I recently attended my first Tony Robbins event. Even though I’ve been a huge fan of Tony Robbins for about 20 years now, and a big believer in the strategies and techniques that he teaches, taking the leap to attend one of his events just wasn’t ever a priority for me.
I (mistakenly) believed that reading his books and listening to his CDs was enough, whereas I now realize how much more there was to gain.
For various reasons, the time felt right to go. I’ve had some things going on with my business as well as my personal life that I knew would benefit from a few concentrated days of reflection and personal development. I also realized that Tony Robbins isn’t getting any younger, and I had a real concern that medical issues may prevent him from doing these events for too much longer.
To top it off, I have a good friend who is a member of Tony Robbins Platinum Group that was able to get me a discount on tickets, so I went ahead and took the leap.
And let me say, I’m very glad I did.
If you’re a Tony Robbins fan and you haven’t been to one of his events, I highly suggest that you get one on the calendar as soon as humanly possible. If you believe that his strategies are the right ones to help you get the most out of yourself, as I do, then I can’t stress enough how much more impactful his live events are than his books or CDs, even though I consider both of those very, very good.
In this article I’m going to try to do my best to sum up some of the major takeaways from the event. But I have to stress that no article can do his events justice. There’s just too much to try to capture in words – it’s like using words to try to describe sex. Sometimes words just don’t do the trick!
You Are Capable Of Much, Much More
The first lesson from The Tony Robbins event was that we are all capable of much, much more then we realize or give ourselves credit for.
Now, I want to stress that that’s not motivational hype as a result of this event. I’ve always been a very motivated person and I don’t need any outside force to motivate me.
What I’m referring to is having the opportunity to see how Tony Robbins performs on a daily basis. Both him individually and the overall event itself operated at such a high level of performance that I was in shock.
It was a real wake-up call for me.
The event is 3 1/2 days long, and Tony Robbins spends 15 hours on stage straight without breaks, presentation slides, notes, or even food.
As someone who’s done some speaking up on stage in the past, I could never imagine that anyone would be capable of that, let alone doing it for multiple days.
And Tony Robbins up on stage for 15 hours is unlike any other person that you’ve seen on stage. He brings such a high degree of intensity for all 15 hours that it’s incredibly hard to comprehend until you see it. He is the equivalent of a highly trained professional athlete, competing at their highest level for 15 hours straight, and doing it day after day after day.
Now I’m not suggesting that his pace or intensity is the right thing for me or for you or for anybody else for that matter – that’s something that you need to decide.
But just seeing it, and seeing what’s possible if you are deeply committed to pushing yourself as much as possible every single day, was a real eye-opener for me.
We watch professional athletes with the expectation that they push their minds and bodies to the absolute limit of what’s possible just to entertain us during their games, but almost none of us ‘regular people’ treat our everyday lives with anywhere near the same degree of expectations of performance for ourselves.
Why do you we expect so much from a grown man playing a game, but so little from ourselves on a daily basis?!
That’s one I think we all have to ponder if we are being real with ourselves.
Witnessing someone operate with that level of expectation of performance for themselves even though they’re not on an athletic field was inspiring and very instructional.
Daily Conditioning: The Training Never Stops
The second major lesson from the event is directly related to the first major lesson, which is to understand how Tony Robbins gets himself to perform at that high level day in and day out.
He wasn’t just born that way; but rather he created himself over the last several decades by using the exact strategies and techniques that he teaches in his programs and at his event.
Tony has conditioned himself every single day, multiple times a day, for decades now to train his mind and body to do exactly what he wants them to do, when he wants them to do it.
As he says, “I don’t negotiate with my mind“.
What he means is that over the years he has consistently conditioned himself so that when he tells his mind to do something, it’s been trained to just respond, not to talk back to him or question his decisions with an internal monologue based on fear, like most of us experience when we’re pushing ourselves.
Most of us let fear in our minds stop us from making bold decisions, or going ‘all in’ when we make those decisions.
