By now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Yeah, but how much money do I have to set aside in order to reach my financial goals?” that’s a great question! As mentioned, to help you answer it, we’ve developed a mobile app that you can use to figure out exactly what you’ll need to save and invest. It’s available at www.unshakeable.com - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 25
...it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look at a huge number like this. But it’s less intimidating when you start with an easier target. For example, maybe your first goal is financial security - not total independence. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 25
First, you’ve got to save and invest - become an owner, not just a consumer. Pay yourself first by taking a percentage of your income and having it deducted automatically from your paycheck or bank account. This will build your Freedom Fund: the source of lifetime income that will allow you to never have to work again. My guess is you’re already doing this. But maybe it’s time to give yourself a raise: increase what you save from 10% of your income to 15%, or from 15% or 20%.
“Where should I put my money?”
This question has become more urgent lately because all of the answers seem unappealing. In an era of compressed interest rates, you earn nothing when you keep your cash in a savings account. If you buy a high-quality bond (for example, if you lend money to the Swiss or Japanese governments), you’ll earn less than nothing! There’s a joke going around that traditionally safe investments like these now offer “return-free risks” instead of “risk-free returns!” - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 27
As you know, humans have a tough time handling uncertainty. So how are we supposed to make intelligent decisions in this environment where everything seems uncertain? What can we do it we have no idea when the market will plunge - when the financial equivalent of winter will finally arrive?
But I’ve got news for you: we do know when winter will arrive. How? Because when we look back at the stock market over an entire century, we discover this extraordinary fact: financial winter comes, on average, every year. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 27
Instead of getting distracted by all this noise, it helps to focus on a few key facts that truly matter. For example, on average, there’s been a market correction every year since 1990. When I first heard this, I was floored. Just think about it: if you’re 50 years old today and have a life expectancy of 85, you can expect to live through another 35 corrections. To put it another way, you’ll experience the same number of corrections as birthdays!
Why does this matter? Because it shows you that corrections are just a routine part of the game. Instead of living in fear of them, you and I have to accept them as regular occurrences - like spring, summer, fall, and winter. And you know what else? Historically, the average correction has lasted only 54 days - less than two months! In other words, most corrections are over almost before you know it. Not that scary right? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 30
It turns out that fewer than one in five corrections escalate to the point where they become a bear market. To put it another way, 80% of corrections don’t turn into bear markets. If you panic and move into cash during a correction, you may well be doing so right before the market rebounds. Once you understand that the vast majority of corrections aren’t that bad, it’s easier to keep calm and resist the temptation to hit the eject button at the first sign of turbulence.
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 31
Newsletter writers also love to act like Nostradamus and warn you of the “coming crash,” hoping you’ll feel compelled to subscribe to their services so you can avoid this fate. Many of them make the same dire predictions every year until they’re occasionally right, as anyone would be. After all, even a man with a broken watch can tell you the correct time twice a day. These self-proclaimed seers then use that “accurate” prediction to market themselves as the next great market timer. Unless you’re wise to this trick, it’s easy to fall for it. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 31
In my experience, market seers like Roubini are clever and articulate, and their arguments are often compelling. But they thrive by scaring the living daylights out of you - and they’ve been wrong again and again and again. Sometimes they get it right. But if you listen to all of their scary warnings, you’ll end up hiding under your bed, clutching a tin box containing your life savings. And let me tell you a secret: historically, that’s not been a winning strategy or long-term financial success.
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 32
Despite a 14.2% average drop within each year, the US market ended up with a positive return in 27 of the last 36 years...What does this mean in practical terms? It means that you and I should always remember that the long-term trajectory is likely to be good, even when the short-term news is dismal and the market is getting smacked. We don’t need to get bogged down in economic theory here. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 35
The first fact you need to know is that there were 34 bear markets in the 115 years between 1900 and 2015. In other words, on average, they happened nearly once every three years. More recently, bear markets have occurred slightly less often: in the 70 years since 1946, there have been 14 of them. That’s a rate of one bear market every five years. So, depending on when we start counting, it’s fair to say that bear markets have historically happened every three to five years. At that rate, if you’re 50 years old, you could easily live through another eight or ten bear markets! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 37
When you’re in the midst of a bear market, you’ll notice that most of the people around you become consumed with pessimism. They start to believe that the market will never rise again, that their losses will only deepen, that winter will last forever. But remember: winter never lasts! Spring always follows.
