Unlimited Power



by Anthony Robbins

Summary by Luke Setzer

SECTION I: The Modeling of Human Excellence

I. The Commodity of Kings

This entire book is about producing results through personal power. Power is simply "the ability to act." Since ancient times, power has been the commodity of kings. Power originally came to those who were strongest physically. Later, it came to those who had a special heritage through royalty. More recently, it came to those who had the greatest wealth or capital. Today, those who possess specialized and valuable knowledge have the greatest capacity for power. People who have attained excellence follow the Ultimate Success Formula (USF):

  1. Know precisely the desired outcome.
  2. Take massive action to achieve the outcome.
  3. Notice quickly whether the action is working.
  4. Change the approach as required to attain the outcome.

These powerful people of modern times share seven common traits:

  1. Passion!
  2. Belief!
  3. Strategy!
  4. Clarity of Values!
  5. Energy!
  6. Bonding Power!
  7. Mastery of Communication!

II. The Difference that Makes the Difference

Success can be defined as simply "getting what you want." The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is their ability to manage their physical, mental, and emotional states regardless of outside circumstances. A new science called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) studies the structure of an individual's subjective experience of objective reality and provides instruction on how to alter that subjective experience to allow the individual more power to direct his or her own life. This science is key to replicating the results of successful people through a process called modeling. Three fundamental ingredients of a successful person's life must be modeled in order to produce identical results:

  1. The Belief System
  2. The Mental Syntax
  3. The Physiology

III. The Power of State

A state is the sum total of a person's experience at any moment in time. A state has two components: internal representation and physiology. A person's state ultimately drives that person's behavior from moment to moment. The science of NLP empowers the individual to master his or her own states and consequently his or her own behavior patterns, thus assisting that person with producing desired results.

IV. The Birth of Excellence: Belief

A belief is any guiding principle that provides a sense of certainty about meaning and direction in life. There are five general reference sources upon which beliefs rest:

  1. Environment
  2. Past Events
  3. Knowledge
  4. Past Results
  5. Imagination of Future Events

The Success Cycle is represented below:

V. The Seven Lies of Success

The word "lie" in this context does not mean "to be deceitful or dishonest." Rather, it is a useful way to remind readers that no matter how much they believe in a concept, they should be open to other possibilities and continuous learning. The following seven beliefs can be found again and again in successful people:

  1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves me.
  2. There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.
  3. Whatever happens, take responsibility.
  4. I do not need to understand everything to be able to use everything.
  5. People are my greatest resource.
  6. Work is play.
  7. There is no abiding success without commitment.

VI. Mastering Your Mind: How to Run Your Brain

This chapter covers a broad range of topics on subjective experience.

Traditional Psychology versus Neuro-Linguistic Programming

The traditional school of psychology treats the brain like a tank that fills with emotional liquids and assumes that if the tank is not drained regularly, it will eventually overflow. The NLP model of the brain treats the brain like a computer that runs different programs at different times, and assumes that the individual has within his or her conscious power the ability to choose which programs will run and even to erase or rewrite programs.

The Structure of Human Experience

The structure of human experience is based upon a human being's five senses, or modalities of perceiving the world: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory. Each of these modalities are in turn composed of ingredients called submodalities, such as color and brightness for visual, volume and tempo for auditory, etc. The power of negative past events over one's state can be diminished or even eliminated by the scramble of one's own internal representational submodalities of those events, e.g. diminishing brightness and volume, etc.

Association versus Disassociation

Another important distinction is association versus disassociation:
Association: An individual experiences the internal representation of a past event as if he or she were in his or her own body again.
Disassociation: An individual experiences the internal representation of a past event as if he or she were watching from outside his or her body.

The Swish Pattern
One mental tool for making a behavioral change more automatic and consistent is the swish pattern, which consists of three steps:

  1. Form an intense, fully associated internal representation of the behavior to be changed, including the pain you feel from the behavior.
  2. Form an intense, fully disassociated internal representation of the new behavior that is desired, including the pleasure you would feel from the new behavior.
  3. Swish the two pictures in your mind so that the old behavior automatically triggers the new behavior. The swish itself is done as follows:
    1. Make a big, bright picture of the old behavior.
    2. Make a small, dark picture of the new behavior in the lower right-hand corner of the first picture.
    3. In less than one second, simultaneously and enthusiastically say the word "wooosh" and have the small picture grow in size and brightness until it bursts through the big picture and smashes it to smithereens. Pause to experience the new state fully.
    4. Open your eyes to break the state.
    5. Close your eyes and repeat steps a-d again at least five times. Speed and repetition are key to the success of the swish pattern.
    6. If the old behavior pattern appears again, repeat step e with ten to twenty repetitions.

VII. The Syntax of Success

Syntax, or strategy, is the order in which actions are taken. Duplication of another person's strategy allows duplication of that person's results. A system for representing another person's sensory strategy is available through NLP shorthand:

V Visual
A Auditory
K Kinesthetic
O Olfactory
G Gustatory

e external
i internal

d digital (words)
t tonal (tone of sound)

R Remembered
C Constructed

Different people have different strategies for achieving states of love, anger, happiness, persuasion, etc. Knowing one's own strategies and those of others is vital to achieving lasting success.

