Standing in a one-hour line that meandered around LA’s Downtown Radisson, I found it hard to place the way I was feeling. I wasn’t quite excited, nor exactly scared. Perhaps it was a mixture, as Owen Wilson suggests while being strapped into a rocket minutes before launch.
The sun shone down on the disparate faces, all there from different places; different cities, states, and sometimes even countries. The difference in their origins were, perhaps, rivaled only by their distinguished motivations – their reasons for being in that line.
I asked this question – why are you here? – perhaps a bit unnaturally, while we were all standing – huddled masses – motionless in line.
The shorter, stumpy guy to my right was gifted this ticket. He’d been in business for himself just over a year, when his wife decided to pay his way to Tony Robbins’s Unleash The Power Within. They made the flight out from Oklahoma City together, though, she was off, I believe, at a day spa.
The much taller, leaner, better-looking gentleman to my left, had arrived earlier that day from Saratoga, FL. He had just ended a six-year, very troublesome relationship and was looking to “start over.” Neither stretch, nor stumpy had any experience whatsoever with Tony’s material and had no idea what to expect.
The lady behind me was a 40 year-old Brazilian woman who was in between jobs, relationships, and, seemingly, cares. She was here, self-declaredly so, “for positive energy and a deep look into herself.” I remember liking that.
The line moved a bit, and then staggered as it abruptly halted. A Sephardic-looking woman of maybe 50 appeared beside me – her internal break system lagging slightly behind the larger line. As typically happens between me and older, Jewish women, we had an instant connection; an acknowledgement of yea-you-look-like-someone-I-grew-up-around connected our glances.
She was an attorney (shocker) and was the partner of her own sizable law firm in NYC. An experienced Tony-Robbins-er, she seemed to be there only to continue momentum. No recognizable or admitted problems apparent, this “yenta” had encountered Tony 20-some-odd years back and had been thrilled with the results ever since. She was of the mold of Positive Psychology: seeking less to fix the broken, then to further fortify an already thriving operation.
Actually, this last Sephardic woman did not exactly exist (though the other three did). Well, she did, and so did people like her – but not near me in line. Sorry for misleading you – but it was for a good cause.
Because she and other shes and hes like her existed many times over in the two Tony seminars I have attended in the last three years. Parts of her, even most of her, existed in the crowd, embodied by several women or men of a similar make up (if less Sephardic-ness) that I had met, and thousands of others that I had not.
The four personalities I listed serve an important descriptive purpose. They basically resemble the make-up, as far as I can tell, of a typical Robbins seminar audience.
You have the people that were there at the behest of others, seemingly normal and excited to see what it was. You have the recently traumatized or depressed, seeking something, anything, to help them back to even. You have the recently wild and free, looking for community, structure, and, paradoxically, more freedoms. And finally, you have the already accomplished. Those people with seemingly successful jobs and lives, looking to further catapult themselves to the immortal levels of a Tony Robbins.
At least, this is what it seems like on the surface.
The truth is (as if I know), like me, most of these people were probably a mix of all four underneath. Part rebuild, part pushed to go, part wild and free and part continuing of growth. One thing you learn at these seminars is not to make assumptions based on anyone’s initial impression on you. That is likely to be, experience has taught me, a wayward gamble.
Right now, you might be thinking the same thing I was thinking just before the start of the first Tony event I had been to 18 months prior: “All of this for that motivational goof-ball? ‘Banana Hands’ from Shallow Hal? The deep, raspy voice dude from the horrible infomercials?”
Well, actually, for me, a bit of that thought process had already begun to erode after I read his extremely inspiring and surprisingly concrete and practical book, “Awaken The Giant Within,” prior to the event. (Ya, he has a thing about nauseatingly cheesy titles).
But after that 2015 Business Mastery event, and subsequently reading a few more books, I am no longer lukewarm about Tony Robbins- I’m all in.
And the guy that Fortune Magazine called, The CEO Whisperer, for his coaching of top executives like Richard Branson, Steve Wynn, Marc Benioff (SalesForce) and even Bill Clinton, is not all rah rah. He’s a guy that is going to, if you fully allow him, to rip your guts out and make you look at them; make you really question your actions, your habits, and your results. And if you aren’t getting to where you are looking to be, he can help point the way.
But again, you must be willing and open. And you must fight those feelings of “I’m too cool” or “ya, sure, it’s easy for this guy to say,” or other such cop-outs. And, most importantly, you must be ready to do the work.
Last time, I was still one foot in. This time, I was ready.
