This week I watched the Tony Robbin’s documentary, I am not your guru. It was the opposite of what I expected. I went into watching I am not your guru with almost no information on Tony Robbins other than he’s a self-help guy who’s been around for a few decades. I assumed that many of his methods were soft, fluffy, weak, and even cult-like. I judged him before I read any of his books or payed any attention to his work.
I am not your Guru Provides a powerful insight into how Tony changes lives at his events and a small side of how Tony lives his life. If I have one complaint, it would be that. I wanted to know more about Tony’s life and we don’t get that, albeit a few moments inside his Miami beachfront property. However this is a small complaint in the major scale of the film. Below is what I took away from the film and my final thoughts. You can watch the film on Netflix here.
There will be small insights from the movie below. No Major spoilers. If you whine, it’s your fault. You’ve been warned.
This will not be a typical movie review, since this is not a typical movie. I’ve selected some of my favorite and most informative pieces from this movie to expand upon, without giving away important context from the film. I don’t want to ruin it for you. This information will cover the film directly, insights and thoughts I’ve had, and more about Tony Robbin’s personal life & strategy-what I feel was missing from the movie.
About The Documentary
Personal Life and Views
Personality of Tony Robbins
Language and speaking style
Strategy of improvement
The Tony Robbins Intervention
The Speech that changed his life
Ending & final thoughts.
About I Am Not Your Guru
The documentary I am not your guru follows Tony’s “a date with destiny seminar”. This is a course that happens now once a year in Boca Raton, Florida. It’s a six day long course and will set you back a cool 5000$ on average. While expensive, the course lasts roughly 12 hours a day. The Date with Destiny course can be found here.
This results in 70+ hours of coaching depending on the exact time each daily session stops or begins.
I’m not sure how long Tony is involved each day, as many segments of the documentary show his staff engaging with the participants, then spending time in small groups, and alone. If you do get to spend a significant amount of time with Tony the price very well could be worth it.
Some critics called him a cult leader, this isn’t true. He did nothing cult-like during the six day a date with destiny event. This is an easy way to rip apart the film and Tony based on pre-held judgments like I had. It’s a standard close minded way to judge I am not your guru. The closest thing you could compare this to was the guided breathing and high energy dancing. Even though Andreian breathing methods can keep you calm and focused.
Some reviews have stated that the entire film plays out like an infomercial for a date with destiny: I don’t see it that way. It’s rather informative of the event in it’self without selling it to you directly. Yes, after watching it you may very well want to attend the course. You could also end up feeling satisfied after watching the documentary and pick up a book or two of his, or not. An infomercial argument has no grounds to be made here.
Tony Robbin’s Personal Life
Tony Robbin’s mother was a physically and mentally abusive parent towards him. She was addicted to prescription medicine and often instructed him to run to the pharmacy because she lost her bottle of her drug of choice at the time.
Tony thought she actually lost it.
Even with the abuse he had suffered, he still loves his mother completely. This is incredibly powerful. Tony knows that without his mother’s abuse he would have never fallen in love with wanting to end suffering. The abuse he survived in his youth was another push in the correct direction that made him what he is today.
Without abuse, Tony would not be on a mission to end suffering.
He used his suffering to nurture him.
With his history explained, it’s easier to understand what he does and why he does it. This isn’t a money scam for him. His new book Money: Master the game is being used to feed millions of families. This level of authenticity, of living what he preaches is one of the more rare concepts in the self development genre. Anyone can put forward an idea of how to live better, but to actually live that way is remarkable.
His suffering as a youth is what made Tony Robbins, the best selling self development figure in the world. It comes easy to him because it’s authentic. He’s not faking anything, he’s walking his path. I am not your guru clearly illustrates this. He’s lived a life others can connect and relate to. They feel like they know Tony, even if they’ve never met him. When you see him speaking it’s easy to trust him. His authenticity seems to radiate off him.
Tony’s personality can be described as radiating warmth. He seems to be a pillar of total positive energy and self-belief. Even more, it’s contagious. In the opening scene of the film Tony is confronting a man who recently attempted suicide.
Instead of giving a typical “Don’t do it!” statement he gently makes fun of him. He didn’t due it in a derogatory manner to the man, it was incredibly well timed and funny. The suicidal man even stopped mid-desperation to laugh at what he had said. This was of of my favorite parts of I am not your guru. A desperate man smiling.
Tony Robbins understands that often times humor is the best medicine to give, and he uses it well. He is naturally funny, in a position where there isn’t much laughter or joy to be had.
