In my last article I mentioned there are two Tonys who I am currently receiving coaching from. Last week I wrote about Tony Horton and his P90X training program and how it helped me smash through some long-held body image limiting beliefs.
Today I’d like to discuss another Tony and what I am learning from him. Many people already guessed in comments to my last article which Tony I am talking about because he is no doubt the most well known coach on the planet. His name is Tony Robbins.
The Phenomenon That Is Tony Robbins
Whatever you think about Tony Robbins you have to give him credit for becoming ubiquitous with the field of personal development. No other coach on this planet has as well known a public perception in mainstream society as Tony, at least in Western countries. Given that he’s not a religious or spiritual figure I find this achievement alone spectacular. He’s clearly worked hard to consistently improve and touch as many lives as possible, using many different media formats.
I only began studying Tony’s work in the last few months. I’m pretty late to the party since Tony has been teaching for decades now.
Many of my friends have attended his multi-day seminars and even my friends who aren’t really what I would typically call self development types have listened to his tapes or CDs.
I’m not a fan of three or four day weekend long workshops, no matter who is teaching them or what the subject is. As a result I’ve stayed clear from Tony’s events despite constant recommendations from friends who say his style is the most captivating and entertaining of any live workshop they’ve attended.
I prefer studying in short bursts of one to two hours at a time. I’ve gotten a lot more from recorded live seminars chunking them into one to two hour study sessions than any day-long event. Hence I decided to purchase some of Tony’s home study resources as my first entry point to his work.
As I usually do, I went on to eBay to see what I could find, did some research on Tony’s site and found a recommended starting package that seemed reasonably current.
So far I’ve studied the first seven discs of Tony’s Personal Power audio series and the seven discs of Get The Edge. Now I’m going through the Power Talk sessions, which include a disc from Tony about a specific topic and an interview with a well known expert from different personal development fields.
What I’ve Learned About Tony Robbins
I’ve studied a lot of materials from the personal development and self help field. Some books, for example works of Eckhart Tolle and the Conversations With God series often contain a mix of relatively applicable ideas for every day life, and then dive into deep, complex and metaphysical subjects that can at times go to places that are incomprehensible by the human mind.
Some resources are more allegorical, using story telling and fables to deliver lessons that are applicable to modern day life, despite being taught using environments that most people will never encounter (for example I doubt I will ever find myself exploring the desert for “hidden treasure”, yet the Alchemist had a profound impact on my life).
Tony Robbins has two key skills that I believe are responsible for his success. These are certainly the aspects of his teachings I benefited the most from too. They are -
- Tony is very high energy and passionate about what he says. He knows his subject so well that I suspect he can easily riff off the top of his head about almost any personal development topic. Anyone who has spent some time immersed in an industry who is a well practiced or natural speaker will know what this is like. It certainly helps that the man himself is larger than life, but since I’m studying audio materials and not experiencing a live workshop, the fact that Tony can keep your attention, transfer ideas and get you very excited about improving your life, is significant.
- Tony’s teachings are incredibly relevant to the every day man or woman. In terms of practical application I haven’t come across any other teacher who is able to communicate so well to “normal” people leading “normal” lives. His ideas are instantly applied and you don’t need to be super-intelligent, philosophical or a “deep” person to understand what he says.
I listen to Tony while driving my car. I can honestly say that a daily dose of Tony is like a vitamin for the mind. You listen to him, feel inspired, are reminded what kind of person you want to be and reinvigorate your commitment to hold yourself accountable to this ideal.
It’s a simple idea, but like swapping out junk food for healthy vegetables can make your physical health so much better, as can swapping exercise for time spent on the couch watching TV, I absolutely believe that filling your mind with personal development materials instead of reading about the latest tragedy in the news or listening to negative people, will transform your life.
How can you not improve your life if you have this crazy giant of a man injecting you with positive change juice every day?
Lessons and Actions
Tony does a great job of mixing strategic discussion with practical ideas. I’m far and away a strategic person, which means I relish talking about all aspects of a concept to varying degrees of depth. The risk with this, especially for people who are not natural action takers, is that a subject may be talked about a whole lot, but not much real change happens.
I can tell Tony also likes to have a depth of knowledge about a subject, but more than anything wants his listeners to earn a result. Tangible outcomes are what matter, not just inspiring words, so Tony includes actionable steps in all his materials. You either participate with Tony while he takes you through the workshop or take the steps after you finish listening – well at least those who are looking to create real change do!
One of the most common feedback I receive about my teaching materials, especially my Blog Mastermind lessons, is the real applicability of what I lay out. I tell the story, explain the strategy and end with the steps. That’s a simple formula for good teaching materials. Tony uses this process over and over again throughout his audios.
What Did I Learn?
In my case, most of the actions I take as a result of listening to Tony is adjustment to my self talk and thus my emotional state. I’ve spent the last ten years learning that what I think impacts how I feel, which impacts how I experience life. All of this goes on inside, but of course your internal state is eventually reflected in your external environment because you make decisions based on how you are thinking and feeling.
Tony is not the first person to iterate that you are what you believe you are, and that is 100% in your control. It’s been taught over and over and over to me and now forms the core structure of my belief system. It’s amazing how powerful this is when you have it stated to you over and over again in different formats by different people. I’ve heard the message in movies, books, songs, from friends, teachers, family, seen countless examples and experienced a plethora of my own situations to reinforce this belief.
