Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins

Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins

After paying $2,000 for a ticket to Unleash the Power Within

After the 3-hour flight out to California…

After fully committing, with a completely open heart…

I walked out of Tony Robbins’ seminar.

In this post, I will share why I went to Tony’s event, what it was like, and why I walked out. I will also show you what I did after I left, and what I learned from the whole experience.

If you’re skeptical of friends who say, “You have to go see Tony Robbins…”

If you’re on the fence about Unleash the Power Within ($2,000) or Date with Destiny ($5,000)…

This article is for you.

BONUS: Get the checklist to build your own Personal Development Day

“But doesn’t everyone LOVE Tony Robbins’ events? Are you just a hater?”

I know the diehard fans — the self-proclaimed Cult of Robbins who “drink the Kool Aid” — are already having doubts about this article.

“This guy wasn’t truly committed. He didn’t do the work, because he was afraid. Now he just wants to act like he’s more enlightened than everyone else.”

None of that is true.

Here’s what you should know about me…

I have a ton of respect for Tony Robbins. I’ve read (or listened to) several of his books. I’m amazed by what he does, and wanted to experience his coaching in person. A lot of my friends are big TR fans, and they all gave strong endorsements for UPW.

I’m not “better than you” for walking out. I’m not writing this because I’m a sophisticated aristocrat who turns his nose up at self-help groups. At many points in my life, I’ve been a total mess. I’ve written about depression and addiction. I wrote about the most embarrassing and painful period of my life (then I published a book about it).

I put in the work. I’ve had a ton of failures, and a few huge successes, because I’m constantly trying new things. Like how I built an 8-figure business. Or how I intentionally gained 40 pounds in 2015, then got into the best shape of my life in 2016. It wasn’t easy to eat so much food, or to go to the gym every week, but I put in the effort to reach my goals. (You can read more about my goals in 2015 and 2016).

I’ve read hundreds of books and taken action, because I am 100% in on improving myself. (Here are 18 books that changed my life). I’ve also publicly documented my self-improvement journey for the last 15 YEARS. If that’s not “doing the homework,” I don’t know what is.

I’ve attended a lot of paid seminars before, and loved them. A few events that changed my life were Gayle Hendricks’ Big Leap event and David Deida’s workshop. Both were three days long, 5–8 hours per day. I didn’t even consider walking out of either. I’ve even hosted my own seminars! Last September, my company AppSumo hosted our second annual conference, with over 200 attendees. I’m astonished Tony hosts events for 10,000 people at a time.

SumoCon 2016

This article isn’t “fear driven.” I committed to the event for seven hours. The only thing I was afraid of was wasting more time. Besides, I believe in helping people overcome their biggest fears — like talking to strangers, or starting a company. Here’s a speech I gave about overcoming fear:

Finally, Tony Robbins is one of my customers. In addition to Appsumo, I run a sister company called Sumo. Tony’s team uses our products. Do you really think I’m dumb enough to bash one of my highest profile customers? Hell no. This article is written with love.

In other words…

I’m not hating on Tony Robbins, or people who love his events.

I’m just defending a viewpoint few people ever bring up in public: the negative experience.

Most people are hesitant to talk about experiences that make us sound foolish. We diminish our losses, we downplay the bad stuff — especially if it goes against the crowd.

Think of Vegas.

Hardly anyone says, “I lost $2,000. It was a waste of time and money.”

We always say, “It was fun! Almost broke-even. Hashtag WORTH IT.”

For me, UPW wasn’t worth it.

My Experience at “Unleash The Power Within”

In the days that lead up to the event, I felt nervous. The discomfort was reassuring.

I’m going in the right direction.

The two areas of my life I most wanted to tackle during the event were:

  1. How to better position myself to be in great relationships.
  2. How to create a work environment that continually motivates and excites me.

Before the seminar began, I had a chance to talk with my neighbors. One was a recovering Jehovah’s witness. The other was transitioning jobs in Los Angeles. We had a nice discussion about why we were there, what our struggles were, and what we hoped to get out of the seminar.

Then, Tony came out on stage.

Tony’s presentation skills were incredible. The guy has been doing this for 30 years, so I expected him to be good. He was great.

Some of the things Tony did really well:

  • He encouraged us to meet our neighbors and keep each other excited.
  • He kept participation super high. He continually asked everyone to raise their hand and say “I” if they agreed. He also let the audience finish a lot of his sentences (“The truth will set you ____”).
  • He challenged us: “I’ll deliver but you have to promise to commit. If you sit down during the dancing, then you aren’t committed, and you aren’t going to get what you came for. Play full out with me.”
  • He repeated things over and over to drive points home and increase retention. He also backed up his claims with statistics.
  • He told great stories and incorporated a lot of humor.

Of course, there were some things he did NOT do so well…

  • At times, he was all over the place. “Let’s work on what you’re afraid of… Now let’s talk about how to get anything you want… Focus, mean it, do it!
  • There was conflict of interest. There’s a day where we talk about health and nutrition… and then he sells supplements. Tony also mentions his other events, and encourages you to sign up for more seminars during the middle of UPW.
  • He name-dropped and bragged constantly. Credibility markers are essential for a presenter to be taken seriously — especially with an audience of 10,000 people. And we all know Tony has done some amazing things. But the number of times he mentioned his relationships with presidents, celebrities, and business people was overkill. We get it  —  you have a private jet.
  • Finally, Tony has the weirdest clap I’ve ever seen.

In the first few hours of the seminar, we danced (a lot), massaged our neighbors, fanned our neighbors, did aerobic exercises, pumped our fists, watched Tony run through the audience like some idol, and other ra-ra tactics.

Still, these were minor annoyances. Those come with any event. None were deal-breakers.

But as the day unfolded, I began to question whether this seminar was a good use of my time.

Tony called on people in the front row and recited their names. Which made it seem like he knew everyone in the audience, though I’m sure they were his VIP ($75K per year) customers.

He called on John.

“What’s your issue, John?”

John wasn’t loved.

Here was Tony’s response:

  1. Everyone in the crowd faces that issue.
  2. John should come up with a new name. “Edward.”
  3. “Edward” walk towards Tony like a bad-ass.
  4. Tell Tony you are unleashed (basically).
  5. Everyone in the audience say “I love you, John.”

Problem solved.

Of course, no one expected Tony to solve John’s emotional issues with some light role-play and applause. The whole sequence was superficial (and entertaining).

Still, John clearly has deeper issues around his family. He wasn’t loved enough.

What then?

I wanted John and Tony to go deep.

I wanted to go deep.

I wanted to do the hard work we needed to do.

Then we had to massage our neighbors. Again.

Okay, I understand we need to break through social discomfort and energize ourselves, but I don’t enjoy random dudes touching me.

Hour 7…

I looked at the agenda for the next three days.

Nutrition. Interesting.

Then booklet work.

For two days.

I looked back over my notes.

Sure, there were some great takeaways, like…

Dedicate time every week to work on yourself. Reflect upon whether you are growing, and making progress.

What are you scared of right now? How can you move towards that? Discomfort is your growth!

Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.

Look at things from appreciation and gratitude. Instead of complaining about traffic, appreciate that we have cars to get us to places faster.

Modeling is valuable. Study and replicate the people that have already figured out what you want to do.

What’s a goal that excites you? What goal would genuinely energize you immediately?

What distractions are holding you back from your goals? Remove them.

These are his quotes I turned into instagram memes.

“No growth in comfort.”

“Success is how much uncertainty you can deal with.”

“Your worst day can be your best day”

“Complexity is the enemy of execution.”

“Have hunger that’s insatiable, always expanding.”

It finally hit me. Dread.

I was officially dreading the rest of the seminar.

To stay for three full days felt like a self-imposed prison, rather than an opportunity to genuinely grow.

I thought about what I most wanted to get out of my time, and whether this event was the best use of it. I decided it would be better for me to work on my specific issues, one-on-one with a friend.

So, I walked out.

Did I feel embarrassed? Yes.

Did I feel disappointed? Yes.

But what I really felt, more than anything else…


Empowered to make choices about what I want, and empowered to turn down the things I don’t.

What I Did After I Left

Rather than fly home, I planned a “Personal Development Day.” Here’s what I did the following day:

  • Drank coffee
  • Went on a 3-hour hike to discuss personal and professional growth with a friend
  • 90-minute personal development discussion (recorded on video)
  • Ate a healthy lunch
  • Reviewed some of Tony’s other materials
  • Read a book
  • 60-minute discussion with my mastermind group, where I shared some of my biggest issues
  • Got a massage
  • Sushi dinner

Get my Personal Development Day checklist

This may have been the best part about Tony’s personal development seminar — it forced me to create my own.

Final Thoughts

Tony has great intentions, a strong presence, and it’s clear most of his attendees feel the event is worth the investment. I am in the minority, who asked for a refund.

For many of his attendees, it seems there are deep-seated issues with a lack of love, and the belief that they are not enough.

If you struggle with those issues, then Tony’s seminars might change your life.

For a few days, you will feel loved.

For a few days, you will feel like you are enough.

That’s intoxicating, and many attendees (understandably) go back for more.

For my friends, the seminar was overwhelmingly positive and deeply moving. For me, it felt superficial and cheesy.

I don’t plan on attending another Tony Robbins’ event. But I would, if his team made a few big changes:

  1. More time to talk with the people around us. The most valuable time, for me, was when we shared our lives with each other. We all attended for personal development, and we all faced similar challenges. Bonding over common ground was great, and I wish there was more time dedicated to it.
  2. Shorten the seminar to just ONE day. Less dancing, less hoopla, less fluff… Just get to the meat. We wouldn’t need to be “awakened” every 20 minutes if the event didn’t take so long. (Then again, maybe it’s dragged out to create the sense that we got our money’s worth.)
  3. Focus. The seminar felt too general. I know it’s impossible to custom-tailor an event for 10,000 people, but more specific topics would have helped.

My good friend Tynan said it best:

“If you never quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things.”

I don’t regret attending Tony’s seminar.

Nor do I regret walking out.

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501 responses to “Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins”

April 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

From someone that cannot get past chapter 3 of Unlimited Power…..I thank you!

I’ll get more from your post and probably your seminar than a TR megablast.

Thank you Noah

Anne Wilson Blacklock
April 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I 100% agree with this and resonate with you. Im sat in a hotel in London and was feeling rubbish about walking out and spending £5K. But now ive turned it round to empowerment. Thanks for your review!

Louis Patetnaude
April 29, 2017 at 5:34 am

20 years ago I attended such events with another high spirited dude, I can’t recall his name, I felt pretty much like you. After the middle of the second day, the speaker told us that if any one of us had any doubts about the true meaning of this 3 days seminar, he or she could leave at break time. No question asked. So I did, but on my way out one of his staff intercepted me and wanted to know why I was leaving, he used some bubblegum psychology to keep me in, but my intentions were solids, then another guy came, a bite more persuasive this time, then another one who spoke about the devil to me.
I had to run out of the auditorium, with a throng of preachers and followers following me and accusing me of many wrong doings. I must admit, I could not hide a large grin while being chased.
I’ll stick to the bible.

April 28, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Great article and as someone who walked out of his seminar in London 20 years ago for every reason you’ve listed, it’s good to know it’s not just me LOL!

April 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm

I’m going to see Tony at Unleash the Power Within in NY but I want to make it a trip for myself. I think he is great but I really need a break from life, a “me” weekend. I love what Tony does and have read his books but I need a way out without others knowing. Is there a way of getting out of the seminar without other people checking up on me to see if I went or do they take attendance each day??? Thank you for any advice! Regards, Wallace

elle sang
April 28, 2017 at 7:51 pm

hi currently doing upw in london , uk. they do not take attendance. you are free to walk in and out as you please.

April 27, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I’m shocked so many people feel they need to be lead around. Blaze your own pathway, and follow your own dreams.

April 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Mad respect! I really appreciated this article and point of view. Thank you for sharing.

john holmes
April 27, 2017 at 6:33 am

I wasn’t sure about the clapping style either

Simone Kay
April 27, 2017 at 5:51 am

Hey man you should have paid me £2000 to give you a pep talk I would have made you feel great about yourself. !!
Joking aside, Tony Robbins is an entertainer… well paid and good at what he does. BUT the only person who is going to make you a better person is YOURSELF.
I respect you for your article man – it takes courage to share an opinion that differs from the masses.

former cult memeber
April 26, 2017 at 11:36 pm

It’s all a big feels injection. A big Love Bomb. A cult’s favorite and most effective tool. They pray on the broken spirits that give anything to be whole again.

April 26, 2017 at 8:02 pm

I love Tony Robbins!

April 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

Well fuck me sideways.
Sorry to be profane, but sometimes you gotta say what you think.

All the yesses, Noah. Not for having a contrarian opinion or, being bold enough to say something that could be seen as dissenting about some one hailed as a god in certain circles. But for knowing yourself and having enough integrity to keep it pushing when it became clear there was nothing more to gained from your attendance.

I should prolly get back to work now.

dirk verbaklien
April 26, 2017 at 7:59 am

Great scam he has going 20 years.

April 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

LOVED IT! Although I thought the same things about his seminars just from watching some videos in YOUTUBE… too cheesy and self-promoting. I believe he ‘s smart and gifted and goodhearted but I really don’t like his methods. I don’t think you should have been embarrassed to walk away. If it is not for you, you just leave. Normal and understandable. I walked away from your entrepreneur course 😉 just because I didn’t think it was the right thing for me although I appreciated it and I think you are a genius!

April 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Excellent post that is 100% transparent and much appreciated.

Paulo Still
April 24, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I Enjoyed reading this. I would just be careful about promoting yourself so wholeheartedly during your articles. I do find that with MANY personal development bloggs I am bombarded with this kind of ‘click here’ stuff. It’s exhausting. Just a link to your website or another interesting helpful article would be enough. Otherwise it just reads like self promotion. Not a bad thing, I get it BUT…. not at the expense of others. Hope you take my feedback in good faith and can come from a more authentic angle in future.

Mrs A Wilson Blacklock
April 29, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I thought the same!:)

Kirke Ruuven
April 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hey! I am totally new to your site , but love it! When I saw the title of this post, I didn’t want to read it 😀 It was because I will be attending UPW in London in 3 days and I don’t want to ruin it for myself. I will read this article after I have attended the event. But just for you to know, I’m a 21 yo Business Administration student from Estonia, who sometimes feels absolutely worthless and miserable, but knows that feelings come from thoughts. So I made a decision to create a really awesome life for myself and started to read books and talk to people more. Now I want to move to the U.S and open up my own clothing line.
If anybody wants to contact me: kirkeruuven@gmail.com

April 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm

So, how was it?

Shaun Owens
April 24, 2017 at 4:18 am

Very brave of you to leave. It’s not always easy to do, especially when you’ve spent $2,000.

Patrick Dillon
April 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I was at the same event in LA and I absolutely felt the same way. I ended up spending a lot of time at a nearby coffee shop during the event, working on goals and doing business planning. One day of quality content would’ve been a lot better.

Steven L
April 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Yep attended the wealth mastery paid a ridiculous amount of money. Imo the 3 days was one big Informercial!!!! Where in top of the amount we paid, we had to purchase in to the scheme each presenter had to offer!!! No genuine tools to help anyone to pursue their individual goals…. funniest thing I paid for the gold members seating where we were fed lunch! Promoting so much about Health TR had whole bunch of crap processed and fried food… until I voiced my opinion regarding the crap being served!!!

Bill Mackcong
April 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm

In my opinion to say that tony’s event wasn’t worth it is a contradiction since you took away some of his lessons from the event and read his materials in your personal day development checklist.

Phil Rothwell
April 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Great article. Thanks for sharing. I recently discovered Tony Robbins as he’s not so big in the UK. I’m really enjoying reading his book but don’t think a conference would be right for me. Good for you for making that decision and taking action. Too many times we put up with things and then look back on them as a wasted experience. And then you also turned it into a huge positive.

April 21, 2017 at 9:11 pm

I attend similar seminars regularly. Not at the same cost. If any fluff or cheesiness starts I walk out. I want the presenter to cover in depth on situations. It could help people in the audience. Americans seem to have a fair amount of pomp and hoohar around things like graduations etc ceremonies with bands etc. I’d walk out on them my times valuable i have things to do no time for that type of hype and bullshit. I hate the hype, just do what your paid to do and don’t expect me to bow down to you like your a god.

April 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Wow! Nice post. Very refreshing! However, in a weird way, it reads to me as though you got a lot out of Tony’s seminar, albeit a lot quicker than you anticipated. Just look at what you achieved achieved afterwards. The question, I guess is, would you have achieved those same things, & within that time frame, had you never attended Tony’s seminar?

April 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm


Joshua Russell
April 19, 2017 at 2:48 am

This article was genius and an amazing way to self-promote/advertise. I honestly wish I would have thought of such a creative way to gain attention and throw a few links down at the same time. I never read these things (as I found this article on FB) and yet was drawn to it because I love Tony Robbins and have never seen or heard someone give an educated/detailed description of something negative about him. But the bottom line is that you didn’t see it all the way through therefore you threw in the towel without seeing what the product was in its entirety…and for that I can poke holes all day long. If you would have completed the “journey” and saw what the product looked like when it was finished I would have been more interested in your opinion…I mean after all most people attend his events because they are masters in not following through and completing their set goals right? I should know though because it’s the story of my life and why I am such an avid fan of TR. ??

Jon b
April 20, 2017 at 7:03 am

Lol, yes, perfect response!

April 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Noah, I think I can related in that I’m the intellectual type and I think a lot as well. I find it comes naturally being an tech entrepreneur.

I meditate daily. I love reading about mindfulness, the upanishads, what Buddha taught, etc. But reading about meditation is not the same as meditating, just like knowing all those UPW insights isn’t the same as “feeling” those understandings.

Intellectually, I probably already knew 98% of what Tony taught that weekend, with an very occasional a-ha insight. But let’s be honest here, what Tony teaches isn’t exactly rocket science. 🙂
What I didn’t understand though, was what chills feels like when 8,000 people are shouting ‘I am the voice’ or what tears feel like when the same 8,000 people are going through a guided meditative process. That group energy is what brings people back to the event over and over. That group energy is something that cannot be replicated by oneself. And that group energy happens on day 3.

The best way I can describe it is if you imagine your favourite football team in the superbowl, scoring the winning touchdown, and the whole stadium erupts with you in the middle of the stadium going crazy…except you’re not celebrating a touchdown, you’re celebrating your own transformation with 8,000 other people. That climatic feeling of that moment is what gets stored your nervous system, and in my opinion is what makes the live events worth it.