Often times in I am not your guru, the camera is centered directly on Tony’s face. When this happens, look at his eyes. The eyes tell everything about the man. He looks at those he speaks with as if they are the only person in the room. This is pure charisma. It doesn’t seem fake either, it’s authentic.
When he is performing his interventions there is no faking. When he cries within I am not your guru his eyes turn into a fiery inferno red. This doesn’t happen when a person fake cries. Fake crying tends to be forcing tears, which does not inflame the eye like actual tears.
The general advice Tony gives is how he lives his own life, like his high energy drills. Within I am not your guru we often see him giving advice to the camera, then a cut to his home where he is doing this exact thing. He is often found dancing, jumping on a trampoline, and reciting affirmations and chants.
The language he uses is what may have surprised me the most. It’s not a gentle, poetic voice like what you would think of from a new-age self-development writer.
Tony has a deep, raspy voice that is not gentle by any means. Often his booming voice cuts your train of thought directly.
He uses language masterfully. Within the first moments of the documentary, Tony drops a wonderfully placed F bomb to the suicidal man. He uses curse words as a way to capture attention and maintain it. It’s difficult to turn away from him because you have no idea what he is about to say next.
Throughout the film his language is completely foul. It’s poetic cursing. He says, he uses taboo words in order to cut through the bullshit in people’s minds.
It works for him, as often the camera shows the reactions after he curses. Wide eyes, shocked audience members are more engaged then ever.
Tony frequently mentioned he built himself. He states that “the man standing on the stage in front you, I created him.” This is life summed up into one concise sentence.
Spending each day, working to improve yourself. Every day working to grow by 1%, to add another brick to the wall. He wasn’t made over-night. Tony used the suffering from his youth to fuel the passion for his adulthood.
Intervening In Your World
During Tony’s interventions he’s seeing past his targets surface excuses and problems. Interventions are when Tony finds someone from the crowd, asks them what’s going on, and they tell him.
One woman with an eating disorder is put on the spot for her problem. Tony then completely skips past her problem and jumps to her childhood. He uses the platform of an audience paying attention to a member of it’self as a tool for the target to literally have no choice except to dig deeper and find their problem.
If they don’t dig deeper and find the cause of the problem in their lives the repercussion would be humiliation. Not intentionally by Tony, but that is the thought created in the mind by the fear of public embarrassment in these circumstances. He uses this to get to the deepest part of their pain repetitively quickly.
Interventions Are Effective.
Digging Deep In I Am Not Your Guru
Dept is what people are missing in their lives. Why is this Vincent? Well, it’s because of distractions. When I was a kid I walked everywhere. I didn’t have a phone. Often on walks alone the only thing I had with me were my thoughts. So I used them to entertain me, even though that entertainment was used to help me grow. Now you can’t think for more than 5 minutes without a notification, a text, or a call.
The solution is to turn your phone off. For a minimum of 4 hours a day. You need time to go deep within yourself without distraction, instead of dancing in the shallow water never reaching anything.
People run from their true problems as a defensive mechanism. Tony understands that it’s easier to create false problems to cover up the real pain.
Covering up the truth often times is easier in the short term than to deal with what is actually causing us distress. So, Tony tends to jump straight into finding what the true problem is then solving it for the hurt individual, or helping them find the first step to doing so.
what’s painful needs to be done to grow.
Problems are what make us grow and sculpt our soul. Painful things need to be done to grow. You need to want to do them, even of you don’t like them. You do them because they’re right.
Tony requires everyone to have a life mission statement. he believes progress equals happiness.
Without an outlined goal, we tend to just burn through our time. When time is the most important asset we have.Tony said that ten years can happen in the snap of your fingers. Time only flies like this if you don’t have a set goal or life mission that you’re working towards.
You Don’t Get What You Deserve. You get what you tolerate.
You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you tolerate was one of the most profound statements Tony had said. There is so much truth within this statement. An entire book could be written on this alone.
You can change your entire life by setting different standards.
You could decide that drinking is below your standards.
You could decide that being overweight is below your standards.
You could decide that being poor is below your standards.
Each of these statements could radically alter your life.
You’re not that fucking weak.
Another quote from Tony with a perfectly placed curse word. You’re not that fucking weak. This is profound in it’s simplicity and it’s truth.
I am not your guru not only teaches you to get over your problems, it reminds you that they won’t kill you. Bad news is bad news. However, if it doesn’t kill you, nothing stops, does it?