The most successful investors take advantage of all that fear and floom, using these tumultuous periods to invest more money at bargain prices. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 38
As we discussed earlier, the US market has a general upward bias. It rises over the long term because the economy continues to grow. In fact, the US market hits an all-time high on approximately 5% of all trading days. On average, that’s once a month.
Thanks to inflation, the price of almost everything is at an all-time high almost all the time. If you don’t believe me, check the price of your Big Mac, your cafe latte, your candy bar, your Thanksgiving turkey, or your new car. Chances are, they’re all priced at an all-time high, too. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 42
The message is clear: the greatest danger to your financial health isn’t a market crash; it’s being out of the market. In fact, one of the most fundamental rules for achieving long-term financial success is that you need to get in perfectly: “Don’t do something - just stand there!”
If you stay in the market long enough, compounding works its magic, and you end up with a healthy return - even if your timing was hopelessly unlucky. And you know what? The worst-performing investor wasn’t the unlucky one, but the one who stayed on the bench, the one in cash.
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 44-45
Best of all, you’re taking control of your financial life. You’re taking responsibility. Because you know what? Most people never take responsibility. They prefer to blame the market for whatever happens to them. But the market never took a dime from anyone! If you lose money in the market, it’s because of a decision you made - and if you make money in the market, it’s because of a decision you made. The market is going to do whatever it’s going to do. But you determine whether you’ll win or lose. You’re in charge. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 46
Jack Bogle spelled it out to me quite simply: “Let’s assume the stock market gives a 7% return over 50 years,” he began. At that rate, because the power of compounding, “each dollar goes up to 30 dollars.” But the average fund charges you about 2% per year in costs, which drops your average annual return to 5%. At that rate, “you get 10 dollars. So 10 dollars versus 30 dollars. You put up 100% of the capital, you took 100% of the risk, and you got 33% of the return!”
Did you get that? You forfeited two-thirds of your nest egg to line the pockets of money managers who took no risk, put up none of the capital, and often delivered mediocre performance! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 48
If you go out for a fantastic meal in a great restaurant, you expect it to be expensive. That’s fine. But would you pay $20 for a $2 taco? No way! Let me tell you, that’s what most people are doing when they invest in actively managed mutual funds. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 54
But there’s another problem that few anticipate: today’s winners are almost always tomorrow’s losers. The Wall Street Journal wrote about one study that went all the way back to 1999 and looked at what happened over the next 10 years to all of the top-performing funds that had received a “five-star” rating from Morningstar. What did the researchers discover? “Of the 248 mutual stock funds with five-star ratings at the start of the period, just four still kept that rank after 10 years.” The fancy term for this process is “reversion to the mean”: a polite way of saying that most highfliers will eventually fall, reverting back to mediocrity.
Unfortunately, many people pick top-rated funds without realizing that they’re falling into the trap of buying what’s hot - usually right before it turns cold. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 57
Meanwhile, Buffett say he’s left instructions that, after his death, the money he leaves in trust for his wife should be invested in low-cost index funds. His explanation? “I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors - whether pension funds, institutions, or individuals - who employ high-fee managers.” Even from his grave, Buffett is absolutely determined to avoid the corrosive effects of high fees! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 60
You might not believe this, but for almost three decades, the companies providing 401 (k) plans were not even required by law to disclose how much they were charging their customers! Only in 2012 did the government finally force these firms to make detailed disclosures of how much they were extracting from your savings. In what other industry would customers tolerate this “Trust me!” style of doing business? Can you imagine a clothing store with no price tags? Can you imagine booking a vacation and leaving it up to the airline and the hotel to decide how much to drain from your bank account without informing you?
