Why we do what we do | Tony Robbins


Thank you. I have to tell you
I’m both challenged and excited. My excitement is: I get a chance
to give something back. My challenge is: the shortest seminar
I usually do is 50 hours. (Laughter) I’m not exaggerating. I do weekends — I do more, obviously,
I also coach people — but I’m into immersion,
because how did you learn language? Not just by learning principles, you got in it and you did it
so often that it became real. The bottom line of why I’m here,
besides being a crazy mofo, is that — I’m not here to motivate you,
you don’t need that, obviously. Often that’s what people think I do, and it’s the furthest thing from it. What happens, though, is people say to me, “I don’t need any motivation.” But that’s not what I do. I’m the “why” guy. I want to know why you do what you do. What is your motive for action? What is it that drives you
in your life today? Not 10 years ago. Are you running the same pattern? Because I believe that the invisible force
of internal drive, activated, is the most important thing. I’m here because I believe
emotion is the force of life. All of us here have great minds. Most of us here have great minds, right? We all know how to think. With our minds we can
rationalize anything. We can make anything happen. I agree with what was described
a few days ago, that people work in their self-interest. But we know that that’s bullshit at times. You don’t work in your
self-interest all the time, because when emotion comes into it, the wiring changes
in the way it functions. So it’s wonderful to think intellectually
about how the life of the world is, especially those who are very smart
can play this game in our head. But I really want to know
what’s driving you. What I would like to invite you to do by the end of this talk is explore
where you are today, for two reasons. One: so that you can contribute more. And two: that hopefully we can not just
understand other people more, but appreciate them more,
and create the kinds of connections that can stop some of the challenges
that we face today. They’re only going to get magnified
by the very technology that connects us, because it’s making us intersect. That intersection
doesn’t always create a view of “everybody now understands everybody, and everybody appreciates everybody.” I’ve had an obsession
basically for 30 years, “What makes the difference
in the quality of people’s lives? What in their performance?” I got hired to produce the result now. I’ve done it for 30 years. I get the phone call when the athlete is burning down
on national television, and they were ahead by five strokes and now they can’t get back on the course. I’ve got to do something right now
or nothing matters. I get the phone call when the child
is going to commit suicide, I’ve got to do something. In 29 years, I’m very grateful
to tell you I’ve never lost one. It doesn’t mean I won’t some day,
but I haven’t yet. The reason is an understanding
of these human needs. When I get those calls
about performance, that’s one thing. How do you make a change? I’m also looking to see what is shaping
the person’s ability to contribute, to do something beyond themselves. Maybe the real question is, I look at life and say
there’s two master lessons. One is: there’s the science
of achievement, which almost everyone here
has mastered amazingly. “How do you take the invisible
and make it visible,” How do you make your dreams happen? Your business, your contribution
to society, money — whatever, your body, your family. The other lesson that is rarely
mastered is the art of fulfillment. Because science is easy, right? We know the rules, you write the code
and you get the results. Once you know the game,
you just up the ante, don’t you? But when it comes
to fulfillment — that’s an art. The reason is, it’s about
appreciation and contribution. You can only feel so much by yourself. I’ve had an interesting laboratory
to try to answer the real question how somebody’s life changes if you look at them like those people
that you’ve given everything to? Like all the resources they say they need. You gave not a 100-dollar computer,
but the best computer. You gave them love, joy,
were there to comfort them. Those people very often —
you know some of them — end up the rest of their life with all this love, education,
money and background going in and out of rehab. Some people have been
through ultimate pain, psychologically, sexually,
spiritually, emotionally abused — and not always, but often, they become some of the people
that contribute the most to society. The question we’ve got to ask
ourselves really is, what is it? What is it that shapes us? We live in a therapy culture. Most of us don’t do that,
but the culture’s a therapy culture, the mindset that we are our past. And you wouldn’t be in this room
if you bought that, but most of society
thinks biography is destiny. The past equals the future. Of course it does if you live there. But what we know and what
we have to remind ourselves — because you can know
something intellectually and then not use it, not apply it. We’ve got to remind ourselves
that decision is the ultimate power. When you ask people, have you failed to achieve
something significant in your life? Say, “Aye.” Audience: Aye. TR: Thanks for the interaction
on a high level there. But if you ask people,
why didn’t you achieve something? Somebody who’s working for you,
or a partner, or even yourself. When you fail to achieve,
what’s the reason people say? What do they tell you? Didn’t have the knowledge,
didn’t have the money, didn’t have the time,
didn’t have the technology. I didn’t have the right manager. Al Gore: Supreme Court.
