to trade that sucker in. Robbins preaches gratitude. “Trade expectation for appreciation and your life will change,” he says.
Trading suffering is all about you. It’s about three beliefs: fear of loss, fear of having less, or fear of never having your dreams. Guess what? It’s all an illusion. “Your soul is never lost, less or never,” he shouts. “You suffer on the illusion of loss. Acknowledge it!” Gulp.
Now comes the hard part. None of this self-help business will work if you don’t do something about it. Execution, action, motion, momentum are key.
Getting into what Robbins calls a “beautiful state” each day will take a tsunami-sized shift in emotions for many of us. Do you want to live in a state of love and desire or a state of fear? Um, I’ll take a heaping helping of the first one, please.
Here’s the rub. This is totally within our control. As humans, we have this remarkable talent to transform all we imagine into reality. We can choose to be joyful or miserable.
Changing behaviors that we’ve accepted all our lives requires energy and action – sustained, focused energy that will feel foreign at first. Robbins lays a truth bomb on the crowd: “Your worst day is your best day if you know how to use it, when you get out of yourself and serve your purpose.”
To live life on your terms, Robbins advocates getting real good at two skills: the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment.
The science of achievement is grounded in universal patterns of success and failure. Our focus must remain on absolute clarity and commitment combined with massive action.
The adage, “If at first it doesn’t work, try, try again” comes in handy here. And while you’re at it, give yourself some grace. Honor the fact that it won’t be perfect at first. Be forgiving and grateful to your creator for the opportunities you have in front of you.
Mastering the art of fulfillment leads to the power of happiness, Robbins says. And this one needs to be the stronger of the two skills to master. “If you want to know what God loves, go to the forest,” he says. There, the power and simplicity of nature’s beauty transports us to an energy-rich state (vs. an energy-poor state). Robbins punctuates the point with this: “Get in your heart. If you get in your head, you’re dead.”
Create a Beautiful State
After listening intently, jumping up and down, shouting “Aye!” at the top of my lungs, and being reduced to a puddle of tears, the choice is clear and simple. Choose to live in a beautiful state. Resist my brain’s default, preprogrammed compulsion to worry and seek out scarcity.
And here’s how we start:
- Feel the tension
- Acknowledge suffering thoughts are setting in and say, ‘This is not my thought.’
- Begin deep breathing to slow the body’s physiological response to stress
- Slow the thoughts
- Shift the thoughts from suffering to gratitude and thankfulness
- Change the state
I left the auditorium that day with a numb brain and renewed confidence. Returning to my hotel room, I fell into a heap of emotions, realizations and respect for my personal mission and destiny.
I leave you with this from the master himself, “Trade your expectation for appreciation and your life will change.” I am committed to doing exactly that. And after years of drinking the self-help Kool-Aid, I will step up for another huge helping because my life and my happiness depend on it.
It is never, ever too late to begin thinking differently about yourself, your life and your future. We simply must work at it, execute and take action on to put our fears in the rear-view mirror and the peddle to the metal.
“Seek and you shall find,” Robbins repeats to the crowd again and again. Amen, Tony. Amen.