Unfortunately, the first 2 1/2 days (with the exception of maybe the fire walk), is 30 hours of common sense advice, intellectual word twisting, and generic self help “counselling” that gets repeated over and over again. For those people that make it to the 3rd day however, is the big payoff with 4-5 hours of integrative group process work that will bring tears, vulnerability and conviction to your heart and transform your life forever.

You would’ve had lots of time to speak to your fellow attendees had you stayed. I’ve made so many lifelong friends from years ago from UPW because we went through this process work together.

For UPW, the sum is definitely greater than its parts.

Flavia Gray
April 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Thanks for your article. Tony’s audio books have got me through really tough times and I think he is amazing. But it’s interesting to read your experience.

April 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Thank you for making your writing public, I would like to say you noted the best — and yeah taking note is hard, I know haha . thank you for your hard work

Rick Bradshaw Anderson
April 17, 2017 at 11:37 pm

I prefer Dr. Eric Thomas “the hip hop preacher”
I’ll just leave it at that.

April 17, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Wow! That was some unbiased, constructive feedback. I really appreciate your conviction to keep it real on the pros and cons. Your honesty and integrity are already putting you in a position for great relationships. I’m excited for you because I know that ,by remaining honest with yourself, you will attract the people you desire to share your journey with you. Well done sir!

April 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Sounds like you got your monies worth. Refund your refund.

Frank zip
April 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm

This event is a 3 day build up and leaving after day one just proves you don’t have the grit to last the 3 days. Go through transformation day and tell me it was a waist of time. Everyone who has read this article is now dumber for have read it. This article was a waiste of time!!!

Shane White
April 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

I disagree with most of what you have said. But that is the beauty of this life. We don’t have to agree on everything, and Tony Robbins isn’t going to be for everyone. I personally commited to UPW 100% to make sure I didn’t cheat myself or feel like I wasn’t willing to go all out. It changed my life because I was open to changing myself. The event taught me a ton of things.

You empowering yourself by walking out is a positive from the event and I applaud you.

This is my persective of UPW and of this article. Neither, of which, are negative.

April 15, 2017 at 8:53 am

You have great timing. I have great respect for Tony Robbins. He is an inspiration for thousands of people. However I watched “I am not your guru” last night and felt that there is something missing.
It seemed like a lot of the attendees would benefit from long term counselling. I don’t doubt some peoples lives will change from DWD, especially if you got one and one time with Tony. But for some the elation will wear off and how prepared are they to deal with that.

April 15, 2017 at 3:58 am

Well done, thinking on your feet is great.

Vykintas Glodenis
April 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Great post. Absolutely agree. People get addicted to external motivation – it’s like opium that leads nowhere unless you really trust yourself to form your own development routines and take action upon them. Thanks, Noah.

April 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

TR truly changed my life. The start of all his seminars you are asked to play full out. If you do you get full results.

Catia Vasconcelos
April 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Hi Noah,

I signed up for the upcoming UPW in London a couple of weeks before I came across your blog… Interesting. It did make me reconsider attending it and I tried to cancel but I was too late (14 day cooling off period had passed). So my question to you now is: in what terms did you get a refund afterwards? Many thanks!

April 14, 2017 at 3:30 am

Instant positive jargon pick-me-ups work for a few days but don’t address the real psychological issues driving them. Better of with a good psychotherapist.

April 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

It’s too bad you didn’t stay for the entire event. The reason why it’s stretched out into 4 days is because there is so much material to cover. It’s not just “fluff” as you put it. It’s all designed and put into place to help keep the audience engaged for 10 hours straight for 4 days in a row. Do you realize how difficult it is to keep an audience of 10,000 people engaged for 10 hours a day for 4 days in a row? It’s also designed to help you retain the information a lot better.

As a matter of fact there was tons of energy in that auditorium for the entire event. That says a lot about how well the whole thing was put together. It’s not just a pump up feel good fest either. They gave out a lot of practical advice, and very knowledgeable in -depth information about human psychology, health, money, relationships, etc…

There was a woman there where Tony went really deep into her issues. He over delivered and went over the time he was supposed to. He really cares about delivering results and not just sticking to some schedule.

It’s great if you feel like you made the right choice, but I think it would have gone better if you had been able to go with an open mind. Honestly you get out of it what you put into it.

Anyways, great article it was interesting to read from your perspective.

April 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Tony’s words are like a great drunk! It sounds great Til the next day

Tony Tsao
April 13, 2017 at 1:53 am

Thank you Noah for sharing this honest opinion. I am one of your Sumolings on Appsumo, and really appreciate what you did there and here. I read most of TR’s books including the latest one about money, and yes he did inspire me but I long had doubts about this event, if it’s right for me, and today you cleared my doubts. If I go, I’d likely feel what you felt.

I think this dilemma and lesson is important for our fellow entrepreneurs and your honest sharing will benefits lots of people. Thank you!

p.s. I clicked on a FB sponsored post… did you spend money to promote this article? If so.. thank you!

April 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Very interesting read Noah. I, like most, have seen Tony in many videos, never in person though. I have thought about it many times and will probably end up going at some point.

I found your writing very informative and thoughtful. I haven’t seen anything else you have written, but I am going to look now, as you stayed positive and provided facts and stated when it was your opinion. Much appreciated.

While I didn’t read them all, I found that the people commenting were very respectful and have good heads on their shoulders. Bravo to you and your followers, very impressive to see such a fine group of people.

April 12, 2017 at 10:10 am

Hey Noah. I really enjoyed your post. I have felt the same way at some events but because of the hassle of the money back guarantee I have not been as bold as you to walk out but props for taking hold of your life and valuing your time enough to do so. I would like to connect with you via either e-mail, Facebook, or simple phone conversation. Don’t hesitate to reach out and let’s connect. wealthbeforeriches@gmail.com

Roger Kromphardt, MS.Ed. trainer, chess teacher,
April 12, 2017 at 12:41 am

The answers are within yourself, not in an external motivational speaker. he is there to superficially support everyone. The deep work only comes with a mentor/trainer/and self work. I liked your choices, and reasons.

Overcome Yourself
April 11, 2017 at 4:09 am

I enjoyed your articles. Even though I love Tony, his energy and what he does I really like the idea and your reasons for walking out.

April 10, 2017 at 11:25 pm

I paid $600 to attend, and not long after, as a result of what I learned at the seminar, I increased my income by 5x, met the woman of my dreams, got in the best shape of my life, and really took my life to extraordinary places. After that, I started learning from all sorts of other teachers in personal development, spirituality, health, psychology, etc. These days more and more people are bashing Tony Robbins. The fact is, he has helped countless individuals make seriously awesome changes in their life. If you already have a strong mindset you won’t get much from his seminar, but if you’re like I was, afraid in life, with no role models to learn from in your family or friends, he can really help you change your mental outlook and provide you with strategies on how to improve your life. Of course he is not for everyone, as his style is a bit rock star and showmanship, but if he helps people get results, I think that is pretty cool.

April 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

(At the risk of being too involved or not enough) We as humans all want one common thing to be cared about and to feel included. It is easy enough to make a huge group of people feel loved, but at the end of the day everyone has their own perspective on life, you can’t make anyone change the way they lead their life. It all really is an inside job and all the coaxing/coaching in the world is not going to work unless the individual wants to change. Sadly people are afraid to take the leap and make a successful life, the scars you speak of are very real and people are afraid of changing their lives, the scars need to be addressed and worked through to get the result a person really wants. There are many things that happen when a person wants to change their lives, some move to another city or State, some may break off a relationship, some may quit their job. These are just a few examples of how changing your life can be a really scary experience. What people need is people to listen to them and understand who they are and how they perceive their lives. People need people to know that someone cares if they succeed or not. Humans are a fragile lot and we do not take that into consideration when interacting with them. You can tell people what to do till you are blue in the face but you cannot make them accept the fact that they are indeed divine and wonderful. They have to learn it for themselves, its hard for people to love themselves. Sounds like you have learned to love yourself and have strong hold on life. I love that . . .

April 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

I’ve never been to a Robbins event though I’ve listened to much of his content for free on YouTube. I listen to many motivational teachers and there’s a common thread in the message – they just present it with their particular spin. Whatever speaks to you that you can apply to your life and put into action is what works-

April 10, 2017 at 1:49 am

Congratulations in making the choice which was right for you, and for sharing the rationale behind making that choice.
Stepping into your power – and owning your choice whatever that may looks like is critical to living a happy and successful life.

My own experience of UPW was life changing but the moment was created by an unknown guy in the firewall.

I’m a wheelchair user. At that time I could hardly manage a few steps. I completed the firewall and was thrilled. I looked behind me at the next participant. He was a double amputee who completed the firewalk on his hands.

In that moment I decided I would never let my disability limit my horizons. In booked to go to the USA by myself to attend Date With Destiny the next day. A huge leap of faith.
Since then my horizons have become unlimited. Living proof that if you believe you can’t is a done deal. If you believe you can anything is possible!!


Paul Kingsman
April 9, 2017 at 10:54 pm

As a speaker and pastor, totally correct with Robbins. If you watch “I’m Not Your Guru.” you’ll hear and see the language and tone he exhibits to a young lady and her mother. Any person who can talk to anyone, not just a female, but especially a lady like that, is sadly lacking in character. Amazed of many people can’t see right through this guy.

Angela Lopez
April 9, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Thank you for this honest, thought out article. I hope he actually reads this and considers your suggested changes. The comments here are so refreshing! Normally, I can only make it past a few comments on an article before they digress into juvenile name calling, or political bullshit. But here, I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading all the comments as everyone respected each other even if they disagreed, how there was genuine appreciation for another’s thoughts. Just intelligent, unpretentious people all around. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “where the hell have all these people been hiding?”

April 9, 2017 at 7:06 pm

In my 60 years in life I have tried tons of programs , psychics, counseling Horoscopes and more and nothing made me feel whole until I turned my life and will over to Jesus Christ I was basically an athiest living life how I wanted to He took away my guilt and shame and is still making me confident in him day by day I may not be rich money wise or have a great career but I found early on that those things don’t truly satisfy You always want more And I like the confidence that when I leave this earth that there is so much more I pray for people that struggle as I did with all this stuff It was an awful time of confusion and despair Try it you won’t be disappointed And you are already deeply loved you just have to believe and receive

Ross Mehan
April 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

I have faith in Jesus too, but I’ve spend many hours in church hearing pastors rant about how terrible man is and how horrible the earth is. What’s the point of living then? In my 61 years I’ve come to believe all that the greatest religion is kindness (which was in the compassionate heart of Christ) and God wants us to live boldly, to our full potential, and in service to those less fortunate.

Marvin Boyer
April 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Personal development starts on the inside, there is no magic formula. Robbins’ seminar serves as the match for those who need it to start the fire. The lesson I get from the article.

Nicole Johnson
April 9, 2017 at 9:25 am

You missed out on a great event! I was there too. Sure he sometimes talks in circles, but Ill take a bit of bad for the 1000 plus GREAT points. He gets us out of our comfort zone so we can expand.

April 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

I’ve been on one free Tony Robbins seminar 10 years ago and another his short presentation before movie about him. It was interesting, he is brilliant, but 2 times were enough for me to pay more money and put more time into it. Documentary movie is well done and proves that his seminars and he personally helped to many people. As for me, I found it is too much marketing and not sophisticated approach to people’s problems.

Tony Monk
April 8, 2017 at 8:51 pm

You did the right thing for yourself. I am not one to be touching people and jumping up and down like a lunatic either… Bob Proctor is the man for me… Tony is a bit much for me. To high strung, and to full of himself. Many people like that kind of thing, and than there are others that don’t care for that kind of thing, and I’m that other. I really think Tony is doing a fantastic thing on helping people, but lets be honest here $2000 $5000 75K that is absolutely ridicules

April 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I paid $600 to go and as a result, increased my income by 5x, met the woman of dreams, got in the best shape of my life, and am happier than ever. I would say my investment will be continuing to multiply my income for years to come. “Let your wallet invest in your mind, and pretty soon your mind will be investing in your wallet. Before I learned from Tony, I made $30,000 a year at a job I hated. That UPW seminar helped me break through my limiting beliefs about becoming an entrepreneur. Last month I made $15,000 in passive income that I will get for the rest of my life. Sure glad I payed to go to UPW. So, I don’t think he’s prices are ridiculous, only ridiculous for people that don’t value investing in themselves.

Roger williams
April 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I can relate. There comes a time in our devolement when we’re filled and feel complete.
Further devolement becomes more specialized and personal. We are no longer able to accept the stroking of the ego or the love. We’re no longer in and of the world, we are Ourselves .

April 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Wonderfully crafted, Noah, though it is a shame that you had to thoroughly defend your right to have a negative experience from TR supporters.

Huge kudos to you for creating your own experience to suit your needs.

**I have a proposal for you if you want to read to the end.**

I was in LA with you (I think I recognize Galen Center), and I stayed for the whole event. I have *many* of the same criticisms that you do (e.g. the upselling, name dropping, meandering topics), but thought you’d be curious to know why I (a physicist by training) thought that it was worth it, and for reasons I think you will appreciate.

Why does Navy Seal BUD/S training subject candidates to the most extreme physical and mental challenges they can imagine?

Why do you have to push your body and muscles outside their comfort zone to get stronger, faster, better?

Why do you have to jump up and down and scream and clap like a lunatic for 3 days?

Answer: Growth.

The human body & mind grow when stretched beyond their usual operating limits. Tony uses this principle deliberately, pushing people to do *something* that looks bizarre and cultish (like people chanting YES as they walk on hot coals.) And Tony’s unspoken assumption is that most people are operating waaaay below their true limits because of self-limiting beliefs.

That *something* he is doing: Training you how (not just telling you how) to take control of your mental & physical energy and put it in a positive, confident “peak state”. Whenever they tell you to, whether it is 9 am or 1 am, when the music goes on, you discover you can rock out as hard as you want. And you want to, because it feels good–much better than your regular ho-hum life of waiting for shit to happen *to* you instead of making shit happen.

And with this state-change skill practiced over 3 days–via constant “interruptions” of music and jumping and even the hugging to release oxytocin–many are able to control their emotions powerfully. Then, while guided by Tony, they can associate so much pain with their old limiting beliefs that they simply reject them subconsciously. They are simply to unpleasant to believe, and so are weakened without conscious effort. And then from a state of feeling powerful, replace these with helpful, empowering beliefs.

Simply, it is operant conditioning on a large scale. Unfortunately, the payoff didn’t happen until Day 3 with what he calls the (Charles) Dickens Process. It was astounding to realize that 9000 people did it, and quite transformative to experience firsthand. (But it doesn’t work for everybody, e.g. my wife.) I don’t know if you could do it in one day (personally I think not), but that alone made it worth it for me to try UPW.

Of course, I’m also a skeptic. Time will tell how useful it actually was. But that’s also up to me. And that’s the point. (It has been two weeks, and my energy, mood, and confidence are still high, and self-defeating thought patterns are still much weaker compared to before the event.)

**My proposal**: Do we need an event that focuses on these core principles and practical skills for the skeptical and worldly among us who can’t shake the feeling of the “snake oil sales pitch”? Can we build an intensely emotional experience (because its needed to address emotional baggage) that also respects our intellectual side?

Potentially useful tools (for me):
* ENERGY is life — you’ve read power of full engagement, so you know what I mean

* move your body & mind to good music — I’m a dancer so maybe I’m biased, but I think this is key to maintaining good energy throughout the day.

* pain/pleasure conditioning — don’t fight your subconscious beliefs and impulses, reprogram them. Another tactic for habit formation. Efficacy is TBD, but I’m optimistic.

* goal visualization/meditation — solidify decisions into commitments, made it surprisingly easy to go a week without caffeine or dessert.

* gratitude meditation — a cure for anxiety and fear. start with just 3, 1 small stupid thing. Or feel as many grateful, proud, and fun memories as you can for an extra boost.

* deep breathing — check out videos on box breathing from Mark Divine of SealFit/CrossFit

* drink water — I feel stupid, but I was severely dehydrated before attending and this shook me out of that

April 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

This is a reminder to trust in myself and not wait for the “perfect” circunstance to improve and heal. I have to take the knowledge from ny readings and actually apply it..that’s when the real work comes in. Thank you soooooo much for sharing your experience!

April 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

I respect your point of view and agree with most of what you had to say. Except for the very last quote, I am a mother of two young children and I would never advise them to quit anything. You can change techniques, change outlooks, change courses, even walk out of a $2k personal development seminar, but you can not quit! And if you think about you didn’t quit, you created a new personal development day! New perspective, new way of trying to achieve the same goal/outcome. Don’t be a quitter. What if Jesus said, “Ah, this cross is too heavy to bear, these people will never change their sinning ways, this isn’t what I thought it would be, I’m outty!” What if our founding fathers gave up and didn’t fight for us to be a free and independent nation. There are so many more examples of how persevering overcame obstacles and lead to a victory and or greatness. So I’m with you when you say you’ve got to go with your gut, your gut was saying ” TR’s UPW seminar wasn’t worth the value of spending $2k + dollars on.” So you walked out, that wasn’t quitting. That was you changing course and making a new plan for your personal development training. Which is what a winner would do! Be blessed young man and I hope you achieve whatever you set out too. Change your perspective, change your techniques, but please oh please don’t ever quit until you make it!

Alan Macgregor
April 8, 2017 at 3:53 am

Interesting perspective and honest response which I’m sure will
Get you varied responses. I’m all for positivity and empowerment which Tony has but also feel the cost and the description of what you experienced would cause me to walk out as well. So well done for sticking to your principles and much success for the future.

April 8, 2017 at 3:50 am

Very interesting perspective. I thought about going thus seminar, but decided against it for financial reasons. After reading this, I think I made the right choice. I don’t like superficial fluff and massages from strangers either.

April 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Really interesting… it’s the cult of celebratory… 10.000 is to big for really inner transformation but the rush of being in a large group.. I was very heavily pushed by his advertising team. I don’t believe in Guru s… interesting reading hour take on his events. Good on ya

Mark James
April 7, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Tony depends on using mesmerizing moments. If you read about mesmerism & just how powerful herd mentality & mass psychology can be, you’ll see his angle. Jim Morrison did the same stuff in concerts. Preachers do it every Sunday. Doctors can be spellbinding to their patients. If you feel you’re in the presence of genius, how wrong would it be not to listen & participate? Then once you’re committed to the experience? It’s easier to write the check for that next seminar. The next session with your shrink. The next camp runaway with your guru.

April 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

Great, honest, engaging post! Thank you! Only thing I can recommend regarding your future goals- it’s hard to be in a great relationships, in personal life or at work by putting yourself and your feelings first, getting out of yourself will give a real sense of happiness:))) Having kids, charity work, done with your own hands prove the point by my modest opinion. I wish you to find a real Love of your life , who will put you and your passions first and have many healthy and happy bambinos with her:) God Bless!!!

