Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within (UPW) Review

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I drank the Kool-Aid during my time off last week. I just got back from a four-day seminar with the self-help “guru” Tony Robbins, and his infamous Unleash the Power Within (UPW for short). The seminar was held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey from March 29 till April 1, 2012. It's the same seminar with the firewalk that Oprah recently did. I like doing life experiences like this, and it was another one on my bucket list. The seminar can be summed up as a rock concert, somewhat religious awaking, and emotional boot camp all rolled into one. It is certainly nothing I've experienced before in an event and maybe will not ever again.

I believe with investing and in business, psychology plays a critical role. The mechanics is always the easy part, especially if you can follow someone else who's already done it. Small businesses are weakest in areas where the owner is weak at following through. So as a business owner, it's critical you understand yourself and your limiting beliefs. The same applies with investing. If you don't think you learn how to become a good investor, you are right. A lot of beliefs about money and finances are based on your psychology (see my previous post: Wealth is Much More than About Money). If you have inner conflicts related to money they certainly can affect your actions or maybe cause you not to act at all.

I've read and listened to various Anthony Robbins programs over the years, so I knew what to expect at this seminar. My wife, on the other hand, had no clue. I was first introduced to him over 25 years ago with his book Awaken the Giant Within. If you haven't listened or read any of his work, I suggest starting by reading this book first. In my opinion, his best program is his Time of Your Life audio program.

Tony Robbins 2006 TED Talk

If you never seen him speak before, this video is a great summary of what to expect. In 2006, Tony Robbins was asked to present at the prestigious TED conference. He speaks really fast in this presentation, but I suspect because of the time limitation. Warning the language is NSFW.

Unleash the Power Within Summary

While the seminar itself only briefly touches on the subject of money, the goal of the seminar is to help achievers achieve. Unleash the Power Within helps remove personal road blocks with people who have set high standards like myself.

I found it interesting in this seminar, Tony did discuss briefly about the recent 99% versus the 1% movement (and he is clearly a part of the 1%). Economically, how can we advance as a society unless some of us are outstanding? By raising your own personal standards, it also helps others raise their standards as well. We are all unique and can be outstanding at something. At least with personal finance, we can all be outstanding with managing our money, and all become winners.

The course is approximately 50 hours long, though typically they run much longer than the seminar hours listed in the brochure. It's not uncommon to leave the first day at 2 AM, and start the next morning at 9:30 AM. In my opinion, it's important to be prepared for this event. Make sure you get enough sleep before attending because you'll be somewhat sleep deprived. I believe this is also done somewhat on purpose. This is similar to techniques with military boot camps to help mold the solider.

It's critical you commit to all parts of the seminar and just go for it. Even though some of it might sound stupid or silly, I believe it's important to enter the seminar with an open mind. For many you might be doing things you've never done before because it's past your comfort zone. The whole point of the program is to push yourself past your previously imagined limitations.

Unless you pay for the Diamond seating, make sure you bring food. In addition, dress in layers as the room is typically very cold.

Day One – Transforming limitation into Power. The Firewalk Experience.
Day Two – Turn Dreams Into Reality. The Power Of Success Conditioning.
Day Three – Break Through To Your New Life. Transformation Day.
Day Four – The Power of Pure Energy. 12 Master Principles of a Vital Life

 Pros

  • Tony Robbins is an awesome speaker, and in my opinion, he is one of the best. He's really funny, dynamic, and very interactive with his audience. For many, this alone is worth the price of admission.
  • The Q and A experience with the audience was spectacular. He can read audience members very quickly and gives insight I think can help most others in the room.
  • This is the type of event if you go all out and do the tasks, it will live with you for months, if not for the rest of your life. For some, it could be a life changing event.
  • Even if you have listened to one of his audio programs or read one of his books, it's still a great experience to see Tony Robbins in person.
  • Even after listening to many of his programs over the years, I still got some insights I've never heard him discuss anywhere else. Though, of course, some of the material you can find in other audio programs.
  • Anthony Robbins is a machine and must have been derived from one of the T-800 Terminators. For the first day he is on stage for 13 hours without a single break. How many other 52-year-old men can do this?