For Tony, go means GO! He has conditioned himself not to operate from a position of fear, and to go ‘all in’ on everything he does.
How does he do this?
He does it through various techniques where he consistently demonstrates to his mind and body that he’s in charge.
He has a few routines that he performs every day that are designed to condition him. The first is what he calls ‘Priming’, a process of breathing and focusing. You can get learn more about the process here.
Another example is that every single morning he does a cold plunge first thing after waking up, jumping into water that’s approximately 57°. 57° water is brutally cold, and to get yourself to do that first thing in the morning right after rolling out of bed is not the easiest thing to do.
That’s exactly why he does it. He showing his mind that he’s the boss. Period.
Do things like that every single day, day in and day out, and you develop a mental discipline that makes you a badass.
Over time you learn to be the ruler of your mind instead of letting the mind rule you like most of us do.
The next major lesson from the event is the importance of making sure that you’re in your ‘peak state’ at all times, but particularly when making important decisions. Here’s why:
If you consider that your life is really a culmination of outcomes, and that those outcomes came from actions that you took, and that those actions were result of decisions that you made, you quickly realize that, as Tony Robbins says, your destiny is determined by your decisions.
If that’s the case, how you make those decisions every day takes on new importance.
You realize that the success of somebody like Tony Robbins comes from the fact that he’s just made very high quality decisions, followed by massive action, and that those decisions have had a compounding effect in terms of the results that he’s been able to achieve.
So the question then is, how do you ensure that you’re making good decisions?
Tony Robbins teaches you that your decisions are influenced by two major factors:
- Your state
- Your values and beliefs
Consciously determining your values and beliefs is one of the major topics covered in his event, but it’s too big of a topic for me to possibly address it adequately in this post.
Let’s focus on ‘peak state’, as it’s the most easily understood and easiest to impact.
Good decisions largely come from being in ‘peak state’, which is your most resourceful state. Again, that may sound like motivational hype, but I challenge you to consider that it’s not, and that being in peak state gives you the very best chance of making good decisions and acting on them with conviction.
Every one of us can recall decisions that we’ve made when we’re angry, depressed, or fearful, only to realize that we made a poor decision because of the emotional state that we were in when we made it.
Anyone who has a child and that has overreacted when the child did something silly knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you were in a better state, you’d be able to laugh at the actions of the child instead of getting upset.
That same type of dynamic takes place thousands of times throughout your day, and all of those little decisions that you make have a compounding effect when you consider that every decision leads to action or inaction, which ultimately determines the results that you get.
I think understanding this process and the importance of being in peak state when you make your decisions is particularly important for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs face so many challenging decisions that normal people don’t face, that I believe that being in peak state becomes critical to making decisions that are going to give you the best chance at success.
It’s way too easy as an entrepreneur to get intimidated or fearful based on the circumstances that you’re dealing with, but the best decisions are never made from those emotional states.
Tony Robbins spent a lot of time making us realize that fear is a major driver of most people’s decisions, and a major reason why most people have lives that they’re not satisfied with.
It makes complete sense.
The best entrepreneurs are the ones that can handle the biggest problems without folding, right?
So then the question is, how do you get yourself into peak state immediately and consistently when you need it, so that you can ensure that you have the best chance of success with your decisions and actions?
He teaches that state is a matter of physiology and focus.
Physiology is how you’re using your body and the condition of your body, and focus is how you’re using your mind and the condition of your mind.
Of the two, he very powerfully demonstrates over the course of his event that physiology is by far and away the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way of putting yourself into peak state.
He does this by turning his event into what would seem to be a rock concert to an outside observer, and by getting you to participate consistently throughout the 3 1/2 days, using your body to create energy and increase emotion. He uses music, screaming, jumping, dancing, hugging and high-fiving to put you in the same state you’d be in if you were at a great concert or while watching your favorite sports team in the championship game.