April 7, 2017 at 8:35 am

Thank you!! Always had thoughts about maybe or if I could….. thank you!!

Paul Jansen (in the Netherlands)
April 7, 2017 at 4:47 am

Thank you!

Daniel Pankew
April 7, 2017 at 4:22 am

I have to concur your Robbins assessment…but i do appreciate the seminar you did on this post….thankyou and your team for making this.

April 7, 2017 at 4:15 am

I never liked toni robbins he is commercial speaker never been to any of his events he does not inspire me i get every thing i want by chanting NAM MYHO RENGE KYO wich will give u every thing u want u have the power indside u to change and have what u want its nichrens buddism its very powerful more than anything TR will say or do and its free

April 6, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Really appreciate your integrity, honesty and stepping into your own personal truth. That is so powerful and I hear you and can relate to many of the things you shared. Insightful and valuable sharing, thank you.

April 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Howled at Tony clapping! Omg You’re hilarious!! Love your raw writing. Re: TR, even though I think Tony is brilliant for being one the ‘firsts’ to write in the area of performance psychology I’ve struggled listening to him and I’m generally not into his somewhat condescending rah rah so I, too, would easily ‘play hooky’ to grab beer with ya ? great job!!

April 6, 2017 at 11:09 am

I attended his event 30 years ago. Read all his books and watched his videos on YouTube! Took his free Disk test . Had a free coaching telephone call. He is a good source of information. I will not attend another of his seminars . It comes down to dreaming , purpose, goal setting and taking action and refining and resetting your actions.

April 6, 2017 at 4:59 am

Great article! I am going to UPW London in a few weeks! I don’t agree with the way Tony works, but still I want to experience it and learn from it.

I believe he has such a powerful mind that he just focuses on what he wants to achieve, but doesn’t heal his deep rooted traumas. It’s like putting some nice paint on a rotten wall.
We have to go through all our fears & pain to learn the lesson behind it. If we keep supressing our negativity, every time we have a weak moment it keeps following us. Only when we accept all that is can we truly free ourselves.

Tony is not intentionally manipulating people, because he is truly convinced of what he is doing… I love his passion, his power, his dedication! I have a lot of respect for him, and I can learn from him to really go for my goals. The only thing is that he doesn’t see the bigger picture and therefor he is kind of misleading people by making them dependent on him and acting like a guru. (And I’ve been in this guru trap myself in India, living in an ashram, a guru having power over me in much more advanced levels than Tony, but because of this experience I can clearly recognize similar patterns)

Although Tony is not aware of this, so I hope I get a chance to show him with love…

I really hope I get a chance in London to look deeply into Tony’s eyes, or give him a hug… to open his heart, because I see a lot of pain in him below the surface…

April 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I have watch peers’ infatuation with him for many years. It is like a cult & few seem different after they attend hisprograms.
It reminds me so much of the 60s EST programs.

April 5, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Bravo for you for being real and stepping up (and out!)! Hey I’m sure he has merit. I’m just not a fan of the “Snake Oil Salesman” approach. And I agree…One Day. Plenty! Get rid of the BS fluff.

Harry Beam
April 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I didn’t work out either I called up one of his associates told her that it was just about all over I was about to lose my house I had a serious back injury I couldn’t work anymore I needed a way out I had $1,000 and was three months behind on my house payment she convinced me to spend the money on the seminar it would change my whole world all the money I would need would appear out of nowhere with just a little work in the right coaching I fell for it with a massive toothache from a tooth that was about to fall out because it hadn’t been taken care of when I was in Vietnam I went anyway I had to have break the house I was living in I bought for one reason to resell it they been around to try to buy at the neighborhood a few times before before I bought the house I knew it was a good investment so I went to the seminar expecting a miracle instead she told us at the end of the seminar that the way she got us in there where’s to use what she told us it wouldn’t to be better at what you do it was to teach you the ability to con others to do what we wanted them to. I was in total shock when I left I really knew it was over there was no money to do anything with so I went home cancel the check for the seminar and spent the money buying airbrush equipment to try to do an up artwork to save my house it never worked it took most of the Thousand to buy the equipment and they came and kick me out of my house no big deal you say well that house is gone now they paved over it it’s part of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium parking lot if she had done what she said I would have made at least a hundred thousand profit. That’s why you would never see me in the Anthony Robbins seminar he’s forgotten he was a big fat ass nerd when is buddy come and talk to him into going to NLP seminar and that’s where he got the training program all you idiots to pay him thousands of dollars end of story f*** him.

April 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Great comment. You’re probably over developed and therefore past the state of excitement. Simply “happy clapping” doesn’t work anymore. Good for you!

April 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Marketing & Sales 101: KNOW YOUR MARKET. Which is not you or me, in these seminars. So what? I’ll always love Tony- he’s a super human.

Jon Jones
April 5, 2017 at 11:27 am

I can relate…I think it’s interesting that we often look for answers, and then when someone offers a bundle of them…we then analyze it and say, “nah, that’s not what I need.”

Patricia Ducher
April 5, 2017 at 4:43 am

Congratulations! Great move. Just outta the Cracker Jack box personal development coach whose impersonal, addressing an audience of 10,000 who drank the Koolaide, go figure! In-depth up close one on one personal development coaches charge $50 to $ $250 per session. Any SELF RESPECTING, self motivated, “self loving ” individual doesn’t need to go to a rah rah convention to get a massage by his or her neighbor, most highly skilled reputable massage therapists are available by appointment.

Looks to me like you made great strides in your personal development by walking out. And maybe next time you consider giving $2000 bucks to a ” celebrity guru ” for ” personal development pearls ” of wisdom you WAKE UP to the fact that he’s DUPED 9,999 people per weekend into personally developing him , while filling his pockets, buying him a jet and fuel, with their own hard earned cash ! PT Barnum said it best…There’s a sucker born every day! On with the show Tony, leaving on jet plane, don’t know when you’ll be back again…And I prefer to keep it that way! Have a great PD day !

April 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Awesome article, Noah. I really like how honest you were in showing the upside and downside of TR and other self-help events. Really enjoyed this!

Christopher Barber
April 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Wow. Interest thread. I enjoyed the article too.

I like Tony. I enjoyed a single day event I attended 20 years ago, a bit after reading his early books. I never saw Tony as saying he came up with any of this stuff. He readily concedes he read and studied the works of others (as I have) That being said, he packaged it a way that got popular attention. Yes, there is fluff and hoopla, but it is a tool. A tool that exposes some who may not be exposed to such ideas otherwise.

I’m sure it was one of his original overnight infomercials that first exposed me to it all. I have since selectively used his works, along with others, as useful tools.

I happily moved past the fluff and even enjoyed some of it, as I chuckled at my self for getting caught up in it… but, I also am really happy I read his work (as well as Zigs, Earl Nightengale et al) and am able to embrace some of the tools for living as solid and very useful life skills.

April 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm

There is one saviour and you can find him if you seek him with all your heart mind and soul. Tr is not wise he is a man who denies God, if you want to fix issues read the bible and ask Jesus into your life. All that you need comes free of charge it just requires a choice on your part! For God so loved the world that he gave his only son ( Jesus) that who ever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life! True change and Hope comes from a relationship and knowing God not from a sales pitch!

Patricia Ducher
April 5, 2017 at 4:54 am

Amen brother !

April 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Thank You.

April 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

I’ve always had a tough time listing to motivational speakers. They all seem fake. They all seem cheesy. They all seem to pick on me and I become part of the seminar! LOL. Really enjoyed your article. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one “not getting it.”

April 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Knowing what u do and don’t want and having the force to embrace it or walk way if that’s what compels you is the best empowerment a person can have. Good for you on making a choice and acting on it.

April 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Can learn something from any person, place or thing. That little voice on the inside must be listened to.

Philip Geffner
April 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

Hopefully I’m not over-the-top negative but the first time I saw him I said no this is the last man I want to learn anything from ever and I don’t know what that was about but I still have that feeling when I see him and I can’t explain it but I’ve never been a conformist either so I’m not seeking what he selling so that’s my issue which is a non-issue. I don’t understand who could feel attracted to this giant human and no don’t touch me mr. Stranger whoever you are just don’t touch me if you don’t mind and I don’t have intimacy problems thank you. I always love but there’s nothing more distasteful then a seminar.

April 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

You are the kind of guy I would love to hike with.

I love your clarity. But I wonder: if Deida couldn’t inspire you on the relationship issue, then who could? Or should I ask: are you looking for shallow or deep?

Or I just don’t understand how that question would lead you to TR ?

April 4, 2017 at 8:53 am

I have heard horrible things about Tonya retreats. I, the sweat tents where people have died, and were told to stick it out. And feet severely burned from walking across burning hot coals. No Medical aid for miles. He does this out in the desert far away from civilization. His thought is to brainwash people and to make them follow him like a Messiah. I say if you are thinking of going on a retreat, Google this CREEP first! It’s all about money at the cost of your life!!!

Michael Versailles
April 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

I see your points and agree with your actions..Some humans know before attending an event of this nature the answers they seek before they even know they’re seeking it.
I`m still a nobody myself but i hope to change it by myself..
As did you.
As for Mr. T.. well I could never afford to attend anything of this nature I believe he is a pretty Epic human being.
Perhaps one day I can fist bump with both of you`s 😉
Cheers mate

Willo ~ WilloLovesYou.com
April 4, 2017 at 7:03 am

Hi Noah – Heads up, his name is Gay Hendricks (fix the spelling of his name), author of The Big Leap, and a beloved mentor/teacher of mine. https://willolovesyou.com/love-gratitude/

I’m technically a Big Leap Coach, certified through their incredible programs. I say technically because I don’t use that as a title as much, but I highly recommend everyone read the book! It’s first on my list: https://willolovesyou.com/books

Deborah Davies
April 4, 2017 at 6:11 am

I would have done exactly what you did. The acting and Tony’s comments hit me as superficial and overdone. Would not waste my time watching this egotistical actor or motivational speaker. Cha-Ching$$$$$

April 4, 2017 at 5:43 am

Your story of the seminar really made me giggle.
I was on the fence about going to TR and now this has confirmed my gut feeling. From what ive watched on Netflix, YouTube and niw reading your story, i could just see it all in my head. I think maybe he’s gotten lost with creating so much energy the seminar is fluffing around far too much.
Thankyou.. i enjoyed your read

April 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Interesting!! Good job

Sandro de Rosa
April 3, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Tony Robbins refunded you?? I’m still waiting for a £134 refund for a double debit on my VISA card I claimed before his eponymous Robbins Research International Limited went bust 30 years ago and he didn’t even offer a voucher for goodwill. Just “not our responsibility” was the mantra. I dropped him for coaches with more integrity. You have talent to get 2k back. Congratulations.

April 3, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I’ve bailed on a 3 day workshop at the end of day 1, an event that I think was taking its cues from TR. It was all “dance even if you don’t feel like it, repeat after me, gesture the way I say,” basically non-stop cultish indoctrination.

I was exhausted at the end of a day of it and knew there was no chance I could handle two more days of such intense manipulation, even if I was being manipulated “for my own good.”

Meanwhile, there was about an hour of real value mixed in. How I wish they could have made a day of just that value and skipped all the indoctrination crap.

To me, quality material sells itself. If people need to be indoctrinated to upsell them, maybe better to let that sale go. But then, I’m not a multi-millionaire like TR (or the folks who lead the seminar I attended), so maybe they’re the ones getting this one right, not me.

Frank Galea
April 3, 2017 at 5:45 pm


Thank you for writing so clearly and evenhandedly about your experience. You spent a lot of time covering potential objection of zealots before getting to your point, I don’t think that was entirely necessary because what you have to say sounds valid, almost inevitable. To most of your negative comments, I would have to attribute them to the format of the event. I am not seeing the point in attending a seminar with 10,000 people seeking a genuine personal growth experience. That is just a performance or a ceremony, at a price tag higher than a Rolling Stones show. There is no way that you are going to get real dialogue or ability to process one-on-one the issues that you are there for. From what I’ve read, Robbins came out of NLP background and that drew from study of one-on-one therapy. It seems that the business imperatives, reaching the largest audience that would pay the greatest amount, are prioritized over maximizing what any participant gets from the experience. Congratulations on doing what you needed to do to get to a place of no regrets.


Bob Roizman
April 3, 2017 at 12:03 am

Back some years ago there was a very hot fad for a whole bunch of self awareness and upbeat courses like EST, GESTALT, ARNOLD SEGAL and conversations with a whole bunch of GURUS. All of which are mostly long gone. They all seem to prey on people with emotional issues. All of them charged exorbitant fees and hooked them on additional follow up sessions for even more money. Tony found a niche with his charismatic personality that still preys on the same type of people, but at even more expensive seminars with the same follow up hook to keep them spending, so he can enjoy a very wealthy lifestyle and a private jet. There’s very little difference between his method and all those so called religious scam artists that suck in people for the “money”. He’s able to do it with ten thousand at a time, but the game is still the same. Like all the others, it becomes addictive with high pressure sales pitches, but in the end, very few people with too many self emotional issues do not benefit by it.

April 2, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I feel using Tony Robins name in a negative title has given you what you wanted. Exposure! However if the level of skill you want from TR was visible in your own speech I’d have understood what youre trying to imply. Unfortunately on this occasion it didn’t.
Best of luck and I hope you can show your positives more than someone else’s negative next time you type.

Sandro de Rosa
April 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Batteries produce energy because they have positive and negative poles and calling a spade a spade is grounding and using it to shovel some bullshit is refreshing to the soul.

April 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I gave up on TR years a ago. I use to hire him and his staff for my selves force, but the meetings turned into a sales seminar for Tony and i had my agents tell me too much see see in the presentations.

April 2, 2017 at 10:35 am

This kind of seminar is not for everybody, when you invest money and longer days, expectations from the attendees become higher and top of the mind will always be whether each moment will be worth it. The personal development philosophy has started with TR mentor Jim Rohn and many can just pick up some additional great things from Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, TR… Some of their life changing teachings are centered on this 10 words -‘If it is to be, it is up to me’. We are in charge of our life, our moods, our emotions, our mindset, so we can’t rely on others to motivate us, we are in charge of our own motivation, we can’t blame our parents, our neighbors, the economy and all the people around us for what we have become. They are all master of GOALS, though Brian tracy said that it is not the goal that matters, it is the person that we need to become that matters most. I have learned from them that we can be a better version of ourselves everyday, it should be a self-imposed commitment so I buy their books, listen to their CDs and watch their video and read 1-2 hours a day to keep me sane and inspired.

Your decision Noah to walk out is something you decided for yourself, great sharing.

Sheelagh mulcair
April 2, 2017 at 9:45 am

I know very little about Tony robbins but have completed a life coaching course recently and understand he is a guru in his field. I looked at some of his videos .. saw some exciting things but also saw him call a woman a hoare .. a hoare because of her relationship with her husband.. she kept smiling and seemed happy with what he was saying and suggesting. I thought it was disgusting, unnecessary , crude and completely unnecessary. When someone becomes so successful they can delude themselves into thinking they’re not in it for the money, and are vital for others wellbeing. If this is so they should take great care they don’t use people in any way , waste their time, make people dependent on them.. I imagine is difficult not to get carried away with ones own mantra. People are sometimes really desperate for something outside themselves to help them. I don’t like Tony’s style, I don’t like the sound of his events. But if it helps people in the the long term have happier lives that is good but surely he doesent have to charge so much or turn it into a fanfare. You are right talking over problems individually is so important.. we’ll done on your choice .. well done on walking out ??

Martyn King
April 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

To get the most out of self help seminars you need to be the one on the stage. It’s all a con folks.

Rafael Aguilo
April 2, 2017 at 8:50 am

If you don’t learn that you have to LOVE YOURSELF first, develop some sense of purpose, even if it’s a hobby, instead of waiting for others to love you, validate and complete your existence; you’ll be chasing that “love” like a hamster in the wheel, and paying handsomely for it. Like Iyas has pointed out, you become a “junkie” searching for the next fix.

April 2, 2017 at 5:12 am

I’ve watched his Netflix documentary with a couple of friends, I’m Not Your Guru.

It was powerful and intense, but I would NOT be able to attend such an event. Spirituality and deep inner work needs time, silence and contemplation. You simply cannot get a quick fix without putting in the work. Getting such a high for a 2-3 days is superficial spirituality. From personal experience, it takes weeks, months and years to truly implement spiritual ideas deep into your subconscious. People go at different speeds, starting at different levels, but overall, deep work requires time, practice and patience.

Loud speakers, catchy phrases, massages with neighbors, loud music and dancing may be entertaining and it might produce results, but I don’t get the feeling, from watching the I’m Not your Guru documentary, that they last.

I would NEVER pay 2000 $ to 5000 $ for a ticket to see Robbins. It’s useless. All people need to realize is that meditation, being still, affirmations, looking inward, eating well, exercising, reading self-help/spiritual books and having great sex lol is really all you need.

There, I saved you a Tony Robbins well over priced seminar 😉

April 1, 2017 at 11:00 pm

No matter who is sellin’ ya that whole ‘YOU CAN HAVE A BETTER LIFE’ bu’shit trip; they are just peddlin’ what I call ‘personal fulfillment porn’. Ya get this temporary kick; then when the satisfaction of the fantasy wears off, in no time at all you go someplace else to get some more of the same. It’s playing on basic human needs, and cashing in big time. Religions do it, cults do it, governments do it. They are all out ‘pimpin’ their orthodoxy onto the confused and vulnerable.

April 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm

It confirms what I already susspected and even more. I know from my own experiences with these events that it does not last. It can give you a boost if you are ready to believe in your own ego power. For me it does not work . I work with my higher self power and hope that it reaches my ego one day again. My own power does not need inleaching it is gonne and used in that way. One fantastic event was a Harv Eker signed program Mission to Millionswhere there was constantly time to share with others and got deep into this subject of exploring and finding your Mission, Vision en Passion. I was able to coach there and we had a marvelous time ! I have enough of these selling American Blueprints . We are all forced to work with it so it seems. I am allergicc. I hope i will find my way. I am not patticular pleased with your way perhaps of promoting your own programs ? By this post? Lol

April 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Before I judge I ask myself can I do better

April 26, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Or, different.

April 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Very well written and truthfull.

Carol Seymour
April 1, 2017 at 5:21 pm

I resonate will with you. I don’t like the fluff…treating people like cows, instead of thinking individuals. Even though, some folks in the audience may like all the dancing and being controlled by Tony Robbins, I would have felt cheated. $2,000 is a forturne to pay to see a celebrity, just to make him richer. WOW…I wondered if Tony will ever be featured on American Greed someday.