TR: The Supreme Court. (Laughter) (Applause) (Cheering) (Applause continues) TR: And — (Applause) What do all those, including
the Supreme Court, have in common? (Laughter) They are a claim to you missing
resources, and they may be accurate. You may not have the money,
or the Supreme Court, but that is not the defining factor. (Applause) (Laughter) And you correct me if I’m wrong. The defining factor is never resources;
it’s resourcefulness. And what I mean specifically,
rather than just some phrase, is if you have emotion, human emotion, something that I experienced from you
the day before yesterday at a level that is as profound
as I’ve ever experienced and I believe with that emotion
you would have beat his ass and won. Audience: Yeah! (Applause) (Cheering) How easy for me to tell him
what he should do. (Laughter) Idiot, Robbins. But I know when we watched
the debate at that time, there were emotions
that blocked people’s ability to get this man’s intellect and capacity. And the way that it came across
to some people on that day — because I know people that wanted
to vote in your direction and didn’t, and I was upset. But there was emotion there. Do you know what I’m talking about? Say, “Aye.” Audience: Aye. TR: So, emotion is it. And if we get the right emotion,
we can get ourselves to do anything. If you’re creative, playful, fun enough, can you get through to anybody, yes or no? If you don’t have the money, but you’re creative and determined,
you find the way. This is the ultimate resource. But this is not the story
that people tell us. They tell us a bunch of different stories. They tell us we don’t have
the resources, but ultimately, if you take a look here, they say, what are all the reasons
they haven’t accomplished that? He’s broken my pattern,
that son-of-a-bitch. (Laughter) But I appreciated the energy,
I’ll tell you that. (Laughter) What determines your resources? We’ve said decisions shape destiny,
which is my focus here. If decisions shape destiny,
what determines it is three decisions. What will you focus on? You have to decide
what you’re going to focus on. Consciously or unconsciously. the minute you decide to focus,
you must give it a meaning, and that meaning produces emotion. Is this the end or the beginning? Is God punishing me or rewarding me,
or is this the roll of the dice? An emotion creates
what we’re going to do, or the action. So, think about your own life, the decisions that
have shaped your destiny. And that sounds really heavy,
but in the last five or 10 years, have there been some decisions that if you’d made a different decision,
your life would be completely different? How many can think about it?
Better or worse. Say, “Aye.” Audience: Aye. So the bottom line is,
maybe it was where to go to work, and you met the love of your life there,
a career decision. I know the Google geniuses I saw here — I mean, I understand that their decision
was to sell their technology. What if they made that decision
versus to build their own culture? How would the world or their lives
be different, their impact? The history of our world
is these decisions. When a woman stands up and says,
“No, I won’t go to the back of the bus.” She didn’t just affect her life.
That decision shaped our culture. Or someone standing in front of a tank. Or being in a position
like Lance Armstrong, “You’ve got testicular cancer.” That’s pretty tough for any male,
especially if you ride a bike. (Laughter) You’ve got it in your brain;
you’ve got it in your lungs. But what was his decision
of what to focus on? Different than most people.
