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10 Amazing Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Tony Robbins

10 Amazing Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Tony Robbins

Have you ever been to a Tony Robbins event? Thousands of people are screaming “MAKE YOUR MOVE! SAY YES! SAY YES!” The crowd goes wild as the inspirational giant leads everyone into a peak state right before they walk across a bed of fiery, burning hot coals—a metaphorical experience for being unstoppable.

Some people may mistake Tony Robbins’s books, audio programs and seminars as motivational. Although they continue to uplift millions of people around the world, they are much more than merely motivational. But Tony is consulted even more often as a peak performance strategist and I’d say his results back up the title. He’s successfully coached athletes like Andre Agassi, who came from a slump back to #1 in the tennis world, as well as leaders in the financial world like Paul Tudor Jones, whom Tony has worked with for 21 years and who’s made money every single year no matter where the market has been. Tony has also been credited by many people with helping them transform and upgrade their health, psychology, relationships, business and finances—in other words, their lives.

Having attended several of Tony’s seminars and listened to almost every audio program he has, there are 10 amazing life lessons I’ve learned from the man himself. They can be implemented by anyone today to profoundly increase their quality of life.

1. Trade your expectations for appreciations

If you trade your expectations for appreciations, you’ll immediately feel grateful. And it’s when we’re grateful that we feel rich and wealthy, regardless of how our lives look financially or materialistically.

Last week I met my dad’s longtime friend and business partner and he’s got tons of energy despite being at an age where he’d be considered an elderly man. When I asked him what his secret was to having so much energy, he told me that he always counts his blessings. In other words, he cultivates gratitude.

What can you feel grateful for right now? This is a question I learned from Tony that I ask myself often.

2. Where focus goes, energy flows

What we focus on feels real to us in the moment, and whatever we pay more attention to in our lives grows. If we’re focused on how we can add more value to our clients, we’ll consistently find ways to add more value to their lives. If we’re focused on our excuses for why we can’t achieve something, we’ll empower that limiting belief more and more.

Tony’s excellent at guiding the focus of a room full of thousands of people in his seminars, and you can be too. He does this most effectively by asking specific questions. It’s our questions that direct our focus. And when we get to the root of it, we all have at least one primary question that drives our lives, that drives our focus, that directs our energy, and that creates our story and our life.

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Where’s your focus at right now? Where does it need to be to grow and contribute more in your life?

3. Be results-focused rather than activity-focused

When you know the result you’re after, you’ll come up with greater actions to take to get you your results more effectively, efficiently, and rapidly.

I used to be a huge to-do list guy. I’d make one every day when I’d wake up in the morning and cross out my to-dos as I’d progress through my day. I found the to-do list process unfulfilling over time and often overwhelming when I’d have many to-dos. Then I discovered the RPM plan (results-focused, purpose-driven, massive action plan). This planning method and mindset allowed me to increase my results and productivity up to 10 times faster each week. It worked because I knew what my result was, I knew why I wanted it, and I had a high quality massive action plan to get me my result.

What’s the result you’re after right now? What’s your outcome from reading this post? Is it to learn and implement 10 amazing life lessons that can help you grow more in your life? Is it to cure boredom in the moment?

4. A 2 mm change is sometimes all you need

In soccer, the difference between scoring a goal versus missing the goal is within 2 mm. It’s the difference between hitting the sweet spot on the ball rather than coming under the ball making the shot fly over the crossbar.

The same metaphor can be applied to our business, relationships, health, and finances. For example, maybe you get greater conversions from your sales copies when you highlight the benefits. Or maybe you feel more connected with the people you have relationships with when you hug them with a warmer and tighter squeeze. Or maybe you notice that your energy magnifies when you drink wheatgrass juice in the morning rather than a coffee.

What’s the 2 mm change that you can make in your body today to profoundly increase your health and vitality? Business? Relationships? Finances?

5. The Triad: physiology, focus and, language

We can master our emotional states with a specific recipe of how we use our body, focus, and language.

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If you’re standing tall with your chest out, shoulders back, chin up and your fists in the air while you’re focused on an awesome victory and you’re shouting with total joy and pride “I am a champion!” then you will feel like a victorious champ.

