Thursday, August 24, 2006

Unlimited Power--Chapter One

Last month, I announced that I'd be studying a book by Tony Robbins titled Unlimited Power and summarizing its contents and reflecting on them and my efforts to apply them to changing my own life. I think it's time to get the proverbial show on the road.

Chapter 1: The Commodity of Kings


Success is continual personal growth including that of helping others to grow. Success comes through the exercise of power. "Power" is "the ability to act," and personal power is the ability to change your life the way you want. In today's world, power consists chiefly of the effective control of information through internal and external communication. Extraordinary people are not, generally, extraordinarily talented; they just communicate with themselves and others in powerful ways that we can all learn.

Our feelings come not from what happens around and to us, but from how we interpret those happenings, and life's meaning is not intrinsic, but is what we give it. We can control our own feelings, thoughts, and actions the way a director controls the elements of a movie and the audience's reactions to it, and we can either do an effective or ineffective job of directing our "movie."

Excellence comes from following the "Ultimate Success Formula":

(1) Set a clear goal.
(2) Decide on a clear course of action and take it.
(3) Evaluate the results.
(4) Modify actions until goal is achieved.

Seven fundamental character traits that we can cultivate can enable us to follow this formula to success:

(1) Passion for excellence
(2) Belief that we can succeed
(3) Strategy for success
(4) Clarity of values
(5) Energy to persevere
(6) Power to bond with others
(7) Mastery of internal and external communication


I like Robbins' definitions of personal success and power. From a Wilberian integral perspective, they involve cultivating growth through several key lines of consciousness development that ultimately empowers us serve others as well as ourselves. I also believe that Robbins is on to something when he speaks of personal power as effective action stemming primarily from the control of information through the skillful exercise of internal and external communication. That is, we can shape our internal world of perceptions, thoughts, emotions, values, attitudes, and volitions and how we convey this internal world to the outside world through our words and actions to achieve success.

I also agree with Robbins that events in the world don't generally make us feel the emotions and commit the acts we do in response, but, rather, it's how we perceive, interpret, or understand those events. This echoes such ancient Stoics as Epictetus and anchors such modern psychotherapies as REBT. But whereas REBT tends to focus more on eliminating patterns of thinking that produce chronic and self-defeating emotions and behaviors, Robbins has taken the insight that thoughts shape emotions and conduct and used it to create, with the help of NLP and other pre-existing systems, a popular and purportedly effective formula for achieving positive personal growth and happiness. God knows I could use such a formula to change my life.

When I look at the four elements of Robbins' "Ultimate Success Forumla," they seem obvious enough; yet, I have seldom if ever systematically applied these principles to achieve major goals. My goals have often been poorly defined, my course of action vague and haphazard, my evaluation of results deficient in terms of seeing clearly what's happening when I do what I do beyond simply noting that I like or don't like the way things are going, and my adaptive responses to my deficient evaluations have been stubbornly inflexible. That is, I've tended to keep doing the same things over and over hoping that they'll finally work out the way I want if only I try a little harder or get a little help from someone or something. It's time to try another approach, and Robbins' seems promising.

When I examine Robbins' seven fundamental character traits necessary for success, I find myself lacking in all of them. But it seems to me that the root problem lies in #2. To put it bluntly, I haven't believed that I can succeed. I've allowed my cognitive weaknesses and numerous experiences of failure and avoidance to convince me that I'm essentially a hopeless case with no chance of accomplishing anything of significance whether it's being a good husband, getting and keeping a good job, writing a good book, or being a good person. Obviously, when one believes one isn't capable of succeeding, it's virtually impossible to make the skillful effort to summon passion, develop a sound strategy, clarify one's values, energetically persevere in one's efforts, bond well with others, and master communication.

So, it seems to me that I have to focus especially hard on addressing my lack of belief in myself, and that is exactly what I've been working on lately. Robbins will no doubt address this particular theme in future chapters, and I'm looking forward to learning from them.


Jess said...

