Here we have post 2 in the series about my recent trip to Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within (#UPW), which covers the bits that resonated most with me on day 1. Tony introduced some key concepts here, many of which were built upon throughout the remainder of the seminar.
The tone is set very quickly, your attention grabbed. It’s incredible how easily Tony gets more than 10500 people engaged and on the same page, then keep them there for 13 hours straight! Not only this but this is the day of the FIREWALK, an excellent metaphor for overcoming fears and achieving what many would think impossible.
People go to UPW for many reasons. Some are there to address personal problems, some to learn how to grow their business (or themselves), others to understand how to improve their relationships – to name a few examples. The common denominator here is that everybody is there to enhance their life. Taking that up a few more notches and what everyone really can (and perhaps should) be aiming for is to reach an extraordinary life. The kind of life that is unimaginable, limited only by the boundaries we create in our minds.
So what is an extraordinary life?
The answer is simple - different things to different people. What is an extraordinary life for you will likely be completely different to me. We are all unique, and everybody places different value on different things. Many people in the room at UPW were big on success – the vast majority of attendees would probably be in the over/high achiever category. The reality is guys; success only gets you part way there. Let me explain…
I realised this quite acutely when Tony used the example of the late Robin Williams. I’m sure I don’t need to spell out what happened to Robin who was an incredibly successful man, loved by so many around the world. What this illustrated was that while success is important, there is something much more important to work toward and that something is fulfilment.
Fulfilment is getting to a point where no matter what happens, we live in happiness every day. You can have all the wealth in the world, brought about by insane levels of success – but if you’re not happy doing it, you will never be truly fulfilled. This is an interesting perspective, and almost kinda obvious when you think about it. This doesn’t stop so many chasing success however, myself included. What I took away from this is simply that my focus should be on living a life that supports me in feeling outstanding every day – in work, out of work, whatever. By adopting this kind of mindset and living in a BEAUTIFUL STATE every day – the success has no choice but to come along for the ride.
Wow, wow hold on a minute… beautiful state? Explain?
In post 1 I mentioned high energy peak states and Tony is all about getting to this kind of optimal mindset. This is the ideal state to conquer all, have full belief, absolute certainty - ready to take on anything. What he also introduced, however, was the concept of a beautiful state which is much more than just having high energy. A beautiful state involves deep feelings of joy, gratitude, appreciation, passion, empowerment. This is an even more desirable state, which also serves as the perfect antidote to a negative thought pattern.
If you sometimes find yourself slipping into a self-destructive, negative or ultimately fearful state, learning to consciously replace those thoughts with positive, empowering or uplifting thoughts will transform your outlook very quickly. Tony adopts a rule whereby if he encounters undesirable thoughts he needs to be out of that mindset and return to a beautiful state, within 90 seconds. I think this is something we can all learn from and aim toward.
How many times have you had a fearful reaction that developed a train of thought, then before you knew it things had practically spiralled out of control? It may have taken hours, or even days before you got ahold of it, then when you look back you’d worked yourself up into a bit of a frenzy, often for no reason at all. By developing the ability to recognise these destructive patterns early, then replacing them with opposing feelings to move back to a beautiful state – you will progress to a more fulfilled, happy and altogether more stable mindset.
Of course knowing about different frames of mind and their characteristics is only half the battle. Establishing techniques that allow you to shift states is where the magic happens and ultimately what enables you to take control of your life, and work toward fulfilment. On day 1 Tony taught that there are three ways to induce a change of state, which he refers to as the triad.
Triad Element 1 – Physiology
The quickest way to change your state is to create rapid change in your physiology. You can achieve this within a heartbeat, simply by moving your body. Just sitting/standing tall with your shoulders back, chest out, deep breathing and adding a big smile WILL change your state, because of adjustments in your physiology.
You can up the ante by making a quick movement, dancing, jumping - whatever you like. The key is to rapidly transition from how you were before – motion creates emotion and will create an immediate shift. This is why during UPW there are regular bouts of jumping up, shaking your body about, dancing. It’s all about changing state and having experienced these rapid changes I can confirm - it works.
Important: It doesn’t matter if you can’t dance so don’t let that stop you. Nodody cares. I genuinely have two left feet, but it didn’t stop me getting involved and seeing a radical change by (trying) to dance!
