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What Tony Robbins Taught Me About Writing Fiction

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Tony Robbins, the life coach behind Unleash the Power Within and focal point of the Netflix special I Am Not Your Guru, shares personal development advice and breakthroughs to change the lives of thousands (if not millions).

I've been following Tony for years and recently realized that a series of questions he typically asks his students was relevant to my life as an author. More specifically, his technique is helpful to identify lapses in character motivation and backstory.

In this post I'll be sharing what those questions are and how his approach can completely shift your character's mindsets.

"Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to solutions." -Tony Robbins

Many of the concerns Tony identifies have to do with family relationships and what we learn at a young age is acceptable and worthy of reward.

The Tony Robbins Writing Hack - Answer these questions for your fictional characters:

1. Whose love did you crave more, your mother or your father? (Not the same as asking who do you love more)

2. Who did you have to be to receive that love?

3. Who couldn't you be to earn that love?

4. Who taught you that [Insert belief/character trait]?

These three questions not only help your personal identity (thinking about this was a game-changer for me) but also that of your fictional characters.

Also shared in the Happy Write Now podcast:

If your character is falling flat, it may be that you don't know the answers to these questions and WHY they do the things they do.

For example - Many characters that set out to overachieve do so to please their family and those expectations (question 2), OR they are doing it so they can become the opposite of them (something they learned while trying to rebel against how their family currently behaves, question 4).

These questions provide a really valuable took to understand your character motivations.

If you want another tool to uncover the inner-workings of your world and characters, purchase the Happy Story Bible. These are the exact charts I use for my novels, over 20 pages of content to help you to:

  • Uncover character motivations and their stakes

  • Brainstorm your world and settings

  • Keep track of both important and small novel details (like location names and character eye colors)

  • Have FUN planning your world

I hope you enjoyed this content, a personal development thought process that also works so well for amping up your character motivations!

If you enjoyed this content, make sure to share on Pinterest. It helps spread the word and brings these tips to new writers. I'd very much appreciate it.

See you later world-creator,



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