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Master Your Emotions
Master Your Life

By Cynthia Logan

That ever-famous New Year's resolution list is just around the corner. We all mean well and some of us even keep the resolutions all the way into March! Wouldn't it be great to have a personal trainer to help us make those positive goals permanent? Many of us can't afford a "life coach," but the next best thing is as close as your nearest Barnes and Noble. Anthony Robbins (the famous "Firewalk" leader and author of "Awaken The Giant Within"), has a series of motivational lessons that are truly empowering. Available on either CD or audiocassette, the 30-day Personal Power II program has the potential to galvanize you into action.

A master motivator (he prides himself in being able to help people overcome lifelong phobias within minutes), Robbins is a passionate speaker who has inspired millions through his books, seminars and electronic recordings. He has worked with world leaders, the U.S. military, Hollywood stars, business giants and sports heroes. After a brief history of his own rise from a painful past, stunning success and subsequent financial ruin to then achieving what he considers "massive abundance in every area of life," Robbins identifies our basic drives as being towards pleasure and away from pain.

Seems simple enough, but most of us have made it more complicated by linking some of our worst habits with pleasure ("Hey", says Robbins, "no one smokes to deliberately kill themselves") and the things we say we want with pain (we may want to make more money, but associate the work or commitment it would take with more pain than with the pleasure we would get from having the money). He points out that few people understand the power of decision making. The word "decide" comes from the Latin "decidere," which means "to cut off." In making a definite decision, we are cutting off other possibilities, or the possibility of not reaching our goal. A true decision means no turning back!

Robbins' enthusiastic style and dynamic personality come right through the medium, and can truly ignite the "power within." Having read over 700 self-help and success books like Napolean Hill's classic, "Think and Grow Rich," he offers a synthesis of distilled wisdom at a pace and intensity even a New Yorker would find invigorating. Each session contains principles, examples, exercises and a "homework assignment." A focal concept is that of "managing your states." He points out that, in accordance with the latest scientific understanding, we create our external reality by our internal states. "Your experience of a situation is created by your brain firing off interpretive reactions-reactions that you have the power to control," he states. The instruction on managing states includes what Robbins calls, "Neuro-associative-conditioning," or NAC. Similar to Neurolinguistic Programming (whose founder Robbins worked with), NAC is a cornerstone in the Personal Power program. He conducts a mini-session that teaches "anchoring" a positive emotional state with a physical action that can later be a catalyst for recalling the peak state at will.

According to Robbins, we don't just experience the emotions that comprise our states, we actually create them through what he calls "rituals." "You have a ritual you run when you 'get depressed'," he states. "You have particular things you do with your body, your voice, your thoughts, etc. to create what you call depression." He suggests listing five negative and five positive emotions, then breaking them down step by step. "For example," he says, "if you were going to teach me how to be as motivated as you are, what would I need to do to get there?"

In addition to managing your emotional states, knowing your values, beliefs, and "the whys" behind your goals, Robbins suggests finding a role model whose success you can emulate. And, though he offers many tools, Robbins summarizes just four steps to success: 1) Know your outcome; what do you want? It's amazing that, for many of us, desires are very generalized. Since clarity is power, capturing a specific desire and putting it down on paper can be empowering in and of itself. It also stimulates the brain's "reticular activating system," which acts like a filter, setting up synchronicities all around you. (Once you've decided to buy a yellow car, for instance, you begin to notice yellow cars everywhere-that's the RAS working); 2) Get yourself to take action. "Action carries with it power, whereas inertia binds you to stagnation," he says. Robbins is big on creating "leverage," and suggests writing down all the reasons NOT taking action will bring you pain, and the reasons taking the action will result in "massive" pleasure; 3) Notice whether or not the action you took is working-doing so requires what Robbins describes as "sensory acuity"-pay attention and notice the impact of your action; 4) If your strategy isn't working, change your approach. "Flexibility is power," says Robbins. "Don't stick to a plan or even a goal that isn't bringing you the results you want." He cites airplane pilots staying on course by constantly shifting direction and making corrections in flight as an example of staying on course.

Another practical piece of the program is Robbins' problem-solving strategy. "Spend 20% of your time and energy in identifying the challenge, then spend 80% of your time on finding the solutions," he advises. "Your brain can answer any challenge or problem if you ask effective questions." He admonishes us to "stay out of overwhelm and stay resourceful," pointing out that some of the most satisfying moments in life come from taking on a challenge that seems overwhelming and solving it creatively. He suggests asking the following questions in a difficult situation: 1) What's great about this? Or, what could be great about it? 2) What's not perfect yet? 3) What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it? 4) What am I willing to no longer do in order to make things the way I want them? And, 5) How can I do what is necessary to get this job done and enjoy the process?

Robbins stresses that the quality of our lives is determined by the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis. What do you ask yourself first thing in the morning? Is it something like, "Why do I have to get up this early and go to work"? If so, it may not be the best question you could be asking. Why not ask, "What can I learn today"? or "What can I do to improve the quality of the service (or product) I offer"?

As he sums up succinctly, "It's not what we can do, it's what we will do that determines our destiny." If you're not living the life you dream of, ask better questions, get some clear, definite goals, learn how to manage your states and create some positive rituals that will assist you to monitor and choose your emotions. Find a role model you can emulate. And consider investing in the Personal Power II CD or tape series. Robbins own personal power is strong enough to help you make and maintain positive changes in every area of life-a life you can, as he often says, "live with passion."