I want to tell you three short stories from this latest Tony Robbins experience. Each story will represent the crux of the message I took from each of Days 1, 2 and 3. After each short vignette, I will include the tactics or facts that Tony weaved into or capped onto these tales. I’ll conclude with a couple of things – actions – that have resulted after the decidedly positive and beneficial experiences that were these seminars.
Day 1 – Walking on Fire and The Lady With the Smile
I arrived about an hour prior to opening on Day 1, fully equipped with very light food, layered clothing and plenty of water. I peered down the street. The line was already massive.
As I entered the building, I thought maybe I would regret the ticket I had purchased. It was general admission which meant: upper section. Would this ruin my experience?
Then the lights started flashing, the strong bass from the blaring music grew in tempo, and out came that giant of a man, Tony Robbins. My worries faded. It was show time.
After a 5 minute dance / jump fest, Tony gives the signal and the crowd quiets down.
When you lay eyes on Tony, whether from far up or five feet away, it is hard not to be pulled in by the gravity of his sheer mass. You can feel the energy in him – the potential energy – winding up like a spring, just waiting to be liberated.
You immediately intuit his awesome power and enthusiasm. It is hard not to soften and smile as he does; or, more commonly, jump as he yells with that whip-you-into-shape, charcoal-ish rasp.
His energy is unbelievable. It is visceral, visual, kinetic and kinesthetic.
He’s the type of guy you can feel entering a room. You know right then, you are now and should plan to be heavily and emotionally influenced over the next 96 hours.
From that start time (noon the first day) until around 11PM, Tony doesn’t leave the stage. Not to pee or eat or anything. 11 hours straight! In fact, he barely stops moving, jumping, dancing, yelling for that entire time. The guy’s a camel.
There were many lessons, stories and insights from Day 1, and we even walked on burning coals, but there was something that grabbed my attention, and my heart, much more than anything else.
It was the lady with the smile…
The Lady with the Glowing Smile
“Ok, who here is depressed?”
Tony asked this question brashly, as if one-part incredulous and one-part “get ready to have that bullshit depression annihilated.” But somehow, even unlikely candidates felt brave enough to volunteer.
A woman raised her hand towards the rear-middle of the floor-level. Tony picked her and instructed to crowd to give her a hand. “I said give ‘er a hand!” he redoubled. The crowd responded with a huge, warm welcome.
When this woman stood up, it was hard to believe, actually.
I mean, just looking at her, she looked normal enough. Even Tony wasn’t totally convinced. He said as much to her. She mentioned that on a scale of 1-10, she was a 9 in depression.
Tony was intrigued.
Why was she so depressed, he asked bluntly. “Because of all of the horrible things that have happened.”
“Ok, like what,” with an almost ‘prove-it-to-me’ air. .
“Well, I was abused by my father.”
“I was held at gunpoin
“I was raped in college.”
“That’s horrible. Ok, anything else.”
“My, now ex-husband, beat me.” Tears started to gush from her face.
It was very interesting to me at this point the way Tony was able to handle this woman. He was being completely firm, at times almost irreverent; incredulous about what the woman was saying to him.
Here was a vulnerable person. She is standing up, obviously nervous, admitting to a crowd that she is (a) depressed and (b) does not know how to help herself. And she is revealing very personal things about her past and present. However, she did not seem offended or closed off to Tony’s apparent “hardness.”
I think she knew Tony meant well. She knew he had helped millions in the past. She knew that he was a compassionate man.
And she knew that she was desperate.
As the woman continues listing her tribulations, Tony points out to her and the crowd the incessant issue here. She continues to live in these horrible stories. At this point it seems to be automatic. Like a habit. Like a movie of her life that she watches day after day.
These events happened many years ago –none of them within the past year or more – yet they still seem very real to this woman. They seem present and fresh.
“So why does she continue to tell these stories to herself and others?” Tony questioned the crowd. “Why does she choose to continue to justify her ‘depression’ with this batch of past events.”
He answers: “because it has actually become a source of comfort and certainty to her. She is actually deriving a sense of PLEASURE from this.”
Why? Because she knows the stories. She knows what’s coming. She knows her identity, as brutal as it is. It also has become a source of a sort of perverse boon in two distinct ways: (1) it absolves her of accountability and (2) it gives her significance.
It absolves her of accountability because she can say, “well xyz happened, so I cant do much about it, it is out of my control.” It gives her significance (one of Tony’s three first level Human Needs) because she can say, “look how horrible these things were that happened to me, I clearly have the worst bad things!”
