My Hero: Anthony Robbins

Part 6 of the 10 things I wish I knew before I left Africa

1) Erwin Mcmanus

2) Kirk Franklin

3) Eric Wainaina

4) Steve Biko and Malcolm X

Tony Robbins poster

It was a dark lonely night in the CBD of Sydney, Australia. Ever since I had moved over from Melbourne,every day pretty much rolled with the same monotonous tone. Me alone looking for work, Me alone looking for a home, listening to personal development tape after personal development tape after personal development tape. As was in my character, I had hope and a vision deeply embeded in my heart but my composure was the one of someone trying to keep his head down and his feet moving forward slowly but steadily

A few days prior I had seen a poster in a cyber cafe:

Tony Robbins coming to Australia! Call me to get cheap tickets!

Upon calling I learned that the tickets would cost a “cheap” price of 1,600 Australian dollars. As expensive as that was, I wanted to go, I needed to go. After all, Tony Robbins was pretty much the catalyst that got me to Sydney in the first place. It was when I watched his interview with Larry King that I learned that a decision is defined as, “ cutting yourself off from all from all other possibility.” That’s when I decided that I had been sitting on my lazy butt for too long and it was time for me to move to Sydney and begin making my dreams and visions come true and cut myself off from any possibility of doing otherwise. It was also Tony who I had been listening to night after night after jobless, homeless night.

Tony Robbins at TED

So there I was in the middle of Sydney cybercafe at about 2 a.m. wondering how I would convince my parents, cousins and friends to give 1,600 dollars to attend a self help seminar. Before crafting what I intended to be my most eloquent and convincing email to date, I decided to check what my fans had written in to me.One of the emails was from an old friend of mine from Melbourne who I hadn’t seen in forever. His email was short and sweet, I paraphrase:

“I am coming to Sydney to attend Tony Robbins personal development seminar. I have a free ticket for you if you want it. Please give me the names of five people who may also want a free ticket and the ticket is yours.”

Every part of my being literally exploded. In the middle of the cyber cafe I stood up and just started shaking and buzzing with pure joy (not a very comforting thing to be doing as a black man in the middle of the city at 2 in the morning, but I digress).

When I attended his seminar, I was still homeless, I had since found a job and so was able to pay for food and transport to the event (I had to use the train because my car a.k.a my home had broken down near a golf course in the Northern suburbs of Sydney). However those three days shook me, moved me and inspired me to the core. When that seminar ended, that was pretty much when the idea of the Displaced African began to come to fruition. In addition to that, the fire that burned deep within me of what I could be got stoked and I got energy to keep going.

That’s just one of the reasons that I am a huge fan of Mr. Robbins. In addition to that Mr. Anthony Robbins:

1) Has Self-Discipline

As he is fond of saying, this guy pretty much turned himself around. He took himself from a self-destructive broke, overeating fatty to the place he is today where he is featured on Forbes as well as a plethora of other magazines. My favorite epic tale is when a man has a battle with his demons…..and wins!

2) Man of Multiple Disciplines

Tony Robbins has pretty much dedicated his life to discovering why some people succeed at enormous levels whereas most people don’t. He didn’t just limit himself to a single area such as sociology or anthropology or psychology.His travels mean that he has learned and teaches in the areas of peak performance psychology, health and nutrition, relationships, exercise, effective stage communication, changing habits and interpersonal communication among a host of other disciplines. Renaissance men are very rare in this day and age and I think Tony Robbins may very well be one.

3) He Doesn’t Brag About His Intellect

Now considering all his knowledge in a wide variety of areas, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that the man is an absolute genius. But you would never be able to tell. He always speaks to you in a language you can understand and strives to meet you where you are. He never tries to confuse you by using complex, grandiose language. Instead he helps you change your life while speaking a language you understand (He even swears during his seminars).

4) He Taught Me the Power of Modelling

If Tony had not revealed the idea to me, I never would have known about it. Once he did, it was so simple, I was surprised that I never would have thought of it. I have blogged about modeling in the past but in short:

If you want to succeed in any field of endevour, find people who are already succeeding there and copy their strategies.

Whereas success is much more complex than the above statement, tell me the above statement doesn’t make the road to success waaaaayyyyyy easier.

5) He Taught Me About the Power of One’s Mental State

Also in that category of things I never-would-have-known-but-were-so-simple-once

-I-knew-them-I-am-surprised-I-never-did: The power of one’s mental state.

