I first heard about Tony back in 2012 during my postgraduate studies in the UK. His words quickly got into me and what started as a solo audio recording soon turned into a library full of his talks and programs.
Fast forward to 2017 and a unique opportunity appeared. Tony Robbins was going to hold one of his events, Unleash the Power Within, in Singapore in February 2018. Since it’s a mere two-hour flight away from Bangkok, attending was a no-brainer. I quickly alerted my friend Yanick, we booked our flight and hotel and there it was – we were finally going to see Tony live!
Who’s Tony Robbins?
For those who don’t know, Tony Robbins isn’t your typical motivational speaker. Instead, he’s the WHY guy. He became obsessed with studying “the invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions and the distinctions in psychology of successful people.
In a way, he’s a practical psychologist. During four decades of him practicing this, he was able to identify patterns in people, turn his findings into actionable advice and thus positively impact lives of millions of people all around the world. It’s no surprise that he worked with countless A-list people, such as Oprah, US several presidents, Serena Williams, Princess Diana and many many more.
What’s Unleash the Power Within?
Unleash the Power Within (or UPW for short) is Tony’s four-day personal growth and development seminar about overcoming fears and living the life you deserve. It touches on a couple of subjects – relationships, wealth, health and business. Every day is extremely long – it starts around 9am in the morning and finishes at midnight.
Here’s a quick rundown of each day:
- Thursday: Turning Fear into Power + The Firewalk Experience
- Friday: Turning Dreams into Reality – The Power of Success Conditioning
- Saturday: Breakthrough to New Life – Transformation Day
- Sunday: The Power of Pure Energy – 12 Master Principles of Vital Life
The Seminar Experience and Takeaways
Let me start by saying that the atmosphere at the event was simply mind-blowing. Listening to Tony’s recordings from my phone is one thing, but seeing him live in a room of 12,000 fired up and enthusiastic people is another.
Because he liked to keep the energy high, the seminar involved a lot of moving – jumping, dancing and screaming, or what he simply calls playing full out. There’s a reason behind this – during 12 hours of listening to someone, you would probably fall asleep and barely remember anything. On the contrary, by engaging the entire physiology, focus and language, Tony was able to keep everyone not only alert, but also in a peak state. And that’s a place where you want to be if you want to make some lasting changes in life.
There was a lot of digest at the event and summarising everything in this article would be impossible, so let me just share three ideas or concepts that resonated with me the most.
1. Beautiful State
The first concept that I really liked at the event and was the idea of living the rest of our lives in a beautiful state.
We may not realise, but our state plays a big role in how we behave on a day-to-day basis. Have you ever snapped at someone? If you did, does that mean you are an angry or a bad person? Of course, no, it doesn’t! Our immediate reactions are dictated by the state we are in at any given moment – be it a good or bad state.
Living in a beautiful state is related to feeling grateful. When we appreciate things, we can’t be angry. By feeling good and appreciative, we are in a high state and are going to react to people and situations quite positively. On the other hand, suffering state, or low state, has three root causes – experiencing the feeling of “loss”, “less” and “never”. For example, when we feel we have less of something, lost something or never have had nor will have something.
Staying in a beautiful state is not always easy. Every day, we face many obstacles and challenges that may derail us from feeling good and being in the beautiful state. The good news is, though, that we can change our state almost instantly. By changing our physiology, what we consciously focus on and how we talk to ourselves in our heads, we are able to go from an unresourceful/bad state, to a high/beautiful state. In fact, Tony challenged us with a small game. If we ever find ourself in a suffering state, we have 90 seconds to change our state.
2. Six Human Needs
Human needs are something I was already familiar with before, but Tony took it to next level at the event. Essentially, everyone is defined by six needs. The first four (primal needs) are certainty, uncertainty/variety, significance and love/connection. The last two (spiritual needs) are the need for growth and contribution.
From psychological perspective, these needs answer the age-old question: “Why human beings do the things they do?” How is it that one person will sacrifice their own life for another, while another person will murder a stranger for sheer pleasure? These six needs are forces that drive our behaviour, regardless of culture, upbringing and other factors. We are pretty much all wired the same way.
Everyone finds a way to meet the four primal needs, however, not everyone values them in the same order. A person who values certainty above all else may, for example, be a control freak – trying to control everyone or staying on top of everything is a way of being certain. On the other hand, a person valuing significance is a typical example of an achiever. The ways these needs are met can be both positive and negative (someone can fulfil the need for connection by sharing an intimate moment with their partner or for someone it can be holding a gun to someone else’s head).
While we all find ways to meet the four primal needs, not everyone meets the last two – growth and contribution beyond ourselves. By meeting these needs, we can not only achieve in life, but also live a fulfilling life. Again, everyone finds a way to meet the first four needs, so if we only focus on those, we are missing out in life. True fulfilment comes from constant and never-ending growth and contribution.
3. The Dicken’s Process – Eliminating Limiting Beliefs
The Dickens process segment was probably the most powerful part of the whole event (maybe after the firewalk, more about that in the next section). It’s an exercise named after Charles Dickens. In his book Christmas Carol, Mr. Scrooge, a disliked old miser is visited by three ghosts – past, present and future. Experiencing past, present and future helped eliminate Mr. Scrooge’s limiting beliefs and transformed him into a kinder man.
Our exercise worked much in the same way. At first, we identified three limiting beliefs that had been producing unwanted or negative consequences in our lives. Then, Tony lead us through a guided self-reflection process where we visualised the negative consequences of these beliefs in our past, present and future. By doing this, we got a leverage over ourselves in a way of realising the massive pain that this belief has caused or will cause if we don’t change this it. In order to elicit a lasting change, we then had to interrupt our current pattern by shouting our beliefs out loud in a ridiculous way. The last step of creating a change was then introducing a new empowering belief and reinforcing it.
It was a very intense experience that took well over an hour. It, too, involved a lot of yelling, emotions and movement and was quite transformative.
Yes, attending UPW includes walking on hot coals. It took place at the end of the first day and was meant to symbolise overcoming fear. If we can get over our fear of walking on hot coals, what else can we do in life?
Before the walk, Tony took us through a priming process where he explained what to do and then everyone headed outside to where the coals were. Even though this was optional, most people decided to do it.
Scared as we were, both Yanick and I joined the crowd and did it. We first stepped on the grass in front of the coals, got into the peak state by chanting: “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and stepped forward. With the exception of a few minor blisters on Yanick’s foot, were made it without harm. And so did other people.
Tony had a couple of tricks up his sleeve during the event. One of it was an appearance of a famous singer. None other than Pitbull a.k.a. Mr. Worldwide came to deliver a short inspiring talk of his own journey to success then he sang three songs. I had known Pitbull before, but I had no idea that he was such a class act. Apart from being a genuinely nice guy, what he said made a lot of sense and he seemed to have heart in the right place.
Was It Worth It?
This very briefly concludes my experience of seeing Tony Robbins live. It was an incredible ride. We didn’t get much sleep and our voices were on the brink of abandoning us, but it was an unforgettable experience. Despite hearing or reading many of these concepts before, I still found experiencing it firsthand extremely helpful and valuable. After all, as Tony says, repetition is a mother of all skills. After exhorting a ton of time and energy, it now begs the question – was it worth coming all the way to Singapore to meet Tony? Absolutely yes! It was time and money well spent and I can’t honestly think of a better way to have kicked-off 2018.
Images courtesy of Success Resources Singapore