VIII. How to Elicit Someone's Strategy

By applying the following principles, a person's strategy for achieving any state can be learned and accessed.

The Three Primary Modalities

The three primary modalities with which people align their subjective experiences are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. When communicating with another person, it is extremely helpful to appeal to his or her primary modality.

Eye Movement and Accessing the Brain's Resources

A person's internal representation can be known by watching their eye movements. Different locations of the eyes' focus reflects access to different internal sensory systems. The chart below shows a fairly reliable mind-map for 90% of all people when facing those people, with the remaining 10% being organized in a reverse manner:

Other Physiological Clues to Modal Accessing

BREATHING High in chest Even Low in the stomach
SPEECH Quick bursts Even Slow and deep
FACE COLOR Pale Normal Flushed
HEAD TILT Up Balance Down

Strategy Elicitation

In this discussion, X represents a particular state, the strategy for which is being elicited. That state could be love, anger, motivation, etc. Get the person into that state by asking, "Can you remember a time when you were totally X'd?" Once the person is in state, ask, "As you remember that time..."

  1. "What was the very first thing that caused you to be X'd?"
    bulletRecord the external modality.
  2. "What did you do inside your mind at that point?"
    bulletRecord the internal modality.
  3. "What did you do inside your mind after that?"
    bulletRecord the internal modality.

If the person is very X'd at that point, the elicitation is complete. If not, continue eliciting syntax until congruent completion of state. After this is achieved, go back through the recorded list of modalities and elicit the specific submodalities within each modality. A written strategy will then exist for re-creating that state in that person.

IX. Physiology: The Avenue of Excellence

The cybernetic loop between mind and body allows a person to change his or her physiology in order to change the way he or she feels. Posture, breathing rate, and a host of other factors can be changed to improve one's state of mind and even health at will. Norman Cousins, for example, laughed his way back to health from a normally fatal illness. Congruency between mind and body is important to growing personal power. Mirroring and matching another person in a particular state will allow you to share the experience of his or her state.

X. Energy: The Fuel of Excellence

The Living Health program follows six basic principles:

  1. The power of breath.
  2. The consumption of water-rich foods as 70% of one's diet.
  3. Effective food combining.
  4. Controlled consumption.
  5. Effective fruit consumption.
  6. The protein myth.

SECTION II: The Ultimate Success Formula

XI. Limitation Disengage: What Do You Want?

In order to apply the Ultimate Success Formula, one must first know the desired outcome. The following five rules provide specific instructions on formulating desired outcomes:

  1. State the outcome in positive terms.
  2. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Have an evidence procedure.
  4. Be in control.
  5. Verify the outcome is ecologically sound and desirable.

The 12-step goal-setting workshop follows:

  1. Make a dreams list of things to have, do, be, and share.
  2. Estimate completion dates for the dreams.
  3. Pick the four most important goals for this year.
  4. Review them against the five rules for outcomes.
  5. Make a list of the important resources already yours.
  6. Focus on times you used some of those resources well.
  7. Describe the character you need to attain your goals.
  8. Write down what prevents you from having the goals now.
  9. Create a step-by-step plan to achieve each goal.
  10. Come up with some models.
  11. Create your ideal day.
  12. Design your perfect environment.

As part of your "gratitude diary," make a list of all the things that you now have that were once goals.

XII. The Power of Precision

Precise language has the power to move people in useful directions, while sloppy language can misdirect them.

How to Get Whatever You Want: Ask!

  1. Ask specifically.
  2. Ask someone who can help you.
  3. Create value for the person you are asking.
  4. Ask with focused, congruent belief.
  5. Ask until you get what you want using the USF.

The following chart can help one memorize key expressions that cut through verbal fluff:

(Remember This)
(When You Hear This)
(Respond With This)
PINKIE Universals All? Every? Never?
RING Should, Shouldn't, Must, Can't What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?
MIDDLE Verbs How specifically?
INDEX Nouns Who or what specifically?
THUMB Too Much, Too Many, Too Expensive Compared to what?

The following are the NLP outcome questions:

bullet"What do I want?"
bullet"What is the objective?"
bullet"What am I here for?"
bullet"What do I want for you?"
bullet"What do I want for me?"

Focus on how questions over why questions, i.e. focus on how to solve the problem rather than just why the problem exists.

XIII. The Magic of Rapport

An essential tenet of NLP is that the meaning of a person's communication to other people is the response elicited from those people.

Mirroring and Matching

The way to go from discord to harmony is to go from concentrating on differences to concentrating on similarities. The more people are like each other, the more they will like each other. Mirroring and matching another person's physiology, tonality, and preferred representational system during interaction builds rapport in minutes. This happens because communication between people is generally transmitted in the following ratios:

bulletWords 7%
bulletTonality 38%
bulletPhysiology 55%

Keen observation and personal flexibility are the two keys to mirroring. The most effective leaders build rapport with the masses by appealing to all three representational systems with a sense of congruity.

