Required Reading: 25 Lessons from “Awaken the Giant Within”


It’s ok, you can admit to reading and learning from Tony Robbins. That doesn’t make you a self-help addict.

Let Me Show You How I Developed Insane Levels Of Self-Discipline

In order to survive in today's world, you have to get REALLY good at suffering. There's a way, actually many ways, to become tougher. And I can teach them to you. You can thank me later.

At least not entirely.

A lot of people look to books like these to solve all their problems for them, and when they don’t make the reader’s life perfect after week 2, they’ll jump to the next one.

But there’s so much to be learned from people like Tony Robbins that WILL improve your effectiveness after a very short period of time. Sometimes instantly.

And there’s a damn good reason that I consider this book essential reading for those interested in cultivating Godlike Discipline.

It’s powerful. There are so many things in here that will revolutionize the way you work.

You don’t have to think of it as “self help”. A lot of those self help guys peddle garbage, but Tony Robbins absolutely does not. He’s the real deal.

So let’s get right down to it:


1) Winners have a sense of certainty: I don’t just THINK I’m going to make a difference with Godlike Discipline. I have raised my belief to a level of certainty that I will dominate the non profit world. It’s not even a question that needs to be asked. Winners think like this. As soon as you let thoughts about failure creep in, you’re done.

2) Make a decision not to be less than you could be: A lot of big things can happen for you once you commit to a decision. It’s a definitive stand, one that says you are not going to settle for less. Anything less than a decision is’t going to do it.

We all make thousands of decisions every day, but this one is different. I want you to really think about this one and not proceed until you’re absolutely certain that you know what you’re signing up for.

From the point of this decision until the end of recorded time, you will not settle for being less than you are capable of being. How do you know what you are capable of being? Try. Go out and take your goddamn shot.

3) Raise your standards: I’m not satisfied with 30% body fat, and if fitness is what you’re into, then you shouldn’t be either. I’m not going to be satisfied while millions of children starve to death each year. And I’m not going to sit back and let that happen. Damn it, there are people who need me. People that need you. And they want us to raise our games.


4) Change your limiting beliefs: This idea deserves more space. But the idea that Tony is getting at here is that we all believe things that are actually holding us back. We think we’re incapable of moving forward in some areas of our lives, and so we actually don’t end up trying. The trouble with this is, if we DID actually try, we might actually make it.

So the choice is yours. Believe everything that you tell yourself, or strike out on your own and find your limits for yourself. They won’t be where you thought they would be.

5) Change your strategy: Is your strategy working? Good. Keep it…It’s not working? Then you, my friend, need to switch things up. Although there is a case to be made (a strong case) for consistency, if you’re doing something that is clearly not working, then you need to start doing something else. It might be that what you’re doing takes a while to gain momentum, in which case, keep up the good work. But if you’re stalled and you have decided that it is your strategy that’s faulty, then you need to change it. Try something new. Hell, try 15 new things.

6) Emulate your role models even more each day: Keep a list of your role models! I do, and it has made all the difference. Now, I went a little crazy and drew up a list of more than 20 people that have influenced me and that I look up to in certain areas of my life. Bruce Lee for discipline, for instance; Michelangelo for effort; and Warren Buffet for his philanthropy.

But if you’re looking for your first role model, just pick one person you admire for SOMETHING, and try to emulate them in that respect every single day.

7) Design the rest of your life: If you don’t consciously direct where your life is headed, you won’t have meaningful control over how it turns out. You can just sit back and let life happen to you, or you could cultivate some healthy self respect and get on top of things. Make a plan, and create a clear vision in your mind of what you’d like your life to become. Nothing less will suffice.

8) It is what we do consistently that shapes our lives: What we do every day matters more than what we do every once in a while. Consistency will keep you moving forward to your objective. Every single day, you want to be doing something, anything, that is bringing you closer to your goals, or away from what you want to avoid. Eating fruits and vegetables just once a week isn’t going to make you healthy. It has to be consistent.

9) Cut off any possibility except success: Remove your safety net. If you think to yourself that quitting won’t be that bad, you’re done. You are going to give up at the first sign of difficulty because you have given yourself permission to fail. Remember the story about the foreign conquerer who burned his ships on the shore so his guys couldn’t retreat? The names in that story change depending on who is telling it, but the idea remains the same. Not one step backwards.

10) Take massive action: Not just action…MASSIVE action. You need to turn it on now. Action is the fuel that turns ideas into reality and getting into the habit of taking action will drive your momentum in ways that you won’t be able to foresee. I won’t belabor this point, but a small amount of action isn’t going to do ANYTHING towards chopping down your big goals. Do something. And then do something else. And then do a third thing. And then, when you’re nice and warmed up, complete 20 more things directly related to your goal.


11) Have a long-term focus: There are plenty of things that can make you happy in the short term. Pleasing other people, cocaine, fast-food. All these things will kill you. Mind, body, and spirit. Thinking further means looking at every single action as either taking you closer to or further away from your goals and refining your decisions in the moment. Your future self will thank you for it.

12) Never leave the scene of a decision before taking a concrete action: I love this little piece of advice. Nothing too crazy, just do something, anything towards the resolution of every decision you make. Before you do anything else.

