Saturday, 22 December 2018

Singapore Dividends for Financial Freedom - The Tony Robbins Conundrum

How many times in 2018 have you heard the following?:

'Tony Robbins is amazing! You just have to check him out!'

'Tony Robbins changed my way of seeing the world. Do you know him? He's powerful. Check him out. I'll lend you a book.'

I have heard words of this nature at least five times this year, and not just from credulous types.

So, the question is why does this man have such a passionate following? 

What do his books contain that appeal to so many? 

I needed to investigate.


After a glowing report from a friend, I bought 'Awaken the Giant Within', a tome of a book, from a second hand book shop in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Eagerly, I shuffled through the baking back streets, ice cold Chang in hand (Go on Thaibev!) looking for a shady place to sit and read. 

I settled under an arboreal freak called 'The Giant'. Beside me, a bright smiling Thai lady selling pineapple from a street cart said hello. Sweat trickled down my chest and back darkening my shirt. 

I took the book out and looked at the cover. A giant head with gleaming white teeth looked back at me. 

So, this was Tony Robbins, the man I'd heard so much about. 

The man who changes lives. 

The man who has the answers. 

The man I need to get to know. 


He looked more like a used car salesman rather than a self-help guru.

That said, I'm an open minded guy and not one to judge without reason, so I blanked out the toothy grin and opened the book at random.


What struck me straight away were the abundance of quotes from famous folk littered throughout the text. It was a who's who from all four corners of the intellectual world including Mark Twain, John Locke, Lord Chesterfield (whoever he is), Winston Churchill, The Buddha, Victor Hugo, Aristotle, Ayn Rand etc. 

This struck me as cool as I've always been a fan of quotes. As an adult, I've never been too far from my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, for it's a marvelous way to sound smarter than you really are. 

Imagine you bump into an old friend...

'How's it going?'

'Not bad at all, and you. How's the form?'

'Fine. All's well at my end. Still smoking?'

'Thankfully, no. Quitting was the best thing I ever did.'

'I agree. As Walt Disney said, ' The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing'

'Really, he said that? Powerful words.'

'Yes, indeed. I agree. We should stay in touch more you know. Make more of an effort. You know 'walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.'

'Disney again?'

'No, Helen Keller.'

I'm sure you'll agree there's a fine line between sounding like an ass and sounding intelligent, but you get the picture.

Quotes are cool. Full stop.

Anyway, as I flicked though the pages of this massive book, I couldn't help wondering how in the name of God I was ever going to read it all. I read a paragraph here and there and quickly realized I'd never been exposed to anything like this before.

NAC Master Step 3 - Interrupting the Pattern

Decide What you Really Want and What's Preventing You From Having it Now

Get Leverage: Associate Massive Pain to Not Changing Now and Massive Pleasure to the Experience of Changing NOW!

This all sounded like profound stuff to me, but a bit heavy for digesting under the midday sun, half drunk in the middle of bustling Chiang Mai. Thus, in this spirit, I returned the book to my bag and cracked open another cold Chang. (Go on Thaibev! again)

After nailing four big bottles and eating a plate of Gai Pad Grapow, I felt ready to tackle the book again.

The Power to Reinvent Yourself

Use Contrast to Put Your Life in Reality

The Future of Your Identity

Whatever We Focus on Becomes Our Idea of Reality 

Words jumped of the page endlessly, a constant flow of dos and don't, positive affirmations and ways to improve. 

From Tinkled to Turbo-Charged

I read the first fifty pages on the spot and felt dizzy. I was reading the words, but nothing seemed to sink in. I re-read maxim after maxim but nothing stuck. The prose itself felt rushed, frenetic.

One chapter felt the same and the next, and my head felt as if it was being slapped repeatedly for no good reason. 

I knew after one hundred pages this type of reading was not for me, for it felt too American... too preachy. 

It felt like one of those self-help books given out by religious nuts on city center streets. 

I'm always cautious of those who proclaim to have all the answers, and Robbins is surely one of these types, buy hey the guy's worth about a squillian dollars so he's doing something right.

Or is he?

For sure, there's a religious feel to the message.

The Ultimate Lesson

Dis-empowering Beliefs

The Pathway to Power

Can Change Happen in an Instant?

These chapter headings could have been written by a Jehovah's Witness or a Scientologist and ooze with faith-based psycho babble.

Most of the content isn't for me, I'm afraid. Now, having said that, if Tony Robbins gets you going then fair enough. I just think there are better writers out there with more to say. 

For example, just to stick with contemporary pop culture, Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology, is much more qualified to talk about the mind than Tony Robbins, but still the latter is able to charge a million dollars for a private consultation. 

Personally, I would urge people to read Aristotle, Kant or The Stoics of ways to lead a better life, but if Tony Robbins helps you sort your life out then all the power to you.

Work away, roll with it if you will.

Maybe I'm missing something, maybe there's more to it than I can see. I'm only talking here about 'Awaking the Giant Within' not his other books or live shows etc. It's mystery to me how this book  helped propel a man without formal psychology training into a guru for many.

How did this happen? 

If you have any ideas, please comment below, and let's see if we can untangle this mystery together.

Sláinte for now folks.

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