 Cons

  • Two of the days Tony phones it in. It is described in the program guide Tony wouldn't be directly presenting two of the four days, I didn't know we would see him with a video presentation. He stated the reason is his voice cannot take four days straight of speaking. You can definitely hear this in his voice on the second day he presents, but it's still disappointing nonetheless.
  • The New Jersey facility where it was held at, the Meadowlands Exposition Center, was awful. The seats were uncomfortable, there weren't enough bathrooms, and they weren't cleaned often enough. This was a big sticking point with my wife, and I agree with her.
  • It would have been nice to have more breaks during the course. Tony is known to go all out intensity with these programs and expects the audience to do the same. Unfortunately, this means you can miss some of what's discussed when you go for bathroom breaks or to eat.
  • Speaker Joseph McClendon assists on two of the days Tony is absent. While Joseph is a decent speaker in his own right, he doesn't fill the lofty shoes of Tony Robbins.
  • The seating setup for the seminar sucks… badly. I much would rather have assigned seating than broken into tiers. We paid for Executive seating, and feel we would have been better off just paying for General Admission. In my opinion, if you are going to get good seats pay for Diamond or higher, otherwise don't bother with the higher priced seats.
  • Tony uses obscene language a lot. While for me personally, I have no issue, others might with the amount of times he uses the words “fuck” and “shit”. I completely understand the psychology of why he goes down this path, but others might think it detracts from the presentation. Tony almost uses too much, and it could be said decreased the effectiveness when he does says it.
  • The upsell for his other seminars, products and services is slightly annoying. While as a business man I think it's brilliant and should be done, I think it could be slightly toned down a little. His Mastery University and Business Mastery are costly ($10,000 each).
  • Lastly, this isn't really a fault of the seminar itself, but because it's in a seminar format. Some of the material is very deep and thought provoking. Like one of his audio programs, it would be great if you could replay it again. I would even pay for a DVD version of this specific seminar we attended, just to refresh what we saw and did. So since it's a seminar and the amount of stuff discussed, it's possible to miss some important details. You do get a seminar book, but Tony's presentation appears to be very ad hoc and impromptu. Some of what Tony discussed isn't in the course material.

Summary

If possible, I would not recommend seeing Tony at the New Jersey Meadowlands Exposition Center as it somewhat detracts from the event itself. When I attended Business Mastery in West Palm Beach, it was a MUCH better experience and location. Plus downtown is within walking distance.

If you are going to this event, get general admission seating and come with a completely open mind. Do all of the tasks at full tilt without holding back. Without question you will get a lot out of it. Depending upon your emotional maturity, it can be life changing. Overall it was a unique and positive experience for me and my wife.

If you fit the achiever profile, which I assume you do by reading my blog, then you will definitely get something out of this seminar. I would avoid the upsells for Mastery University. The audio programs offered at the event, might be worth the seminar discount if you want to excel in those areas.

Don't be excellent, be outstanding!

Readers: Have you ever attending one of his seminars? If so what did you think it? Also do you recommend any other speakers? Specifically topics on investing and small business I'm looking for.

Larry Ludwig

Larry Ludwig was the founder and editor in chief of Investor Junkie. He graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science in computers and a minor in business. Back in the ’90s, I helped create some of the first financial websites for firms like Chase, T. Rowe Price, and ING Bank, and later went on to work for Nomura Securities. He’s had a passion for investing since he was 20 years old and has owned multiple businesses for over 20 years. He currently resides in Long Island, New York, with his wife and three children.

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36 Comments

  1. I love these seminars. There is such positive energy at the venue. I enjoy reading Wayne Dyer, who essentially has the same message.

    1. @ShortRoadTo: Dyer’s message has changed over the years and has become much more spiritual. Nothing wrong with it at all, but different than say his “Erroneous Zones” book.

  2. Wow.. just what I was looking for. I’m considering the upcoming Orlando event.

    Plan to fly in a day early, and wanted to fly home on Sunday but will have to leave about 3:00 in the afternoon to catch flight. Any thoughts on that? Do you suggest I stay over another night so as not to miss a minute? ..or not?

    Appreciate the feedback.

    thx, dee 🙂

  3. Larry, thanks for the great review. We are actually at the half point of day 2 and we actually decided to leave early because the program material had ended and the upsell on the products got a bit annoying. I hope we aren’t missing out on vital information. Day 1 was incredible and I am really looking forward to Days 3 and 4. What are your thoughts on day 2? Thank you for your insight!

  4. Oh! We’re definitely going to all of Day 3… I just meant if there was anything significant after the upsell information that we are missing from Day 2? Thanks again

  5. Thank you Larry for your words about TR events. I went to #UPWOrlando and had great time there, Tony is the best! See you at the top 😉

  6. Signed up for Mastery Univ. It’s been great. Date With Destiny is Tony for all SIX DAYS! Ultimately, you get out of it what you put in to it. Don’t waste your time if you’re not going to play full out at the event. And make sure you do the work after the event. Now read the previous sentence again.

  7. Great review! I’ve been wanting to see him for some time now. This year I said I was going, then I wasn’t, then I was, then I wasn’t, then I said dammit just do it!! I’m going to UPW in Chicago. Can’t wait!