What did it mean? It wasn’t the end; it was the beginning. He goes off and wins
seven championships he never once won before the cancer, because he got
emotional fitness, psychological strength. That’s the difference
in human beings that I’ve seen of the three million I’ve been around. In my lab, I’ve had three million people
from 80 countries over the last 29 years. And after a while,
patterns become obvious. You see that South America and Africa
may be connected in a certain way, right? Others say, “Oh, that sounds
ridiculous.” It’s simple. So, what shaped Lance? What shapes you? Two invisible forces.
Very quickly. One: state. We all have had times, you did something, and after,
you thought to yourself, “I can’t believe I said or did that,
that was so stupid.” Who’s been there? Say, “Aye.”
Audience: Aye. Or after you did something,
you go, “That was me!” (Laughter) It wasn’t your ability; it was your state. Your model of the world
is what shapes you long term. Your model of the world is the filter.
That’s what’s shaping us. It makes people make decisions. To influence somebody, we need to know
what already influences them. It’s made up of three parts. First, what’s your target?
What are you after? It’s not your desires. You can get your desires or goals. Who has ever got a goal or desire
and thought, is this all there is? Say, “Aye.” Audience: Aye. It’s needs we have. I believe
there are six human needs. Second, once you know what the target
that’s driving you is and you uncover it for the truth —
you don’t form it — then you find out what’s your map, what’s the belief systems
that tell you how to get those needs. Some people think the way
to get them is to destroy the world, some people, to build,
create something, love someone. There’s the fuel you pick.
So very quickly, six needs. Let me tell you what they are.
First one: certainty. These are not goals or desires,
these are universal. Everyone needs certainty
they can avoid pain and at least be comfortable. Now, how do you get it? Control everybody? Develop a skill?
Give up? Smoke a cigarette? And if you got totally
certain, ironically, even though we need that — you’re not certain about your health,
or your children, or money. If you’re not sure
the ceiling will hold up, you won’t listen to any speaker. While we go for certainty differently,
if we get total certainty, we get what? What do you feel if you’re certain? You know what will happen,
when and how it will happen, what would you feel? Bored out of your minds.
So, God, in Her infinite wisdom, gave us a second human need,
which is uncertainty. We need variety. We need surprise. How many of you here
love surprises? Say, “Aye.” Audience: Aye. TR: Bullshit. You like
the surprises you want. The ones you don’t want,
you call problems, but you need them. So, variety is important. Have you ever rented a video
or a film that you’ve already seen? Who’s done this? Get a fucking life. (Laughter) Why are you doing it? You’re certain it’s good
because you read or saw it before, but you’re hoping it’s been
long enough you’ve forgotten, and there’s variety. Third human need, critical: significance. We all need to feel important,
special, unique. You can get it by making more money
or being more spiritual. You can do it by getting yourself
in a situation where you put more tattoos and earrings in places
humans don’t want to know. Whatever it takes. The fastest way to do this, if you have no background,
no culture, no belief and resources or resourcefulness, is violence. If I put a gun to your head and I live
in the ‘hood, instantly I’m significant. Zero to 10. How high? 10. How certain am I that
you’re going to respond to me? 10. How much uncertainty? Who knows what’s going to happen next?
Kind of exciting. Like climbing up into a cave
and doing that stuff all the way down there. Total variety and uncertainty. And it’s significant, isn’t it?