Po Lindvall
April 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Great job! I just wonder why not a lot more people walk out on these mas psychosis / brain washing time wasters… Re people so superficial? What you saw in Tony I would call ego centric, would you stand to be with a friend who is so ego centric for any period of time? I sure wouldn’t and I have stopped doing so…I am here referring to a former friend who is a T Robbins fan and brain washed beyond recognition… I do know of some more people who have walked out… after 15 minutes, it didn’t take them longer to see through this scam. And there are horror stories of people who have ‘gone’ really bad due to his seminars, this should be adressed much more and maybe this should actually be banned if people who have suffered came forward. All gratitude and praise to you for walking out and writing about your experience! It is ok to say NO to BS 🙂 Po Lindvall

Russ Perry
April 1, 2017 at 9:21 am

I saw TR for the first time last month at the ClickFunnels conferences. I had the total
opposite experience and loved the entire event. It was also only 4 hours long! You nailed it.

April 1, 2017 at 2:14 am

Super honest and understandable!

April 1, 2017 at 12:31 am

In this case, since you quit, you did not try at least one new thing. And while you perfectly describe a few of the things that the weekend entails- it is exactly that – a very few things. Reading the contents is not reading the book- or attending the weekend.

March 31, 2017 at 6:05 pm

I’m sorry but you are a stupid idiot crying for attention … why in the heck would you pay all that money and invest time if you did not like Tony Robbins in the first place? How incredibly stupid you are! Wasting time and money and write a critical piece to what…. make others feel bad they wasted money too? Instead of being grateful for having the money and time to go, you brag how you know it all…. blah blah blah… I admire Tony Robbins for having the stamina to do what he loves all these years and still has the energy and moves ahead with all the technology… You obviously have no love in your heart! ps… I only went to a one day seminar and was able to break through a piece of plywood with my hand… I am still in awe how I did it… It showed me I could break through fear and accomplish anything I wanted!

April 2, 2017 at 3:31 pm

See there is what I am talking about a complete mind wash and following like sheep for less intelligent that are incapable of self motivation.

March 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

I appreciate your perspective, thank YOU! Wondering if you’ve ever tried and/or would be willing to comment on the Hoffman Process? I know participants & facilitators of The Process & understand they go deep. Seems like you are someone who is grounded & would give a balanced perspective on it. I’m curious, but have never been. I’ve *never* been curious about going to a TR event & you just confirmed why. Thanks! 🙂

March 31, 2017 at 4:37 pm

You woke up to your own truth, needs and path! That’s what is important! Congratulations!

March 31, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Is it possible to talk to you personally?

Noah Kagan
March 31, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Waves back 🙂

March 31, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Brilliant! Love your writing. Hits the nail on the head. I had a very similar experience a couple of weeks ago, as I attended a seminar of a highly acclaimed speaker who also speaks in front of and guides thousands and thousands of people at a time. Nice guy. Smart guy. He must have studied Tony Robbins because he does all of this as well; he is basically a bragging cheerleader. What he does he does well. But it is show business. And if I need that I will go see a movie. And the everyone responding at the same time and doing the hoopla together and feeling like a little sheep out in the herd is not my cup of tea. So I left. Yes I felt like a party pooper. But just leaving the room I felt like I could breathe again. And it had only been a few hours. When I got outside into the sunshine I felt like I had just been released from prison. So thanks to the Seminar I left, knowing I will never ever go back to any of these, I am actually happier with my life and all my projects and am now diving in harder than ever before. I now know that all I need is me.
So maybe it was all worth it after all.

Carmel Merryman
March 31, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Good stuff right here! I too am a fan and when I hear myself say, “I’d love to attend Tony Robbins events! ” My next line of thinking generally asks some great personal questions regarding whether those funds would better serve my interests somewhere else and don’t I already have all the information and resources available and what is it I think I’m going to get from going, and perhaps that’s the very thing I must begin giving myself and practicing today! I appreciated your experience and thank you for sharing it!

Claudia Raymond
March 31, 2017 at 11:32 am

Wow! Great comment! I would love to hear more on what you do.

Dahlia Graham
March 31, 2017 at 9:08 am

Empowering to make your own informed decision and act on it without worrying what anyone thinks. No event with 10,000 people can truly have the personal touch I would need. I too am uncomfortable with all the rah, rah. I like to get to the meat of it with specific actionable steps to get to where I want to go. Love his earlier work, just too commercial for me now. I do highly respect him and looking from where I am, financially, cannot criticise him.

March 31, 2017 at 2:13 am

I have been listening to Tony’s motivational seminars for many years. Your testimonial is most honest and insightful. Thank you for sharing!

March 31, 2017 at 1:19 am

This review parallels my experience very well. Although I did commit to the point of being a fire walker, if only to test my conviction to his show. Ultimately, the people I regarded as overcommitted really worried me. There really no reason to go back.

March 30, 2017 at 8:05 am

Great read and insight!

Chris Alexander
March 30, 2017 at 7:55 am

I was given 2 months to live at 21 back in 2012 (leukemia) and I found myself drawn to Tony’s material and his “horoscope” way of speaking. I was dealing with much the much deeper issues you speak of and needed that endorphin release.

But now at 25 after 4 years of hell and a bone marrow transplant 5 admissions to hospice and 3 multi week comas I’ve found my inner zen and stronger faith! I tried listening to his work again and couldn’t make it through 30 mins let alone 3 days.

But it doesn’t mean I have anything against him he serves a specific purpose to people dealing with shit and cannot find enough inner strength to get themselves out so they rely on quick fix promises and boosts of endorphins to feel good in the moment and it gives them an idea of what they want to feel.

Mag L
March 30, 2017 at 6:41 am

To me your reaction is very normal and logical 🙂 🙂 You bought a product that did not meet your expectations, do you “returned” the product … The only thing I do not understand is why you were embarrassed ??? Wish you a magical day:-)

Olivia Lyle
March 30, 2017 at 5:46 am

You’re great. You’re great you’re great. Thank you xo

March 30, 2017 at 4:08 am

You don’t know who I am, and I don’t know if you’ll read this…but for $500 USD at Landmark Forum you get deep and you’d have access to the relationships of your dreams as a redult. What I love about Landmark Worldwide is that they understand, demonstrate and operate wholy honouring their own distinctions with integrity. Integrity plus quantum theory is the key to the universe. Please post your review of the Forum.

March 30, 2017 at 2:42 am

Noah, Curious did they give you a refund right away with no hassles?
Larry E.

Etty Jansen
March 29, 2017 at 11:47 pm

I agree totaly!! Had the same ecxpierience even before seeing Tony for real, went to a few succes resources meeting, had the same feelings there!

carole asswad
March 29, 2017 at 6:59 pm

thank you for sharing yourself // you sound like me! you have courage babe xx

March 29, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Three weeks ago I would never have stoped in my tracks to read this Bolgg.

Three weeks ago I was offered a free a Tony Robins seminar ticket ! Wow amazed , believed in the offer . Signed up was told in an email I had a ticket for half of the day’s seminar. I was excited. I could never afford to go to any of his events. Yet I have spent hours on YouTube listening and watching Tony. I’m particularly interested in Tony’s face to face work , which without doubt is deep and transforming . In impressed with Tony’s ability to use words , metaphors and symbolic actions to help rewirer the people he works with .

Two days after being told I had a ticket a further email came reminding me , then another and another, I revived 10 emails and with two days to go before the seminar date . I was told 50 places so get thier really as I might not get a place and I was informed it was to hear one of Tony’s team members speak !!

I felt stupid naive and set up to attend a session where if I got in I would probable be told multiple times that I should be attending the larger full seminar at the end of April.

In short it was ” marketing” marketing! Marketing!! It is Tony at his fullest and most persuasive designed to get me to spend anything from 1,00 to 9,000 to get a place .

I will never pay out for a seminar now! Even if I was suddenly to become rich I would not go. Thanks to YouTube I can have a a date with destiny any time I want !

Still think Tony has amazing skills an amazing mission and a love and care for people that is real. So thank god for those aspects of him .

March 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I was at UPW Palm Beach a year ago. I enjoyed it but not the product pushing. I also made a decision on Day 1 that I was not afraid to walk on fire, but the eerie feeling of the crowd all marching out there to do something I know many did not come to do, creeped me out. I did not follow the crowd. I was exhausted and went to my beautiful hotel nearby. I didn’t come to walk on fire and it was not going to determine the level of transformation I would make. I am astonished at the shaming encouraged. At the end of 4.5 days, I was READY to leave. No interest in attending again or to attend any other. It was an experience.

March 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Sounds like you might benefit greatly from participating in a Landmark Education Forum (Curriculum for Living). Probably 100x more powerful and transformative. (My apologies if this suggestion was already posted by someone else)

March 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

He strikes me as being on cocaine, a strong motivational speaker with a TON of energy….. and yes, his courses can be ‘intoxicating’ for those who see him as a God and need to go back over and over again to get a heaping helping of his ‘motivational energy” at the trough of his enormous ego. However….. he lacks substance , and any real measurable and specific guidelines and answers that go beyond generalizing. He’s working people if you ask me….. at least those who desperately need his brand of ‘motivational speaking”. Not impressed. He’s like a dose of cocaine…… incredibly inspiring and energizing and motivated … but once you come down…….. you’re still left with either trying to figure it out on your own…… or going back to the trough to try to find that ‘miracle’ you think he’s going to give you to make you successful. All hype and little substance. Sorry .

Michelle G.
March 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

I too want to do the deep work and don’t find seminars like Tony’s rewarding. There’s no way someone can feel their emotions with that much stimulus around them. If you like a deeper dive into healing I recommend Dr. Barbara Deangelis. Her seminars are much smaller, you dive much deeper and do the real healing.

Thank you for the honest post.

March 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

I’m not necessarily a fan and I have never been to one of his seminars though I have seen them on TV. I do look up to Tony for some of the things he does and has been able to accomplish. The thing about the “hoopla” massaging, dancing, etc. There is a very important reason for that. It is an NLP technique. The reason why some people do walk out of those seminars “transformed” is partly because of the energy they feel there. The way it works is that if you have significant insight or ah-ha moment and that happens while you are in a heightened state then it creates an impact and sometimes actually creates lasting change. In the same way that trauma occurs when you experience something negative while in a heightened state of fear…then that can cause lasting harmful effects. So he is very intentionally creating this environment…same goes for all the repetition. They are all NLP techniques. He is essentially trying to have an NLP session with thousands of people at a time.

Patricia mahofgin
March 29, 2017 at 10:50 am

I have actually had the same experience with TR…but never shared it because he DOES awaken new people to their personal growth…but maybe we have grown past this part to the next part…empowered…would like more of what to do now with our new empowerment.

March 29, 2017 at 9:32 am

You have to be a very sad and intellectually challenged person to even consider seeing someone like Tony Robbins. I remember seeing him for a first time in a YouTube video and took me 11 seconds to understand he is a scam artist and I am a guy of average intelligence. What amazes me is that there are so many people in the USA who listen to people like that.

Rod B
March 29, 2017 at 5:53 am

I have attended 2 UPW’s & 1 DWD. My wife attended 1 UPW and hated it and left. At my 2nd UPW event we had to chat with a stranger and tell them what we would change about ourselves. My stranger said he wanted to give up drugs, get married and start a business. I had to tell him whether I believed him or not. I told him he was unconvincing and I doubted his ability to follow through.

Five years later I’m at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, 1000 kilometers from the last event in Sydney. A guy walks up to me and says “Do you remember me?” I had to apologise and say “No.” He reminds me about having to convince me about giving up drugs, getting married and start a business. He wanted to thank me for telling him he was unconvincing and I did not believe him.
He told me he had not taken drugs since that meet, had married, had two adorable children and now owned two different businesses. He said he owed it all to TR & me, and he vigously thanked me for calling his bluff, as that was the moment his life turned around.
What a huge buzz that was. It is pretty special to have that type of positive impact on a persons life and of course to receive personal thanks from them. I loved all the TR seminars and I still listen to his tapes. In saying that I can also see that it would not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Rod B
March 29, 2017 at 5:50 am

I have attended 2 UPW’s & 1 DWD. My wife attended 1 UPW and hated it and left. At my 2nd UPW event we had to chat with a stranger and tell them what we would change about ourselves. My stranger said he wanted to give up drugs, get married and start a business. I had to tell him whether I believed him or not. I told him he was in convincing and I doubted his ability to follow through.

Five years later I’m at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, 1000 kilometers from the last event impn Sydney. A guy walks up to me and says “Do you remember me?” I had to apologise and say “No.” He reminds me about having to convinc me about giving up drugs, get married and start a business. He wanted to thank me for telling him he was unconvincing and I did not believe him.
He told me he had not taken drugs since that meet, had married, had two adorable children and now owned two different businesses. He said he owed it all to TR & me, and he vigously thanked me for calling his bluff, as that was the moment his life turned around.
What a huge buzz that was. It is pretty special to have that type of positive impact on a persons life and of course to receive personal thanks from them. I loved all the TR seminars and I still listen to his tapes. In saying that I can also see that it would not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Simon Bull
March 29, 2017 at 4:36 am

Geeesus if Tony Robbins still likes you after this then I would be VERY surprised. Or maybe he would actually respect you. Hmmm . . . anyway I think it’s very courageous what you have done

March 28, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Self help seminars are not for everyone. I find that Tony Robbins discusses what he thinks people want to hear and in turn it benefits him. If you walked out you did what was best for you. It’s your life and path no one can judge and sounds like you did the right thing.

No one is responsible for anyone’s happiness unhappiness or struggles but ourselves and when we try to step out of ourselves for answers we loose because no one can solve them and make decisions for us.

So Tony’s involved with high powered people and has a jet it doesn’t make him an expert in what people need it makes people think he’s a god and it’s not what most people need.

March 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Very good read. I’ve never met Tony, and frankly don’t think he’s worth $4000 to tell us what we already know. He does brag alot about his connections with world leaders, then says they “act like their sh*t don’t stink!”. Nonetheless, would love to chat to HIM (not listen to recycled info from his books).

Rua Wetters
March 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm

I do not resonate with TR
I know he has done a great many of presentations
To me he is too egotistical & does not come from the heart
It’s all mechanical

March 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Tony is a con artist

March 28, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for putting into words what I’m aware I’m going, and for some reason feel propelled to do, but I’m not sure what the reason is.

I, like you, like TR. I like his videos and enthusiasm. I don’t like his approach and feavour but I sought to overlook it with the idea I could still learn something.

I’m now paybig a coach of my own and at the end of each session think a framed chat with a mate who can and wants to go deep would be a better emotional and ecomonic use of my time.

You’ve validated that thought.
Thank you x

March 28, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Love this post! Thank You for your honesty and courage. I recently attended a Workshop on giving Workshops and had a similar experience. So much hype and fluff. What I took away was my resolution NOT to do those things. Tell stories, engage with them and each other, enjoyment with practical in depth educational tools and strategies – YES!

martial tremblay
March 28, 2017 at 11:56 am

I had the same kind of feeling when i watched his special on Netflix ” I’m not your guru ” I followed his career through the 90’s, and i’m a avid listener to his tape. But those event are far to close to a Gathering that takes place in the U.S. where bunch of reverent was literally stealing and healing at the same time the poor people attending. He need to come back to earth and stop doing it like he’s a rock god…..!!! needles to say that i didn’t finish to watch is special……..

Lesley yewman
March 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

Gosh 2,000 no wonder he’s rich out of vulnerable people who also want to be rich I’ve read his books and felt nothing and the only people who get rich from get rich books ate those who have found a way to get rich from others vulnerability don’t get me wrong good on you if you have got rich but at 2,000 a hit I rest my case for the humble poor this man is like the devil

Abbey Prescott
March 28, 2017 at 3:18 am

Wow. Doing a new business start up I’m flooded with teaching and coaching info. I loved your story and it is a game changer for me. Thanks, Abbey

Virginia Redward
March 28, 2017 at 2:57 am

You say it like it is….great viewpoint and I have never been at any of his Seminars or read his books but of course I have watched this guy ‘guru’ over the years and for some reason I have never really fallen for his way of supposedly helping people…its the mass marketing and LOUD hype that appeals to some…and if it works for you then that’s great…but to me he is a bit like a ‘used car salesman’ and he makes me cringe even though he is trying to help people …

Dee Scown
March 28, 2017 at 2:44 am

I feel this way about weekly meetings with a group I am associated with. The difference is that the ladies driving my group probably don’t know who TR is! I am over educated and over smart but supposed to be learning from the. Serious facepalm every bloody week. Vent over. Thanks for clarifying this for me, no more guilt, time to create my own team meetings!

Gregg Bowman
March 28, 2017 at 2:41 am

From what you just stated I wouldn’t spend 50 cents on it… You said it succinctly, superficial and cheesy! Unbelievable that he charges $2000 for this. There’s a sucker born every minute… Thank you for the well written insight… I was correct in my assumptions all along

March 27, 2017 at 6:13 pm

I have issues with the big names in the New Age realms that sell this Law of Attraction BS. Although there is some truth to it, however, thinking yourself rich, in love, etc. is just futile. Tony has made a lot of money selling this LOA bs as a few others.

Karl Christen
March 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

He’s warped EST and Landmarks work and reduced it to sound bytes. They all hawk their advanced programs too often as well. Effective Seminars are 100-200 not 10,000!!

March 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

“If you never quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things.” Love this!

Mandy Robinson
March 26, 2017 at 11:11 am

Candour is a great communication skill….. it requires pure honesty with oneself about every aspect of one’s life. There is I believe, no wrong or right answer to the above. What works or doesn’t work for you, may work or not work for me! Each person has a different perspective on life in general. And we cannot know what is going on inside of someone else’s mind. What we can do is honour and applaud someone like you who is honest enough to speak about your own positive and negative perspectives of the TR Conference…… and not to tarnish TR in any way, but to demonstrate that it’s OK to think and act upon our own intuitions at no one else’s expense. It demonstrates that we all need to vamp up our own courage, our own outlook on life and challenge ourselves daily to see if what we are thinking and doing is having a positive or negative impact on us! It takes a great leader who can publicly talk about his/her own shortcomings/misgivings along with choosing different perspectives to achieve the best outcome for themselves and those who follow them, and own all of them! Thank you for sharing your perspective and the actions that you took, to change the way you felt into feelings of accomplishment that made a positive difference in your life at that time. Now that….. is empowerment!

Michelle Ferreri
March 26, 2017 at 10:34 am

Great article. I would’t have the attention span for such an event, but I think Tony gave you just what you needed. You didn’t pay for the seminar you paid for the story. Sounds like you got just what you needed in 7 hours.

