Article by Anthony Robbins:
On Thanksgiving many years ago, a young family awoke with a sense of foreboding. Instead of looking forward to a day filled with gratitude, they were preoccupied by thoughts of what they did not have. At best, they would scrape together a meager meal on this day of ‘feasting’. If they had contacted a local
charity group, they would have had a turkey with all the trimmings, but they hadn’t. Why? Because they, like many other families, were proud people. Somehow they would make do with what they had.
They difficult situation led to frustration and hopelessness, then to irreparable, harsh words between the mother and father. The eldest sun felt devastated and helpless as he watched the people he loved most become more and more angry and depressed.
Then destiny intervened… a loud and unexpected knock at the door! They boy opened it and was greeted by a tall man in rumpled clothing. He was grinning broadly, caring a huge basket brimming with every conceivable Thanksgiving delight: a turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, canned goods – everything for a holiday feast!
The family was stunned. The man at the door said, “This is from someone who knows you’re in need and wants you to know that you are loved and cared for.” At first, the father of the family didn’t want to take the basket, but the man said, “Look, I’m just a delivery person.” Smiling, he sat the basket in the boy’s arms, turned to leave, then called over his shoulder, “Have a great Thanksgiving!”
In that moment, this young man’s life was forever changed. With this simple act of kindness he learned that hope is eternal, that people – even “strangers” – really do care. The sense of gratitude he felt moved him deeply, and he swore to himself that some day he’d do well enough to give something back to other in a similar way. And by the time he was eighteen years old, he had begun to fulfill that promise. With his scant earnings, he set out to purchase groceries, not for himself, but for two families he had learned were in dire need of food. He then drove to deliver them, dressed in an old pair of jeans and a T-shirt, intending to present the gift as if he were a delivery boy. When he arrived at the first dilapidated house, he was greeted by a Latina woman who looked at him suspiciously. She had six children, and her husband had abandoned the family only a few days before. They had no food.
The young man offered, “I have a delivery for you ma’am.”
He then went out to his car and begun to carry in bags and boxes overflowing with food: a turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, canned goods. The woman’s jaw dropped. The children, when they saw the food brought into the house, let out shrieks of delight.
The young mother, who spoke only broken English, grabbed the young man by the arm and started to kiss him all over, saying, “You gift from God! You gift from God!”
“No, no,” the young man said. “I’m just the delivery boy. This is a gift from a friend.” Then he handed her a note that said,
This is a note from a friend. Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving – you and your family deserve it. Know that you are loved. And someday if you have the chance, please do well enough to do this for someone else and pass on the gift.
The young man continued to bring in bag after bag of groceries. The excitement, joy, and love reached a fever pitch. By the time he left, the sense of connection and contribution moved the young man to tears. As he drove away, looking back at the smiling faces of the family he’d had the privilege to help, he realized that his story had come full circle, that to “horrible day” from his youth was actually a gift from God, guiding him, pointing him toward fulfillment through a life committed to contribution. With this one act, he begun a quest that continues to this day: to return the gift that was given to him and his family and to remind people that always a way to turn things around, that they are loved, and that – with simple steps, a little understanding, and massive action – whatever challenges exist now can be turned into valuable lessons and opportunities for personal growth and long term happiness.
How do I know so much about this young man and his family, not only about what they did, but also how they felt? Because he is me.
I wrote this book because I want you to know that someone cares about you. I want you to know that no matter how daunting or overwhelming your circumstances may seem, you truly can turn things around. You can turn the dreams you once had into reality. How? By tapping into a power that’s inside of you right now as you read these words. This power within you can change anything in your life literally in a matter of moments. All you must do is unleash it.
How can I say this to you with such conviction? Simply because I’ve used the same power to change my own life on a massive scale. A little more than a decade ago, I was struggling and completely frustrated, with little or no hope. I was living in a cramped 400 – square – foot bachelor apartment in Venice, California. I was lonely, miserable, and 38 pounds overweight. I had no plans for my future. I felt that life had dealt me a miserable hand and that there was nothing I could do to change it. I was financially broke and emotionally bankrupt. I felt overwhelmed, helpless and defeated.
I’m here to tell you, though, that in less than one year I changed it all. I lost 30 pounds in less than 30 days. And I kept it off because I didn’t just go on a diet, I changed my mindset. I trained my body into peak physical condition. I developed the confidence that was necessary to make it through the tough times and really achieve the goals I’d dreamed about. My secret was focusing on the needs of other people. I constantly asked the question “How can I add something of value to people’s lives?” Through this thought process, I became a leader. I realized early on that I couldn’t help others change if I couldn’t change myself. Not only was the secret to living giving, but to give, I had to become a better person. In the process of becoming more, I attracted the woman of my dreams,married her, and became a father. I went from living hand-to-mouth to more than a million-dollar net worth in less than one year. I moved from my run-down apartment to my present home: a 10,000 – square – foot castle overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
But I didn’t stop there. As soon as I’d proved I could help myself, I immediately sought out the most profound ways to help others. I began to search for role models, those who could create change with lightning – like speed. These peak performers were some of the top teachers and therapists in the world, those who helped people with their problems in one or two sessions instead of one, two, or more years. Like a sponge, I learned as much as I could and begun applying what they taught me immediately. I began to develop a series of strategies and understandings of my own.
Since then, these techniques have led me to work with more than a million people from forty-two nations in the world, offering them the tools and coaching to help them turn their lives around. This incredible privilege and opportunity to share my work has extended to a wonderful diversity of people from blue-collar workers to blue bloods from royal families around the globe, from presidents of countries to presidents of companies and presidents of the PTA, from movie starts to professional athletes and sports teams, from moms and medical doctors to children and the homeless. And through my books, tapes, seminars, and television shows, I’ve reached literally tens of millions of people. In every case, my goal has been to help people take control of and immediately increase their quality of life.
I don’t tell you this to impress you, but to impress upon you how fast things can change. Once we understand what shapes our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, all it takes is consistent, intelligent, massive action. With this book, I’m volunteering to be your coach in making any of the changes you desire.