Tony Robbins * Free Press * November 1, 1992 * 544 Pages
The section on emotions is insanely good. And I know I’m not alone in thinking this. I see it praised in review after review. The chapter is long, but it’s very thorough and insightful.
Basically Robbins says that negative emotions are a message (he calls them “calls to action”) that whatever you’re currently doing isn’t working. Maybe you have emotional pain because of the way you’re perceiving things. Maybe you have pain because of the way you’re communicating. Or maybe you have pain because of the actions you’re taking. Whatever the reason, you aren’t getting the result you want, so you have to change your approach. When you feel strong negative feelings, don’t suppress them, and don’t blow them up either. Learn to appreciate them and see what they’re teaching you. Then handle them quickly.
Robbins talks about ten main emotions: discomfort, fear, hurt, anger, frustration, disappointment, guilt, inadequacy, overwhelm, and loneliness. For each emotion, he describes what it is, talks about the message it’s sending, and then gives action steps for dealing with it. I’m not going to go through each one, but, as an example, here’s what he says about disappointment:
- Disappointment is when you want something you’ll never get.
- The message of disappointment is that an expectation you have had—a goal you were really going for— is probably not going to happen. So now you need to change your expectations to make them more appropriate to the situation.
- The solution is to set a new goal and achieve it immediately. Find something to learn from the situation. Also realize you might be judging yourself too soon. You may just need to be patient and see how things play out. And no matter what:
Cultivate an attitude of positive expectancy about what will happen in the future, regardless of what has occurred in the past.
Robbins ends the chapter discussing ten “emotions of power.” He stresses the importance of nurturing these positive emotions in addition to working through the negative ones. The emotions of power are love and warmth, appreciation and gratitude (his favorite), curiosity, excitement and passion, determination, flexibility, confidence, cheerfulness, vitality, and contribution. I especially liked how he talked about these positive emotions like they needed to be exercised and built up. No one is born being naturally good at feeling great. You have to practice. If you want to feel confident, then you have to purposely put yourself out there and choose to exercise confidence instead of fear. You can’t expect to become confident by staying home. Get out there and do some scary shit. Sometimes you’ll look like an idiot, but sometimes you won’t—but either way you’ll be building your confidence muscle.
The emotions you feel are a gift.