If you’re sitting down with your shoulders slumped, your chin down to your chest with your head leaning forward while you’re focusing on how you’ve failed once again and your thinking, “Why am I such a failure?” then you’ll feel like a depressed failure.

Guess what? You can influence how you move your body, what you focus on, and the language you use to describe any moment. That means you can directly influence your emotions, and by being aware of your physiology, focus, and language, you can master your habitual emotions over time.

How’s your posture right now? What are you focusing on? What words are you using to describe your current experience? What can you do to upgrade your emotional state right now with your physiology, focus and language?

6. The 6 human needs

This was possibly one of the top three greatest things I’ve learned from Tony Robbins. No matter where you’re from, what your background or story is, Tony says that there are 6 fundamental human needs that we all share and that drive our lives. We generally value two out of the six needs most and we filter our life choices, decisions, and habits based on meeting these primary needs first. The 6 human needs are…

Certainty—assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure

Uncertainty/Variety—the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli

Significance—feeling unique, important, special or needed

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Connection/Love—a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something

Growth—an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding

Contribution—a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to, and supporting others

One person might meet their needs on a strong level for certainty, variety, significance, and connection through smoking cigarettes. They can feel certain or comfortable from smoking cigarettes whether it’s a habit they’ve had for a long time or because they can feel like they can relax from having a deep exhale. They can feel variety because smoking a cigarette instantly changes your biochemistry and state. They can feel significant if they see smoking as a cool thing to do or being the guy or girl who offers someone a cigarette, and they can feel connection by smoking with others.

Another person can meet those same needs through daily exercise. They can feel certain that they’ll feel great and energized from exercising. They can experience variety through mixing up workouts, through the biochemical change that takes place in their body, and through training different muscle groups. They can experience significance by being someone who values their body and by having a ripped body. They can experience connection and love for themselves for taking great care of their body and by exercising with others.

Tony said that whenever we have a habit, emotion, or thought that meets at least three of our needs on at least a level of 6 out of 10, then we form an addiction. The fastest way to break an addiction is to replace the addiction with a vehicle that meets the needs or more needs in a better way.

Which two needs do you value most right now in your life?

7. Change your story, change your life

We all have stories for our lives. Most of the time, we tell them unconsciously to ourselves and to others. For example, how’s your day been so far? The answer you’re thinking of right now is a story, and the fun part is you have the ability to define your story. You might not be able to change the events and circumstances that happen in your life, but you can certainly choose the meaning for them.

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8. Decisions lead to destiny

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins 

It is not our circumstances that define our destiny, rather the decisions we make, because each decision we make leads us to a destination in our lives. There are three decisions we’re always making consciously or subconsciously: what am I going to focus on, what does it mean to me, and what am I going to do about it?

What’s one of the greatest decisions you’ve made in your life? What would your life be like if you didn’t make that decision?

9. The 3 mandates of a leader

The three mandates of a leader start with seeing the situation as it is, not worse than it is. Then seeing it better than it is. And finally, making it the way you want to see it.

I remember when I was 13, I got super inspired to play soccer professionally. At the time, I hadn’t played soccer in years and most of my friends who did had been playing with a club team by then. I went out and played with some friends and realized that my skills at the time weren’t as good as the club players. Rather than give up or think less of myself, I was so inspired by the dream that I clearly asked coaches to give me an evaluation on where my skills stood and what I needed to improve on in order to play on a competitive level club team. Once I knew where I was and had a clear idea of where I wanted to be and how to get there, I took massive action to propel my skills and within a few short years I was playing with an MLS Academy team and invited to play college soccer.

In what area of your life can you practice the three mandates of a leader right now to live a more energy-rich and legendary life? In what area of your life have you been practicing the three mandates?

10. Success leaves clues

Want to accelerate the results you want in your life? Most probably, there’s someone alive who’s achieved what you want. All you need to do is model them and you’ll get the results they got in a much faster time than going through a trial-and-error process.

Tony promotes modeling and immersion training as one of the best and fastest ways to achieve mastery in a skill or area of life.

What’s a result you want in your life right now? Who’s accomplished it? How can you model them to get the result you want now?

And there we have it! That’s 10 amazing lessons I’ve learned from Tony Robbins that have profoundly increased the quality of my life and that I hope will benefit you and your loved ones.

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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