Again, watching this from an outside perspective, it’s easy to see why many people have labeled Tony Robbins as a motivational speaker, and I now understand why that drives him crazy.
Professional athletes use music and their bodies to put themselves into a peak state before the big game. In fact, we would criticize them if they didn’t. But for some reason when Tony Robbins shows you that these tools work just as well for you in your normal life, many people like to refer to it condescendingly as ‘motivational speaking’.
Tony isn’t simply motivating his crowd, although that’s certainly a side-effect of his work. Instead, he’s teaching you to use the same tools that the best athletes do, to train yourself for the ‘big game’ of daily life.
No, you aren’t playing in the Super Bowl, but are you resigned to living at half of your potential just because you aren’t playing a pro sport?
For most entrepreneurs, the answer is clearly ‘No!’, which means that they should be doing everything possible to get in and stay in peak state.
He believes that we should all be treating our bodies and our minds like a professional athlete does, and that if we did we would literally astound ourselves with what we’re able to accomplish. And I agree 100%.
Which brings me to the next major lesson.
Tony doesn’t stop with getting your body and mind in peak state. Getting into peak state but not having an effective strategy to execute in that peak State, won’t get you the results that you’re looking for.
As he likes to say it doesn’t matter how motivated you are, if you’re running east looking for a sunset., it will never work.
Finding the best strategies is another one of the areas where Tony Robbins has been completely masterful.
The first question he asks anytime he’s trying to figure out how to do something new is:
“Who has already gotten the result I’m looking for, and how can I model them to cut years or even decades off of my learning curve?”
He essentially compresses decades of learning into months by modeling the specific strategies and techniques of the very best people in the world at what they do.
He does this by taking a total immersion approach, which was a real eye-opener for me. If he decides he wants to learn something he goes all in for as short of a period of time as possible to get the results that he’s looking for.
During the event he uses the example of learning to play polo. When he decided to learn to play polo, he had never really spent any time on a horse, certainly not as an adult. So he found the very best polo instructor he could find and got him to commit to five hours a day, for I believe a month, every morning starting at 5 AM so that he could immerse himself.
In doing so he very quickly became a competitive polo player that was recognized by his league as the best new player in the league.
He’s done the exact same thing in finances, business, health, time management, and every other critical area of his life, to get the absolute best results as quickly as possible.
If we all took the same approach with everything that was important to us, again, we would literally astound ourselves with the results that we would be able to get.
But most of us aren’t willing to make big commitments to something like that, are we? Instead, we dip our toes in, whereas Tony Robbins always takes the plunge!
Just like his daily cold plunge in the water every morning.
As you can see, the cold plunge every morning is both an exercise to put himself in the right physiology, but also a powerful metaphor for the way that he approaches life, and he’s using that metaphor to train his brain every single day to take the plunge in whatever he’s doing.
To fully physiologically and emotionally commit to getting his outcomes by taking massive action, by modeling the very best, and by ensuring that he’s in his peak state at all times to maximize his outcomes.
Love Your Family, Choose Your Peers
We’ve all heard it before, but that didn’t stop Tony from reminding us in powerful ways at his event.
He said, “The most important decision you’ll make is who you decide to spend time with.”
People’s lives are a direct reflection of their peer group. Are you spending time with people who are where you want to be, that support your dreams, and that give you energy rather than suck it out of you?
If not, you need new peers, and that may mean having to separate yourself from the people who are currently closest to you.
This event was the first time in my life where I could look around at 12,000 people and think, “These are MY people!”. The makeup of the group was about 80% entrepreneurs, and these were some of the most engaged and ambitious people I’ve ever met.
That’s the kind of community you want to be a part of!
You MUST Go
The reality is that there’s so much more that I got from this event that is hard to put it into words. You have to be there. You have to see it. You have to /feel/ it. You have to experience it yourself to truly understand it.
But hopefully this brief recap of the major takeaways gives you an idea of what you can expect from one of his events, and ideally it inspires you to attend yourself. I can’t imagine that anyone would regret it.