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 61
You’ve got to hand it to these providers: they’re truly ingenious when it comes to dreaming up different ways to siphon off the money in your 401(k)! Here’s a short sample of the many categories of fees they’ve invented: investment expenses, communication expenses, bookkeeping expenses, administrative expenses, trustee expenses, legal expenses, transactional expenses, and stewardship expenses. Why not just add a category called “expense expenses”? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 62-63
I’m always amazed by what you can find buried in the fine print of providers’ disclosure documents - the vague terminology that obscures exactly what’s being done to you. For example, you’ll often see intentionally meaningless terms such as “net asset charge,” “asset-management charge,” “contract asset charge,” “AMC charge,” or “CAC charge.” One provider - a leading insurance company - was so brazen as to add a line item called “required revenue.” Required by who? What for? To pay for the CEP to buy a yacht? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 63
How much does all of this cost you? Hiltonsmith calculated the impact of these additional 401 (k) fees on an average worker who earns about $30,000 a year and saves 5% of his or her annual income. Over a lifetime, this worker would lose $154,794 in fees. That’s more than five years of income. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 63
Some 401 (k) providers do offer index funds to smaller plans, but they typically charge a significant markup. One major insurance company is offering an S&P 500 index fund for 1.68% annually, when the actual cost is just 0.05%. That’s a 3,260% markup! Think of it this way: your friend buys a Honda Accord for the regular retail price of $22,000. But you’re forced to pay a 3,260% markup. Your cost for the exact same car: $717,202! Welcome to the world of high finance.
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 66
From 2010 to 2015, the percentage of the US population using financial advisors doubled. In fact, more than 40% of Americans now use an advisor. And the more money you have, the more likely you are to seek out advice: 81% of people with more than $5 million have an advisor. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 71
According to the Wall Street Journal, there are more than 200 different designations for financial advisors, including “financial consultants,” “wealth managers,” “financial advisors,” “investment consultants,” “wealth advisors,” and (in case that doesn’t sound exclusive enough) “private wealth advisors.” These are all just different ways of saying “I’m respectable! I’m professional! Of course, you can trust me!” - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 75
Sophisticated customers know this is standard operating procedure: one survey found that 42% of ultra wealthy clients think their advisor is more concerned with selling products than with helping them!
Warren Buffett jokes that you never want to ask a barber whether you need a haircut. Well, brokers are the barbers of the financial world. They’re trained and incentivized to sell, regardless of whether you need what they’re selling! That’s not a criticism. It’s just a fact. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 75
You might expect all those enormous legal settlements to act as a deterrent, encouraging these companies to improve their behavior. But these penalties are paltry for such colossal businesses. Bank of America had to shell out $415 million in fines for misusing its customers’ assets. Big deal! In one three-month period in 2015, the bank earned a profit of $5.3 billion. That’s in just 12 weeks! For companies this rich, those pesky fines are just a routine cost of doing business - the equivalent of you or me getting a parking ticket. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 76
Registered Investment Advisors don’t accept sales commissions. Instead, they typically charge a flat fee for financial advice, or a percentage of their clients’ assets under management. It’s a cleaner model that removes awkward conflicts of interest. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 81
The first question that every great investor asks constantly is this:
How can I avoid losing money?” This may sound counterintuitive. After all, most of us focus on exactly the opposite question: “How can I make money? How do I get the biggest possible return and hit the jackpot?”
But the best investors are obsessed with avoiding losses. Why? Because they understand a simple but profound fact: the more money you lose, the harder it is to get back to where you started. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 97
But it’s worth pausing to clarify why losing money is such a disaster. Let’s say you lose 50% of your money on a bad investment. How much will you need to earn to make yourself whole again? Most people would say 50%. But they’d be dead wrong.
Let’s look at it. If you invested $100,000 and you lost 50%, you now have $50,000. If you then make a 50% return on that $50,000, you now have a total of $75,000. You’re still down $25,000.
In reality you’ll need a 100% gain just to recoup your losses and get back to your original $100,000. And that could easily take you an entire decade. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 97
One reason for this obsession is that I spent much of my life living in California, where - after tax - I kept as little as 38 cents of every dollar I earned. When you’re taxed that heavily, it sensitizes you pretty quickly! I learned to focus solely on what would be left after paying Uncle Sam his due.