Tony, in a lot of ways is the final brush and polish, completing the picture that is now part of my personality. His practical implementation makes it incredibly easy to apply to my own life. I’ve been reprogramming myself for years, but it never hurts to hear sound advice more than once, or twice or ten times. In fact it’s necessary for that much repetition if you want to make it truly a part of who you are.
The real profound change that has occurred in me is the speed of adjustment to how I perceive things. I am so in tune to my emotional state that I can very easily acknowledge a feeling, discover it’s root cause and then course correct on the fly. I can spot erroneous rationalizations and replace them with beliefs that are based on the type of person I want to become almost instantaneously. In the past I would have been stuck in negative patterns, poor interpretations and ultimately self-defeating thought-feeling-action loops that led to more of what I didn’t want.
Taking The Abstract And Making It Practical
A while ago I discussed the concept brought to my attention and simplified so wonderfully in the Conversations With God books. The idea is that you ultimately only have two possible interpretations to all things, one of…
You can believe in scarcity or abundance. You can fear the loss of something or become excited by the changes you are going through. You can marvel at someone else’s success or berate yourself for your own lack of success.
The core root of all these viewpoints is one of fear or love. I believe all emotional responses and perceptions of the world we experience can be drilled down to one of these two “feeling” words. Of course a word in itself can never accurately describe a feeling, but this is about as close as we can get in the English language.
The next step, at least if you want to enjoy pleasant emotions, whenever facing a decision or dealing with something you need to interpret, the question to ask is…
“What would love do?”
I find asking myself this question is enlightening. It’s like an emotional pattern interrupt. If you are feeling any sense of anger or loss or depression, or the essence of these things – fear – asking this question immediately shines a light on the situation and gives you a way to see the circumstance in a positive and productive manner.
Although it might be seen as a limitation (it’s no doubt deliberate) the conscious mind operates on one track. No two thoughts can exist at the same time. They can change from one to the other instantly, but you can’t interpret (think about) something as happy and sad at exactly the same time.
Emotions on the other hand are a lot more fuzzy. It sometimes feels like we can acknowledge the fear and the love in our interpretation at the same time, but one is always more dominant than the other. Since I believe all people on this planet desire happiness, thus a happy emotional state, the key is to switch everything over to the happy channel.
This is great when it comes to thinking because if you replace the negative constructs (the fear based perceptions) with positive ones (the love based perceptions), you’ve tuned your frequency to alignment with what you want to become. I say become because there is lag between thought patterns impacting emotional states, impacting physical reality. Thoughts can change instantly, emotions take more time and physical reality, because of our perception of time based on the movement of objects around us, seems to take the longest to change.
The challenge with all of this is how fuzzy it can be. For people not used to dealing with emotions or operating at a level of awareness of their emotional state, conditioning and rationalization process, the question “what would love do” may seem like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo spiritual hippy crap.
Enter the Tony Robbins school of awareness creation.
Tony, once again leveraging his ability to operate on a frequency that the every-day person can understand, works with the idea of refining your interpretation to things based on your self image and what type of person you want to be.
(On a side note, I’m also listening to the audio version of the New Psycho-Cybernetics, which offers a concise and specific look at the power of the self image and how to use your internal imagining system – the images in your mind about your life – to pre-program yourself to achieve your goals.)
Tony makes the abstract concrete. It’s not just “what would love do?” – it’s how not to feel like a failure when your colleague receives a promotion instead of you, or how to stop feeling ugly because you can’t get a date, or how to change your belief that you are a fat person to you are a healthy person, and then consequently take the actions that are congruent with these new interpretations.
The concept is the same, you’re changing one interpretation of the stimulus in front of you for another, infusing yourself with an entirely new self image and then acting different as a result. However Tony uses the language and examples that most people on this planet, regardless of spirituality (if any), religion or personality type will understand. Plus he’s just so darn excited about it!
It’s not a one-size-fits all solution, but it’s about as close as it gets and since Tony has spent so many years studying this area, working with people and seeing what works and what doesn’t, he’s in a position to pass on some tried and tested ideas.
Insert Coaching Into Your Life
I have to laugh sometimes at how much I hated studying at school and at university, yet today I so enjoy listening to audio books, lectures and recorded workshops by people who often have no academic qualifications at all. I enjoy self improvement and coaching – as you can tell because I write about them a lot here on this blog – so much so that I choose to study these things just as much for fun as to help me achieve my goals.
You have the choice of how you use your travel time and your leisure time – in fact all the time in your life. You can listen to music or watch your favorite TV series or a movie, or maybe read a magazine or gossip with a friend on the phone, or watch the news. There’s nothing wrong with these activities, I myself do them all from time to time as well.
However, if currently you are not studying anything to make yourself a better person, or focused on a project that encourages you to create and add something to the world that impacts other people in a positive way, then I suspect you might be sedating yourself with too much content that lacks substance.
Distraction is a disruption of action. The most productive actions come when you are congruently aligned towards a goal on all levels – mentally, emotionally and physically. That is why coaching and study is so important. These things are your training. They help you elevate into a state of preparedness that makes performance and achievement feel like a forgone conclusion.
If you’re currently not working on your own personal development then I strongly suggest you consider swapping out some of your less than productive activities – even just one – for something that makes you a better person.
Ask anyone who has achieved what you want in life and they will tell you they had to change certain beliefs, adjust their perceptions and improve their self image in order to create the environment within themselves for what they wanted to happen. This didn’t happen overnight and they weren’t born like that – they worked on it and used resources to help them.
You’re the catalyst for what you from life, so if you’re not working on you, you’re not going to change.