Pacing and Leading

Pacing is just graceful mirroring. Once one has established pacing with another person in a conversation, he or she can begin leading that person by initiating change rather than just mirroring the other person.

XIV. Distinctions of Excellence: Metaprograms

A metaprogram is a powerful internal pattern that helps determine how a person forms his or her internal representations and directs his or her behavior. They help to dictate the sorting of important data from unimportant data based on context and stress. The following are the most common metaprograms.

  1. Moving toward versus moving away.
  2. External versus internal frame of reference.
  3. Sorting by self versus sorting by others.
  4. Matching versus mismatching.
  5. Persuasion by sensory building blocks and frequency of stimuli.
  6. Possibility versus necessity.
  7. Working style: independent, proximity, team.
  8. Emotional versus logical thought.
  9. Detail versus big picture.
  10. Beginning versus completion.
  11. People versus activity.

Supplemental: The Myers-Briggs Metaprograms

  1. Extraversion versus Introversion
  2. Sensing versus INtuition
  3. Thinking versus Feeling
  4. Judging versus Perceiving

The two ways to change a metaprogram are by either a Significant Emotional Event (SEE) or by a conscious decision to change. Metaprograms can be used as a tool for the following two actions.

  1. To calibrate and guide one's communication with others.
  2. To implement personal change.

XV. How to Handle Resistance and Solve Problems

The Agreement Frame

Flexibility is important to effective communication. Avoiding resistance from others keeps others involved in what one is saying and leaves them open to new ideas. Avoiding negators like "but" and "however" in communication goes a long way toward eliminating resistance from others. The agreement frame allows one to converse with others of differing viewpoints while neither creating resistance in others nor compromising one's own values and beliefs. The agreement frame uses the following three key phrases.

  1. I appreciate and...
  2. I respect and...
  3. I agree and...

This process is a form of verbal aikido, redirecting force rather than attempting to overcome it.

The Pattern Interrupt

People often fall into self-perpetuating patterns of negative or destructive behavior. Interrupting that pattern with a totally unexpected action can have lasting effects on erasing that pattern from that person's behavior while replacing it with a new, empowering pattern.

XVI. Reframing: The Power of Perspective

Reframing in its simplest form is changing a negative experience into a positive one by changing the frame of reference used to perceive the experience. Reframing can be done based on context or content. The following six-step reframing process changes undesirable behavior into desirable behavior while maintaining the important benefits of the old behavior.

  1. Identify the pattern or behavior you wish to change.
  2. Establish communication with the part of your unconscious mind (part X) that generates the behavior.
  3. Separate intention from behavior.
  4. Create alternative behaviors to satisfy intention.
  5. Have part X accept the new choices and the responsibility for generating them when needed.
  6. Make an ecological check for congruency of all parts.

XVII. Anchoring Yourself to Success

An anchor is a sensory stimulus linked to a specific set of states. Anchoring is basic Pavlovian conditioning of the nervous system. The following are the four keys to effective anchoring.

  1. Put yourself (or someone else) in an intense, fully associated state.
  2. Apply the stimulus (trigger) at the peak of the emotional state.
  3. Use a unique stimulus or trigger. A handshake would not be very good, for example, because your hand is frequently shaken.
  4. Remember exactly how you set the anchor--the exact look, word, touch, etc., so you can replicate the anchor you set in step 2.

An anchor can be linked to either positive or negative states. Anchoring happens all the time, usually at an unconscious level. It is useful to make a chart of major positive and negative anchors in one's life. One can then go about collapsing negative anchors and making best use of positive anchors.

SECTION III: Leadership: The Challenge of Excellence

XVIII. Value Hierarchies: The Ultimate Judgment of Success

Values are a person's global belief systems about right and wrong, good and bad, important and unimportant. To know fully what a particular value means to a person, it is necessary to know that person's evidence procedure for achieving that value. When a list of a person's values is made and ranked in order of importance, a hierarchy of values results. To promote a harmonious relationship, not only must common values be found, but the other person's most important values must be supported and fulfilled as much as possible. A person's values usually change over time. It is important to maintain the flexibility necessary to keep one's most important values congruent and in harmony so that no values conflict arises.

XIX. The Five Keys to Wealth and Happiness

  1. You must learn how to handle frustration.
  2. You must learn how to handle rejection.
  3. You must learn how to handle financial pressure.
  4. You must learn how to handle complacency.
  5. Always give more than you expect to receive.

XX. Trend Creation: The Power of Persuasion

Modern technology has created media that can transmit worldwide influence and persuasion. In today's world, persuasion skills are a necessity. One is either the persuader or the persuaded. Using skills learned earlier in this book, coupled with modern media technology, one can create global trends for either constructive or destructive purposes. It is important to pay attention to the information one is broadcasting to the rest of the world, as well as what one is permitting to go unfiltered into one's own mind.

XXI. Living Excellence: The Human Challenge

When one understands and applies the technology presented in this book, that person has access to his or her own Unlimited Power. The consistent application of these principles can allow the reader to produce outstanding results in any chosen endeavor. Producing values for oneself and others by becoming a team player can be one of life's greatest joys.


Objectivism 101
Objectivism 101