  8. Day 1: was great, however I could have skipped the fire walk and the 4 hour pump up before it. For me it (fire walk) was very uneventful and not at all what I expected.
    Day 2: We got there after it started and missed the dancers/cheer crew. Tony was not there and Joseph ran the program. This day was just “good” and if you know Tony Robbins that doesn’t mean much!
    There were moments when I thought to myself “what am I doing here at this infomercial, this is not what I cam for”. We finally left when we were in the 3rd hour of the “Business Mastery” sales pitch. Found out the next day that we didn’t miss much.
    Day 3: We both decided that we would just give it our all today. We arrived early and had fantastic seats. Tony absolutely delivered and this is what I came for. Lots of high energy and outstanding presentation, I loved it…until the dreaded 3 hr. sales pitch that started after an amazing self discovery session.
    We left at about 11:30pm when the tables opened for the sign up of his “Mastery University” program.
    Day 4: Well today is the “Vital Life” portion of the 4 days & we decided to skip it for 2 reasons. Simply put it was because of the new “Quest” products being offered & that Joseph was presenting not Tony. I’m sure there was plenty of valuable information I missed but having my time wasted with another 4 hr. sales pitch was not worth it.
    Would I go to another Tony Robbins event? Only if I knew ahead what time these pitches were scheduled for or if they were not scheduled at all. I would have been much more interested in attending the additional workshops being offered if they had just cut out the crappy sales pitches, put Tony up on stage for 2 days and let him do what he does best “help people”.

  9. Thanks for this summary. I plan to go to the Palm Beach Seminar in March 2016 and wasn’t sure which level to go with.
    It sounds I go with either Diamond or General. I have his DVD package already so going all the way to Diamond Platinum is mute.
    Do you think the price is worth the Diamond seating or should I go with General? Aside from lunch and early entrance, would I get a deeper awareness/change up front?

    Regards,

  10. I loved UPW but agree the pitching was annoying. Although, I did decide to go for the Mastery University and it has been well worth it. Date With Destiny was like UPW on crack. It was life changing for me. I constantly refer back to habits and things I learned there. I made friends that will be with me forever. I will attend life & wealth mastery next year to complete my program.
    You definitely are pushed out of your comfort zone and sleep deprived at these events but it’s worth every bit of it.
    Watching Tony in action is incredible.

  11. I’m seriously considering attending the upcoming event in San Jose but concerned about the fact that two of the days Tony is not there and it is basically watching videos of Tony co-hosted by his partner Joseph. This would be a significant investment for me and I don’t want to “waste” my money on watching videos for two days that I could from the comfort of my home 😉 I’ve also heard that they are very sales pitch heavy on his other products and programs, is this true?

    1. Joseph, in my opinion, is awesome. I’ve attended UPW x2, Business Mastery, Date with Destiny and Leadership Academy, will be finishing Mastery University this year. The self discovery from these events has been transformational, and it’s paved the way for me to coach many other people in life and business. I would not be doing business if not for Tony.
      Joseph plays a big role in many of the events. The first UPW I went to, I was a little disappointed, simply because I expected Tony. But I enjoyed Joseph and I love all the events with Joseph. He adds a heavier touch of humor and has a wonderful personality. He was homeless, and is now an extremely successful coach, and I think he’s a “neuropsychologist” by way of his formal studies (if I’ve got that exactly correct- he’s formally studies neurology and psychology I believe). I don’t think it takes away from the event at all. And I’m more than happy to “sacrifice” two days with Tony, knowing that it means that his voice will last for many more events to come (he tells the story about this, at UPW too).

  12. Hi Larry. I’m thinking of going to a Tony event with my father. He’s 77 and a true type A entrepreneur. He is in good Heath? but does not have the patience to read the books. I would like to take him to an event. But concerned about stamina. Any thoughts from you or others on seniors going to the event

  13. Great info, Larry. My wife and I are planning to attend an upcoming UPW in Newark, NJ. The schedule is from 9 AM to 11:30 PM on some days. Are meals supplied or are there long enough breaks to go somewhere? Of course, it’s at the Prudential Center so I presume they have concession stands…but I don’t want to eat junk food for four days. Thanks.

  14. Awesome review.

    Do you think that the Diamond tickets increase the experience (proximity to the stage) or that the people you will interact with in this section are more interesting (e.g. Successful entrepreneurs? )

  15. WASTE OF TIME!
    Female in early 40’s.. went by myself because I wanted to go for years, if not decades! so glad I went by wish I did not bother, over hyped big time!
    – no water is provided at event.. you will be severely dehydrated! Event staff ensure this! When this was brought up at the event and even afterwards, comment was “hope you got what you needed from the event.”
    – OPRAH WINFREY NEVER EVER had Tony Robbins on her show, considered him a phoney used car salesmen..saw right through him and he wanted so badly to be on her show and she refused- enough said (yup, found this out later!)
    – he does not bring you what you want or came for, tries to convince you that you need his products so be more- constant selling we all were laughing so much.. ha ha this is valued at $70,000 by at this event for $15,000…. constalty
    -it is a cult! Yup, its poked fun at but its a cult FOR SURE!!!
    -glad I went but so disappointed, read think and grow rich and listen to some podcasts that resonate with you and trust me, better then wasting your money at a Tony Robbins event than even TMZ Makes fun of!

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