7 Beliefs for Personal Excellence



“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” ? Booker T. Washington

What are the beliefs that are the breeding ground for personal excellence?

Success leaves clues.  By looking to the beliefs, we find the cornerstone of greatness.

Great results are the by-product of great actions  Great actions are the by-product of great beliefs.  If your beliefs don’t serve you, or worse, work against you, you’ll have a hard time generating the results you want in your life.

We can learn a lot from the people that have been there, done that, and blazed trails for us.   To “stand on the shoulders of giants”, we can look to the patterns of great minds that have produced great results.

Beliefs are the Cornerstone of Personal Excellence

In the book, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins shares 7 beliefs that are the cornerstone of personal excellence you can use to grow more greatness in your life.

Here are the 7 beliefs:

  1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.
  2. There is no such thing as failure.
  3. Whatever happens, take responsibility.
  4. It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.
  5. People are your greatest resource.
  6. Work is play.
  7. There’s no abiding success without commitment.

Let’s take a deeper look at what each one really means …

1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.

Robbins writes:

“Take a moment to think again about your beliefs.  Do you generally expect things to work out well or to work out poorly?  Do you expect your best efforts to be successful, or do you expect them to be thwarted?  Do you see the potential in a situation, or do you see the roadblocks?  Many people tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.  The first step toward changing that is to recognize it.  Belief in limits creates limited people.  The key is to let go of those limitations and operate from a higher set of resources.  The leaders in our culture are the people who see the possibilities, who can go into a desert and see a garden.”

2. There is no such thing as failure.

There is no failure.  Only feedback.  Each experience is a learning opportunity or a learning experience.

Robbins writes:

“People always succeed in getting some sort of results.  The super successes of our culture aren’t people who do not fail, but simply people who know that if they try something and it doesn’t give them what they want, they’ve had a learning experience.  They use what they’ve learned and simply try something else.  They take some new actions and produce some new results.

Think about it.  What is the one asset, the one benefit you have today over yesterday?  The answer of course is experience.  People who fear failure make internal representations of what might not work in advance.  This is what keeps them from taking the very action that could ensure the accomplishment of their desires.  Are you afraid of failure?  Well, how do you feel about learning?  You can learn from every human experience and can thereby always succeed in anything you do”

3. Whatever happens, take responsibility.

You are the maker of your reality.  Own the experiences you create.

Robbins writes:

“Achievers tends to believe that no matter what happens, whether it’s good or bad, they created it.  If they didn’t cause it by their physical actions, maybe they did by the level and tenor of their thoughts.  Now, I don’t know if this is true.  No scientist can prove that our thoughts create our reality.  But it’s a useful lie.  It’s an empowering belief.  That’s why I choose to believe in it.  I believe that we generate our experiences in life – either by behavior or by thought – and that we can learn from all of them.

If you don’t believe you’re creating your world, whether it be your successes or your failures, then you’re at the mercy of circumstances.  Things just happen to you.  You’re an object, not a subject.  Let me tell you, if I had that belief, I’d check out now and look for another culture, another world, another planet.  Why be here if you’re just the product of random outside forces?”

4. It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.

Learn to pick the fruit.

Robbins writes:

“You can spend all your time studying the roots, or you can learn to pick the fruit.  Successful people aren’t necessarily the ones with the most information, the most knowledge.  There were probably plenty of scientists and engineers at Stanford and Cal Tech who knew more about computer circuitry than Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak, but they were some of the most effective at using what they had.  They were the ones who got results.”

5. People are your greatest resource.

The way to success is to work together.   Play off, integrate, and leverage other people’s capabilities to expand what you’re capable of.

Robbins writes:

“To say you treat people with respect and to do it are not the same thing.  Those who succeed are the most effective in saying to others, ‘How can we do this better?’ ‘How can we fix this?’ ‘How can we produce greater results? They know that one man alone, no matter how brilliant, will find it very difficult to match the collaborative talents of an effective team.”

6. Work is play.

Long ago Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”   Those that turn their work into play, enjoy the journey of excellence, where every day they get to practice their art and master their craft.

Robbins writes:

“Do you know any person who has achieved massive success by doing what he hates? I don’t.  One of the keys to success is making a successful marriage between what you do and what you love.  Pablo Picasso once said, ‘When I work, I relax; doing nothing or entertaining visitors makes me tired.’