Whenever someone tells me about a financial opportunity that seems to offer enticing returns, my response is always the same: “Is that net?” More often than not, the person replies, “No, that’s gross.” But the pretax figure is phony, whereas the net number doesn’t life. Your goal, and mine, is always to maximize the net. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 107
Every Hall of Fame investor I’ve ever interviewed is obsessed with the question of how best to diversify in order to maximize returns and minimize risks. Paul Tudor Jones told me, “I think the single most important thing you can do is diversify your portfolio.” This message was echoed in my interviews with Jack Bogle, Warren Buffett, Howard Marks, David Swensen, JPMorgan’s Mary Callahan Erdoes, and countless others. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 111
If you want to be certain that you’ll never lost money in the financial markets, you can keep your savings in cash - but then you’ll never stand a chance of achieving financial freedom. As Warren Buffett says, “We pay a high price for certainty.” - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 119
I’m heartbroken to see that so many millennials aren’t investing. Because let me tell you: if you live in fear, you’ve lost the game before it even begins. How can you achieve anything if you’re too scared to take a risk? As Shakespeare wrote four centuries ago, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 119
You can never know what the stock market will do. But that uncertinaty isn’t an exuse for inaction. You can take control by educating yourself, studying the market’s long-term patterns, modeling the best investors, and making rational decisions based on an understanding of what’s worked for them over decades. As Warren Buffett says, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 119
In fact, while others live in terror of bear markets, you’ll discover in this chapter that they are the single greatest opportunity for building wealth in your lifetime. Why? Because that’s when everything goes on sale! Imagine longing to own a Ferrari and discovering that you can buy one for half price. Would you be downhearted? No way! Yet when the stock market goes on sale, most people react as if it’s a disaster! You need to understand that bear markets are here to serve you. If you keep your cool, they will actually accelerate your journey to financial freedom. If you find internal certainty, you’ll actually be excited when the market crashes. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 120
Let’s start with a simple thought experiment. Imagine that I have a bunch of guests in my house. I offer them $1 each to walk across the street. As it happens, I live on a quiet suburban road with little traffic. So my offer feels like free money. But let’s say I repeat the offer, and this time I give them two choices: either they can cross my street for $1, or they can cross a four-lane highway for $1. Nobody will take me up on this offer to cross the highway. But what if I offer $,1000 or $10,000? At some point, I’ll arrive at a figure that entices someone to cross that highway!
What I’ve just illustrated is the relationship between risk and reward. There’s a risk of injury in both scenarios - and, as that risk increases, the reward must rise in order for this to be perceived as a fair deal. The additional reward you receive for taking that additional risk is called a risk premium. When experts determine your asset allocation, they evaluate the risk premium for each asset. The riskier an asset seems to be, the greater the rate of return an investor will demand. - Unshakeable: your financial freedom playbook, p. 126
When you buy a stock, you’re not buying a lottery ticket. You’re becoming a part owner of a real operating business. The value of your shares will rise or fall based on the company’s perceived fortunes. Many stocks also pay dividends, which are quarterly distributions of profits back to the shareholders. By investing in a stock, you’re making the shift from being a consumer to being an owner. If you buy an iPhone, you’re a consumer of Apple products’ if you buy Apple stock, you’re an owner of the company - and are entitled to a percentage of its future earnings. - Unshakeable: your financial freedom playbook, p. 127
The challenge is that you earn nothing these days if you keep your money in cash. In fact, after inflation, you’re losing money by holding cash. At least bonds provide some income. As I see it, bonds are now the cleanest dirty clothing in the laundry pile. - Unshakeable: your financial freedom playbook, p. 130
Asset Allocation Drives returns. Let’s start with the fundamental understanding that your asset allocation will be the biggest factor in determining your investment returns. So, deciding on the right balance of stocks, bonds, and alternatives is the most important investment decision you’ll ever make. Whatever mix you choose, make sure you diversity globally across multiple asset classes. Imagine being a Japanese investor with all your money in domestic stocks: Japan’s market is still down from the insane heights it reached in 1989. The moral: never bet your future on one country or one asset class. - Peter Mallouk, Unshakeable, p. 135
Use Index Funds for the Core of Your Portfolio. At Creative Planning, we use an approach to asset allocation that we call “Core and Explore.” The core component of our clients’ portfolios is invested in US and international stocks. We use index funds because they give you broad diversification in a low-cost, tax-efficient way, and they beat almost all actively managed funds over the long run. For maximum diversification, we want exposure to stocks of all sizes: large-cap, midcap, small-cap, and microcap. By diversifying so broadly, you protect yourself against the risk that one part of the market (say, tech stocks of bank stocks) could get crushed. By indexing, you enjoy the long-term upward trajectory of the market without letting expenses and taxes corrode your returns. - Peter Mallouk, Unshakeable, p. 135
But what if you can’t afford to set aside 7 years of income? Simply start with an achievable goal and keep raising the bar as you progress. For example, you might start with a goal of saving three or six months of income, and then work your way - over many years - toward the ultimate goal of setting aside seven years of income. If that sounds impossible, check out the wonderful story of Theodore Johnson, a UPS worker who never earned more than $14,000 a year. He saved 20% of every paycheck, plus every bonus, and invested in his company's stock. By age 90, he’d accumulated $70 and invested in his company’s stock. By age 90, he’d accumulated $70 million! The lesson: never underestimate the awesome power of disciplined saving combined with long-term compounding.
