tony robbins

I am Tony Robbins. AMA!

Hey redditors, it’s Tony Robbins here. I am a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. For the last 37 years, I’ve reached millions of people all over the world at my business and personal development events and through my audio and video products. It’s been a privilege to be called upon to consult and coach with some of the world’s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations. Mostly I’m proud to feed 4 million people per year in 56 countries and coordinate programs in more than 1,500 schools, 700 prisons, and 50,000 service organizations and shelters — this year I’m donating all the profits of this book in advance plus an additional financial gift to personally feed 50 million. I’m also working with my partners at Feeding America (America’s largest hunger relief organization) to obtain matching funds so that we can provide 100 million meals this year.
My first book in 20 years is out this week. Money: Master The Game is the result of interviewing 50 of the world’s most brilliant financial minds (from Carl Icahn to Jack Bogle to Ray Dalio to Paul Tudor Jones) to uncover the 7 Simple Steps that put you in full control of your financial future.
Victoria is helping me get started. I’m looking forward to taking your questions today – AMA!

You talk about the dangerous ‘middle’, where life is mediocre and not bad enough to build the drive to take massive action. Having hit lows before and have used your material to come out of them in the past, I’m now finding myself stuck in this ‘middle ground’ of mediocrity. What can I do to get out of here??

This is a REALLY important question!
So I’m glad to see so many people voted for it.
You’re absolutely right. “Middle ground” is a place of emotional & spiritual death.
The one common denominator behind people of extraordinary performance, results and success is hunger!
What i mean by hunger is: A drive to do, be, create or give more.
I mean a sense that you will NOT settle for less than you can create and give.
Intelligence is invaluable. But there are many intelligent people who can’t fight their way out of a paper bag.
There are many skilled people. But skill is not enough, since you won’t use it to its maximum capability if you are not driven and hungry.
So if you find yourself in that middle ground, you have 2 choices:
1) Stay where you are, and wait for a wagon wheel to come down your rut. Life will wake your ass up at some point soon! But my guess is that you’re not one of those people, or you wouldn’t be asking this question.
2) The more proactive approach: get around where people are playing the game of life at a higher level, and let something hit you.
What i mean is: if you play tennis with someone who’s at the same skill level as you, or you’re even better than, it’s easy to get comfortable, because you really don’t have to grow.
But if you get in the game with somebody whose ability and skill is much greater than your own, then just to stay on the court with them is enough to raise your game. And you’re going to become MORE.
One of the reasons I do live events is cuz it’s easy to get comfortable when you’re by yourself.
It’s hard to get excited about a game you’re playing alone.
But when you get with 5,000 or 10,000 people, from 50 countries, in an environment that’s like a rock concert – you will become re-ignited.
And you’ll meet people who won’t settle. And their energy is infectious. Their hunger is infectious. Their desire for more is infectious.
Just like if someone starts yawning around you, you know what happens – there’s a social contagion. The same is true for hunger, drive, achievement and passion.
Get your ass out where things are better, where you are called to be MORE of who you are.
I promise you – you won’t stay in the middle ground.
I send you all my best.

What advice can you give on picking the right life partner?

This is one of the most important decisions of your LIFE!
If you pick the wrong partner, life is hell.
If you pick the right one, life is heaven.
I always tell people – 80% of success in a relationship is the right selection.
I think the most valuable thing you can do is to ask 3 questions to know if this is the right person.
Just like if you were hiring someone to work for you – which also could make or break your business – the first question you’d have if you were hiring is:

  • Can they do the job?

If you’re interviewing someone weeks or months later, then chances are they can do the job – just as how if you’re dating them months or years later, they can do the job.
Second question is:

  • Will they do the job well long-term?