This hit home with me.
I certainly know what it is to justify or rationalize. And I certainly have experienced people (including myself) being in “more pain than you.”
The psychotherapist, Albert Ellis, the 2nd-most influential psychotherapist of the 20th century, according to the American Psychological Association, taught a very similar and simple-sounding theory in his “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.”
The theory rests on these main tenants: (1) much suffering is based on self-perpetuated irrational beliefs or conclusions and (2) if we can identify these patterns and decide to challenge their truth – we can relieve a significant amount of our emotional pain and anxiety.
“Much [self-sabotaging] behavior results from basic ignorance or lack of insight. Usually [humans] largely create their own disturbances which they consciously and/or consciously hold. Even when they suffer from traumas such as child abuse, incest, rape (or disease), it is not only these extremely bad events that upset them and lead to post-traumatic stress disorders, but also their horrifying reactions – their ‘awfulizing’ beliefs, about these traumas.” Albert Ellis, A Guide to Rational Living.
As Tony was wrapping up with this woman, he eventually got her to think about more lovely and worthy things in her life. The things she appreciates, the people she wants to help, who she loves most (her son), how she wants to grow (learn, gain strength, become better at her job) and how she wants to give back (she is a marriage counselor).
These encompass the second group of the Six Human Needs. They are the more transcendent: Love, Growth, and Contribution.
And as the woman thought about and conveyed these much brighter aspects of her present life, a sunny smile began to peak out from behind her story-based, cloudy depression. In a matter of 30 seconds, this pretty woman began to emerge – from a battered-and-beaten old-soul to some sort of glowing source.
The lesson was clear, I remember thinking. As Tony says: “where focus goes, energy flows.”
If you want to focus on these old stories – the perverse comfort of your suffering – your energy will plummet. But if you instead set your attention on the more coveted and inspiring of virtues, your mood (and soon, behavior) will tend to follow (as long as you follow it with some definite action, more on this next).
Prior to this shift in the woman’s countenance, it was not at all evident to me how absolutely beautiful she was. But as her bright eyes and warm smile overtook the 100-ft screen that dominated the room, my heart began to flutter. And it felt as if the entire room clasped on to her.
We were all suspended in mid-air, hoping, insisting, that she’d never again return to that darker, twin of hers. That she’d never again deprive us, or herself, of this radiant better.
Only a couple of hours remaining, the air of energy kept aloft the entire auditorium until a new and scary challenge from Tony re-grounded our feet.
And then, we walked on fire…
Day 2 – The Formula for Success and An Unlikely Movie Star
The Success Formula
In the early 1970s, an Italian-Jewish-born actor was doing everything he could to survive.
After studying drama at the University of Miami and for sometime in Switzerland, he found himself struggling to pay rent, much less find work in the competitive and ruthless New York City. A city that can be even harder when part of your face is paralyzed due to complications at birth.
Many nights, the aspiring actor would find himself sleeping in the Port Authority Bus Terminal or homeless.
Out of sheer desperation, he took many roles that he was not proud of, including one of his first “starring” roles, for which he was paid $200 for two days of work.
It was a porno. Not exactly the goal.
By 1975, at the age of 29, he was barely making enough money to feed his pregnant wife and his best friend – his bulldog. He had $106 dollars in his bank account.
Though battered by an unforgiving city and industry, he stuck to his dreams of becoming a star. He believed in himself and so did his wife. They were prepared to endure. Even when it got really bad.
How bad did it get? At one point, unable to make the next rent check, the desperate dreamer did the hardest thing he’d ever done to that point. He had to sell his dog.
In front of a 7-11, he negotiated with a man for the sale of his best friend. Tears in his eyes, the dream-driven actor offered $200. The man would pay nothing more than forty.
Refusing at first, the young man took a look at his pup. And as the buyer began to walk away, the actor started to cry as he gave into the ‘take-it-or-leave-it” offer. It was the lowest moment of his life.
And then, inspiration struck. The young man saw an event that gave him an idea for a script. The idea sat in his mind, percolating, gaining form and strength like an undertow feeding back into the ocean swell.
And then in a spell of emotion and motivation, he wrote the entire shell of a script in a three-day fit.
He was able to get interest in the script from a couple people. Real interest. Things were starting to turn around.
But there was a problem.
Well, a problem for the buyers. You see, the young actor had a stipulation attached to this script: He would have to star in the role.
The would-be buyers were incredulous. This guy had never had a successful role in his life! Plus he was short, had that birth defect, and was a bit rough around the edges.
