Power Players

Self-made millionaire Tony Robbins: Believing these 7 'lies' will make you more successful in life — and psychology agrees

Business strategist and entrepreneur Tony Robbins
Mike Pont | WireImage | Getty Images
Business strategist and entrepreneur Tony Robbins

The world's most successful people have one thing in common: They've mastered the ability to produce the results they desire most.

That's the idea behind "Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement," Tony Robbin's first best-selling book. In it, the life coach and business strategist argues that there are seven "beliefs" we must follow in order to succeed in life. What's interesting is that he refers to those "beliefs" as "lies," though not in a way that implies they are dishonest or deceitful — because who would want to live by lies?

"All I mean is that we don't know how the world really is," Robbins writes in his book. "We won't know if our beliefs are true or false. What we can know, though, is if they work — if they support us, if they make our lives richer, if they make us better people, if they help us and help others."

So, yes, while these beliefs may or may not be true, Robbins says that they are nonetheless vital to the foundation of excellence.

Here are Robbins' seven lies of success:

  1. Everything happens for a reason and purpose, and it services us. Successful people focus on what's possible in a situation, no matter how much negative feedback they receive. "They believe that adversity contains the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit," he writes.
  2. There is no such thing as failure. There are only results. Failure does not exist for successful people. If the outcome wasn't what they desired, they see it as a learning opportunity. According to Robbins, "Belief in failure is a way of poisoning the mind."
  3. Whatever happens, take responsibility. High achievers believe that they create their own world and reality. Robbins says the greatest leaders have the ability to say, "It's my responsibility. I'll take care of it."
  4. It's not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything. There's a balance between use and knowledge. Robbins says that achievers "exact the essence from a situation, take out what they need, and don't dwell on the rest."
  5. People are your greatest resource. Do you respect and appreciate your peers? People who produce outstanding results "have a sense of team, a sense of common purpose and unity," he writes.
  6. Work is play. The world's most remarkable artists, thinkers and creators found joy in their work. Bill Gates didn't create Microsoft because he hated software. Robbins reminds us of a wonderful quote by Mark Twain: "The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation."
  7. There is no abiding success without commitment. If you're just trying, and not committing, there's no promise you'll reach the end. The most successful people, says Robbins, "aren't necessarily the best and brightest, the fastest and strongest. They're the ones with the most commitment."

And there you have it — a person with seriously good intuitions about personal growth, psychology and success says that these are the seven lies of success you must believe in order to achieve excellence.

'Internal locus of control'

Robbins does a great job in breaking down these lies, but having to constantly keep these reminders in your back pocket every day can be challenging. The good news? All of these so-called "lies" really come down to just one psychology trait: the ability to believe that you are in control, and there's a lot of scientific evidence to back this up.

Psychologists call it an "internal locus of control." The concept was first developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, and it has since become a critical aspect of personality studies. "Locus of control" generally refers to where a person believes their power comes from, and for most people, it falls heavily on either the "internal" or "external" side.

"The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation." -Mark Twain

In other words, if hold yourself accountable for your failures and take credit for your personal successes, you have more of an internal locus. Alternatively, if you blame your failures on outside circumstances and see success as something that happens by chance or luck, you have an external locus.

Conventional psychology as a simplified take on Robbin's theory

Now let's revisit Robbins' seven lies of success. Do you believe the world is out to help you rather than out to get you? Do you believe you're responsible for the outcomes of your life? Do you believe that you're empowered and in control of your emotions? Are you able to committed to your most desired goals?

"Belief in failure is a way of poisoning the mind." -Tony Robbins, entrepreneur, life coach, best-selling author

If answered yes to any of the questions above, you're practicing Robbin's seven lies of success — and they are all representative of having an internal locus of control. So if you do subscribe to Robbin's partitioned view of success, a much easier way to adopt them is to view them through the more simplified take using conventional psychology.

What's more, science has proven that there's true value in having an internal locus of control mindset. Research has found that those who have an internal locus are less vulnerable to depression, more oriented toward achieving their goals, more active in trying to find solutions to problems and perhaps most importantly, are happier in life.

Not to worry if your locus of control leans more on the external side. You can always work on changing it. I hear Robbins has plenty of advice on that...

Tom Popomaronis is a commerce expert and proud Baltimore native. Currently, he is the Senior Director of Product Innovation at the Hawkins Group. His work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and The Washington Post. In 2014, he was named one of the "40 Under 40" by the Baltimore Business Journal. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter @tpopomaronis .

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