13) Develop beliefs through reference experiences: The belief that you can do something comes from the experience of having done it before. If you have a big presentation to make, and you remember that you were spectacular when you gave the toast at your brother’s wedding, remember that experience and use that memory to fuel your belief that the current presentation will go well. Tony Robbins talks about this idea at length and it’s an important one.

14) Build more empowering beliefs: Along the same lines as above, build up your reserve of reference experiences. When you have a mental library of memories of times that you were effective and got the job done, you can return to those memories when times get tough and when you start to doubt yourself.

15) Achievers rarely see a problem as permanent: When you the change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Problems are transitory, and they won’t follow you forever. Remember that crisis at work 4 years ago that made you have to work all weekend to catch up? Of course you don’t. Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring worries all its own. Today’s problems are resistance exercises. They will make you stronger for overcoming them.


16) One problem does not pervade your entire life: Your problems, and everyone has them, do not define you. Your life is bigger than any individual problem, and it doesn’t matter who you are. It’s tough to not let a large problem seep into other areas of your life. It’ll take more than a paragraph to tell you how. But as much as possible, try to see how your life doesn’t have to be defined by one single problem in one single area of your life.

17) Reinforce changes immediately and  condition yourself to be consistent: Repetition makes habits stick. You know this already. So when you resolve to change a habit, begin right away, and make sure you repeat the action over and over, especially in the beginning. It’s easy to lose track of that decision to change, but taking action at the scene of the decision, and constant repetition afterwards will help make the change stick.

18) Your body leads your emotions: Standing up straighter increases your confidence. Unfolding your arms makes you more approachable. Motion wakes you up. All of these things and more influence your moods, emotions, and further actions. Pay attention to how you’re using your body and what effect it is having on you.

19) You travel in the direction of your focus: I keep my focus six inches in front of my face. Whatever is in my field of view right in the present moment is what I focus on when I’m fully engaged. Full engagement makes massive success possible, and your focus determines where you go. When you lose focus, acknowledge it, and then bring yourself back to the task at hand. Again and again. And again.

20) Go on a mental diet: A lot of what is out there is total garbage. Be intentional about what you let in. I don’t watch the news, I don’t watch trash TV, I don’t sit around gossiping about people, and I don’t hang around stupid people. Family reunions notwithstanding (Kidding, I’m not actually a jerk). You can eliminate a lot of the aforementioned garbage by restricting the kinds of things you expose yourself to. Mental diets are no different than other diets. They’re difficult sometimes, and they work.

21) Spend 90% of your time on the solution and 10% of your time on the problem: I love this. Too many times we ruminate about our problems and their potential implications, when there is a perfectly good solution out there, waiting for us to implement it. So acknowledge the problem, scope it out, learn about it. And then spend the rest of your time, 90% of it, on implementing the proper solution.

22) Take a stand and live by your values: Become unshakable in your faith. You have values that you want to protect, but for whatever reason you let other people make you ease up on them. Stop. If there’s something you believe strongly enough in to call it one of your “values”, then live by it. Speak with your actions and the life you have created. Don’t let anyone belittle your values or cause you to stray from them.

robbin23) Add ten times more value: You can get everything you want, as long as you help enough people get what THEY want. It’s all about adding value, and you will be rewarded in direction proportion to the value that you create. This is one of the most fundamental laws of success, and it’s something that you need to keep constantly in mind. I do. Always ask how you can contribute more value. Not necessarily by working harder, but by learning how you can provide more value to more people.

24) Spend less than you earn and then invest the difference: I can’t believe the things that people choose to spend their money on, and yet they don’t invest in themselves and their future. That’s insane. $500 on books, $500 on a gym membership, and $500 on an online course can change your life. It can change your life 365 times a year. Or more! And always for the better. Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do with your money. There are many more ways to invest in yourself too. Seek them out!

25) Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others: Ever notice how the people that criticize others most  often aren’t doing anything meaningful with their own lives? It seems that everyone knows how you should live your life, and no idea about how to live their own. It’s always easier to criticize from the couch.

You can rise above that garbage by removing yourself from those useless comparisons. When you work out, read books, spend time with the ones you love, and appreciate the gifts that you’ve been given, you’ll find that you don’t have a lot of time left over for, or interest in, evaluating others. You will have been set on the path to self-transcendence.

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Alright so those are just a few of the lessons in this profound book, Awakening the Giant Within. No wonder Tony Robbins has enjoyed the immense success that he has. And it’s all available to you when you start applying these principles.

Of course, there is SO much more waiting for you inside the pages of this book, and I could never cover everything here. You’ll just have to read it yourself.

However, if you’d like my complete set of notes on the book, you have only to email me at and I will gladly send them to you. I would be honored.

May your discipline become Godlike,

Matt Karamazov


Don’t just skim this article once and forget about it. You’re not going to retain much that way. And certainly not for long. Repeated exposure to ideas is part of what makes them stick, and you have to return to the ideas in this book that have been helpful to you if you want them to become a part of your life. Please, take notes of your own and review them from time to time.

“The reader lives 1,000 lives before he dies; the non-reader lives but once.”


Matt Karamazov is a mentor, boxer, label exec, and social activist who reads 200 books per year and throws 300 punches per minute. The website, Godlike Discipline, is his most deeply felt project, dedicated to raising money for causes he cares about, as well as helping people tackle their biggest willpower challenges. He also like death metal, and so, consequently doesn’t get many second dates. Here he is on a horse.

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