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Tony Robbins: This is the secret to happiness in one word

Tony Robbins
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Tony Robbins: You need these two skills to live a happy life
Tony Robbins: You need these two skills to live a happy life

There is no fixed level of achievement or success that will allow you to live the rest of your life on cruise control, comfortably and happily, says business and life strategist Tony Robbins.

"I always tell people if you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: progress," Robbins tells CNBC Make It. "Progress equals happiness."

That's because reaching a goal is satisfying, but only temporarily.

"There are levels of making it in life and whatever you think 'making it' is, when you get there, you'll see there's another level. That never ends, because if you stop growing, you're going to be unhappy," says Robbins.

"When you achieve a goal, it feels good for — how long? You know, a week? A month? Six months? A year? And then it doesn't feel so good," he says. "I don't care what it is you've achieved, and the reason is because life is not about achieving the goals, life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals."

Robbins, 57, has already achieved a tremendous amount.

Starting in high school, Robbins worked weekends as a night janitor and helping people move when he discovered the success coach Jim Rohn. He says the $35 he spent on a Rohn seminar (he was only making $40 a week) changed his life because it taught him to focus on what he could improve — himself.

Over the past four decades, Robbins has built a business empire sprawling more than 30 companies that expect to bring in $6 billion in 2017. His live events are ultra popular — a recent one cost attendees between $795 and $2,995 — and in his role as "CEO whisperer," he has been a consultant to A-listers including Salesforce CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff and hedge fund executive Paul Tudor Jones.

Despite all this, Robbins himself is always reaching for new goals.

"I have a lot of young bucks that come up to me sometimes — you know, in their 20s or 30s — [and] they go: 'You remember me! I'm going to get to where you are!' And I say, 'Well, I think that's wonderful. I hope you do. When you get to where I am, you'll be where I was because I'm not going to stop growing. So let's grow together!'" Robbins tells CNBC Make It. "That's really my approach."

And it seems to be working. Robbins says at this point in his life, not much can keep him down. He's happy.

"I feel good in my own skin," he says. "I'm not looking to be perfect; I don't have that delusion that I'm perfect or anyone else is perfect. But I do believe I can make a difference, because I spent four decades of my life obsessed with how to help people improve their business or their relationship or their personal life or their bodies, and so I have a lot of great tools and so I love that," says Robbins.

"It fulfills me," he says. "There's not much for me at this stage that gets me too upset."

Tony Robbins: The goal is to feel the fear
Tony Robbins: The goal is to feel the fear