Triad Element 2 – Focus
Focus is another key element that will allow you to amend how you think progressively. Remember: Where focus goes, energy flows. Not only that but what you regularly focus your mind on you will start to believe. Your beliefs shape who you are, how you behave and ultimately, the perspective you take on situations. What you focus on has immense power in terms of shaping your reality, how you view the world, what beliefs you hold.
It goes without saying that it's very beneficial to be aware of where you are focused and if you’re focusing on the wrong things, learn how to correct it. For example, if you spend time thinking how you won’t be able to do that thing, you won’t be able to do it. To counter this a focus shift is needed, to reframe that thought and concentrate on how you will be able to do it, and how it will feel when you do.
Additional note – sharpening your focus
At this point, I’m mentioning something I have learned, not from UPW but before attending. Meditation is one of the most powerful practices you can get into that will improve your ability to focus. If you’ve never ventured into this territory, let me assure you that you can derive value from learning how to concentrate on something fully. Developing a meditation practice will help you pick up on those destructive thoughts quicker, as well as enhancing how powerfully you can direct your mind to something else.
It isn’t easy at first, but it will make you realise how much chatter goes on in your mind, especially in the modern world that we live. With time your ability to concentrate on what you want to will improve. Your brain is a muscle like any other in your body. You have to work it to develop it, and meditation is one way I’ve found of achieving this.
Triad Element 3 – Language
The final triad element is language. This can be both inward “self-talk” and outward communication to others. The words, phrases and manner in which you speak can have a significant effect on your state. For example, if you regularly say things such as “Why is it always me” or “Why do I never get the chance to do that” you are engaging in negative talk that will not help you realise your goals.
By amending the language that we use, we can have a significant effect on how we think. Breaking the pattern of self-defeating talk is tough, but can have a profound effect on our overall state. Think about it, if we say these things on a regular maybe even daily basis, what is our “baseline” state going to look like? Not great.
You can, however, make dramatic shifts in your language to rewire your beliefs, change your perceptions and ultimately help get to where you want to. You may have heard of affirmations, saying things to yourself whether inside or out loud, telling yourself this will happen or that will happen. That is all well and good – there is certainly a degree of value in this. To get a much more significant effect and induce rapid change Tony suggests using incantations instead of affirmations.
A bit about incantations...
Incantations are where you add a physiology shift to what you say to yourself, you apply emotional intensity and say it like you really, really mean it – a number of times. This is why prior to the firewalk you are clapping and shouting yes, repeatedly, 100s of times. This is a simple example of an incantation; you are applying significant intensity, introducing a physiological element (clapping) and again having done it – it works. This is one of the most profound ways to change your state, over time rewire your beliefs and eventually change your less than ideal thought patterns for the better.
Just to be clear, your incantation can be whatever you want – that applies to your individual situation, whatever you want to change/improve. The key thing is that it is positive and if you're using it to counter a negative thought or belief, ensure it does just that! The following video gives a brief insight into incantations and how they differ from affirmations…
Forces of creation
Another key topic I took away from on day 1 was forces of creation. These are the three elements required to create whatever you want in your reality.
- MASSIVE Action – with effective execution
In this context, focus relates to having an undeniable hunger for whatever it is you desire. This is imperative, to effectively create you really, really need be hungry for it. Just having a wishy-washy feeling that you want something is not enough, you need to REALLY want it, fixate on it, be hungry for it and above all – believe that you have it. If not now, KNOW that it is on its way.
MASSIVE Action with effective execution
The principle behind massive action is just that; things don’t just happen for you, you have to grab hold and make things happen to create what you desire. A lot of people believe the law of attraction is a quick route to success/fulfilment and allows you to create, without putting the work in and taking action. It just doesn’t work like that. Once you are focused on your goal, then take massive action toward it - that’s when you will begin to see the magic happen. Put effort into realising your goals and provided they are aligned with the “greater good” (i.e. not taking away from another) you will start to see change.
Another element to this force is effective execution. It’s no good taking action that in no way helps you to realise your goals. If you take action and it doesn’t work, don’t keep trying the same approach, shift up your strategy and go again. Go on like this until you see change. Don’t quit.