Mona Lemieux
March 26, 2017 at 8:04 am

Merci! This morning I was feeling down, did not know why, that is a lie, I do know why… I want more of my life, it’s seems that I should do something to grow and surely I know I want someone in my life, a complice, a partner, a lover… someone to share my life with and be with… I went for a walk, told myself that I knew what I want and believe that it will happen and I wanted to be happy not feeling down and then I knew that the thing that I like more love to do is writing so I told myself that even thought I do not know what I would do with that I new that I should write and then I told myself that I will someday find someone that will love me as I love him… So Merci… my name is Mona I am from Montréal and I speak french.

March 26, 2017 at 3:06 am

If you want to experience amazing transformations that deal with what youre really dealing with. Look at landmarkworldwide.com
Bite the bullet and go to an intro! See what shifts for you.

Andy Taylor
March 25, 2017 at 11:26 pm

$200,000,000 in gross revenue for a 3 day conference is motivation enough for Tony Robbins to change it up a bit. Your critique may just be the lucrative change that Tony needs. He is listening, no? If he is: Tony, I love you and what you stand for. This brother is spot on.
By way; I’m a recovering Pentecostal. I’m still a born-again Christian, just not rules based. I ask the Holy Spirit to nudge me and I pray for positive change in specific areas of my life that He shows me. It helps. God bless you everyone. We are all spinning thousands of mile per hour together on this planet, eh?

Gregory Halmay
March 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Thank you for telling your story. It sounds like you’ve been there done that and many people will watch a movie that is really not doing it for them and sit through it because they paid for it or they are afraid of what people will think of them. I have walked out of movies, out of parties and the bottom line is I am the best friend I ever wanted to have and no one else lives in my shoes. Good for you.

March 25, 2017 at 8:40 am

Interesting that you’re promoting your stuff off the back of Tony Robbins. I invested just £400 for UPW and found it life changing. I attended, listened, took action and followed up. Game changer. Then I crewed it the next year. Game changer. 400 people working together to help and support the 10,000+. Brilliant.

Sorry but here’s an honest opinion of UPW. It works, if you work it and implement even some of what you learn. You, on the other hand Noah, look like a bit of a d**k. I m unsubscribing from App Sumo emails. I don’t like your marketing ethics of using Tony’s name to reach a wider audience, to then criticise him (and he’s your customer!?) and sell your own stuff.

Cheap shot. You’ve just put me right off. Bye.

Ardeth Patterson Norman
March 24, 2017 at 10:55 pm

He is coming to Montreal. I am poor. His ad said “Decide” “Act
” That is what I have not been doing lately. Wrote it on a post it note. Stuck it on my fridge. Started to do it. Saved $2,000.

March 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Thank you for so clearly describing the Tony Robbins experience. Cheesy and superficial describes his whole schtick. I met him at an american airlines ticket office..he pushed me aside claiming that he needed tickets changed immediately so he could catch the next flight to do a speaking. He cared not at all about my needs or the ticket agent’s attempts to meet his demands. The experience showed me the person Tony really is-selfish narcissistic and elitist. And you explained why sheeple need him. Am grateful for your successful “create your own” idea with respected friends and contemplation. Bravo

Andy Taylor
March 25, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Josi; Krav Maga is a great set of techniques to disallow these types from pushing people aside. I suggest achieving at least level 2.

March 23, 2017 at 3:02 pm

It’s awesome that I looked at the pictures and realize ” Hey we were at the same event”. I agree with you. I missed the fire walk, day two, and I skipped the last section of the seminar. It was wildly sale-sie but I’m good with discarding what I don’t like and focusing on what I can get out of it. I wouldn’t attend another event unless it’s in Fiji (because mostly because I want to go to Fiji). Tony is awesome but I figure no one can teach me how to be my best self. I’ll ultimately have to do the work, read the books, meditate, etc. to get where I want to go. So I rather invest my time and money there.

March 21, 2017 at 9:31 pm

I have taken some great seminars and have also walked out on one biggish one for much the same reasons….and i could feel that i might get high for a few days but what really did it was that I could feel the plummet of the high even before I was finished and I wanted more intimacy…which is possible in groups….the big result for me was I slowed down on my reading of what other people were trying to lead others to…..I just wanted to be still enough to have my own voice come forward and understand the truths of my own metaphors and experience…and 10 years later, I feel changed and in charge of my own life. Living my dreams and having them grow, and me grow into and with them. The people in my life match my dreams as well….having great teachers is important and so is being a great teacher to ourselves is equally important….Thank you so much for telling your story….

March 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I just want a taco. So bad.

DL Marshall
March 21, 2017 at 6:53 am

TR won’t do that, I’m sure his financials are based on seminars that bring in that kind of cash and develop multiple currency opportunities for other products and people. ~DL

Terence Collins
March 21, 2017 at 4:34 am

Hey, yeh; good on ya, Rabbi.

I’ll never forget, Palo Alto, 1986. I’d wanted to see Shaktai Gawain forever and I finally got a chance to see her at some big theater in Palo Alto.

She came, she spoke, and I’d never been bored by a speaker ever. I fell asleep – into a very deep sleep – and began snoring. My neighbor nudged me, and I tried to pay attention for another 10 minutes.

Just as I began to doze off again, it came to me: leave, head to Watercourse Way and have a healthy sauna.


And god bless Shakti. I still love her writings but never need to listen to her again.

March 21, 2017 at 12:30 am

I think that you should clap yourself on the back and recognize that you dont have enough issues or bad self-esteem to get something personal out of the event . Relationships become great when you get to understand your spesific needs on unconcious level in combination with what you are attracted to. Just send me an email and I will give you the insight you need for free in 30 min on skype. 🙂

Great article. Honesty rocks!

Patricia Alexander
March 20, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Thank you for this. For a number of years, acquaintances have always said I must go. I really found it more important to go to events in my industry and build my network as a self-employed consultant.

A couple of years ago I was in LA at the same time as a TR conference. At breakfast in the hotel restaurant 3 different people stopped and talked to the young man at the table next to mine. They were all there for this conference. They were exhausted from the long hours they had already spent at the conference and no one had one bit of excitement for what the day was to bring. They each expressed being mentally exhausted.

I don’t know how anyone absorbs useful information in this state.

I am always up for learning and improving myself, but I am glad I avoided going down this road and knowing that others felt much the same way I do about what to expect from such an event.

Frank De Raffele
March 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

Great feedback and insight. Thank you.

henri almanzar
March 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

I have similar feelings

Mary B.
March 20, 2017 at 9:57 am

I would be interested in learning more about your 90 minute self-discussion. I need some personal coaching on sensitive issues right now and I think I’d prefer to talk myself through it. Did you have a structure for the discussion?

March 20, 2017 at 4:55 am

I am about to attend a UPW event and I already have one concern about it: his new propensity for swearing. I’ve seen a clip of him talking to a guy and effectively saying ‘you can do it’, but every other word was a swear word. I find this distinctly off-putting as it dumbs everything down to a yob’s level. I don’t think I could take him seriously if he addressed me like that.

I attended an event some time ago at which he was one of the presenters (prior to the swearing) and I thought he was very inspirational and I absolutely love his various CDs etc. Nevertheless, I agree that this American-style attitude of ‘let’s massage everyone’ is rather OTT and all the rest of it makes it feel a little like a cult.

However, I’ve been wanting to attend one of his events for a few years, so here’s my chance. I just hope I enjoy it and get something out of it.

Monty Fowler
March 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm

It’s interesting to me that the one man in human history who changed more lives and impacted the world for good more than any other was a simple Jewish carpenter-turned-teacher. He traveled the countryside with a group of fisherman, a terrorist, a tax collector, a rabbinical student, and other men of simple means and no formal education. He drew crowds numbering in the thousands and kept them captivated (sometimes for days) without the aid of a stage, laser lights, or a sound system. He did not dispense pithy platitudes or regurgitated rhetoric culled from others…instead, he taught simple, beautiful, and earth-shattering truths that penetrated the hearts of many that heard him and changed their lives forever. The best part of the story about this odd teacher is that, even though he lived 2,000 years ago, anyone who seeks him can still find him and have his truth change their life too.

March 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I totally respect your opinion and decision to leave.
He was here in Toronto yesterday. I know some who went and they where over the moon with the whole event. I’m happy for them. And I respect their opinions.

As for myself though, I get nervous when it comes to people being whipped into a frenzy over one person. I went through the creepy cult like setting with those Jackson’s for yearrrrrs.
Lucky for me that I’ve emerged from all that fluff/drama/celebrity worship etc and I see very clearly!

As for “fluff” and “Dancing/Hoopla, I’m right there with you on that. I agree – cut to the chase, quit the fluff and sensationalism and get on with it. And 3 whole days?? Hell no..!

It is so important and healthy to question and evaluate. Particularly when a $2000.00 Plus price tag is concerned.

I do like some things that I’ve heard TR say. I know some of those ice breaker/team building exercises that he gets people to do and I like them. He didn’t solely invent any of this, hell he got it from other people, just like a whole lot of other information we’ve heard through the years.
It’s recycled info. Some of it’s great! Some of it is or isn’t presented well.

Whenever I hear of people calling someone a “Guru” or almost worshiping them, I see red!

Great article. Thanks!

douglas Davidson
March 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Tony reminds me of Hitler, he tells everyone what they want to hear.

Kim minos
March 19, 2017 at 10:13 am

Excellent. Did you get your money back.

March 19, 2017 at 12:24 am

I attended his fire walk seminar in NYC in 1994. I left there walking on air, felt great!!!! For about 3 days, then life started happening again. I found TR to be very charismatic, a GREAT Orator. I met him outside the Marriott on the last day and thanked him, he immediately asked me if I was going to Hawaii, ha ha! That would’ve been $32K in ’94 dollars for me and my ex wife, 2 week program, plus travel and hotel. The 4 day fire walk seminar in ’94 was $1400 for my ex and myself, plus hotel. Tony talked about how great his life was back then, with his first wife and their (her) kids. Lately I’ve heard him talking about how miserable he was back then in that marriage? So was he lying during the seminar? I would never pay the prices he’s asking today, he’s a salesman. If you listen to Jim Rohn, a LOT of Tony’s programs are based on his stuff, he changed the language around a little, but the foundation is Rohn’s.

Mike Feinstein
March 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I know Tony Robbins a bit and I found your column interesting until you said “Just get to the meat.” There is no need to reference something that represents mass and disgusting treatment of living beings in order to make your point. Better to say ” Just get to the substance.” Meat doesn’t represent substance, it represents cruel death.

Shannon Feather
March 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

I loved this! Thank you for your honesty!

Mohammed Bakodah
March 17, 2017 at 6:41 am

That was a nice article. I cant imagine attending a 3 day seminar never.

Adrian Beckett
March 17, 2017 at 5:48 am

Incorrect Grammar:

Tony Robbin’s seminar.

Check book ‘Punctuation’ by Penguin.

March 29, 2017 at 4:32 am

Actually, his name is Tony Robbins. So the correct grammar would be Tony Robbins’ seminar!

Sue Frend
March 17, 2017 at 5:39 am

I did UPW over 10 years ago including the fire walk, i thought he was kidding! It taught me the power of my mind. What it didn’t teach me was the power of my heart and the essential connection to my gut. 25 years i have been seeking and searching how to understand myself, it was worth it!! TR was a step on the way but never the whole picture.

Deejay O'flaherty
March 16, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Tony has done some great things. However I am not a fan. For many of the reasons you pointed out in your not so good points bit, and I know people who have paid $5,000 merely to have their photograph taken with him. The guy is flesh and bone the same as you, I and anyone else. He doesn’t walk on water. To me however, I see that as extortion.

Gregory Drambour
March 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

First, I own the spiritual retreat organization, Sedona Sacred Journeys so you could say I have real interest in your brave post, Noah! That took courage! I have been a great fan of Tony for 30 years but have never attended his events for a number of the reasons you stated. But primarily because of dozens of retreat clients of the years who have attended his events and then when they got back on the ground in their life they could not keep the momentum going. They feel awesome and psyched up at the event but very little changes. That’s where I come in! For 20 years I have sign on my desk that says, “Either you results or you got a story! –Tony Robbins —like you Noah I am not a Tony-hater. In fact, if I ever met the cat, it would be a great honor and I would thank him deeply.

Here in Sedona with clients, I am focused on what I call the “warrior perspective.” Warriors periodically engage their teacher, mentors coaches to point out the invisible feelings, thoughts, behaviors they are having that are keeping them from being in their innate creativity, wisdom and originality. This takes courage and raw honesty. This can only be a good thing. The following is just my perspective after 30 years teaching folks: In the last ten years there is far to much dominance of what I call “head-patting” going on in the personal growth world. Don’t get me wrong, I feel its important to acknowledge people and myself but to a limit. Lets get at what’s not working! Lets get at what’s blocking you from being in your innate wisdom and clear or understand how to experience blocks in the way that’s empowering

Noah, I applaud you brother, for following your gut. I have to imagine that wasn’t easy given your relationship with Tim Ferris who appears close with Tony. PS. Please tell Tim it appears
he has yet to have someone on who is an expert in Couples/Relationships — I’m his guy! 🙂

I have your cool app and I am going to look deeper into your blog.

Gregory Drambour

Ron Pierce
March 15, 2017 at 9:11 pm


I’m actually one of your appsumo members. Great to know the other side of the brand. I appreciated your honesty. As a someone who is constantly working on themselves as well, I think we all reach a point where the “general” doesn’t work for us anymore. We need to go “deep” like you said. We aren’t special because of it, we just recognize that the little nuggets we are being offered doesn’t warrant the investment of time (and money) we are being asked to make. When you’ve experience self-improvement success, you realize the power you have within to learn and grow and know what you need when you need it. You were real with yourself and in turn, you took yourself to the next level and became the captain of your destiny. You don’t need a “guru” to fix you. You have the ability to seek those goals and lessons yourself. Congratulations on being real and having the courage to break away and follow your own path. Great Job!

Diana Chapman
March 16, 2017 at 10:00 am

I appreciate you standing for a level of depth that supports sustainable and lasting changes. Consider coming to a Conscious Leadership Group 3 day intensive. Having studied for years with both the Hendricks and David Deida, we think you will find our events to be in alignment with what you are looking for.

March 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I think what you did was great !!! You called it like you seen it. Lots would have just followed the crowd!!

March 15, 2017 at 6:32 am

I read this with interest because I am NOT the type of person who would pay someone to motivate me or help me find “myself”. I was interested in why you or anyone would. After everything you wrote and all the things you said you were feeling about the seminar and what you did after leaving I can only say this; perhaps you should start reading the Bible. Maybe you do though you didn’t mention it but if you don’t then maybe it’s time you began. All the answers you seek, all the issues you have (perceived or real), all the questions you struggle with are dealt with in God’s word. He wants the best for all of us. Perhaps it would be good for you to go “all in” for Jesus rather than a Tony Robbins. I wish you the best!

biff washington
March 15, 2017 at 4:29 am

I remember Krishnamurti saying if he only had 1 true student…

Tony demands nothing – personal transformation is not much different than changing your clothes, always the easy side of easy, with a side-dose of group think thrown in. I totally respect you sharing this, and it just makes me more thrilled to be an appsumo customer.

March 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

Hi Noah

I rather pay you 2000$ instead of TR.

Ron Kemp
March 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”, 2006. Changed my life for the better through meditation.

Tiffanee Jacob
March 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Thank you for the other side… I have to be honest. I have not attended an event, but I’ve thought about it. Something just kept me back. I have a feeling that it is some of what you shared. I think no matter goo.d or bad… what resulted was an empowering act. And then a story that encourages others to do the same… Bravo! Now it’s time for me to keep my eyes open for some things I can walk out on… 🙂

March 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

I’ve always had issues with the shortcut-to-success, reprogram-your-life, be-your-best-self people. Sure they often have some good ideas, but they turn it into so much more so you keep buying, attending, subscribing etc. And they constantly cross promote each other so you’re never done with things, always something new to do.

Learning and self growth is good. Business growth is good. But as pointed out, half of this is just snake oil. In order to validate your previous purchase you need to buy the next one.

March 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

There is a lot of power in walking away from the source of much of the knowledge that has changed your life, but I do believe that choice to walk away starts the final change that moves you into a life that’s all your own and not at all someone else’s. So many people find a guru or leader like Tony to tell them what to do with life. They follow, get results, and get hooked. Way too many of them become little clones (often nowhere near the level of skill and talent as the person they are cloning/modeling) while almost no one ever gathers the bravery to admit they made a mistake, and use that to become better. I spent alot of time in these environments and ultimately got so fed up with the lack of depth that I made my own processes and websites to share what I believe with others. Let go of blindly copying what you’re told by those with “success” and instead decide to become something unique that no one has ever seen before. The420formula.com was my first baby, what’s yours?

March 13, 2017 at 5:58 am

I was dragged to a similar one by a friend. Mastermind or whatever it was called.
Lets be honest here, its all a waste of time and money. These seminars are simply for people who like the idea! of improving or working hard, but not actually improving or putting in the hours of hard work. Save yourself the time and money, and actually get to work! And if you need motivational quotes, they are free on facebook posts and reddit threads.

Its all snake oil and makes my blood boil that my friend still believes in this shit.
Just the outrageous price tag for these events should be enough to realize its someone taking advantage of gullible people.

Most people at the event I went to seem to been network marketers as well, so that should give you another hint what kind of people they target.

Nike has the best motivational slogan,and its all you need, JUST DO IT.

Bronwyn Grantham
March 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Yes. I walked out of the same seminar at the Gold Coast Qld Aust. in 2009, I think it was. Holed up in the hotel room and wrote a seminar, ‘Quantum Synergy’, a life-changer which Success and You ran once then wanted to own it before they ran it again and my ego got offended. I tried to run it myself through Soul Seminars but didn’t get anywhere and gave up. Tony Robbins is a con-man. Anyone who is evolved enough not to be taken in by the flim-flam and emotional tactics SHOULD not go.

March 12, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Yeah, I agree it’s not cool to push a bunch of your own products at an event people are paying for.

March 12, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I am a fan of TR but I know what you mean. Recently I run across one of the peoples that trained Tony and in his talk the old man said this:
In order to be a Motivational Speaker there are 3 Rules of charisma
1. You have to grossly oversimplify
2. You have to be able to lie congruently
3. You have to lie to yourself first

Go figure…

Wayne Peters
March 11, 2017 at 11:27 pm

I have been giving him a lot more focused attention lately as my Fiance has a close friendship with one of his staffers and I thought I may get to learn a few things. However I have been completely having the same reservations about it and the time I spend, especially since his super active public schedule with the new book launch. I loved your article and got more value from this than the last several hours spent watching Tony. Thank you

March 11, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Noah, I appreciate you sharing your experience with the world because I know you didn’t have to. When most people are dissatisfied with something they usually don’t tell you why they just get up and leave. You walked in and you had every right to walk out without offering anyone a reason why you did it.