I am such a nerd with this stuff. I carry around a goal list for the day every single day. I find myself not getting to everything I want to do, so I have narrowed it to three or four things.You should not worry if you don't get the chance to get to everything all the time. Just re prioritizing them seems to work for me on most days. Having personal power is the only way to go. When you seem focused and confident it shows on the outside and when you keep practicing it becomes habit forming. The studied I have seen is a habit is no longer a habit but a way of life after just 30 days of practice. Take one thing over the next 30 days you want to accomplish and make steps to doing it. All long journeys start the same way, with one small step at a time. I am going to be in your area I think Monday or Tuesday for the state fair and then driving up to Lake Tahoe for the rest of the week. What is the weather like for the next few days up there anyway.

Counter Mag said...

Dear Pollyanus,

That's right, slap another coat of veneer on it.

BDOF said...

counterfag,, the veneer is on you. you are always coming here talking bad about others you do not agree with.. I think you need to look at yourself to find the goal you are looking for, not the monster in others. only people that are cosumed with their perfection would ever put down someone like you did. You sir or mam are the one that needs help with your life.

good day



Anonymous said...

cm, what exactly does that mean? Slap another coat on what? You come here to this guys blog and clutter it up with hate and plain nastiness. If I were him, your comments would be deleted every chance I got. Do you ever think that you could be hurting another person's feelings with the nastiness you exude? Or do you enjoy being this hate filled? I say it's both.


Nagarjuna said...

Thanks for your take on personal power, Jess. I don't doubt that your approach to listing and prioritizing your daily and more long-term goals has helped you accomplish a good deal, and I suspect that Robbins outlines a similar approach as one of his means to cultivating personal power. As for the weather here Monday and Tuesday, it's supposed to reach the mid-90's on Monday afternoon and the low 90's Tuesday. That seems to be pretty typical here for this time of year. I hope you enjoy the fair. My wife, sister-in-law, and I went last year. That was my first state fair. The fairgrounds are only about five miles away from our house. I'm sure you'll enjoy Lake Tahoe as well. I hope things are going well for you. My wife and I will be bowling in our league sweeper (a kind of tournament at the end of a league) today in Reno and stuffing ourselves in one of the buffets in the area before driving home tonight. Believe it or not, I haven't been to Reno in over 20 years.

BDOF & Anonymous, don't worry about Counter Mag. I assure you that his (or her) comments don't bother me in the least, except that I feel a measure of sadness that someone would feel the need to come to someone else's blog and post such mean-spirited things. One wonders what's in such a person's mind and heart that they would use their precious time and energy that way. As for deleting it, I prefer to let it remain and speak for itself. Perhaps the person who posted it will take a look at it and realize that he or she has more goodness in him or her than that and begin to act accordingly.

Nagarjuna said...

As a follow-up to my previous comment, I don't like to delete anyone's comments here, and you'll see that I don't if they are even remotely responsive to anything in the thread. But when they become purely nonsensical, abusive, or threatening, they will will not linger here any longer than necessary.

Counter Mag said...

i'm waiting with baited breath for the next installment of i too can have unlimited power.

Counter Mag said...

I sense a little controlfreakism here.

Nagarjuna said...

Not at all, my friend. The last thing I want to have to do is exclude anyone or delete anyone's comments. I'll do it only when necessary. So, I honestly hope that you won't make it necessary.

Counter Mag said...

So you will tolerate no dissent on this blog and will take no responsibility for your actions in taking down someone elses blog? Am I correct?

Shirley said...

Why all the censorship here?

Nagarjuna said...

For the record, I had nothing to do with any actions taken against anyone else's blog. And I am extremely tolerant of disagreement with the opinions I or others express here, so long as it doesn't degenerate into gratuitous insults and ugly name-calling.

Counter Mag said...

Your guilt over what you have done is very striking!


Nagarjuna said...

Ian, I don't know if you're joking or if you're serious. I don't even know what precisely it is that you're jokingly or seriously accusing me of doing. But whatever it is, I didn't do it. That is, I did not inflict or orchestrate the infliction of any difficulties on the Counter Mag blog.

This is all I have to say about the matter, my friend. If you believe me, fine. If you don't, there's nothing more I can reasonably do to persuade you, and I have better things to do than to keep trying.

All the best to you.

BDOF said...

I was deleted for my comments , so I will not continue this discussion. The Ultimate Power of this Blog has spoken.

The Ultimate Power is there for all to find. From God for most people, some from themselves, some from the Delete button. I know where mine is, we all need to find ours.

Good Day.


Counter Mag said...

Yes, but the comment that started it all still stands. COUNTERFAG!