Simply put:

Your behaviour is heavily affected by the mental state/emotional state you are in. When you are in a peak state (when you are in a state of flow) your decisions are of a much higher quality than when you are in a negative state such as depression.

Now I know a lot of you reading are thinking, “Well, duh!Of course when I am happy I act much better than when I am depressed.”

Well what Tony taught me is if you want to act right, simply get yourself in a good mood. He also reminded me that we are able to put ourselves in a good mood, or a peak state, at any moment in time, should we decide. Information such as this is HUGE! I can basically make myself act right by putting myself in a positive state at any moment in time. So simple to the point it’s almost unbelievable.

6) He is a Man of Passion

Living out here in the West, one of the things that drives me crazy is how this place can numb one’s emotions. When I look around, I feel as though so many people, myself included,are suppressing their emotions and instead putting on a social mask. Tony isn’t like that. Tony is exuberant, he is exciting. He speaks with his whole body and speaks with an intensity and definiteness of purpose that can’t help but suck one in. As a result, Tony is…..

7) The Best Speaker I HAVE EVER Seen Live

I have heard that the man is an obsessive compulsive perfectionist and I must say, having attended one of his seminars, it shows. Never in my life, have I had days go by so quickly and so many peak-emotional-highs in one day. He is a master of storytelling and an absolute gem when it comes to moving us emotionally to action. In my future I see myself maybe doing a little public speaking: take a little dash of Tony Robbins and mix it with a dash of Erwin Mcmanus and there’s no telling where I can go.

To learn more about Tony Robbins please check out his Wikipedia page or his Amazon page or visit Tony Robbins website.

Until then….be blessed, bless others and live with passion (Trademarked by Tony Robbins),


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  • By majonzi, March 16, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

    beautiful post. Although, I have never been homeless, and my stay away from home has been relatively good, I share your experience of loneliness, and a seeking of identity of self. Although I do not subscribe to Robbins (professionally), his mantras to life offer a great drive!!

  • By majonzi, March 16, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

    oh, and speaking of emotions. Picture this scenario: If at work I hug someone of the opposite sex enthusiastically (lol how else would you do it?), a third party could sue for sexual harassment if he/she felt uncomfortable seeing us hugging. Makes sense? I know!! Only in America!

  • By Mwangi, March 16, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

    @majonzi: I agree with you on his professional practices, they make me and quite a few other people quite uncomfortable. But there is no denying the power the man has to move people into action.
    I remember I studied sexual harassment briefly and its absolutely amazing; the only thing that matters is the perception of the person doing the suing. Your actions don’t matter, if they make someone uncomfortable that is all that really matters…’s amazing. I wonder how many sexual harassment suits one can file on a typical Friday night in any Western city. In fact I should begin suing women for wearing mini-skirts, especially when they don’t look good in them, it makes me uncomfortable ;)

  • By gal africana, March 17, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

    hmmm…this is becoming spooky! Just finished listening to “awakening the giant within audio” and so I’m a fan too…
    That whole thing with getting the email about the ticket at that moment…scary! in a good way.
    My take home thingi from this: the second picture in this post with the screen saying that there are 3000 words for human emotion and most people only experience 12…well I’m off to discover my 2988 emotions.

  • By Mwangi, March 17, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

    @gal africana: Believe it or not, myself at most I probably experience only about 4 emotions in a given day so I definitely have a lot of work to do before I get to 3000. The feeling I had from that moment that I received that free ticket was indescribable. I never thought I would ever be able to appreciate free stuff but I have never appreciated something so much in my life.
    Hope you enjoyed ‘Awaken the Giant Within’. That was the first thing I ever read from Tony and it’s what started me down the road to becoming a T. Robbins fan.

  • By gal africana, March 19, 2008 @ 12:55 am

    I listed all the emotions I could find online and you’d be surprised that once you name them you begin to recognize that you experience more emotions than you know, we’re just not in touch with every emotion we go through during a typical day…we only remark on the most extreme ones….I think.
    I really liked AGW, and I’m looking up more of his stuff…going for a free seminar next month, its being held by a trained Anthony Robbins leader…lets see what havoc that wrecks lol