And the answers to that can only be found in 2 things: are your goals aligned with this person? And do your natures compliment each other?
I’ll give you an example. I met a couple who had just been married, and they were coming to Fiji, where they had just come for their honeymoon.
I asked the gentleman “How long have you known each other?”
And he said “WE’ve been together 9 years!”
And i said “How come you’re getting married now?”
And he said “She wore me down.”
And I thought Ough.
And then I asked – the obvious question you ask when someone’s getting married – “So are you gonna have kids?”
And he said “No, I’ve been married twice before, I’ve had my kids, I’m done with that.”
I said “Well she’s in her late 20s or early 30s!”
And he said “Yeah, she’s 31.”
I said “Is she aligned with you on this? not having any kids?”
He said “We negotiated as part of getting married not having kids.”
I thought to myself This man is deluded.
Meanwhile, my wife was talking to HIS new wife.
She asked “Are you guys gonna have kids?” privately.
And the new wife said “He thinks no, but we’ll have ’em within a year, 2 at the outside.”
My wife and I compared notes later. Their goals were not aligned.
I said “You’ll be divorced again within a few years or so max.” And it only took 3 years, and he has ANOTHER child.
So it’s best to align your goals. They don’t have to be PERFECTLY aligned, but you have to be aligned on the big stuff.
And the third question –

  • You have to make sure you have complimentary personalities.

If you’re outgoing and crazy, and they’re quiet and love that you’re crazy outgoing, that’s a home run. But if you’re outgoing and they want you to be quiet, that’s a real problem.
And the FINAL third question –

  • Are your needs aligned?

Some people are driven more by certainty in life.
Some people are driven by variety – they want to NEVER know how things are gonna be.
Some people want to be connected and in love.
Some people want to be significant, and separate.
You have to make sure that you’re aligned in your needs also.
I hope this is helpful.

How were you able to meet all these investors, and any advice on meeting your heros as an “average” person?

I can tell you first how NOT to do it: Don’t stalk them!
What would be more effective is to understand what they love and like, and what they are passionate about, and find a way to be in that environment where you can learn from them.
That can be a favorite charity they have. That could be finding a way to go to work for them, so you could be in proximity with them. In the beginning, I volunteered my time to be around people I thought would be mentors, and I didn’t get access for 6 months! But then there was a natural time in which we were in proximity, and I was able to have conversations that were SO useful – plus I listened in without being obtrusive.
At this stage of my life, I’m fortunate enough to have friends in high places because I’ve helped people for 37 years in 100 countries. So with this book, I was able to access people because I was already coaching one of the top 10 financial traders in the world for more than 21 years. He has not lost money in 21 years!
So I know quite a bit about the financial arena, and I know many people in it. As a result, he introduced me to one person, and one person introduced me to another, and I found a way to add value to that one person, and if you do good works – if you GIVE and don’t just take, if you GIVE what people need – then your network will grow. That’s how I was able to get to many people that people were surprised that anyone could listen to.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Wheaties! 🙂
No, salad and fish. I’m boring.

What is one piece of advice you learned writing the book that you feel people HAVE to know?

That the greatest investors in the world are not big risk-takers like you think they are.
And you don’t have to be one EITHER to become financially-secure or financially-free.
So the people I interviewed – people like Richard Branson, for example- Richard takes big risks with his life, but NOT with his businesses or his money. His number 1 question in any business transaction or investment is: “How do I protect my downside?”
He knows that if he loses 50%, he has to make 100% to get even.
And that takes years.
So the best investors are always trying to get what’s known as “asymmetrical risk / reward.” Which means they are trying to use the least amount of risk to get the MOST amount of reward.
I’ll give you one example:
A man named Kyle Bass took $30 mill of people’s money, and in 2 years, converted it into 2 billion dollars.
He did this by risking 6 cents to make $1, 100 cents. As a result, he could be wrong 15 times and STILL make money.
Or another example is nickels. He taught me that if you buy a nickel for 5 cents, it cost the government 9 cents to make it. And the metals that are in a nickel are worn 6.8 cents. So if you buy a nickel, your money will never go down. And it’s worth 36% more the day you buy it! And someday, when the government wakes up and realizes they are spending too much to make nickels – just like they found pennies were costing too much, and they took the copper out and put in tin – those pennies today are not worth 1 cent, the original pennies are worth 2 cents – a 100% return.
Kyle taught his children this by buying 40 million nickels. 40 MILLION NICKELS!
True story!