… Researchers are finding surprising things about workaholics these days.  There are some people who seem maniacally focused on work because they love it.  It challenges them, it excites them, it makes their life richer.  These people tend to look at work as the way most of us look at play.  They see it as a way to stretch themselves, to learn new things, to explore new avenues.”

7. There’s no abiding success without commitment.

It’s not the smartest or the fastest, it’s the most committed.

Robbins writes:

“Individuals who succeed have a belief in the power of commitment.  If there’s a single belief that seems almost inseparable from success, it’s that there’s no great success without great commitment.  If you look at successful people in any field, you’ll find they’re not necessarily the best and the brightest, the fastest and the strongest.  You’ll find they’re the ones with the most commitment.  The great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova once said, ‘To follow without halt, one aim: there’s the secret of success.’  It’s just another way of stating the Ultimate Success Formula – know your outcome, model what works, take action, develop the sensory acuity to know what you’re getting, and keep refining it until you get what you want.”

Are There More Beliefs that Foster Excellence?

Of course.  And you can continue to find them throughout your lifetime.

Robbins writes:

”Are there other beliefs that foster excellence?  Sure there are.  When you think of them, so much the better.  Throughout this book, you should be aware of additional distinctions or insights that you can add.  Remember success leaves clues.  Study those who succeed.  Find out about the key beliefs they hold that enhance their ability to take effective action consistently and produce outstanding results.  These seven beliefs have done wonders for others before you, and I believe they can do wonders for you if you can commit yourself to them consistently.”

If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s that if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying.

Just remember to change your approach if it’s not working.

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Image by Carlos Varela.


  1. Although I usually agree wholeheartedly with Tony Robbins, in this case I don’t agree with the wording of the first 2 points.

    I know he probably did not mean this list to be taken literally, but I find it not a good idea to have people thinking that this is how they should think about these beliefs.

    1) It happens for a reason seems extremely passive to me. Almost contrary to 3). It seems what he really means is more that your previous behaviors, beliefs, actions, etc. are the key reasons what what’s happening to you is happening to you. This is totally different that the wording of the “principle” that sounds more like fate, Karma, or some kind of divine goal to me.

    2) is just lame. As lame as the “everyone get a trophy” mentality is kid’s sport. Let’s not sugarcoat things but deal with them. Being PC for personal development is silly I think. Yes there are things called failure. The key message is what you do with them, i.e. how you react to them. Failure could be interpreted as “I’m a loser” or as “I was gutsy to try, I failed, I learned, I’ll try something else/better next time, and I’ll grow and get better thanks to this”. Or as Bruce Wayne’s butler would say: “We fall that we can learn to pick ourselves up and try again”.

    • Great clarity and precision, and I like that you focused on the wording vs. the concepts, since I think you’re on the same page.

      On #1, from his past material, what I think he means is that we are the most important meaning makers in our lives. We need to make meaning from what happens, and find ways to make it useful, such as find the lesson, or use it as motivation to take action and shape our future. The meta-point is really to avoid the victim mentality or “learned-helplessness.”

      On #2, yes, everybody gets a trophy is lame. Luckily, that’s not what he means, and he’s not a fan of that mindset. He effectively reiterates the same thing you said from a different angle. The meta-point is that thinking in terms of pass / fail is lame, and that focusing on the learning while you keep taking action toward your goal is more effective.

  2. Hey, those all make sense!

    Good little “pep talk.”

    1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us. (If you are asked to sit out of a gymnastics meet until all your events are up to par, that serves you with lessons.)

    2. There is no such thing as failure. (There is only try again.)

    3. Whatever happens, take responsibility. (we cannot grow unless we know what to change.)

    4. It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything. (the heart leads the way.)

    5. People are your greatest resource. (true! and communicating with them, while honoring them and you is what it’s all about.)

    6. Work is play. (true, and don’t ever get stressed-out about anything — ever!! No “problems” ever exist.)

    7. There’s no abiding success without commitment. (yes, and yes, one has to put some time to get where one wants to.


    • I especially like “Work is play” and his point that nobody ever achieved massive success by doing what they hate.

      I think the twist is this though: We can really sink our teeth into a problem that we hate or a cause that we love. Either way, it has the power to pull us through the good, the bad, and the ugly, as we pave our path through our trials and personal victories.

      And we can play along the way.

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