I’ve come to discover that all experiences are neutral and it is us who are giving it all the meaning it has. Our feelings and emotions are feedback mechanisms and many times we ignore how we’re feeling because we don’t want to push againts the status quo.

Experience is always autobiographical and the only thing that anyone can really do is to share what an experience was like for them. Everyone is at a different place in their journey. When I first read Anthony Robbins book entitled Awaken The Giant Within more than 20 years ago the information it contained was revolutionary for me. Today, although the information is still relevant it wouldn’t move the needle very much. I’m at a different level in my consciousness today than I was many years ago.

There was one line in that book that has always stuck with me “If you live your life for one year like others won’t you can have the type of life that others dream about.” To date, I still have not lived my life in this manner for one entire year.

We think we need more information, more motivation, more guru-ness but what we need is to take more action and more introspection.

Once Tony shares with the 10,000 attendees “How To Unleash The Power Within” what’s going to actually get them to do what they now know to do when Tony’s not standing on a stage in front of them?

A lot of people are drinking the Koolaid and no one is saying anything about it. We “ostrich-ly” stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t see what we see.

So of course when you share your experiences many will feel like you’re a hater, uncommitted and a host of other things. I learned many years ago that feelings are not right or wrong …feelings just are. I honor your interpretation of your experience because it was your experience and there is no way I or anyone for that matter can invalidate it.

In your article, you went into great detail sharing with us how much work you’ve done on yourself. I feel that you did this to put everything in context plus it’s great for SEO because you can link to other articles that you’ve written.

I don’t really feel it was necessary though because all you had to do is tell me why you walked out, what you learned, and what you did afterward and that would have been enough for me.

Sometimes when we come up against a “giant” in the industry we feel like we need some leverage before we can share our discontent. Even if you had never attended any boot camps, workshops or seminars before the fact is this one didn’t feel right for you – enough said in my humble opinion.

You said you committed to the seminar for seven hours but did you really? The only reason why I’m asking you this is because I feel you knew long before the seven hours had passed that the seminar wasn’t going to be a good fit for you. I’m sure your “Spidey Sense” was in full effect much sooner than seven hours.

Facing fear and ignoring how we feel inside (intuition) is not the same thing. Just like almost anything in life, there is going to be some strategic polarization. Some people will like Tony Robbins and some won’t but that’s not a problem and in many ways, it’s intended to be that way. You know the old saying, “some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting.”

You said, “Hardly anyone says, “I lost $2,000. It was a waste of time and money.” You are right, hardly anyone tells the TRUTH because they are too concerned about what other people will think of them.

You said, “The two areas of my life I most wanted to tackle during the event were:
How to better position myself to be in great relationships.
How to create a work environment that continually motivates and excites me.

Did you really feel that tackling these large goals could be achieved at a Tony Robbins seminar? I’ve heard you being interviewed on many podcasts and you’re a very level headed, intelligent and practical guy. There’s no way you could have believed this would happen albeit in a room of this size with a rah rah guy on stage.

The things that you said Tony did well are things I bet you already knew prior to going to the event. A man of your caliber who’s built an 8-figure company has to already know these things. Am I right or am I right?

Ryan Holiday said the Ego is the Enemy but I’m not sure that a lot of these gurus read that kind of book or if they do they rarely heed the message. I could name several people right now who you know very well who are always name dropping and it’s quite distasteful.

When you attend an event where the organizer is always mentioning their other events or trying to upsell/cross-sell you we refer to these as “dog and pony shows.” It very unclassy and quite annoying.

I watched the 2016 documentary on Netflix “I Am Not Your Guru” and those are some honest words – he’s not. But, a one-eyed man is a king in a blind man’s world. So many people are looking to be led and told what to do that they end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

One day I sat outside of a McDonald’s and I watched how many people made their way into this restaurant and went through the drive-thru window to start their day. I’m not picking on Mickey D’s, I’m just using it as an example because there are over 36,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Despite knowing how unhealthy this food is millions of people wolf it down every morning on a daily basis. You can’t stop it (and neither should you want to) it’s just what is.

Same thing with UTPW and DWD events people will continue to drop loads of cash on these events, crowd into the room with thousands of other people and not much will change in their life. Sure a few may have long-lasting and powerful transformations but most will just keep going to seminar after seminar, boot camp after boot camp, and workshop after workshop. I’m glad you’re not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for investing money to grow consciously but much of what is being marketed today just doesn’t measure up.

You listened to your own inner guidance which always trumps what I or anyone else could ever say to you.

But just like you said in Episode 12 of the Okdork podcast, it’s another case of the Michael Jackson theory and very few people close to Tony will be brave enough to share what you have shared. (how they really feel)

Again, thanks for sharing with us.

I have another saying, “You can go deep with a few or go shallow with many.” Small intimate groups are the most powerful and transformative where all egos are left at the door.

Doug Crew
March 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Great post. I have never read any Tony but I have listened to podcasts and watched short videos. I kind of got the feeling you are describing.
I have wondered what it was like on the inside of an event.
I am with a ministry that actually does deal with the deeper things with far less people and from a Christian perspective obviously.
I only mention this to say that your post gave me somethings to think about. For starters, I may be under valuing what we do!
Thanks for the post Noah.

Odira Ndubuisi
March 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Great post man but I think this is a matter of personal opinion and preference. It is insane to imagine that every one of the 10,000 people that attended will get the value for their money. It is also unfair to think that nobody out of 10,000 people got their money worth.

Ambrose WB
March 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Noah, you always keep if real and fresh. I admire that about you. There’s always been something about TR that didn’t sit right with me. But I’ve started to listen to some of his materials in the past year. And like you, after watching a documentary of UPW, I thought it was corny (and entertaining). Looking forward to checking out your content upgrade and coming up with my own PD day.

March 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Very honest, Noah. I attending a one-day Tony Robbins event in Dublin, Ireland two years ago. It was great fun. But I felt it was just like a sugar-high. Great for 20 mins but then you crash…

I get much more benefit from a solitary development day.

I also recommend consistent one-to-one coaching with someone you trust. I’d rather spend $5k on coaching over two or three years than dropping it on one day. It’s not the same as the sugar-high you get from Tony but I find the compounding effect of coaching over time much better than a seminar.

March 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

1. Unleashed may not be the right workshop for-per the people you met at the event, it seems most of them are newbies and looking for motivations where they dont know how
You know lots of what he said already…

2. Possible Tony didn’t spend enough time to prepare his event-he has been busy promoting his event. He normally is kinda well organized I feel
3. Even a hit album wont have all songs that are ranked top 10 on billboard…
4. This type of event should include 1)principle course for 1 day; 2)real life application-group discussion for 2 days, etc…the takeaway points would be people repeat what they learn at the event on a daily basis…some how the rest 2 days fall apart it seems…

Jose Castro
March 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

Great post. I appreciate your candid experience and sharing it. It was actually on my Goal list of 2017, I feel plenty loved and since this seems to be the major theme of the event I think I will pass. Keep being real man, it comes through and I ( many more I am sure) love it. Cheers!

paul kasper
March 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

I get the impression YOU needed the attention after reading what you did the next day. You recorded yourself for 90 minutes?! You went there to see what his special sauce was. there wasn’t any. He made 20million. You spent 3-4thousand. You got ripped. But the rippage allowed you to move forward.The pain of the money not well spent motivated you to do whatever you did and talk about whatever you talked about(to a friend) Fine tune your own seminars and get back out there!!! Oh, and increase the price! I just can’t believe some guy who gives self help seminars got suckered into one!

Pedro Torres
March 11, 2017 at 7:28 am

For what i can see, your move was the right one. Tony Robbins seminars and programs feel like a religion, and he is almost a messiah for many people. I don’t say he has no wisdom to impart, but to be stuck in the same place for 3 days just pumping up your emotions… no. Its only a patch, not a solution. Go out and live! Experience! Travel! So, 2 thumbs up for you Noah.

Jason Krautkramer
March 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

I went to a few of his seminars more than ten years ago. I was in a fragile state at the time in search of something to make me feel better about myself. In retrospect, I can see what happened, but at the time I was too caught up in the salesmanship and energy and I was not in a good place in my life and very depressed. He is the master of the upsell. I couldn’t afford the first conference, yet I signed up for the next one at a price I definitely couldn’t afford and then the next one. The energy and camaraderie are intoxicating, yet proved detrimental to me in the end as it thrust me into a manic episode probably due to lack of sleep and the energy. I was not manic depressive, only depressed. It is not necessarily his fault, but for someone in my condition trying to get out of a severe depression, it ended up not being the best thing in my life.
The material is interesting and possibly useful, but I have soured on him ever since due to some bad memories.

March 11, 2017 at 5:43 am

Hi Noah,

I don’t think you are his target market. I wish no one was, but better focus on this reply and you.
From the effort you have already made to improve yourself before going to his seminar, I am not surprised compared to what you may have already read and experienced, TR experience must have been disappointing. As most people who posted here, I have also read one of his book and watched some videos on youtube.
I don’t remember when I first heard about TR, my instant problem with him is that to my senses it screams that he is dis-genuine, I am from Eastern Europe so the cultural differences don’t help either, but that first seconds impression tells me he is a narcissist and possibly worst. Also the fact that his content is not scientifically proven or that he is repackaging some 20-30 years old knowledge is also not very flattering for people who pay to see him when they could get better quality information for free.
I have decided to reply mainly to say a few words about your quest to be in great relationships. Let’s take the obvious out of the way – we all need to work on ourselves. I find readings about mental health and narcissism/codependency mandatory. I have this theory or observation that we only completely take over our lives in our hands in our 30’s and then for the first time we look at ourselves – the product of our parents, teachers, culture, education and we spend the next 30 years trying to become who we actually want to be while repairing and altering the initial prototype.
From your article I understand you’ve been on that journey for some time, so I wanted to encourage you, that sometimes beyond all good intentions relationships won’t work or the connection won’t happen. I find it a bizarre functionality of our architecture that we can develop (strong) feelings for people who won’t reciprocate. Two good quality people who have many things in common often lack chemistry, or just one of them will develop romantic feelings. Love is still a mystery and please don’t think in every case that there was something that you could have/should have done and you didn’t.

March 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm

Noah, I love your writing style. Have any specific authors influenced you? I didn’t find myself skipping over anything.

March 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Hi Everyone

I’ve read nearly all the comments on here regarding TR and his events etc and it just reinforced what i i already knew along time ago. I personally know quite a few people who have literally spent thousands on similar Business courses by other so called Business Guru’s and one guy even calls himself the Business Prophet! Go Figure! They can be very charismatic guys who basically lie through their teeth about their credentials just to suck you in to their programs and now most of them who subscribed to their programs are Broke!

Personally I’ve watched loads of his videos and read loads of books also. I know very close friends who have been to TR Seminars Time after time. I have never been myself only because I know i could see through most of the hoo haa ra ra superficial stuff. I have a great idea of what it would be like having researched Personal development , motivational speakers, for many years . I’m not saying TR is a Bad guy or anything, i still think he’s one the best out there when it comes to this line of work. However, about 90% people are unplugged and when they come to these events and spend loads of money it certainly does give them a high and them leaving at the end, they feel fulfilled and positive etc, but it’s only temporary.

So to cut a long story short, every one of you has this power to better yourself in every area of your life/work. You must look within! Most of the answers lie within each of us. So to help you all, I would truly advise you to read two books. In my humble opinion these are two of the best books ever written. 1/ what to say to when you talk to yourself by Shad Helmstetter. 2/ The power of the subconscious mind by joseph murphy.

Lastly, If you pay close attention to what is out there regarding self help books, videos, Law of attraction, Personal Development and all these self help courses and motivational speakers, what do they have in common now?? They are all using word “Consciousnesses” Yes Folks this is the Buzzword and the Bandwagon they are all jumping on. Well, the authors of the two books I mentioned talked about consciousness in the early 60’s!! Mostly everything you read about in this day will be found therein. Trust me, You will know what I am talking about. I believe you will all benefit in some way or another. You can thank me later. : )

March 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

quick thanks to Noah for his article and for being upfront and honest. Respect!

Gary Dean-Atkins
March 19, 2017 at 12:57 am

Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz and The New Psycho-Cybernetics edited
by Dan.S.Kennedy will give you all the answers! The original written in 1960!! The key however is to target the subconscious limbic brain where all our habits and behaviours are stored. ” Change the self image and you change the personality and the behaviour” Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Excellent article! Thank you.

March 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the recommendation of Psycho-Cybernetics. Great book and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Rik Hudson
March 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Refreshing perspective on arguably (obviously) one of the greatist motivational speakers of our time. Perhaps not.

Holly Edwards
March 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Interesting article. I love Tony’s books etc like you, but when I saw “I Am Not Your Guru” I thought he was disgusting. Super churchy. I imagine the emotional hang over afterwards is brutal. I attended Sumocon last year. Saw the offer never having been to a conference before, loved it. Seriously, it changed me in a good way., except I am a conference junky now. Can’t wait to go this year. Hope more women come this time.

March 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Love you broheim. This is epic! Great post!!

Noah Kagan
March 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Thanks Mr. D!

March 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

I got a 3 day’er coming up in a couple weeks. I’m was thinking I might feel the same (but I’ll try to keep an open mind). I don’t really think I need it, I’m more there to support my fiancé , who’s signed up as well. If it doesn’t do anything for her, its ayahuasca time. Lol. That’ll peel back a few layers. 🙂 Thanks for your feedback Noah. You rock!

Noah Kagan
March 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Groovy Jimmy. Report back how it goes. Always find interesting when different people have opposing opinions on the same movie or same restaurant.

Keshav Kumar
March 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Such events and hopeful messages only work if we actually take some damn action. Otherwise, go get ready for the next hole in your pocket.

I personally believe that there’s no such problem that doesn’t have a solution. Still, if you don’t find a solution for a problem, it simply means that it was never a problem; but, you took it as if it was.

Eddy Baller
March 10, 2017 at 12:59 pm

I walked out of an event with my gf. First I went to the washroom, decided I didn’t want to go back, then texted her to meet me know the hall. We were on the same page, and both giggled as we walked away like kids escaping from class.

Michael Hobson
March 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

He didn’t take an refund, which believe is part of same day back out option. Imagine would have certainly considered getting my 2k fee back if event didn’t work out. ?

March 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

well balanced. Thank you for spending the time to establish your credibility as a critic.

Prithvi Raj
March 10, 2017 at 11:04 am

After a while, we don’t need Self Development Seminars. These guys don’t do any magic, we know most things that they say, we’ll feel pumped up for a bit.

All of us know the magic doesn’t happen in the seminar, but in making small shifts in our daily lives.

This same thing has happened to me 2-3 times at this point, I now know that there is nothing in these seminars any more. Not that I’ll never need it, but for the next 5 years, there is nothing to do except take big action.

Andy Fuller
March 10, 2017 at 9:34 am

A great, bold review Noah, it brought back memories of when I attended a UPW event in London back in 2005!

I discovered Tony Robbins when I picked up a copy of his UPW book for £1 (!!) in a discount shop where I live in Bath UK. I read it and it helped me give up smoking. Two years after this and I was travelling up to London to attend “one of the last live events he’ll do in the UK”.

From what you described of the event you attended, it hasn’t changed much – except the ‘Firewalk’? Did you not barefoot it over a hot bed of red hot coals on the first night?

Overall I found it inspirational and life-changing at that time in my life, and it helped me “push through the fear”

I did also walk out – but on the Sunday as Tony only did Friday and Saturday – and it was starting to get too salesy promoting his other events and alkalising products – but I had my fill and felt it was worth it (back then I did haggle the price down to £450 ($800)

Ian Mayman
March 10, 2017 at 8:48 am

I think it is stretched out to feel like it’s worth it, but also to promote other products and services. I wonder where Tony makes the most profit, off the webinar or off the promoted products & services.

I don’t understand what Tynan means, surely the opposite is true… as in “If you quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things.”

March 10, 2017 at 8:45 am

I’ve been reading and listening to Tony’s work for thirty years. I love Tony. I didn’t like UPW. It was too long, and too crowded. Tony’s theory is that you will learn more at one of these seminars because of the intensity. I disagree. I need repetition to learn. One of Tony’s favorite quotes is “repetition is the mother of skill”.

I was ready for a refund while I stood in line for over two hours just to get my meeting credentials. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I stayed the entire time because of my travel commitments, but would have been better served to follow Noah’s strategy.

Your mileage may vary.

A happy UPW repeat customer
March 10, 2017 at 8:17 am

Noah I first heard of you on the Tony Robbins Podcast. The podcast was Episode 10: Are you a wantrapreneur? And after that I bought quite a few of your products.

Last year I attended UPW at a time that I needed a a boost in motivation. I got exactly that, and I’m going back this year with my 15 year old daughter who needs the same.

Although Tony’s UPW events are fantastic, they may not match up with the needs and expectations of some of the people who attend. Thats why it is worth watching the video testimonials on his site and reading a few reviews first.

Noah I can’t help thinking that this article of yours is doing a bit of name dropping isn’t it, which is one of the things you accuse Tony of during UPW. Surely after Tony allowed you to be a guest on his Podcast you could show him a bit more respect and not go so public with your criticism.

UPW events ARE fantastic, perhaps you were the wrong kind of person to go.

March 14, 2017 at 12:54 am

Exactly. Kind of ironic to go there with a goal of great relationships and then you do something like this to your own client. Not something I would do just because I didn’t like their method. If it’s not for you it’s not for you. But honor the relationship you do have, especially when you are benefiting from it.

March 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

I was at the INC 5000 conference last year when they brought Tony in to spend just over 2 hours with us. I’ve read all his books and gone through his audio programs. I like what he has to say and his technique have worked for me, so I was interested in what you had to say. I kind of thought that you might be giving us a “fake” headline so that you could draw us in with an affiliate offer. But I was WRONG.

My respect for you Noah has taken a huge leap forward. You always tell the truth. My son who was at the INC 5000 event felt the same way as you and reading your post sounded like I was listening to him all over again.

You’re awesome. Thanks for being honest. I would like to hear more in a podcast.

Troy Dean
March 10, 2017 at 6:02 am

I had a similar experience at Michael Gerber’s Dreaming Room event. I left at lunch on Day 2 and spent Day 3 working on my business with some buddies by the beach and had massive breakthroughs.

You’ve just outgrown this kinda stuff Noah. You’re not his target audience.

Kudos for publishing this.

March 10, 2017 at 4:30 am

Wow! I never doubted your courage.. But this takes balls.

Really appreciate your candid perspective.. I’m sure this will be valuable to Tony.

I participated I one of your events.. And it definitely was life changing.