I went to one of your lectures where you talked about how your friends in the finance industry said to get out of the market before the 2008 crash. I wanted to get your opinion, when do you think the next market crash will be? Any thoughts on the market as it is currently?

No one is ever right, unless they are lucky about market timing.
HOWEVER, we’re now more than 5 years of having a bull market.
And springtime is not forever.
Nor is fall. Winter does come.
So there’s no question there will be a correction.
Rather than try to time the market, I suggest you read the 2 chapters on Ray Dalio, the world’s top largest hedge fund owner.
He’s known for making 21% a year for 23 straight years, in good times and in bad, in up markets and in down markets.
In order to work with him, 10 years ago, you had to have $5 billion dollar net worth and you had to give him $100 million just to start.
Today, he won’t take your money no matter HOW rich you are.
He manages money for COUNTRIES like China.
Why do the richest people and countries in the world want to give them their money?
Because he developed a system called “The All-Weather Strategy.”
It makes money in just about every environment, including a falling stock market. After 3 hours of working with him, I got him to give me the formula for immersion similar to All-Weather but one the average person could do for themselves, or done for them, spending 15 minutes a year. So this formula, when it was tested over the last 75 years, has made money 85% of the time.
And when it lost money, on average it only lost 1.6%.
The biggest loss in 75 years with all of the crashing stock markets that have happened (as you know, in the last 10 years along, 2000 and 2008, there were 2 50% drops) – he only lost a maximum of 3.95% (less than 4%).
BUT he made money for 75% at the rate of almost 10% a year.
It’s the smoothest ride of investment that anybody I’ve shown it to has ever seen.
And he generously have given this, and it’s in the book. If you don’t want to buy it, go to the library to get it for free – but you’ll get a formula that people had to have a $5 BILLION net worth to get.
Ray’s gift to you!

Since your latest book focuses on money, do you think money buys happiness? If so, to what extent? Do you feel that it should be everyone’s goal to make as much money as they possibility can?

Great question!
Obviously, having more money does NOT create happiness, because many rich people take their own lives. But poor people do too!
The secret is not to make as much money as you can. The secret is to create a quality of life for yourself and your family that brings you joy. The secret is to live life on YOUR terms.
Some people might live an extraordinary life as having a beautiful garden that they work in each day. Some people want to make a billion dollars. Some people want to write a great poem, or teach kids technology tools.
The secret is to find how YOU believe life should be. And provide enough economic freedom to live life on your terms.
I can tell you that research shows there’s a small bump in happiness with additional income.
If you go from making $25,000 to $55,000, research shows your happiness will increase approximately 9%.
In fact, most of the research shows that happiness – for the most part – tops out at $75,000.
But the most recent research contradicts this. Research is done today where they can literally calculate how spending $10 differently can change your entire hormones of your body & your level of happiness, detecting it all the way down to changes in your saliva.
One of the research projects found that it’s not how much money you MAKE, it’s how you spend it that determines your happiness.
Here are 3 quick examples:

  • If you spend money on THINGS, you get very little happiness.
  • If you spend on EXPERIENCES, you have lasting happiness. Experiences with family, schooling, traveling the world. Because experiences give us ongoing returns in the form of memories & emotions.
  • Another way to spend money that actually increases happiness is if you spend money to free up your time by eliminating some drudgery in your life. If you hate cleaning the house and the toilet, and you hire someone else to do it, who’s happy to do it for pay, it frees you up to spend time on your passions.

And this significantly increases happiness in human beings.
The third way to increase happiness sounds trite, but it’s scientifically proven.
And that is

  • Investing in others. Spending on other people, those you know and those you don’t know.

They actually experience a greater level of happiness than ANY OTHER form of spending. This has been proven around the world, in different cultures.
And it doesn’t take a lot of money. Buying a stranger a cup of coffee can lift your mood for 3-5 hours.
Taking someone you love and doing something totally unexpected and special for them can lift your mood for multiple days.
So money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can give you some if you know where to shop. Shop for experiences, shop for free time, shop for those you love.

What’s the biggest struggle you faced in writing your new book?

