I have been half suspecting that the same crowd emerging from the Aljunied MRT are indeed going to the same course by Tony Robbins. Thousands began filling up an auditorium the size of a football field. At the background, there were unending choruses of latest top 40 hit songs to pump people up.
How did I got here?
A few years ago, a Toastmaster friend described her experience of walking through the ashes of fire during Tony Robbins’ course (the right term I later found out was – firewalking) and it piqued my interest.
Why would people do that?
And this is not the question to verify the sanity of people wanting to firewalk, but also the simple fact of why people felt the need to sign up to this kind of course in the first place. I was skeptic – a motivational course learning things you already know.
Nah, let me learn something more practical instead. The course’s name – Total Success, was not helping either.
Not until Tony Robbins appeared in this Tim Ferriss podcast that I had made ‘Experiencing Tony Robbins’ one of my goals in 2015. Very much like Tim Ferriss’ ritual; I started listening every single tape of Personal Power in my short drive to work everyday.
Since the probability of him coming to Malaysia was a near non-existance, I settled on just reading his latest book in 20 years : ‘Money: Master The Game’.
But, like most things intended by the universe, when you want something, it will just happen!
Apparently, there was a 3 day course done by a company called Success Resources (I’ll tell you why they sucks, later) and since it aligned perfectly with me wanting to experience cheap backpacking experience for less than a week (another goal) – I signed up.
That’s how I found myself in Singapore for the first time in 30 years, slightly irritated with confusing registering lines. I did my payment in SGD, so I needed to queue in Singapore registration counter rather than Malaysian counter.
Wasted 30 minutes.
By mid-day however, people are jumping and clapping. They are shouting ‘I’m Awesome’ from the top of their lungs. The worse part, I’m in the thick of the action too; unabashedly dancing to a call of affirmations.
For better or worse, I did learnt new things, which can be condensed as follows:
1.Change the state, change your life
I know this sounds like grandeur claims akin to whatever things dubbed to change your life. But I think it does deserve in a same statement. If you’re familiar with Tony’s work, this is the epitome of his message. And the reason why the whole course experience was designed to be like such in a concert. People are asked to jump every 5 minutes or when there’s anyone about to yawn or becoming distracted – whichever happened earlier.
I started the day asking “Am I’m paying RM1,5k for this?” to a huge believer to ‘actively changing your state’.
It works like this.
Imagine a state of ‘hopeful’.
I’d imagine a hopeful person slouch their shoulder, their eyebrow inclined outwards both ways and there’s less conviction in his speech. The other bad states are – fearful, discouraged, bored.
Compare that with a state of ‘enthusiastic’.
I’d be sure. I’d be convinced that I will get whatever I projected my mind to get and my eyes grows big. Certainly at this kind of state – i’m being more receptive to changes and new ideas. It’s a good condition to be in, don’t you think?
Now Tony argues that those states – are changeable at will. I’d remember this often when I’m about to start driving to office thinking of a huge pile of to-dos that kept pulling me back. Often my default state in the morning was “overwhelmed” or “scared”. I’ll frame that thoughts and consciously change the state by adjusting to the feeling of “peaceful” or “excited” or even “curious”.
When you had an active refocus to the state that you wanted, the physical action would need to follow suit. Now you need to have a corresponding physiology to back that up. You need to smile, draw strong breaths, and be energetic.
Stand tall and be congruent with the state that you have chosen.
That’s physiology. And it’s a simple fact we need to know and remind ourselves often.
2. People faced same issues like everybody else, so chill out.
I met various people from a Director at a leading logistic company to a struggling real estate agent trying to find her mark in the world. Of people from various shape, clothing, age and colour; something that strikes me clearly is that there will always be the same underlying themes to the problem we faced.
These boiled down to areas such are:
- Physical Body: Being in the best shape to experience life
- Emotions & Meaning: How you felt and what drives your actions
- Relationships: The way we experience/interact with other human beings
- Time: How and where you focus your energy
- Work / Career / Mission: What you devote your energy for
- Finances: Create and managing wealth
- Celebrate & Contribute: A spiritual awareness
We spent some time understanding current levels of satisfaction in each of the areas above. Of course, different people had different combination of problems and eventually different meaning of successes.
In the end, we largely having the same finite issues that we want to encounter at some particular times in our lives.