Please continue with keeping us enlightened the truth.


March 10, 2017 at 3:29 am

Can’t remember where I read the following but every self-help book/course comes down to these themes:

1. You create your own life
2. You create the way you feel
3. Act “as if” you already had the quality you wanted
4. Find your purpose
5. Set goals
6. Live in the present
7. The power of attraction (hmm…)
8. Get out of your comfort zone.
9. Practise gratitude
10. Ask
11. Model others’ success
12. Ignore the haters.

And I would add the daddy of them all, “Take action”. You don’t need more information, you need to take more action and figure it out as you go along (just like everyone else). Avoid being a “permanent student”.

There, just saved you $2K 🙂

Nathan Hewitt
March 10, 2017 at 3:19 am

Great post. It’s nice to read a critical view on Tony’s seminars. I went to UPW London 4 years back. I was 23 and obsessed with Tony at the time. My introverted self stood way back from the crowd, and I didn’t want to interact with anyone. Whenever Tony asked to hug a stranger, I’d run to the bathroom and then come back. I had to put on a fake character for three days just so I didn’t come off as a stuck up ass hole. But, I still learned a lot during the event and made my own personal breakthroughs.

Thanks again for this great pos.


Carol Bell
March 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

Loved reading this… agree with your observations totally ?

jordan flynn
March 10, 2017 at 2:37 am

This was awesome to read Noah.

So interesting.

I’ve been to UPW myself and had some agreement to your comments.

I’m from Aus and Tony didn’t even show up for 2 out of the 4 days of our UPW…

All new comers did not know that this was going to happen until after we bought a ticket and found out on the end of the first day..

Apparently he never does 2 days in a row to save his throat because he’s nearly lost his speaking capabilities?

That’s what he told us anyways..

March 10, 2017 at 2:26 am

Good post. Ballsy! And a great idea for Personal Development Day. I have to come up with something similar for at least part of the day on Sundays…

March 10, 2017 at 1:40 am

Tony has written some interesting things and the for people starting on a journey of self discovery he may be a good start. However, the Tim Ferris book “4-hour workday” changed my life when I realized someone wasn’t just going to talk to me about changing my life – they were going to SHOW me how to change my life. I still respect Tony Robbins, but now I cringe watching him talk about himself and trying to sell his brand. It just looks so shallow now compared to all the great contributions I am getting from people like Tim Ferris for just the cost of a book every couple of years.

March 9, 2017 at 11:48 pm

I love the idea of creating your own personal development day.
Like… monthly.
It could save you $50k in seminar fees (I’ve paid them and I still super respect Tony), and you could see a 100% focus on you and how you’re going to streamline stuff and add even more value to your circles and a wider world.
I’m on a cruise ship doing a form of that right now. While everyone else is doing tours on a gorgeous Thai island, I’m still on board with selected readings to continue, further strategy to clarify, and a sudoku on standby in case I need a quick wrestle for a mental win.
Started the day with a super gym session and an awesome breakfast overlooking a stunning archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Great environment for lots of introspection and nutritious brain-feeding.
The great thing about going to a Tony event, is when you realise that “all you need is within you now” (like create your own event), and then you “decide” to take the time to invest in yourself (not by buying more stuff but by doing the work) … and then “take massive action” in doing the hard stuff on yourself and not the easy credit paid magic pill of someone building your to do list for you.
Nice article. Thanks Noah.

March 9, 2017 at 10:41 pm

I also greatly respect TR. heard him at an event last year and was so impressed with how he wasn’t just going through the motions, but was all in. Many of the speakers I heard that day were “acting,” but he was completely present.

Like you, I wasn’t down for the massage, hugging, constant dancing. But then I have friends and family to turn to for human touch… and from the looks of it, many other attendees do not. It must fill some need for them.

I have been thinking about attending UPW but never pushed the button. I think deep down I was afraid I’d be disappointed.

You rock.

Mick Falci
March 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Like you, I’m kind of in awe of Tony Robbins, but I’d never attend one of his events. And had you asked me, I’d have asked what a guy like you could possibly think he’d get from one of ’em.

You know that old saying about how we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with? I think that for most people at his seminars, Tony Robbins is probably the only truly exceptional person with whom they’ve ever had even a peripheral interaction, and he offers maybe the first real glimpse they’ve ever had of the possibilities of a world beyond their scared-rabbit day-to-day experience.

His job is to change the states of those people, to shake ’em out of their comfortable-but-deadly little boxes. And since he’s only got three days, he has to do it with dancing and touching and inspirational screaming. And it probably at least partially succeeds in waking a lot of those people up and giving ’em a little push.

But you’ve already done all that early work–and not in three days, but over years. And in the process of so doing, you’ve faced many of your fears, achieved some success and met hundreds of exceptional people.

So again, the question I’d have asked you is, what could an AP student possibly hope to gain from taking remedial English?

(Another question I’d have asked you is if there’s a better taco joint in this town than Tyson’s on Airport, because I haven’t found it.)

March 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

This is excellent. I’ve totally done the personal development walk out. (A meditation retreat that changed my life one year. And the nexxxxxt, not so much). Thanks for giving me permission to let that shit go! ??

March 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Ps… that was supposed to be an adorable emoji. Not questioning question marks

Tim Barker
March 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Hi Noah,

Great article, my wife and I are headed to UPW in two weeks in LA which will be our first TR seminar. I am trying hard to keep an open mind and not pre judge the seminar based on your post. My guess is if you have never worked on improving yourself, TR’s seminar are huge. I had a life correction 4 years ago and now I am always working on taking my life to the next level and hope to score a few nuggets or “Hmmmm’s” from UPW. If TR can get me to walk on a hot bed of coals (fire walk) it will be worth it.

FYI for those of you who want to attend a TR conference they offer “buy one get one fee”.

Chairman Meow
March 9, 2017 at 9:19 pm

It’s amazing when you get to the realization you can do whatever the you want (within the context of morality)! Thank you for reinforcing that reality.

March 9, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Brutality honest. Thank you. I don’t value TR less. I value you more.

March 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Looks like you got what you needed.

Noah Kagan
March 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Holy moly I haven’t seen your name in forever. I don’t need anything. Just wanted to share my story. Bit surprised it was this “responsive.”

March 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for this Noah but seriously, you don’t enjoy random dudes touching you but you get a massage afterwards from a random stranger? Ok I get it you love TR but you don’t like how he runs the show, also I really feel that it would’ve been more objective if you finish the entire event before giving a full assessment of it but i am not sure if that is included in the refund details.

Either way thank you for this 🙂

Matt Rosinski
March 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Your post rocks Noah! It all comes down to product market fit. Tony sells something that a certain section of the population desperately need in a way that he is uniquely able to deliver. Apparently you don’t desperately need what you thought Tony was offering…

… and that’s ok. This goes for a lot of courses and seminars we have all purchased at one time or another. Intuitively, we often already know what we should do but want someone else to tell us to do it. Taking personal responsibility for positive and focused action is what I think your post is all about. Walking out or quitting something that is not the right fit for us is a wicked smart lesson for the life of an essentialist.

March 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Thank you for the honest Review, Noah. I read your stuff since, I believe, the Last 4 years.
I have a friend that visits Events like that every couple months (3000€-5000€) that are run by Junesse, a MLM scam company.
After that He always claims that He is reborn and a better Person, until his live catches him again after a couple days and he doesnt do anything to Change his Life , Just tries to make enough Money to visit the next Event.
I feel kinda Bad for him but I feel helpless in his case… He doesnt want to listen and feels upset when I and others Tell him how WE feel about him throwing his really hard earned Money in the pockets of These scammers .
I feel that These Events are like a drug for him…
Has anyone an idea how WE can help him?
Thank you

March 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

OMG, thank you for not making me feel bad for never wanting to attend one of TR’s events. I saw him at the women’s conference, and the room was so loud, the air was so cold and the requests were so silly that it was distracting more than anything else.

Not loving the idea of a TR event is like not loving The English Patient. It’s an unpopular position.

Shane Sams
March 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Hey Noah. We recently went to Funnel Hacking Live and saw Tony speak. This was a 4-hour talk, a favor for Russell Brunson I suppose. We walked out about 3 hours in for ALL the reasons you said. I did not feel embarrassed walking out lol. I think some people do need that, but we quickly realized the same thing you did: it wasn’t for us. And that’s OK. The thing I did learn from it was how to structure a speech. Tony is a wizard with formatting. The claps, the dancing, the engagement, the random comments to make you laugh. He even did this neat trick with the big screens. He would be on screen so you would watch him there…he would move around the room to different parts….and the camera would turn off, so you’d be forced to look for him somewhere else. Subtle way to make you wake up and say “where did he go” then after a minute, the camera came back on, drawing your eye to the screen. Rinse and repeat. But for us it was just too superficial, to surface level, and to…general. Every segment felt like a fortune cookie. Could apply to anyone and anything. The people around us loved it, good for them. But, we cut our losses and bailed out. We went to dinner with some friends, had a blast, talked about life and business and got more out of that dinner than his entire speech.

March 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm


March 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

When his documentary came out on Netflix all my psychologist friends were ranting about it because they hate him.
Tony has some great stuff, and likely he helps plenty of people, but unfortunately the “motivation” world takes a lot of attention away from real solutions. We have thousands of researchers working day and night to solve these problems and we know what works and what doesn’t. Tony’s approach is 40+ years old and isn’t really grounded in the science.

March 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Since I saw the subject line I had the idea you were gonna tell us you left because it inspired you to do something better, and you would advertise Tony. But I’m glad you kept the story real, it’s very relatable and refreshing.

March 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Damn. I’ve been waiting for a review like this. I tried watching his documentary, but the whole thing seemed so cheesy and over the top. I thought maybe I was being harsh. Great post, great format. It’s nice to hear from someone that isn’t an unwavering true believer.

Vanessa Harris
March 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience Noah. And for having the courage to have your experience. I have attended all of Tony’s events and IMO Unleash the Power Within and Date with Destiny are both extraordinary. I don’t believe you need to be struggling to come away energized and filled with confidence. It’s not for everyone, yet if you embrace the experience I think everyone can find something valuable.

I notice a lot of ‘finally an honest review’ in the comments. There are honest reviews that also point to many positive outcomes.

For myself, I can say that Tony has literally changed my life. Through his books and tapes during the lowest point in my life, and by super charging it through his events when I was already at a wonderful place.

I encourage everyone to try it (UPW is great but Date with Destiny is extraordinary). For the price of a few nice meals out you could change your life. At worst you get to write a catchy article and get a more more click throughs to your website ?

Also, I use Sumo too – thank you ??

March 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

It’s tough not to fall in love with the ra-ra crowd and enjoy the enthusiasm, but your insights mirrored my thoughts too. BTW, does your friend Tynan have a seminar? His quit quote is on the mark.

March 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm

I wouldn’t have stayed, either. You stayed longer than I would have.

March 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Interesting comments. I like Tony Robbins for certain things. I don’t think you have to be weak or feeling unloved or whatever to get value – a lot of people are just looking for someone who has been there in order to get information to put good systems together. I think that’s the value of other people’s books, seminars, coaching, mentoring etc. It can’t take the place of YOU taking the next step though. I also think that without realizing a lot of people are looking for emotional experience as the foremost thing in contexts where it may or may not matter. If you go to a conference for information, and you primarily get emotional feel-good stuff instead, I think leaving is totally justified and may help push the market for more substance. Tons of recycled stuff out there as another reader mentions. I also think it’s kind of badass to be aware and evaluating whether you are getting what you are told you are getting and to say “Screw the sunk costs” and get on with inventing your own thing (self-development day) if you find yourself at that point. Sometimes you have to blaze your own trail.

Vince Burkhead
March 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Big Hairy balls. Who drinks Kool-Aid® anyway?

March 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I don’t know Noah, this post reminded me of the Napoleon Hill story about the gent who was drilling for gold and quit not knowing he was only 3 feet away! You could have been that close to achieving what you set out to but now you’ll truly never know. (I’ve just literally shook my head a muttered the word “shlepper” under my breath and I’m not even Jewish Noah!)

Anyway, I’m sure you know the story but for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure. Check the below link out and read it, it’s well worth knowing.


As for TR, I don’t think he’s a charlatan like some of my fellow okdorkers are suggesting. He’s a game changer for some people, there’s no doubt about that! Unfortunately, he’s just evolved into a bit of a cheese ball over the years with his gay dancing and hooplars……..

Plus it’s gotta be said though, what the fuck is that clap about?? It reminds me of the time Brendan Fraser spazzed out when trying to applaud Robert Deniro at the Golden Globes. Instead it just looked like he was having a seizure…..for anyone who missed that one…….enjoy :o)


Great post though matey, can’t wait for the next podcast, blogs and YouTube vids!

Mike Smith
March 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

This was a great post. Big props for hitting publish. Not a lot of people have the balls to click publish on something that can be perceived as a hit piece (even though its not)

Ben Hill
March 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Perhaps by walking out, you were the only one out of 10,000 that truly got something out of it. You immediately prioritized by connecting with friends and refocused your work life. Goals accomplished!
Way to have the stones to take action.

Sally Good
March 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Good for you and congratulations for finding your own form of empowerment. After living both in San Francisco and Maui, I have encountered numerous types of self development. My premise is that no change occurs in the workshop because the purpose is to generate an emotion that has an addictive quality. And you sign up for the follow up seminar to feel that emotion again in a safe place. Just another opinion about the task of becoming your own best human.

March 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I love the TACO bullets!

Personally I think it’s fine to walk out, leave early, not finish the book.

Sometimes you have to push through but if you are trying to get “turned on” and you feel “turned off” there is really no sense in hanging around.

I’m not a TR fan – no hate, just not a fan.

More hot on Mark Manson & Danielle LaPorte these days.

Sounds like you want an “intimate” 1 day workshop on “relationships”. Not sure where to tell you to go…

Did read “Choice Theory” by William Glassner recently and understand there are groups around that method.

Also really liked David Richo’s “How to be an Adult in Relationships”


Dave G
March 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I attended a TR seminar over 20 years ago as part of a corporate sales meeting. It was well worth it for an afternoon. It was excellent for team building.

But, you’ve learned the most important lesson; take what you can use for you and DO NOT drink the cult kool-aid.

Arkadiy B
March 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm

As someone who had gone to TR events twice (UPW and Business Mastery) and haven’t paid for it (a relative paid) I can’t agree with you more, basically 99% of what you describe is exactly how it is.

Have I gotten some value out of it? Absolutely! Is it the best use of my time and someone else’s money? 100% NOT.

Also what irks me is Tony’s (and I respect and admire the guy) insistence on “integration and healing”…which basically goes against what every psychologist would say for the situation that people deal with.

Basically, there is too much cheese there and in the end, most people (I would surmise 95-99%) will revert to their old habits, issues, problems, fears and failures. Ra-ra, hugs, dancing and “whole room loves you” only get you so far (in my experience about a week or two at most) and in the end most people who come there are not prepared, or not supported to continue doing the hard work of self-development, facing their demons etc.

March 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Noah, this real article is why I like your content and I am turned off by how Tim Ferriss content evolved over the years. I think Tim’s content feels less real to me. I mean, he has people that I can’t relate to at all, like Arnold and Tony Robbins. I mean, I think there good content to take away from anyone but just to keep it short, your stuff (new podcast, articles, youtube). Seems more real. Please keep being like that. If you want to, or change 🙂

Bruno Bourget
March 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Man I thought I was the only one noticing his “clapping”… Also, any self help seminar, course or whatever shouldn’t accept more than 25 people. Not if you really want to go deep.

Great thoughts Noah, really appreciate it.

March 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Nothing is for everyone. You do you. No shame in walking out. We are making decisions at every moment in our life. You made one at that time and you became who you are as a result of that, directly or indirectly.

If you had went for the seminar in the first place, you would not be walking out and spend the rest of the time doing what you did.

Keep on writing all these awesome stuff, Noah. I’m a big fan of TR but if both of you are in town, I would go see you 🙂

March 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Thank you for sharing this. Honesty is so scarce.

Jordan Harbinger
March 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

So glad you posted this. I felt like a chump for walking out, but then I remembered I dedicate my whole life to growth and helping others grow, and the seminar was largely fluff. I also remember hanging out that day which solidified our friendship in the way that it has, which made the time spent clapping and dancing all worthwhile. Much love to you for being so open my man!

Chris Burke
March 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

You quit and you left before the miracle happened
You went back to your “comfort zone” with your favorite warm milk and cookies.
This post post should of been how you lost your ego and changed your life but all we get is another sushi eating quitter’s perspective. Sad

March 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for writing this article, Noah. Although focused on your experience with Tony, the most valuable aspect of this article is the permission to quit. Better yet, permission to admit failure and move on.

Tony is a huge presence and recognizing the failure of the event takes courage. Most of us won’t even fail trying to ask someone out on a date, or asking friends for one dollar. (Thanks for that exercise. It changed my life.)

I’ve just recently allowed myself to fail. In fact, I’ve realized that not failing faster is a waste of precious time. Money can always be recovered. Time cannot. A money-back guarantee is nice to have. The willingness to realize when something is not working, admit failure, and move on is infinitely more valuable.

Thank you for adding your credibility.

Time is precious. Fail faster.

Salman Ahsan
March 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I started reading your content last month…looks like I’ll stick around for long 🙂 Your material is pretty transparent without fluffs. I dig bro.

March 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Tony Robbins is a fantastic business man.
Its events – and maybe its coaching – are everything but targeting to solve people issues deep down.
It’s indeed superficial. It’s indeed cheesy. It’s indeed intended to sell more. And more and more again.
What a “coach” would gain by helping people and make the sick being cured, when you can just make all the helpless feel more helpless…. but not when they are living your so called “coaching”, the only rare moment on their life when they feel “loved”, when they feel “enough” (to take your words).

Robbins strategy is not to help people.
Robbins strategy is to make people addict to himself, so that they pay for more, and therefore increase the addiction which goes with more payment, and so on…

Martin Messier
March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Hey Noah,

Thanks for sharing this. Having been a Tony student for over 17 years, I found this sentence liberating:
“Empowered to make choices about what I want, and empowered to turn down the things I don’t.”

With that sentence, you put yourself on equal footing with Tony and took me right along with you.

Thanks, and tacos to you!



Roger Williams
March 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Thank you for your vulnerability, Noah.

I find comfort in realizing this is why I refund most of my purchases form Appsumo – I am better off doing it myself.

March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

I also agree with that. Did not finish the 1000$ a month course. Did not ask for a refund, was not so expensive. Maybe I should.

