I woke up at 7:30 am the other week (a little late for a self-help guy, I know) and my inboxes were full of messages. Apparently, there was storm brewing about Tony Robbins. Accusations, huge headlines, angry people on Twitter, events that happened decades ago (supposedly) were all over my iMac computer screen.
And I was not worried for a second. It didn’t phase me one bit and at no point did it make me want to stop reading Tony Robbins books or seeking his advice.
Unfortunately for me, I posted a short Tony Robbins video the day before all of this happened. Bad timing created outrage and led to people messaging me and saying:
“See, I told you Tony is a lying guru.”
“I can’t support you anymore if you follow Tony.”
“Tony is a liar who just wants to monetize you.”
Like a good little human, I decided to take a closer look out of curiosity. I read the articles, watched the videos and listened to the accusations. Then I read what Tony had to say in a video he made from Australia (my hometown) and looked at the facts.
- The people making the accusations made videos saying their comments were taken out of context
- The stories read like a modern day witch hunt designed to take somebody down out of some personal problem/agenda with Tony
- Many of the events described happened when he was in his 20’s (Crap because I made even more mistakes in my 20’s. How about you?)
What started as a front-page news story died off within a few days because people realized it was nothing more than outrage porn that didn’t carry any real story or truth to it.
In short, the reason I’ve followed Tony’s journey, been to his events, read all of his books, devoured all his audio tapes, and listen to his podcast is because it helped me.
See when I was going through a very rough period — having left behind a business I loved and simultaneously battle mental illness — Tony’s voice was the only damn positive thing I could find on the internet.
Tony changed my thinking and the way I saw my circumstances. This led me to go to an event of his, where I saw first hand how he changes millions of peoples lives through his work. Before the event, I wasn’t convinced.
Until you see what he does and hear why he does it, you could easily make the mistake of seeing him for something he is not.
He is not a motivational speaker, guru, god-like figure, celebrity or anything even close to any of these labels. Honestly, he comes across as a kind man that would do anything to help another human being. The reason, I believe, he’s like that is because he had a shitty childhood and doesn’t want other people to have to go through the same pain.
He teaches you to:
- Own your problems
- Face your fears
- Be brave
- Help others even if you have nothing yourself
- Rebuild your life
- Change your beliefs
- Reassess your values
Geez, I could go on and on for hours about the hundreds of lessons he has taught me that have allowed me to do things I never believed a tall, skinny, fearful bloke from Australia could ever do all those years ago. The internet paints him one way; in-person experiences will show you an entirely different side of him. All you have to do is look at one of his kids, maybe Jairek Robbins, to see what sort of a person he is.
So that’s why, before judging Tony, you need to understand who he is.
Perfection doesn’t exist
The problem with all the rage on the internet about Tony is that it comes bundled with an expectation that Tony is supposed to be perfect. He apparently can’t teach what he does if he isn’t perfect and sings hallelujah every morning before jumping on his trampoline.
We want to see Tony as perfect when the truth is that he is imperfect just like we are. This doesn’t make any mistake he may have made right, but for the love of god give the guy a bit of empathy. Money and fame can delude even the smartest person and if Tony did suffer from a touch of this disease as a young, impressionable, twenty-year-old (at his current age of sixty) can we not find a little bit of forgiveness for him?
I personally wouldn’t want any perfect human being trying to teach me lessons that could transform my life because it’s a sign they haven’t truly lived.
Show me the fast life from your experience, and I’ll get it.
Show me pain from your divorce, and it will make more sense.
Show me why money doesn’t mean success after you’ve lost all of yours, and I’ll see myself in the mirror of your experience.
When you seek perfection, you end up finding idols and heroes who snort coke every night and pretend to care about charitable causes when in reality, it’s nothing more than a nice fat tax deduction for their drug habit.
Tony is imperfect, which is why his lessons actually caused me to take action and transform my life into something that I’ll probably never be able to repay him for. One day I’ll tell him that in person. Until then, quit the search for perfection.
Don’t believe everything you read
In an era of fake news, many of the stories written about people like Tony are incorrect, false or designed to monetize your attention. Now I’m not saying I’m even close to being in the league of Tony Robbins, but I too have had hate articles written about me that suggest all sorts of things.
It can happen to anyone and that’s why you have to go with the age-old advice of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ followed by something even more important: compassion and forgiveness if found guilty.
There are enough couch commentators already
It’s easy to judge Tony Robbins and call him a guru, liar, womanizer or whatever label you can come up with for him.
What is far more difficult is to get into the battle arena yourself, stand on stage week after week for 12 hours plus, do round the clock interviews, write best-selling books, be on the board of multiple successful companies, raise a family, and do the hard yards learned from childhood trauma and financial ruin.
That description is about one-fiftieth of what Tony’s life has involved. He puts himself out there at great risk, when, at this stage of his life, he could sit on a beach and never work again.
Why does he keep pushing himself even after all the surgeries, growth hormone, warnings from his medical team and the toll it takes on his family? — Because he’s doing it for more than money. It’s what he believes he was made to do. That may sound cliche or like hyperbole, but it’s the truth.
If you don’t believe me, watch his Netflix documentary, “I Am Not Your Guru.”
You’ll get a behind the scenes look at what I’m talking about.
So in a mass reply-all to all the people who have messaged me telling me Tony is a crook and I should stop following him, I have decided to ignore your advice.
We need to get back to facts, human kindness, compassion and sharing real stories that matter.
Personal attacks through media and Twitter outrage is what is wrong with the digital world we’ve created for ourselves through this thing we call the internet.
Tony is not a bad guy. Look at the facts, use a softer lens of compassion when casting judgment and remember that you too are imperfect because you were born human just like he was.
Take a closer look and you can learn a helluva lot. All the best Tony and thank you.