They were thinking Burt Reynolds. Not a broke, short, porn star with minimal experience.
At one point they offered him $300,000 for the free-and-clear rights to the story and for him NOT to star in it.
He turned it down.
This was a guy with no money, no dog, a pregnant wife, no prospects. And he turned down an offer that was the equivalent of $1mm today. A decision that would give “Deal or No Deal” aficionados a heart-attack.
That is how much he was locked into his vision. His dream. Was he crazy?
Eventually, liking the script so much, they accepted. He was going to be the star in a movie. A real one. And they were going to pay him the $300k. His dream was going to be realized.
Oh, and he went back to that 7-11 and bought his dog back. He offered the guy $500. The guy refused. Guess how much it settled for? $15,000!
The young actor went on to star in the film he had written about a young down-and-out debt-collector in Philadelphia who gets an unlikely shot to fight for the world heavyweight title. The dog, Butkus, would feature prominently in the film as the young south-paw fighter’s dog. Butkus played himself.
The film has since grossed over $100,000,000, and the franchise over ONE BILLION!
The young dreamer: Sylvester Stallone. The name of the movie: Rocky.
Tony’s Robin (get it?), Joseph Mcclendon III, or JM3, as his groupies (me) call him, told the absolutely amazing story about Sly as a rather extreme depiction of most of the elements encapsulating the Success Formula. (Tony isn’t one for subtle names. Remember, the name of this seminar: Unleash the Power Within. What are you a sorcerer?).
At the foundation of the formula is it’s most important piece. A piece magnified by Rocky. That is, above all else, you must first know what you want (1).
This piece is the necessary starting point, though not close to sufficient. But without it, you are directionless. Without a target, the saying goes, you are almost sure to miss.
The way Tony says it: you must be able to visualize a “compelling future.” Something that gets you excited. It doesn’t need to be your “one true passion.” It need only be: (a) clear, (b) compelling, and (c) currently not your life.
The next element, and perhaps one that carries more weight than the first, assuming that you HAVE the first, is your “WHY.” That is, why do you want to achieve that outcome. What will it mean to you? (2)
By now we have been beaten over the head with this message by the likes of Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, and the like. But that does not make it less true.
JM3 gives the simple example of getting into a locked house that’s on fire. Now, if the reason you want to get into the house is to retrieve a book, or something like that. Or even to get $10,000. You are willing to take only so much risk.
But what if the scenario changes. You have to get into the burning house.. because your kid is locked inside. What would you do to get into that house?
Whatever it is, it is much more than you would do to get that book or that money.
One thing is key to notice here. We have not yet thought about “HOW” we are going to do any of this.
At this point, it is crucial that we think only about WHAT and WHY. Why?
Well, “HOW” has a way of making your left-brain system work on overdrive. That is, what we think of as our “reasonable” side.
It turns out, as psychologists like Jon Haidt have shown, it is much more likely that you are emotionally making decisions and then “rationalizing” post hoc. As opposed to reasoning with a balanced frame of mind.
In any event, HOW is something that will make you short-change your WHAT.
Stallone only thought about WHAT and WHY. The HOW, he was confident he would figure out later. And he did.
Now, you may say – ok that was lucky. First, I think reasonable people can disagree about just how much luck played a part. Stallone had been paying his dues for 10 years at that point. So, he was squarely within the 10,000 Hour Rule.
But even if it was luck this time. You must take chances to get lucky. As Shane Snow says: in order to catch the big wave, you must be in the water when it comes.
“WHAT” and WHY keep you in the water. HOW is more likely to get you to think “ehh, there are no good waves today. I’m cold and hungry. I’ll learn how to surf tomorrow.”
And then tomorrow never comes.
The formula rounds out in the following way:
Take Massive Action (3). As Goethe told us: whatever it is, begin it now. You must get momentum now. Take some massive action that gets you on the path. IF you do it ‘later’ you won’t do it. I written elsewhere about Ryan Holiday who urges action over tireless deliberation.
Change is uncomfortable – you must leap into it. Also not a new concept.
Seth Godin discusses our fear of taking a leap, of getting out of our comfort zone. He discusses the Lizard Brain and how it was not good in tribes to change. Change was bad. Standing out, doing your own thing – these would get you shunned from the group which usually meant you’d die.
Notice the fear. “Dance with it” as Godin says. And leap!
Know what works (4).
In order to know what works, we are to do the following things: read, find a mentor or model, and get immediate and consistent feedback.
“Success leaves clues” Tony likes to say.