If you don’t think you’re good enough, you won’t be loved.
All of our problems begin in the mind, and they can all end there. If you aren’t weak.
If alcohol is destroying your family, stop it. Don’t be weak towards what you need to do. This can be applied to anything in life. Whatever is giving you fear or anxiety is propagating your weakness. When all it takes is one dance with it, two at most to end our fears forever.
Heal The Boy and The Man Will Appear
Heal the boy and the man will appear. Tony said this while dealing with the trauma of one of his clients while in the middle of an intervention. If you have had a trauma in childhood, that was never dealt with or explored, it doesn’t go away, it festers and becomes an even bigger monster. This is what he means.
All of your trauma from childhood must be dealt with immediately. You can find these moments by looking back on your life and finding the moments in history that brought you shame. When you find these moments, accept them. Embrace them like a lover, and they’ll disappear. This is one of the most important therapies you can do to transition into the next level of your life.
If anything is missing the whole thing falls apart.
If you want to be a winner, you must always win.Because quitters always quit and winners always win. If you want to be the best salesman in the world you must brush your teeth the best. Because skipping steps becomes a habit. A habit that will affect you in all other areas of your life. This is what Tony means when he says “if anything is missing the whole thing falls apart.”
You must have a complete life in order to grow.
Like a flower needs sunlight, soil and water, you need all the pieces of your life. You need a balance. Removing one of these from the plant will cause it to die. The same death will occur if we do not include all the pieces we need in order to progress.
Everything we do begins with a choice. You choose to get out of bed on time, or hit the snooze button and sleep in. The little things do matter.Every choice we make compounds into the person we become.
Stay in your head your dead.
Often times before a big event in life we’re stuck in our heads. We think about every possible outcome, but focus on the negative ones the most. We do this because of our machinery. It’s better as a human to focus on a lion chasing you, then a delightful apple tree and it’s fruit in front of you.
Except that machinery is now against us. Now with virtually no threat we’re still focusing on what could kill us. We live in the safest time the world has ever known. Even if your worst case scenario comes true, what is the worst that will happen? In 99.999% of circumstances you will not die.
The earth won’t stop spinning if you leave an abusive spouse.
Quitting your job to start a business will not make you homeless.
All of our fear we have before embarking on something new is hypothetical. We create it in our mind because that is what our bodies are good at: protecting us from risk. Risk is good. Risk is what we need to grow. Deny your nervous system the honor of protecting you, and let yourself grow.
Get out of your head and into the world. You’ll never be able to experience life if you look at it through a lens of fear. Many of the activities in I am not your guru challenges participants to get out of their heads. This was as small as meeting twelve new people, or as big as making a one line mission statement for your existence.
Don’t make a living make a life.
Living without a purpose is a terrible reality that many of us are plagued with. Living a life of only making a living, clocking in, and clocking out. This is what hell is. Hell is having no self awareness, no sense of presence, wandering from one activity, to the next.
Never questioning am I happy, or am I doing the right thing. Tony Robbins wants you to make a life for yourself and not a living. He wants you to find a calling that pulls at you, a calling that keeps you from sleeping.
Have you ever met a depressed person with a calling?
Dawn was born into a cult called the children of god, also known as Family International. This cult uses sex as a way to “strengthen their bond between themselves, and god.”
She didn’t have a choice in how her life was conducted. She had to to do terrible things within Family International that she didn’t want to do. This scarred her emotionally and made her suicidal.
When Tony spoke to her, he did so in a way that was incredibly deep. You can see in the film by the way of his eye contact, his emotional expression, that he genuinely cared for Dawn Watson. Her story was moving. I won’t ruin it for you.
I hadn’t cried since I was a young man, this did it. I’ll admit it. When you watch I am not your guru, do it alone. Or do it with someone you aren’t afraid to drop some tears in front of. You can watch the documentary here on Netflix.
When you’re making your breakfast, make the best damn breakfast you can.
When you’re in the gym, treat every workout like it’s life or death.
You need to cultivate winning into a part of your life. Like winning, losing can also be a habit. The small things we do compound into our character. This is vital.
Ending and Conclusion
After the end of I am not your guru. I wanted to give this motherfucker a hug. Eventually I’ll get him on a podcast. I want to talk to him about his event in more detail. I plan on attending the date with destiny event next time it comes around it the states. By Attending Date with Destiny, you’re going to make a few breakthroughs in your life. The film speaks for itself. What were your thoughts on it? What were your biggest takeaways?
I am not your guru = 5 Stars
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