So you want to risk your life for it. So that’s why violence has always
been around and will be around unless we have a consciousness
change as a species. You can get significance a million ways, but to be significant, you’ve got
to be unique and different. Here’s what we really need:
connection and love, fourth need. We all want it; most settle for connection,
love’s too scary. Who here has been hurt
in an intimate relationship? If you don’t raise your hand,
you’ve had other shit, too. And you’re going to get hurt again. Aren’t you glad you came
to this positive visit? Here’s what’s true: we need it. We can do it through
intimacy, friendship, prayer, through walking in nature. If nothing else works for you,
don’t get a cat, get a dog, because if you leave for two minutes,
it’s like you’ve been gone six months, when you come back 5 minutes later. These first four needs,
every human finds a way to meet. Even if you lie to yourself,
you need to have split personalities. I call the first four needs
the needs of the personality. The last two are the needs of the spirit. And this is where fulfillment comes. You won’t get it from the first four. You’ll figure a way, smoke, drink,
do whatever, meet the first four. But number five, you must grow. We all know the answer. If you don’t grow, you’re what? If a relationship or business
is not growing, if you’re not growing, doesn’t matter how much
money or friends you have, how many love you, you feel like hell. And I believe the reason we grow is so we have something to give of value. Because the sixth need
is to contribute beyond ourselves. Because we all know, corny as that sounds, the secret to living is giving. We all know life is not about me,
it’s about we. This culture knows that,
this room knows that. It’s exciting. When you see Nicholas
talking about his $100 computer, the most exciting thing is: here’s a genius,
but he’s got a calling now. You can feel the difference in him,
and it’s beautiful. And that calling can touch other people. My life was touched
because when I was 11 years old, Thanksgiving, no money, no food, we were not going to starve, but my father was totally messed up, my mom was letting him know
how bad he messed up, and somebody came to the door
and delivered food. My father made three decisions,
I know what they were, briefly. His focus was “This is charity. What does it mean? I’m worthless. What do I have to do?
Leave my family,” which he did. It was one of the most painful
experiences of life. My three decisions
gave me a different path. I set focus on “There’s food.”
What a concept! (Laughter) But this is what changed my life,
shaped me as a human being. Somebody’s gift,
I don’t even know who it is. My father always said,
“No one gives a shit.” And now somebody I don’t know, they’re not asking for anything,
just giving us food, looking out for us. It made me believe this:
that strangers care. And that made me decide, if strangers care about me and my family,
I care about them. I’m going to do something
to make a difference. So when I was 17,
I went out on Thanksgiving, it was my target for years to have
enough money to feed two families. The most fun and moving thing
I ever did in my life. Next year, I did four, then eight. I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing,
I wasn’t doing it for brownie points. But after eight,
I thought I could use some help. So I went out, got my friends involved, then I grew companies, got 11,
and I built the foundation. 18 years later, I’m proud to tell you last year we fed
2 million people in 35 countries through our foundation. All during the holidays,
Thanksgiving, Christmas, in different countries around the world. (Applause) Thank you. I don’t tell you that to brag,
but because I’m proud of human beings because they get excited to contribute once they’ve had the chance
to experience it, not talk about it. So, finally — I’m about out of time. The target that shapes you — Here’s what’s different about people. We have the same needs. But are you a certainty freak,
is that what you value most, or uncertainty? This man couldn’t be a certainty freak
if he climbed through those caves. Are you driven by significance or love? We all need all six, but what your lead system is
tilts you in a different direction. And as you move in a direction,
you have a destination or destiny. The second piece is the map. The operating system
tells you how to get there, and some people’s map is, “I’m going to save lives
even if I die for other people,” and they’re a fireman, and somebody else says,
“I’m going to kill people to do it.” They’re trying to meet
the same needs of significance. They want to honor God
or honor their family. But they have a different map. And there are seven different beliefs;
I can’t go through them, because I’m done. The last piece is emotion. One of the parts of the map is like time. Some people’s idea
of a long time is 100 years. Somebody else’s is three seconds,
which is what I have. And the last one I’ve already mentioned
that fell to you. If you’ve got a target and a map — I can’t use Google because I love Macs, and they haven’t made it
good for Macs yet. So if you use MapQuest — how many have made
this fatal mistake of using it? You use this thing
and you don’t get there. Imagine if your beliefs guarantee
you can never get to where you want to go. (Laughter) The last thing is emotion. Here’s what I’ll tell you about emotion. There are 6,000 emotions that we have words for
in the English language, which is just a linguistic representation
that changes by language. But if your dominant emotions — If I have 20,000 people or 1,000 and I have them write down
all the emotions that they experience in an average week, and I give them as long as they need, and on one side
they write empowering emotions, the other’s disempowering, guess how many emotions
they experience? Less than 12. And half of those
make them feel like shit. They have six good feelings. Happy, happy, excited, oh shit, frustrated, frustrated,
overwhelmed, depressed. How many of you know somebody who, no matter what happens,
finds a way to get pissed off? (Laughter) Or no matter what happens,
they find a way to be happy or excited. How many of you know somebody like this? When 9/11 happened, I’ll finish
with this, I was in Hawaii. I was with 2,000 people from 45 countries, we were translating
four languages simultaneously for a program I was conducting,
for a week. The night before was called
Emotional Mastery. I got up, had no plan
for this, and I said — we had fireworks,
I do crazy shit, fun stuff, and at the end, I stopped. I had this plan, but I never know
what I’m going to say. And all of a sudden, I said, “When do people really start to live?