Find someone who is succeeding in an area that you’d like to be successful. Then study them, copy them, ask them for advice.
If you can’t get in touch with them (because they are likely busy…or dead), find another way to their clues. Read their books, articles, books they read.
One thing that Author Eric Barker points out is that in order to get in front of a mentor you desire, paradoxically, you have to first provide value. Show that you are worth their time.
Stallone actually used this approach. He wrote a great script. After that, he had no issues finding mentors.
Lastly, you need to get feedback to make sure you are staying on the right track and that you are improving.
So what happens if you don’t seem to be getting anywhere?
Change your approach (5)
This is the final step and it is indispensable (as they all are). If something is not working. If the feedback is coming back negative. Do not stick to it. Change your approach.
Stallone decided that he would have to find a new way. Instead of taking cheap roles, he knew he would have to write something great. He did it.
It didn’t work right away. He wrote other scripts for TV and had minimal success. So he changed. He kept iterating.
And that’s how you become Rocky.
And if Stallone can change – Everybody can change!!!
Day 3: Destroy Your Stories and Path to Mastery
Day 3 and Tony was back. At this point, now in the thick of this long, emotionally-charged weekend, the excitement in the building is overwhelming.
In this massive auditorium, you are in a better place. You begin to be convinced that you can do anything. That the problems standing in your way are petty and easily resolved. This is likely the reason that so many, including Oprah, Leo, Kobe, Usher, and countless others have attended.
It’s like you just finished a couple-a espressos on a Saturday morning, and, getting a bit of that irrational coffee-high, you’re thinking to yourself, “Hmm… I’m pretty sure I could shoulder-press this roof.”
Only when you go home for the night, tired and a bit dazed from the double-digit-hour marathon you just experienced, does any doubt at all creep in. And it is that doubt – that always-present, never-fully-eradicated doubt – that was the subject of Day 3.
Tony started with a story. He told us about a kid he knew who grew up with very little resources, goals or real plan at all. The kid was beaten by his mother, had no money, and was overweight. He had no mentor and no ostensible future.
One day, the kid was talking to a Tony-like figure (as if that exists) who told him of an opportunity. The kid was excited about it for a while, but then seemed to turn doubtful, even resentful.
“This is stupid,” the kid said. “There’s no way I can do that. I’m poor and didn’t go to a good college. I don’t have any experience. To do this you need to have went to Harvard or something. You need money. This is so dumb! I can’t do it. I would need more money. I would need to know someone. They don’t just allow someone like me in there.”
The kid turned the opportunity down, assuming that a kid like him- one coming from a poor, uneducated background – could never make it. Luckily, he eventually got so down, and became so desperate, that he eventually decided to make changes.
The kid’s name: Tony Robbins
Sound familiar? It did to me.
Beliefs and Values
Similar to psychologists like Albert Ellis, Tony thinks that there are two things that control what we do in this life: Beliefs and Values.
Values are our true north. They are the ideas and states that we believe are both good or bad. The good are our “towards” values. The things we’d like to become.
The bad are our “away” values – the things we must avoid.
For example, some towards values: presence, love, passion, integrity, patience, perseverance, inspiring, benevolence.
And some away: dishonesty, hate, loneliness, suffering, losing, looking stupid, not being good enough.
The first thing we need to get settled is what our values are. Sometimes, we might find that there are inconsistencies or discrepancies between the toward and away values and we need to rectify those before we can move forward.
What does this mean?
If I value health as a towards-value, but I also don’t want to give up eating whatever I want – e.g. I want to avoid being a diet-stickler – I am going to have a huge issue. Because it seems, as Seth Godin discusses, I really DON’T want health. Because I am not up to the responsibility – I am not willing to do what it takes.
Or, to put it like JM3: “Sum’a y’all wanna lose weight, but you love eatin’ cake. Y’all wanna be successful…but you love smokin’ weeeeeddd.”
Bottom Line: Identify your values – the good and the bad. Then, if any of them are conflicting, you must solve the conflict, or make no progress.
Once our values are aligned, we need to figure out our beliefs. Beliefs also come in two kinds: Global and Rules.
Global beliefs are statements we make about how the universe works. “The world is this way..” “That’s how it goes..” “I am this..” “I can’t do that…”
One of my favorite law professors had a funny response to unfounded statements like these. Someone would say something like: “because that isn’t fair – reasonable people don’t behave that way.”
She would stare at them with pointed eyes that screamed sarcasm and say: “if you say so…” She would follow that with a booming, German voice: “IF YOU SAY SO!”