  • By Mwangi, March 19, 2008 @ 4:02 am

    Could you please, please, please send me the list of all the emotions. I would love to list them out for people, and of course see just how many I experience in a day, as I said, at the moment, I think I experience only 2.
    Well feel free to check out his Amazon page, Wikipedia and official wesbite which I have linked to above and go to Google Video or video torrent and type his name, there is quite a bit of free stuff there as well.
    I have been to those events by Anthony Robbins trainers. They are absolutely fantastic: get ready to have a lot of people try to sell you their stuff, but once you skip over that the events are pretty great.
    Weird, I thought you were in the States, you sounded Kenyan-who-is-living-in-Americanesque (yes that’s a word lol)

  • By gal africana, March 19, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

    I sound gal-africanaesque…listen you will see lol sending the list…

  • By Mwangi, March 19, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

    I think this new “-esque” prefix can take the entire world by storm, we can brand it. ;) Thanks in advance for sending me the list.

  • By Mwangi, March 19, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

    Dang it, what the heck happened to my English, it’s a suffix not a prefix. And to think I passed exams as a child…..tsk tsk tsk

  • By Increase Web Site Traffic, March 20, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

    Tony Robbins is an absolute hero and master. Miss that guy. One of these days, I’ve got to get back to crewing the UPW event at Sydney. Ahh, the good old days.

  • By Mwangi, March 20, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

    @Increase Traffic (please give me your first name, unless of course it really is “Increase” and your surname is “Traffic” in which case what a beautiful novelty your name is ;) )If you end up crewing in Sydney over the next couple of years you may catch me, I am definitely thinking of crewing Unlimited Power

  • By Raymond Chua, March 24, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

    I am a big fan of Anthony Robbins and his words, passion and energy has changed my life forever.

    He’s a man with beautiful soul.

  • By Cheryl, March 24, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

    You really hooked me in the beginning, where you were actually going to ask your family for money to go see Tony Robbins. That is outstanding all by itself. Then the fact that you got a free ticket had my cells jumping all over the place.

    I remember initially learning about Tony Robbins 10 years or so ago when I was changing careers and the organization I work for was beginning to go through some major changes. Now, after reading your post, I really want to go and see him, too.

  • By Mwangi, March 24, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    @Raymond: He changed your life and mine, brother, he changed your life and mine.
    @Cheryl: I am glad you and I could share in a moment of shared excitement. Definitely attend one of his live events. If you invest yourself fully in it, you will not regret it.

  • By LaRene, March 26, 2008 @ 7:58 am

    I listened to Anthony Robbins in the eighties. I’m pleased to see his is still changing people’s lives. He has some very good information.

  • By Mwangi, March 26, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    That he is Larene, that he is. Thanks for stopping by.

  • By gal africana, May 16, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

    oh yeah…needed a reminder of that story…dono hwere I got the whole “winning the tickets” story?

  • By Mwangi, May 17, 2008 @ 3:10 am

    @gal africana: If you chose the metaphor that life is a lottery, I guess I kinda did.

  • By Turkey, July 30, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

    Thank you!

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

    @Turkey: You are more than welcome :D

  • By imanuel, May 8, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

    hey man, just wanted to say we share the same dream. Tony robbins has been a mentor to me from a distance for a least a year now. I am hoping one day i can do the same in my own way and start my own public speaking career. Ha who knows maybe you’ll be my competition one day, well good luck. Great blog btw.

  • By Mwangi, May 8, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

    @imanuel: Best of luck with your public speaking career and who knows we may end up being competitors :P

  • By BK, December 24, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

    Hi, how can I get a free ticket to an Tony Robbins event? If you know, please put comment here. The comment will be delivered to my email.

  • By admin, December 24, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

    @BK: If you find someone who is an affiliate for a company promoting T Robbins e.g. Empowernet in Kenya, they can give you free tickets either because they hope you become a paying lead or also in exchange for you giving names and contact details of 10 other people they can contact.

  • By Josie, July 6, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    THANK YOU I am a huge TR fan for 20 years and I needed a TR fix. Tony Rocks

  • By Mehedi, April 16, 2011 @ 6:30 am

    His stuff stands out from all other self help products.Two cheers for Tony

Other Links to this Post

  1. Keeping It Real: Profanity and Sexuality » The Displaced African — March 20, 2008 @ 3:42 am

  2. How Rich Is Your Emotional Experience? » The Displaced African — April 11, 2008 @ 2:01 am

  3. The Displaced African » Blog Archive » 8 Things I Am Passionate About (The Mo Ma Meme) and Obama — June 10, 2008 @ 3:05 am

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