- Peter Mallouk, Unshakeable, p. 136
Rebalance. I’m a big believer in “rebalancing,” which entails bringing your portfolio back to your original asset allocation on a regular basis - say, once a year. At Creative Planning, we take opportunities to buy as they happen, rather than waiting for the end of the year or quarter. Here is how it works: imagine you start with 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds; then the stock market plunges, so you find yourself with 45% in stocks and 55% in bonds. You’d rebalance by selling bonds and buying stocks. As Princeton professor Burton Malkiel told Tony, unsuccessful investors tend to “buy the thing that’s gone up and sell the thing that’s gone down.” One benefit of rebalancing, says Malkiel, is that it “makes you do the opposite, “ forcing you to buy assets when they’re out of favor and undervalued. You’ll profit richly when they recover. - Peter Mallouk, Unshakeable, p. 137
To take it one step further, they were also instructed not to process any orders after the opening bell. In order words, they weren’t allowed to trade in the middle of the day. Why not? Because Paul realized that too often a trade in that stage of the game meant that he was reacting to the market, buying at the high price for the day and selling at the low, giving away his power and gifting someone else a better deal. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 145
The 2016 election provided a perfect example of “confirmation bias,” which is the human tendency to seek out and value information that confirms our own preconceptions and beliefs. This tendency also leads us to avoid, undervalue, or disregard any information that conflicts with our beliefs.
For investors, confirmation bias is a dangerous predisposition.
Let’s say you love a particular stock or fund that’s performed exceptionally well in your portfolio over the last year. Your brain is wired to seek out and believe information that validates you owning it. After all, our minds love proof - especially proof of how smart and right we’ve been! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 146
Are certain people more prone to overconfidence? Finance professors Brad Barber and Terrance Odean examined the stock investments of more than 35 thousand households over five years. They found that men are especially prone to overconfidence when it comes to investing! In fact, men traded 45% more than women, reducing their net returns by 2.65% a year! When you add to this the additional costs of high transaction fees and taxes, you can see that excessive trading is truly a disaster. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 153
So what should you do? Easy! Do what Howard, Warren, Jack Bogle, David Swensen, and other of the world’s greatest investors tell the average investor to do: invest in a portfolio of low-cost index funds, and then hold them through thick and thin. This will give you the market’s return, without the triple burden that active investors must carry: exorbitant management fees, high transaction costs, and hefty tax bills. “If you can’t add value, if you can’t create an asymmetry, then the best thing you can do is minimize your costs,” says Howard. In other words, “Just invest in an index.”
Index funds also give you broad diversification, which is another powerful protection against overconfidence. After all, diversification is an admission that you don’t know which particular asset class, which stock or bond, or which country will do best. So you own a bit of everything!
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 153-154
[A gorgeous woman that stepped out of a convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche] replied, “Actually, right now, there’s an extraordinary one.” She gave me the name of a hot stock - and let me tell you, it felt like a gift from on high! A sure thing, right from the horse’s mouth! So I took $3,000, which was the equivalent of $3 million for me back then, and I bet it all on that one stock. And guess what happened? It went to zero! Boy, did I feel like an idiot.