Grace means different things to different people. Some call it God, others the universe – some even refer to it as “luck”. Whatever your beliefs, know that there is a guiding force present in all of us. This guiding force will give you pointers as you go through life, whether you are looking for them or not. You need to be tuned into these pointers which often manifest as what you may see as a “coincidence.” Don’t ignore these. More often than not they will be a vital piece of the puzzle as you create and recreate your reality.
It’s also imperative to be appreciative and show gratitude towards these guiding forces. I’m sure if you think back to moments in your life there will have been coincidental events that led to substantial change, perhaps a new job role, a new relationship, a new opportunity. It could even be as simple as meeting someone for the first time, or reconnecting with an old friend. It’s important to recognise that these coincidences were no accident and be thankful for them. Powerful forces were in play, aiding you in your creation – whether you knew it or not.
These concepts are built on what I’d already read and listened to in books/podcasts on the Law of Attraction. The simplicity and application were a little different, however, and that’s what resonated with me at UPW. If you do not feel you’re able to manifest desirable conditions in your life a quick checkpoint on these three elements may reveal where you could be going wrong. How hungry are you for this? What action have you taken and how effective was it? Have you been open to guidance from a higher power, whatever that means to you? If not then it might be time to reset, re-align with these principles before going again.
So what I now refer to as “priming” was unknown to me until half way through day 1. Priming is Tony’s routine which forms part of his morning ritual every day – to set him up for the day. It combines breathing techniques and guided meditation which when combined create an incredible feeling of focus, gratitude/appreciation and general “preparedness” for the day ahead. This was very powerful for me, I felt an intense sense of energy flowing through my body, face/limbs tingling – the lot! It was insane. I’ve since adopted this is part of my morning routine, and the friends I attended UPW with have done the same. I think that says it all…
The priming routine starts with a couple of minutes of Yogic breathing which drives masses of oxygen through your body and completely changes your physiology. You essentially raise your hands above your head, palms open facing toward you as you inhale through your nose. Next you snap your hands down on the exhale (also through your nose) as you draw your elbows down toward you. Tony prescribes three sets of 10 (or 30 in English!), rest, then repeat two more times.
The next stage is a couple of minutes focusing on gratitude, essentially being thankful for three moments/experiences in your life. They do not have to all be major moments, in fact Tony encourages one to be a small thing, those that we often take for granted. The next step is the visualisation of healing energy flowing through the body, from the head down to the toes and back again, all while breathing deeply again to flood the body with oxygen. This then extends to willing this energy out to those close to you, your family, your friends, your business associates – anybody. The final phase is forward-looking creative visualisation of three things you wish to create/manifest, visualising them, living them, feeling them, being them.
I’d strongly recommend watching the following YouTube video in which Tony explains this, and why it’s structured as it is.
If you want to give this a shot the full audio is available via the following URL. I now run through this every morning and honestly feel incredible for it…
The latter part of day 1 is all about leading up to the Firewalk. The lady that checked us in at registration referred to it as “training”, and with hindsight I completely see what she was getting at! Naturally walking over hot coals at 1200-2000 degrees Fahrenheit is pretty fear inducing for most. The few hours that precede the Firewalk are all about reshaping that fear and getting into a state of UNSTOPPABLE certainty.
Tony achieves this by seriously raising the energy in the room, with lots of use of incantations. He guides everyone toward a mental state that ultimately means there is no question about whether you’ll want to walk over those coals. Once everyone has removed their shoes (and socks, no cheating!) the entire audience takes “the walk” outside to where 36 lanes of burning coals have been set out. Throughout this process there is non-stop clapping, chanting YES and generally getting yourself fully ready to do this. By the time you’re at the front you are not far from a trance-like state, knowing exactly what you need to do and more importantly – that you CAN do it.
The whole point of the Firewalk is to provide an excellent metaphor that if you really want to, you can do anything with the right mindset. This is what I took away from the experience - I now know that by getting myself truly in the zone and believing in myself, nothing is unachievable. I can always bring myself back to the moment I was about to walk out on those coals and use it to my full advantage.
Well, this post turned out much longer than anticipated. I guess the various concepts needed quite a bit of explaining and even now I’m not sure whether I’ve done them justice! I hope at least some of this made sense, maybe something I wrote resonated with you too and if so – excellent. If you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to get in touch, I would be happy to explain any of this in more detail.
I’ll end this one with a powerful and relevant quote from Napoleon Hill…
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”