When they face death.” And I went through this whole thing about, if you weren’t going
to get off this island, if nine days from now,
you were going to die, who would you call,
what would you say, what would you do? That night is when 9/11 happened. One woman had come to the seminar,
and when she came there, her previous boyfriend had been
kidnapped and murdered. Her new boyfriend wanted to marry her,
and she said no. He said, “If you go to that Hawaii thing,
it’s over with us.” She said, “It’s over.” When I finished that night,
she called him and left a message at the top of the World Trade Center
where he worked, saying, “I love you, I want you to know
I want to marry you. It was stupid of me.” She was asleep, because it was 3 a.m.
for us, when he called her back, and said, “Honey, I can’t tell you
what this means. I don’t know how to tell you this,
but you gave me the greatest gift, because I’m going to die.” And she played the recording
for us in the room. She was on Larry King later. And he said, “You’re probably wondering how on Earth this could
happen to you twice. All I can say is this must be
God’s message to you. From now on, every day,
give your all, love your all. Don’t let anything ever stop you.” She finishes, and a man
stands up, and he says, “I’m from Pakistan, I’m a Muslim. I’d love to hold your hand
and say I’m sorry, but frankly, this is retribution.” I can’t tell you the rest,
because I’m out of time. (Laughter) Are you sure? (Laughter) 10 seconds! (Laughter and applause) 10 seconds, I want to be respectful. All I can tell you is, I brought this man on stage with a man from New York who worked
in the World Trade Center, because I had about 200 New Yorkers there. More than 50 lost
their entire companies, friends, marking off their Palm Pilots. One financial trader,
woman made of steel, bawling — 30 friends crossing off that all died. And I said, “What are we
going to focus on? What does this mean
and what are we going to do?” And I got the group to focus on: if you didn’t lose somebody today, your focus is going to be
how to serve somebody else. Then one woman stood up
and was so angry, screaming and yelling. I found out she wasn’t from New York,
she’s not an American, doesn’t know anybody here. I asked, “Do you always get angry?” She said, “Yes.” Guilty people got guilty,
sad people got sad. I took these two men
and I did an indirect negotiation. Jewish man with family
in the occupied territory, someone in New York who would have died
if he was at work that day, and this man who wanted to be a terrorist, and I made it very clear. This integration is on a film,
which I’d be happy to send you, instead of my verbalization, but the two of them not only came together and changed their beliefs
and models of the world, but worked together to bring,
for almost four years now, through various mosques and synagogues, the idea of how to create peace. And he wrote a book, called
“My Jihad, My Way of Peace.” So, transformation can happen. My invitation to you is: explore your web, the web in here — the needs, the beliefs, the emotions
that are controlling you, for two reasons: so there’s more of you to give,
and achieve, too, but I mean give, because that’s what’s
going to fill you up. And secondly, so you can appreciate — not just understand,
that’s intellectual, that’s the mind, but appreciate
what’s driving other people. It’s the only way
our world’s going to change. God bless you, thank you.
I hope this was of service. (Applause)

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