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
- 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?
- 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.
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.