The gift of emotion

Mastering your emotions to live the life you deserve

Select Your Preferred Platform

Your brain isn’t designed to make you happy. Surprised? Don’t be. The brain is designed to help you survive. It does that by constantly taking in what’s wrong – not keeping an eye out for what’s right. It reacts emotionally, not thoughtfully. It automatically assigns things negative meanings, before it even processes them. This is the nature of our two-million-year-old brain.

Our brains also want to be in control. When things don’t go our way – when the weather isn’t right or the traffic is bad or others don’t live up to our expectations – we get upset. Even though deep inside, we know how absurd it is to let things beyond our control dictate how we feel. 

How can you take back control of your mind? Every successful person on the planet didn’t get there because their lives were perfect or because everything went their way all the time. Instead, they have learned to use the gift of emotion to their advantage: to discipline their disappointment, discipline their frustration and let go of the need to be in charge. 

We can’t control everything but we can control the most important thing: what things mean to us. Meaning equals emotion, and emotion is one of the greatest gifts of life

The gift of emotional control

As Tony once said, “Where we live emotionally is where we live.”

Everyone has an emotional home they come back to. It’s often worry, anxiety and searching for what’s wrong – not for what’s right. To truly master your emotions, you must change your emotional home to one of comfort, of gratitude and abundance, of faith and grace. When you begin to return to a positive emotional home, your whole life changes. 

Emotion is a powerful force. It creates our worldview and is behind the bulk of our creations. When properly channeled, it can drive you to accomplish wonderful things. Left alone, it can tell you stories that drag you down. 

The only way to live an extraordinary and fulfilling life is through mastering your emotions. That doesn’t mean you don’t feel things – it means you feel things but you’re also aware of why you feel them, and can observe them from a distance, if necessary. You’re aware that mastering your emotions isn’t about controlling how you feel; it’s about controlling how you react to any given feeling. That means controlling the meaning you assign to things. 

Master your emotions to master your reactions

Human beings are wired to seek out problems in everything – it’s how our ancestors decided whether they would run away or put up a fight, and we haven’t yet figured out how to remove that trait from the modern brain. 

By zeroing in on everything potentially wrong or awful in a situation, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Taking control of your emotions lets you move past that immediate flush of outrage, sorrow or astonishment; it frees you from the cycle of despair that can follow when something doesn’t go your way. 

“If you see that, you can be free,” Tony says, “you can find the humor in the things that are pissing you off or making you stress or worry or freak out.”

the gift of emotion

Finding new meaning with emotional control

Cancer is a terrifying word. It’s the second leading cause of death in the US and Europe. One in four people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point during their lifetimes. The good news is that with new treatments, survival rates are going up.

Kris Carr, the bestselling author of Crazy Sexy Cancer, was diagnosed with a rare and incurable Stage 4 cancer when she was 31 years old. 

Kris fought and survived – but the battle was not just a physical one. The emotional journey she took was remarkable, and you’ll hear how she decided not to let her cancer define her. 

Kris built her entire world around helping others. If she let her emotions run rampant, she would not be able to do more of her good work or be there for her husband. Instead of becoming trapped in negative feelings, she chose to see challenges as blessings, driving her to work harder and help more people. By mastering her emotions, Kris changed her story, and thus changed her life.

You’ll learn more about the power of taking control of your emotions from Tony himself, as well as witness a one-on-one session with a client who must learn how to separate himself from his stress. Tony helps him tap into the higher part of himself that is more than his emotion and more than just his thoughts.

Finally, you’ll hear from Emilee Garfield of the Cancer Core Recovery Project. When she received her diagnosis, it was compounded by a lack of sympathy from the person you’d expect to be her biggest supporter: her husband. She tried to choke down the shame and anger she felt following an argument with him, but those emotions threatened to overpower her. A chance encounter showed her how toxic those feelings had become, and she was able to step back and realize that she had been angry long before her diagnosis. Far from trapping her, the cancer set her free.

Emilee shares her experience, as well as how she is helping those who do not have access to education and healing techniques and her “movement as medicine” philosophy.

The most powerful force on earth is human emotion, consciously directed. Tony Robbins

Show notes

[1:09] Kris began to think, “If I’m not cured, I’m not good enough”
[1:43] Think about what’s right with you, not what’s wrong with you
[2:32] Human emotion is the most powerful force on earth
[3:15] You must become emotionally fit to have the life you want
[3:43] Responding emotionally to something lets external events control your life
[4:19] We can control what things mean to us 
[5:45] Love is not a transaction, but it seems to become that – especially during the holidays
[6:00] Tony tells a story about ministers being tested
[7:33] It’s absurd to think you can control things you can’t control
[8:30] Tony realized his expectations during a trip were ruining it for him
[9:12] Our brains are not designed to make us happy
[10:11] Find an empowering meaning, then master your emotions and your life
[12:22] Kris Carr felt some of her habits didn’t serve her
[13:18] She’s had stage 4 cancer for 15 years
[13:50] Your greatest relationship in your life is the one with yourself
[15:30] Andre wonders if he’ll ever find someone
[16:23] It’s not you – you need to change your pattern, not yourself
[17:22] “Stress means I’m starting to suffer… What’s the thought?”
[17:45] Tony trades his stress for appreciation
[18:00] All of our suffering is really obsessing about ourselves
[18:58] Love just wants to give and serve
[19:45] “What if whatever’s in front of us is to be appreciated?”
[20:00] In hindsight, we realize that challenges were often for a higher purpose
[21:40] You are not your emotions
[22:40] People are not their behaviors
[23:08] When you separate from your feelings, you’ll find freedom
[24:05] Emilee’s husband told her no one wanted to hear her story
[24:24] “I was bitter, I had shame… I must be sick”
[25:06] She realized she was allowing people to control her
[25:36] Cancer is a gift for her – it allowed her to discover herself
[26:10] Each chemo treatment became a step toward the finish line
[27:03] Emilee wants her story to be bigger than cancer
[28:14] Emilee wants to bring people hope
[28:41] People think, “If she did it, I can do it too”

These inspiring women took a hard-earned path to learn that meaning is everything. To find that they could free themselves from anything that was holding them back – all they had to do is find an empowering meaning. They dared to ask a new question, and they got a different answer: What else could this mean? Maybe this isn’t the end of the world. Maybe there’s a way to take this situation and turn it into an opportunity.

So next time you’re confronted by a flash of powerful emotion, take a step back. Ask yourself: Is this really as bad as I think? Why do I think this is a huge problem? What can I do to make it less so? Little by little you’ll chip away at your initial strong reaction and even come up with an action plan.

Mastering emotions helps you master your life. Keep that in mind and you’ll be on your way to an extraordinary life.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

related posts

The Unshakeable Business 

Read More
Health & Vitality

Life Mastery Virtual: How to Prepare for an Outstanding Event

Read More
Mind & Meaning


Read More

Get Tony Robbins' articles, podcasts and videos in your inbox, biweekly.