Tony made us talk to the people near to us. So while it’s comforting to know that you are not alone in your quest to a better you, I realized that you will have something you need to work on despite any level of successes that anyone of us could portray outwardly.
I would have never guessed a dude beside me, seemingly at the peak of his life (wearing the bests of suits and watches), confident, and collected began to tell me how much he wanted to do podcasting as a way to ignite his passion in life.
Regardless of the varieties of people I see, we had the same issues. .
So, chill out.
3. You Might be Paying for Sales Pitch
Motivational programs organizer companies can be sleazy – now I knew that.
The event was marketed as a 3 day event and I believed we had 3 days with Tony Robbins.
So I’m slightly concerned when I kept hearing Tony Robbins saying that we’ll be having a blast today and the day after.
What’ll happen on the third day?
We made a bargaining assumption that perhaps, the third day will be a small session with facilitators guiding us to implement what we have learnt into practical applications.
Or so i thought (that was a very naive assumption).
It turned out that the third day was reserved for marketing spots for a number of motivational salesman to shove their products to you. The worse thing beside the fact that we were obviously blindsided, was that we were asked to come as early as 730am when the first order for the day was a half-cooked presentation for a comb.
Yes! you read it right! A sales pitch to buy a comb.
We were also promised the digital version of Tony Robbin’s book, only to be informed a month later that they couldn’t agree a deal with the publisher and they were replacing it with another video that ‘surpasses the value of the book’ which turned out to be a portion of 2007’s Unleash the Power Within.
Aren’t you supposed to agree that upfront before promising the product to the paying customers?
But as an ever-positive, I still managed to give them thumbs up
Being with a group of ever-positives helped me to look at the bright side. Those marketing pitch are definitely an experience (if you hear it for the first time).
Which is the next point.
4. Still, you can learn something from those ‘sleazy’ salesmen
So you can imagine the feeling of being pissed of at being manipulated by the event organizer.
The fact that we need to come on the third day expecting for another day with Tony Robbins or his ‘associates’ when we were, for the lack of better word – ‘screwed’.
At the hands of a professional, selling is a skill that will move you. Because in the end, barring than one presentation of comb, I’m sold.
Suddenly I felt that I need to write a book and that course by a mid-fifties spotting a crook mustache would help me write one.Or suddenly, I need to amplify my wealth investing in property management at the hottest location – the UK.
Why? What was the reason I change from being pissed off to an undulated would-be customers?
I thought, rather than spending my precious time being pissed off, I’d better get something from those sessions.
I started by changing my state of ‘pissed-off’ to a state of ‘curiosity’. Hey, that’s the application of thing I learned above!
One of my Singaporean colleague, echoes the same sentiments when he told me to look into their mad selling skills. It’s true. We are the most hostile of a crowd we can be, yet at the hands of these ‘sleazy’ or ‘skilled’ salesman (depending on how you look at it), we are turned into an emotional ride of wants, emotions and end-up (nearly) being trigger-happy to buy their products.
I think I handled being manipulated well. I took note of the outstanding sales pitch just for our reference. For example:
- One guy came in indicating our current situation, closed down and unwilling to accept new things. By a slew of magic hands we were demonstrated with an analogy that an open up hands are better. Closing down might cause you to miss an obvious opportunity.
- Stating the obvious, How much? How much?
- Had a pre-agreement to ask the crowd to give 5 minutes sales-pitch in return of 20 minutes of ‘lesson’.
- Corny entrance video to the max and an endless testimonials from a variety of people’s background.
Still, being manipulated sucks. And hence, this company sucks.
5. We need to keep being inspired.
During the event, everyone’s lighten up. It seemed every fears that we had are really, an illusion constructed by our lizard brain. We are hopelessly inspired to change our lives and chase those dreams.
While it’s normal that during a few days after the course we were ecstatic, over time though (in my case exactly 1 week after the course), I am confronted again with that subdued fears. Few days later, the familiar feeling of laziness came.
Before I realize it, I was back to the pre-course motivation level despite having all this knowledge.
Perhaps, that’s why positioning yourself within like-minded individuals and putting in a system to continuously keep you inspired should be one of our priorities.
That’s what I intend to dive deep in this blog.
Finally, It need to be said that the course had a profound impact to my life and I would love to experience Tony again. I learned a ton, and I believed having a separate budget (envelope in my case) would help to properly finance this need. Maybe that will be something to look for in 2016? Happy selecting the right courses.
In the words of Jedi, may the force be with you.