Rules are the other kind of belief. These are things like: “you can’t do that like that.” “That isn’t allowed.” “You have to do it like this here..”
Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have interesting responses to these kinds of assertions. When someone at either SpaceX or Amazon would say something like: “it isn’t possible like that,” or “we can’t do it,” the response was normally: “is it against the laws of physics?” No. Then get it done.”
This attitude is reminiscent of Tony’s viewpoint – these rules are man-made. That is to say, they are not laws of physics, they are rules we either choose or choose not to accept. These are your “stories.”
Exercise: List three beliefs that have been limiting you or have lead to negative consequences. These can be either rules or global beliefs, but it is shockingly simple to identify the ones that have been getting in your own way.
What’s interesting – even when we know them, they still act against us. Why?
According to Tony, the reason we allow this to happen is because we are comfortable here. Here – the place where we can blame things on self-made or societally-constructed “rules” and “axioms.” Where we don’t have to be accountable. That’s comfortable. And it apparently causes less pain than does actually doing something about it.
“The stories that make it not our fault”
OK – now we must get “leverage” on ourselves. We have to make these stories real and more weighty and painful. Need to use that leverage to break that pattern.
What are the costs of these beliefs? What are the worst possible costs?
- Write the most damaging generalities or rules you have made up out of thin air.
- Write down what they are costing you.
- Question them constantly, until you start to doubt them.
With this we have created an immediate, real and large pain source. That will serve to push. You now need a compelling future to pull you. This is where Mastery comes in.
There is dabbler (Dilettante?), a stress-powered achiever and a master. The dabbler doesn’t have much drive. He is attracted to shiney things. But he will quit when things get hard or boring (which might be similar at first).
The stressed-achiever doesn’t quit – but her source of power is not sustainable. It is based ultimately on what she thinks she needs to be, or what external pressures or false pressures she has created within push her to be. Even if she breaks through the hard part – it demotivates her, rather than motivating.
The master is different – the master has intrinsic motivation. This is what Dan Pink calls the Personality “I” – the person that is motivated by the thing in and of itself. This is not only sustainable, but is a self-building feedback loop that is motivating. It actually continuously outputs more energy. Climate change would call this a positive feedback loop.
Bottom Line: If you have a thing you’d be interested in trying to master – you have a compelling future. If you know the stories and their costs and consequences – you have a compelling pain. If your values are aligned with the mastery and against the pain and fear – you have yourself a well-oiled fulfillment machine!
Day 4 was dedicated to health of the mind and body. There is a ton of information, all of which, I will touch on one way or another in my Intelligent Eater articles. The best place to start is here for theory or here if you just want to know what the H to eat.
There have been massive benefits for me following Tony Robbins seminars, not the least of which are the materials he leaves you with and the extra-curricular books and sources he recommends. I have taken the lessons there to change my job situation, change my thinking, inspire my writing and reading, and discover many things about what were holding me back psychologically.
But I don’t want you think just because you sign up, you will get these benefits. Some people, Noah Kagan among them, the founder of AppSumo and other businesses, do not see the value. He wrote this “viral,” scathing, article.
With respect to Mr. Kagan, who is far more accomplished than I, I wonder if he gave Tony a fair look. It seems odd to say about an entrepreneur like Kagan, but his article reads almost like he showed up there and said to Tony: “go ahead, wow me.” Or “ok, ok.. let’s see what all the fuss is about. Impress me Tony…if you’re supposed to be soo good.”
It was almost like he wanted not to like it just because so many people he knew told him that it was good. Kagan, a self-made man, and one who may pride himself on being different (his “different-ness” likely played a role in his starting a sucessful businesses), may have subconsciously undercut this potentially good experience.
I have no basis for this claim except that similar things have happened to me in the past.
If this was what happened – at least on some level – I’d say it was a massive error. The person who needs to “wow” and to show up at these events is none other than you. The one who wants to make a change. It isn’t easy work. And it doesn’t stop with the event.
A major key is swallowing your “prove it to me, Tony” pride.
The event is merely tinder (no, not the dating app, schmuck). Merely showing you a possible path. One taken by other people who may have had the type of success you are looking for.
At the very least, it is a wild ride. A crazy, exciting, and, to me, quite impressive experience. Easily worth the price of a weekend concert. I mean, do you really need to go see Phish AGAIN?
Why not take one of those weekends and try and work on the things holding you back. Maybe it won’t work.
But, then again, maybe it will.
As for Kagan- I’d urge another shot. I’ll even pay for it. Seriously.