As I learned from that painful experience, greed and impatience are dangerous traits when it comes to investing. We all have a tendency to want the biggest and best results as fast as possible, rather than focusing on small, incremental changes that compound over time. The best way to win the game of investing is to achieve sustainable long-term returns. But it’s enormously tempting to swing for home runs, especially when you think other people are getting rich faster than you! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 154
This is really simple. As we’ve said in previous chapters, you need to diversify broadly, not only in different asset classes but also in different countries. It makes sense to discuss your global asset allocation with a financial advisor. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate percentages to keep at home and abroad, you should write down these figures in your investment success checklist. It’s also important to lay out, in writing, the reasons why you own what you own. That way, you can remind yourself of these reasons whenever a part of your portfolio is underperforming. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 158
By diversifying internationally, you’re not only reducing your overall risk but also increasing your returns. Remember when we talked about the “lost decade” of 2000 through 2009, when the S&P 500 produced an annualized return of only 1.4% a year, including dividends? During that time, international stocks averaged 3.9% a year, while emerging-market stock returned 16.2% a year. So for investors who diversified globally, those lost years were just a minor bump in the road. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 158
Human beings have a natural tendency to recall negative experiences more vividly than they do positive ones. This is known as “negativity bias.” Back when we were cavemen, this mental bias was really handy. It helped us to remember that fire hurts, that certain berries could poison us, and that it was dumb to pick a fight with a hunter twice your size. Recalling negative experiences can also be pretty helpful in modern times: maybe you forgot that it was your wedding anniversary, spent the next day in the doghouse, and thereby learned never to make that mistake again! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 158-159
To make matters worse, the psychologists Daniel Kahenman and Amos Tversky also demonstrated that financial losses cause people twice as much pain as the pleasure they receive from financial gains. The term used to describe this mental phenomenon is “loss aversion.”
The trouble is, losing money causes investors so much pain that they tend to act irrationally just to avoid this possibility! For example, when the market is plunging, many people sell their battered investments and go to cash at exactly the wrong moment - instead of snapping up bargains at once-in-a-lifetime prices. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 159-160
As we’ve discussed at length, one critical way to prepare is to have the right asset allocation. It also helps to write down your reasons for investing in each of the assets in your portfolio, since inevitably there will be times a particular asset class or investment performs poorly, sometimes for several years. Many investors lose faith because they’re so focused on the short term. But when the going gets tough, you’ll be able to look over these notes and remind yourself why you own each asset and how it serves your long-term goals. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 161
But what if you achieve financial freedom and you’re still not happy? Many people dream for decades of becoming millionaires or billionaires. Then, when they finally reach their goal, they say: “Is that it? Is that all there is?” And believe me, if you get what you want and you’re still miserable, then you’re really screwed!
When people dream of becoming rich, they’re not fantasizing about owning millions of pieces of paper with pictures of dead people on them! What we really want are the emotions we associate with money: for example, the sense of freedom, security, or comfort we believe money will give us, or the joy that comes from sharing our wealth. In other words, it’s the feelings we’re after, not the money itself. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 163
But real wealth is about so much more than money. Real wealth is emotional, psychological, and spiritual. If you’re financially free, but you’re still suffering emotionally, then what kind of victory is that? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 164
The First Step to Achieving Anything You Want Is Focus.
Remember: wherever your focus goes, your energy flows. When you put your entire focus on something that really matters to you, when you can’t stop thinking about it every day, this intense focus unleashes a burning desire that can help you obtain what might otherwise be out of reach. Here’s what’s going on beneath the surface: a part of your brain called the reticular activating system is activated by your desire, and this mechanism draws your attention to whatever can help you achieve your goal.
- Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 165
So Steve Wynn invited me over to hang out. “When you get here, I’ve got to show you this painting,” he said. “I’ve coveted it for more than a decade, and I outbid everyone at Sotheby’s two days ago and finally bought it! It cost me $86.9 million!”
Can you imagine how intrigued I was to behold this precious treasure that my friend had dreamed of for so long? I was imagining some sort of Renaissance masterpiece that you might see in a museum in Paris or London. But when I got to Steve’s house, you know what I found? A painting of a big orange square! I couldn’t believe it. I took one look at it and jokingly said, “Give me a hundred bucks’ worth of paint, and I can duplicate this in an hour!” He wasn't overly amused. Apparently, this was one of the greatest paintings by the abstract artist Mark Rothko.
So why am I telling you this story? Because it perfectly illustrates the fact that we’re all fulfilled by different things. Steve is more sophisticated than I am when it comes to art, so he could detect a depth of beauty, emotion, and one man’s orange splotch is another man’s $86.9 million fantasy! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 167
When I think about this terrible tragedy, I’m struck by one simple lesson: if you’re not fulfilled, you have nothing.
Robin Williams achieved so much that our culture has conditioned us to value, including fame and fortune. Yet despite all his gifts, it was never enough. He suffered for decades, trying to deal with his stress through the use and sometimes the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Near the end of his life, he was also diagnosed with a progressive neurological disorder, Lewy body disease. His wife, Susan, recently wrote in the medical journal Neurology: “Robin was losing his mind, and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating?”