The answer is TIME!
I have 12 day jobs.
I have 12 companies I run, and 12 i own significant pieces of.
I have 4 kids.
I have grandkids.
I have a wife I worship.
I have a body that i like to work intensely hard.
And I’m onstage a hundred days across the year. So time was a challenge.
The second challenge for me was I’m used to a format that’s spontaneous, and driven by the needs of who’s right in front of me right now, LIVE.
And here, I had to write for imaginary people who could show up in many forms.
A millennial getting started: a baby boomer with debt and no retirement plan; or a sophisticated investor who wants to cut through the chase.
I solved this problem by writing, and then having people read me the chapters out loud while I watched them.
This allowed me to see what they were confused by, what they were excited by, what i needed to change, improve, or straighten.
Thanks for your question.

I’d be intrigued to understand, how have you managed to overcome and/or balance all of the internal obstacles that we have as people, including budding entrepreneurs? Things like distractions, procrastination, information overload and fear of failure, to name just a few of many.

I think if you focus on the obstacles, they’ll always be there.
What’s wrong is ALWAYS available. So is what’s right.
If you were to think in advance of all you’d have to go through to have a child, to have them grow up and be healthy, you wouldn’t have one!
But fortunately, we don’t focus on the effort, we focus on the result. We focus on the benefit. We focus on the beauty of having this soul that’s an extension of ours in this world.
As an entrepreneur, you have to constantly focus on your Mission and WHY you’re doing it. And that – if it’s strong enough – will pull you through every obstacle. There’s 2 forms of motivation:

  • Push motivation – trying to make yourself do things
  • Pull motivation – where there’s something you want SO badly that pulls you forward, in spite of the obstacle.

It sounds like you need more PULL – because the only cure to fear is MASSIVE action.
And massive action comes only when you have something that you care about more than your fear.

Can you give some advice on really bad nerves/anxiety about public speaking?

Public speaking is more scary for most people than most other activities you can engage in.
Because it has the EXPOSURE of social rejection.
All of us have a fear, at some level, at some time, that we’re not enough.
That we’re not smart enough, attractive enough, funny enough.
It’s the human condition.
One of the reasons I don’t have any anxiety in speaking is not because I’m so smart or funny or good-looking – or humble for that matter, hahaha – but because whenever i speak, i do NOT focus on myself.
If you focus on yourself, I don’t care who you are, you will have nerves or anxiety.
Instead, I’m exclusively focused on: How can i serve these people?
And if what I’m doing isn’t working, I simply change it – whether it be a story I’m telling, the tempo of my speech, or even some of the subject matter.
If you’re focused on serving, there is no fear, only guidance.
If you’re not a part of what you’re focused on, there are no nerves.
So my biggest piece of advice is: get obsessed about the many ways in which you can serve your audience.
And share those insights passionately, from your heart and soul.
I find that people respond to what’s raw and real and caring much more than they do to a perfectly coiffed speech that someone has memorized. Who wants to listen to that shit?!

I recently became the father of a baby girl, and wanted to know if you had any advice for a first-time parent?

Thank you for this question, it’s an important one.
Don’t turn her into a boy, because you think being tough will make life easier.
What you really want to do is let this child’s own personality unfold, and whatever she’s like, you want to embrace, acknowledge, love and support.
As parents, out of our desire to help, we often teach children they are not enough, and that they behave and act a certain way we think will make their life better.
I’m not suggesting you don’t show that they are valued, through loving or hard work or being a giver, but the style in which that’s done, every individual soul has to find themselves.
You are going to have ENORMOUS power to shape this soul.
And I know out of your love you are going to be tempted to do many things.
Constantly ask for guidance that what you do serves for the long-term good of this beautiful girl who’s come into your life.
And when you make mistakes, correct them quickly. None of us are infallible. Showing your child that you’re not infallible will make them respect and love you more.
And it’ll make them more compassionate with themselves when they inevitable run into the failures and challenges all humans experience, even your perfect daughter.

What is your favorite Bond movie? And which Bond actor was your favorite?

Oh my god… Daniel Craig! And Casino Royale!