Anthony Robbins On Decisions and Destiny

On March 29th, 2007, approximately eight hundred HBS students filled Burden Auditorium, hungry for motivation from Anthony Robbins, the legendary pop-culture figure and consultant to international leaders and celebrities. Robbins has worked with over three million people in eighty countries, and his clientele has included Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterrand, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, members of two royal families, members of the U.S. Congress, three Presidents of the United States, Andre Agassi, Greg Norman, Quincy Jones and Anthony Hopkins.

Towering at a height of over two meters (or precisely six feet, seven inches), Robbins looked like a God on stage. However, not all self-help gurus at the height of two meters hold the energy, authority and powerful image of Robbins. What makes his bestselling books different from all the other self-help books in the bookshelves? Robbins has successfully used his skills, knowledge and personal power to obtain the success, presence, body, energy, and physique that he well-deserves. Although Robbins remains a legendary motivational speaker, he admits that his techniques are rather “damn basic” and certainly not “heavy”.

In a nutshell, the beliefs and ideas in the self-help books of Anthony Robbins can be summarized in the following outline:
1. Neural Linguistic Programming (Learn by engaging the nervous system; information without emotion is not retained.)
2. Mind Mapping
3. Creative Visualization
4. Daily Affirmations
5. Vegetarianism
6. Clear goals that are dissected into smaller milestones
7. Exercise; Move your body!
8. Budget your money
9. Work diligently
10. Read; Turn off the television

According to Robbins, if an individual wishes to see results in life, five SIMPLE changes must be made:

1. Raise your standards.
For example, how many people have you stayed in a personal relationship way too long? One’s daily affirmation must be, “Every day, I demand more from myself more than any other human being in the world.” The shoulds in one’s life ought to changed into musts.

2. Create a unique identity and constantly live it.
Model the best that exists. If you live with passion, then people will follow you.

3. Understand the power of the physiological state.
Healthy physiological habits, such as exercising daily and eating vegetables, provide a strong foundation that ensures the most powerful foundation from which one can work. A healthy body that is in its peace physiological state allows an individual more efficiently deal with work, family and academic affairs. Never forget the importance of first impressions. If a person does not like you within the first five seconds of meeting you, then s/he will wish not to do business with you. Successful advertisers do not sell a product; they sell a state to its audience using tools such as music, food and sex. Like the successful advertiser and successful athlete (e.g. Andre Agassi), successful leaders have altered their physiological states in order to use their minds more efficiently. Following are tips on altering one’s physiological state:
-Use more oxygen
-Move the body
-Speak louder
-Smile
-Sing

4. Increase your emotional intelligence.
Life is always lovely and happy when work, family and academic affairs peacefully fall into place. However destiny is shaped when you lose momentum.

5. Give more than you expect to receive.
Leaders give, while followers receive. The secret to living is giving. Simple. This also happens to be the secret to genuine happiness. In the year 2005, Robbins was one of the twelve speakers honored at the Waldzell Institute Meeting, an invitation-only forum where the world’s brightest minds-Nobel Prize laureates, scientists, artists, religious leaders, business icons, and heads of state-come together to discuss the changes necessary for mankind to have a future with meaning. As a non-profit contributor, Robbins has also been selected as Vice Chairman of Health, Education, and Science for the United Nations Research Center.

At a regular event fee of over one hundred thousand dollars that was waived, Robbins generously gave the HBS community an enormous gift. Furthermore, he has given all HBS students a free coaching session, a gift which can be found on: www.tonyrobbins.com/harvard

Some HBS students were cynical, and amazed at the list of successful people who swear by heart into his motivational ideas. Other HBS students were genuinely curious. In the end, Robbins was successful in motivating even the cynical students who originally insisted that they had any need for more motivation. HBS student, Matt Scherrer (OC), was indeed impressed: “Anthony Robbins’ speech was excellent. I learned a lot, and I had never seen HBS students so fired up…It was incredible!” Robbins’ shortest weekend seminar runs fifty hours. Yet, Robbins beautifully condensed his ultra-marathon program into one hour.
Perhaps one must be in an absolute state of hopelessness and depression to truly appreciate his motivational power. However, Robbins is one of the most underrated personalities in popular culture. His life message is simple, yet important. He reminds us that life is a gift-not a chore. We must stop moaning about our busy and tiring lives. A strong and positive attitude is paramount for every leader. An individual’s FOCUS in life represents his reality, even if it is not reality! It is true that reading the newspaper can be disheartening. However, walking around the universe with a bitter and depressing “life is horrible” attitude leads even more anger, depression, and perhaps violence in this world. Robbins described on inspiring story of a soldier from Iraq, who was genuinely excited and happy about life despite the reality that he lost all his appendages. He additionally reminds us that, in the end, life is about relationships.

Harvard opens the door and provides students with tremendous opportunity; however, students will graduate, leave the Harvard community, and either lead and inspire the world, or suffer through rehab when faced with a “puddle” in life. While older people oftentimes walk around puddles and curse at them bitterly, children view puddles as opportunities, and with celebration, jump over them energetically!

One final event remains in the semester’s Outstanding Speaker Series, hosted by the HBS Public Speaking Club: The Fourth Annual HBS Speaking Tournament Finals on April 11 at 4:15pm will feature our own home-grown outstanding speakers.

If you have questions, please contact the Public Speaking Club’s Vice President of Operations, Brenda Vongova, at bvongova@hbs.edu.

1Webster’s New World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. Ed. Michael Agnes. (New York: Wiley Publishing, 2003)

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