Robin Williams was a good man who cared deeply about others - a man who contributed so much to the world, despite his long battle with addiction, depression, and ill health. But in the end, he made everyone happy except himself. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 169
In fact, if you’d told me even two years ago that I was suffering, I would have laughed at you. I have a heavenly wife, four glorious children, total financial freedom, and a mission that inspires me every day of my life. But then I started to realize that I frequently allowed myself to fall into a suffering state. For example, I’d get frustrated, pissed off, overwhelmed, worried, or stressed. At first I figured that those emotions were just a part of life. The truth is, I even convinced myself that I needed them as fuel to move me forward. But this was just my mind playing tricks on me!
The trouble is, the human brain isn’t designed to make us happy and fulfilled. It’s designed to make us survive. This two-million-year-old organ is always looking for what’s wrong, for whatever can hurt us, so that we can either fight it or take flight from it. If you and I leave this ancient survival software to run the show, what chance do we have of enjoying life? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 171
A Beautiful State. When you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity, or appreciation, you’re in a beautiful state. In this state, you know exactly what to do, and you do the right thing. In this state, your spirit and your heart are alive, and the best of you comes out. Nothing feels like a problem, and everything flows. You feel no fear or frustration. You’re in harmony with your true essence. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 172
A Suffering State. When you’re feeling stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful, or fearful, you’re in a suffering state. We’ve all experienced these and countless other “negative” emotions, even if we’re not always keen to admit it! As I mentioned earlier, most achievers much prefer to think they're stressed than fearful. But “stress” is just the achiever word for fear! If I follow the trail of your stress, it’ll take me to your deepest fear. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 172
Isn’t it ridiculous how jaded we are and how upset we allow ourselves to become? When it rains on our parade, when we don’t get what we want or expect, we’re so quick to give up our happiness and sink into a state of suffering. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 173
Everyone has his or her own flavor of suffering. So here’s my question for you: What’s your favourite flavor of suffering? Which energy-sapping emotion do you indulge in most? Is it sadness? Frustration? Anger? Despair? Self-pity? Jealousy? Worry? The specific details don’t really matter because they’re all states of suffering. And all this suffering is really just the result of an undirected mind that’s hell-bent on looking for problems! - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 173
So what’s the biggest decision you can make in your life right now? In the past, I would have told you that what matters most is who you decide to spend your time with, who you decide to love. After all, the company you keep will powerfully shape who you become.
But over the last two years, my thinking has evolved. What I’ve come to realize is that the single most important decision in life is this: Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you? - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 175
The first tool is what I call “the 90-second rule.” Whenever I start to suffer, I give myself 90 seconds to stop it so that I can return to living in a beautiful state. Sounds good, right/ But how do you actually do it?
Let’s say I’m having an intense conversation with an employee at one of my companies and discover that he or she has made a mistake that could cause an array of problems. Naturally, my brain leaps into danger detection mode, launches that ancient survival software, and starts bombarding me with thoughts about all the ways I and our whole team might suffer as a result. In the past, I could have easily been swept up in a whirlwind of worry, frustration, or anger - a maelstrom of mental suffering!
But here’s what I do now. As soon as I feel the tension rising in my body, I catch myself. And the way that I catch myself is really simple: I gently breathe and slow things down. I step out of the situation and start to distance myself from all those stressful thoughts that my brain is generating. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 177
I’m still not perfect at this, and there are certainly times when I get hooked. But I use the 90-second rule so often that it’s gone from being a discipline to becoming a habit. This one technique has given me an amazing level of freedom from all those destructive emotions that used to rob me of my joy and peace of mind. Those emotions still come, but they disappear quickly, overwhelmed by the power of appreciation and enjoyment. As a result, life is more beautiful than ever!
What you’ll also find is that you’re much more present for other people when you’re not caught up in your own thoughts of loss, less, and never. When you’re in a beautiful state, you can give so much more to everyone you love. - Anthony Robbins, Unshakeable, p. 178
With a big smile on his face, [Sir John Templeton] replied, “gratitude! You know, Tony, we’ve both met people who have a billion dollars and they’re miserable. So they’re truly poor. And we both know people who seemingly have nothing, yet they’re grateful for the breath of life, for everything. So they’re rich beyond compare.” - Unshakeable, p. 186