Pk Hrezo
March 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I get what you’re saying. I’ve seen so many TR videos that I don’t think he could do anything differently at a live seminar to really impress me unless he took personal interest in my life.
It just depends on where you are in your journey. Like you said you can see how some would benefit from it.
Personally I’d never walk out on something I spent $2k on cuz I’d be determined to find something of value, but that’s my wallet speaking, not yours. Maybe your take home value was just that: empowerment to call your own shots regardless of price tags.
There’s a whole lotta worth in that knowledge alone.

March 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

I agree with you Noah. Real change comes with putting in the work over time and with real effort. There are no silver bullets or “quick fixes”. By attending a TR Seminar you might leave with a few nuggets of info but the real itch your trying to scratch tugging at your heart strings will be found the way you ended your retreat. One-on-one with a real friend or mentor. Personally, I would never pay $2k for a three day work shop that 10k people will be attending.

Spot on write up.

P.S. What’s up with that clap???

Mike Goncalves
March 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Whether it’s TR or anyone or anything else, I believe we get what we choose to get out of any event or experience we’re a part of. Focus on the shitty and not so pleasing aspects of something, well then I guess we can expect to feel shitty and like it’s a waste of time. If however we choose to focus on the good stuff, the valuable take-a-ways and put those to work, not only do I believe there’s more value in this approach, but I also believe it puts us in a position to win. Guess it’s all in what each person decides to focus on… “This guy has a weird clap” – why anyone would focus on that is weird to me. I much rather focus on the question you mentioned that was asked during the seminar, “What are you scared of right now? How can you move towards that? Discomfort is your growth!” I’m thinking if I spend my time focusing on these questions versus “why TR claps weird”, I may get better answers and therefore better results for my life. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. There will always be good take-a-ways and not-so-good take-a-ways… I much rather focus on and dedicate my time to focusing on what has the potential of helping me and disregard the rest. Thanks for your two cents Noah, thought I’d share mine here as well – Cheers!

March 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

Awesome read! Thanks for being so vulnerable about your experience

FD Thornton
March 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

I’ve never attended a seminar nor finished one of his books. But I get what you’re saying. I find way more benefit in mediation and one on one communication.

Russell Markowitz
March 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

I was a bit suspicious of your theme here. When I began reading, I was almost certain that you were just attempting to hook the readers by openly opposing Tony Robbins. However, reading all the way through I’ll tell you that we concur, and that I completely respect your point of view. Thanks for this article!

Mark-John Clifford
March 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

Hi Noah,
I’ve known Tony for years. Back when I was running my investment business I would send new brokers to his seminars. They would come back all pumped up and get to work. About 6-8 weeks later the bottom dropped out from what they learned from Tony.

Why? Because if you’re not Tony what he teaches you only works for a short time. Without a great deal of support from Tony, by buying his CD’s or Tapes back then you would fail.

It all comes down to DNA. There aren’t many people like Tony. Everyone that goes expects to become Tony. When it doesn’t happen they are depressed and pissed off. It doesn’t have to do with Tony himself as much as what and how he teaches.

What you did was the best thing you could have done. Walk away and make it on your own. Congrats.

Kimba Green
March 9, 2017 at 11:28 am

I agree with you but thought it was just me expecting too much. I want the meat! Now I don’t even listen to webinars because they never get to the meat.

Sally R Good
March 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Love the avatar pix

Mary Catherine George
March 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

This is why I love you!! Really – I totally feel your sensibilities and while I appreciate Tony Robbins’ books and training – I have never felt that his training would suit me either. The dynamic of the seminars is overwhelming. Thank you for sharing this – I so appreciate your views. Sincerely, Mary Catherine

March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

You should have stayed for the firewalk at the very least bro! (I know, I know, he takes forever building it up.)

I attended my first UPW at San Jose last year. I’m the same as you, very skeptical at first. But I figured that I was there and I was just going to live it, and when you focus on what you *need* from the event then you get it. If you focus on the *waste* then that’s what you get.

March 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

This was a blast to read. I recently watched I’m Not Your Guru and thought it was an interesting event. I appreciated your openness and honesty about what you saw and felt. I especially liked how you developed your own motivational seminar. Way to make taco’s out of a “bad” situation!

March 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

This pretty much sums up the way I feel at your webinars.

(just kidding!!!)

Rick Merriam (@rickmerriam)
March 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

I have to start by telling you how much I’ve enjoyed your podcast. I’m in the process of creating a physical product that will have a significant impact on plantar fasciitis in just one application. So as you can imagine, the episode with Dustin was super informative. Thanks.

In 1994, I did a ‘firewalk’ with Tony Robbins. It was at a 3-day event. At the time, I couldn’t afford the price tag for the whole thing. So I only attended one day.

Last year, I listened to an interview with Derek Sivers on Ferriss’s podcast. At one point they talked about having read Awaken The Giant Within when they were in their twenties. And when read at the right time, the impact that a book can have. I could relate with all of that. I read Awaken The Giant Within in 1993 (I was 23). And to this day, I feel like it changed my life for the better.

Ten years after attending my first event, I had a unique opportunity to attend Unleash The Power Within for free. Since I was in a different place going in, the whole event didn’t have anywhere near the same impact. In fact, after I completed the firewalk with a friend who had never had an opportunity to experience all that comes along with Robbin’s event – we left.

Thanks for such an honest take on attending Robbin’s event.

Nathaniel Solace
March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

So well said, dude. I am a HUGE TR fan, but actually don’t feel called to his events the same way as I feel called to just put his principles (gathered from books and videos) into practice! 🙂 I love your way of digesting your experiences and sharing them with us, thank you!

March 9, 2017 at 10:57 am

I am so glad you wrote this article. I’ve recently started listening to you and as a woman who is not 20 or 30…. or 40, I sometimes find your style a little hard to take but always gain some knowledge. How many times have I felt alone in the “Is this guy for real…. what is everyone seeing that I’m not seeing…? Regarding Tony, not you. It feels cultish but I do gain knowledge in small bits and in my own time reading his materials. I couldn’t take a whole seminar. Thanks for sharing and being honest.

March 9, 2017 at 10:53 am

Finally, a brutally honest post on the self-help industry. I’ve been to one of these seminars and luckily I had read Robert Cialdini’s Influence. You’d be amazed at the number of times they pull the psychological levers to persuade people. People run at the back to purchase those discounted seminars and courses.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Noah. I reckon Tim Ferriss once said he was able to meet with Jack Canfield or his publisher during UPW that helped me to skyrocket his marketing for ‘The 4HWW’. So I’d presume someone of your stature would also try to get a similar ROI by attending Tony’s event through networking rather than hoping for those breakthrough moments which are best suitable for the type of people who are literally fueling the growth of the $10B self-help industry.

What’s even more fascinating (to me) is that people are dropping 5 grand for Date With Destiny which is completely outlined in his book Awaken The Giant Within. Either people attending seminars don’t read and take actions on his books, or they are ignorant of the power of designing their environment because the seminar environment (hoopla dance, massage, clap, roar, etc) is not what real life looks life (at least for 98% of attendants I’d guess).

Once again, thumbs up for sharing your experience with us, Noah!

March 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

Your article was as long-winded and superfluous as the event. A massage while others were getting something from the event is disingenous to those who would write a more informed article after they completed the several day event.

Tony had to fluff to get several days while you had to fluff to get a 2,068 word article to rank for SEO purposes using Tony’s name to get more reaction.

Who is the weaker of the species?

March 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

“For many of his attendees, it seems there are deep-seated issues with a lack of love, and the belief that they are not enough.”

Sounds like these guys could have spent their $2000 on 6 months’ worth of weekly sessions with a trained psychotherapist and made some real progress on those issues?

Anonymous Poster ?
March 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

I wish you highlighted the refund. I had a great time but realized it was not for me, so left early with a refund. Which really makes the event more balanced. Also, I left because if you have listened to Personal Power, and taken it to heart, you don’t need this event. It’s for people who need 4 days of Tony’s energy to get started. So I left. With a refund.

March 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

Great job in empowering yourself and being your own best “coach”. It’s so true that our own path, our own instincts are the best to follow. I’m inspired by your willingness to listen deeply and trust your inner knowing. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Jesse Moskel
March 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

Some of my most powerful learning experiences came from the “worst” things… going to prison, working for a bum restaurateur…

I’d say you got your money’s worth, on balance!

As long as you don’t demand I massage strangers or dance on command, I’m all in for your next live event.

March 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

Awesome post Noah, and admire your decision to empower yourself. I live in Spain and recently a friend of mine invited to come with him to a Tony Robbins program in the UK, and even though I love his books, I think I will choose to have a similar self development day like you. Thanks and greetings from Catalunya.

March 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

The most important voice in our head is our own. Too often we “should” all over ourselves because of what others might think of our decisions. As a young girl, I had no voice and as a result someone took advantage of me sexually. Had I been able to use my voice I would have said something like, “Oh hell no!” and possibly had a very different life as a result. This one event does not define me, but it is a great example of how I (and sadly, too many others) have been unable to find and use their voice because too many others’ voices bang around in our heads.
“You be a good girl now and mind your manners.”
“This seminar is AWESOME!”
“You’re so lucky to have that job!”
…or my favorite BS comments I’ve heard from other women (which completely blows my mind, because they’d NEVER say these things to men)
“The grace with which you accept this position will affect your ability to move up in the organization” — response to my attempt to negotiate a better starting salary when they offered me the lowest rate on the scale
“We’re going to move ahead with love” — response when I was told to apologize to the head of another department after I complained about that dept’s staff being completely unprofessional and belligerent rather than cooperative and helpful when asked for specific assistance (to unlock a door when I had no key).

I’m happy that you found a way to get what you need and to be honest about it with not just yourself but the rest of us. Sharing your experience allows us to see how we, too, can survive being vulnerable when we make a decision that goes against the grain.


Lisette Carrithers
March 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

Noah, a little info on the length issue you mentioned. It isn’t random and it isn’t just to get more sales info in. TR does it for the same reasons cults and the military do. Longer term shared experiences bond us to a group. Whether that group is hostages, or addicts, or self-helpers. We, as human beings, are biologically wired to be ‘joiners’. It is a cliché that recovering alcoholics find religion. They trade one tribe for (hopefully) a less destructive one. Have you ever spent time at a conference where you are an outsider? It can be miserable to even find common ground to talk about something (ps. I’m an extrovert so it isn’t about meeting new people, at least not for me.) That was part of the reason he did his fire walking stuff. Group experience + Difficult task = Life time bonding. I’m sure TR has studied this stuff.

Kelly Schulte
March 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

This could not be more true! I, too, left his event at like 4 PM on day one. Your depiction of the singing and dancing AND massaging had me in tears. all the hoopla was embarrassing for me and detracted from the core messaging of the event.

Rohan Bhardwaj
March 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

It takes courage to write such article. This is great. Most of the times people go and console themselves so that it seems their money was worth.

Nothing is for everyone.

Nice to see a review from different perspective. Kudos Noah.

Aaron Sylvan
March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

I know several people who are super-excited by Tony Robbins (read: spent 5 figures on him), and none of them are achieving anywhere near their own goals. Could be coincidence, since my “sample size” is very small, but I take this as a very serious strike against him. The “feel-good” stuff can be helpful, for those whose confidence is the problem, and maybe he can help some people with basic social skills… but I think an aspiring entrepreneur would do better at a workshop about lean startups, or a professional would do better by honing their skills and contact network within their chosen arena. No amount of “empowerment” can help someone who’s trying to become wealthy but making lousy business decisions.

March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

Let’s be honest Noah. 99% of the people who attend these motivation rah rah seminars are losers who are there to get their hit of motivation dopamine for a few days, then they’re on to the next event/YouTube video/self help book with ZERO action.

Tony Robbins has made a career out of feasting on these people. Good for him and Tai Lopez and all the rest that do so.

March 9, 2017 at 10:03 am

I have the same misgivings about TR (and I’ve never attended and event). When I saw his “Docu-advertorial” on Netflix “I am not your guru” I was completely turned off. Good for you for walking out. Did they actually give you a refund?

Tony The Tiger
March 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

Yes! How painful was the refund process?

March 9, 2017 at 9:58 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this and I think it’s pretty brave of you to turn your back on the situation. When you’re surrounded by a few thousand raving fans, it must not be easy to break the group-think and walk out the door. I think that implies more bravery than the alternative.

John Sonmez
March 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

Great post. At first as was like woah? Really? Then I realized I actually walked out of the last day of UPW.
I skipped the day with all of the health stuff because, well, what I am doing is working pretty damn well for me.
However, one thing to consider: DWD. I did DWD a couple years ago and that was the depth to were looking for with John at UPW.
UPW is a bit shallow by comparison.
I probably won’t go to another UPW but I would definitely consider DWD again.
Amazing experience.
Also, I hate their sales technique… really is timeshare salesman shit.
But Tony is awesome!

March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Totally agree….DWD is remarkable…and “pitch free”. I’ve been twice in 6 years (second time, my wife came as well).

March 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

The content in this post is good. But the taco bullet points are GREAT!

March 9, 2017 at 9:53 am

I totally get it.

I’ve walked out of conferences before (most recently, the remarkably hard-selling and pitchy “Millionaire Mind 3-Day Seminar”. I went to my first Tony Robbins seminar in 2003, and have been to 3-4 more (including Date With Destiny – twice over a 6 year span).

I also wish Tony (and others in his organization) would tone down the sales pressure during UPW. He also doesn’t need to boast about his many houses, plane and successful people he coaches (we all know he is successful!). However, what I’ve found is that his teaching is worth it. UPW is a bit strange, since he crams so much into a small period it can get lost in the noise. Particularly in the first few hours it is a firehose of info that often doesn’t jive until things get explained over the next few days.

That said, I think it is a highly effective use of a few days…and you can easily get tickets for <$500 (you probably paid for special VIP seating with your $2K ticket, right?).

If you really want to go deep, Date With Destiny is where it is at. There is no sales pitches at that event, and over the course of the week, great things happen. I've also made lifelong friends through his events.

So I can relate to everything you are saying…but hope that you give his programs another try at some point. BTW – I have no vested interest in anything Tony does…I just want to vouch for the power of his teaching (assuming you can get past the salesy-ness of it at UPW!).


BTW: I wrote my experience of Tony's DWD here: http://raviraman.com/8-things-to-know-before-attending-tony-robbins-date-with-destiny/ and here http://raviraman.com/learned-tony-robbins-date-with-destiny/

Sarah Centrella
March 9, 2017 at 10:54 am

so glad to know I’m not the only one!!! http://www.thoughtsstorieslife.com/2017/03/tony-robbins-tour-scam/

March 10, 2017 at 5:15 am

I can’t believe so many people are saying he needs to tone down the sales pitches and upsells. I’ve heard him on the podcast tour (James Altucher, Tim Ferris, Lewis Howes etc) and in every episode he’s said his group of 30 companies do $5bn in sales, and he has 1200 employees.

No one blinks but that is $4mm revenue per employee! Even with technology, heaps of freelancers, consultants, agencies, outsourcing or sub-contractors, that is just an INSANE level of business efficiency.

That means his average company is 40 employees and $200mm revenue!

For comparison FB, does $27bn in sales and has 17,000 staff, or about $1.6mm/employee. FB is hailed as a model of insane efficiency and self-serve selling at scale, plus a monopoly in it’s niche, a licence to print money, one of the most successful businesses of this generation.

So how has Tony created a business empire that is 250% more efficient at generating money than FACEBOOK! Most of his businesses are training, resorts, information products, events, coaching, plus some random ones, but a high performing service business like VaynerMedia does $100mm in sales with 700 staff, or $140k/employee, which is normal for a business that size, industry and age. He is 28X(!) more efficient at personal branding, self-monetizing, selling from the stage and ‘hustling’ that Gary Vaynerchuck!

His business empire would make it big enough to be in the Fortune 500! A man’s personal brand and business acumen has made him a from scratch billionaire within 40 years and owner of one of the Fortune 500!

I like his stuff, but knowing the above, would love to attend his Business Mastery seminar. It seems no one who interviews him ever asks about this? How did he start? How did he earn his first $1mm? How did he get to $10mm? $100mm? $1bn? 5 companies? 15 companies? What did he learn along the way?

Some might say it’s a slip and he means 12,000 employees (making it a much more realistic $400,000/employee, but no business owner in the world doesn’t know how many staff are on their payroll, and especially not be wrong by over 10,000.

Am I going crazy? Did no one else notice this???

March 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Interestingly enough, I felt the same way when I attended a Joel Osteen church service at Lakewood Church in Houston where 30k+ folks attend every Sunday.

Thank you for this write up, homie.

It solidified a couple thoughts and I’m looking to incorporate a self development day myself.

Im not sure how you get into a Mastermind (the only question that surfaced for me), but I’m going to actively seek one as I go into a new chapter, in life and business, this April.

<3 ya!

Sarah Centrella
March 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

You should read my post “Tony Robbins Scam” after I saw him last week. It was a total rip off!

Sarah centrella
March 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Oh forgot to give you my blog thoughtsstorieslife.com

John Williams
March 9, 2017 at 9:43 am

Great post Noah. It takes incredible strength to walk away from something but it’s so necessary when that experience doesn’t help. Our time is our most important asset. We don’t get it back. Feeling dread during a personal development day is not helpful. There’s a difference between dread designed to make you better and dread that you know in your gut is waste. And if you gained clarity during TR’s show and your consequent personal dev day with steps to take you to the next level (which I’m sure you discovered) then you grew in ways that TR couldn’t have ever helped you with. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Luis Gellon
March 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

Hi Noah, in those shows, many people are given a “blue pill”, a brief answer that seems to solve the problem and it works for a while.
It feels great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t last as much as people yearn for.
In my experience, the truth must be found in oneself by realising how we feel, what is causing that discomfort and learning to deal with it.
Asking the right questions will get you there.
Trust your guts. Ater all it is your life.

March 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

Loved this. I walked out of Landmark Forum but also felt a responsibility to spend my time wisely afterward. I don’t regret it.

March 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

Great article, Noah. You completely expressed everything I have thought about TR’s programs. There’s always been something that hasn’t fit with how I work on my own personal development.

I’m an introvert, through and through and just watching snippets from his events make me uncomfortable. I’m all for deeper relationships with less hype

Each to our own because what he offers works for many.

PS: Really appreciating the new direction you’ve been taking lately.

March 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

Sometimes the Emperor has no clothes!

March 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

Ahahaha, this is gold. You’re confirming a lot of what I’ve thought. I enjoy Tony Robbins from a distance – I thought “I Am Not Your Guru” was really well done, and you can see that he’s really passionate about what he does, and his people, his tribe, are really into it too.

And what I think something like that does is, it invites people to meet other people like themselves, in a warm, welcoming environment. I think paying the money is also actually an important thing, because it lets people feel invested, feel the pinch, and it lets everyone know that everyone else felt the pinch, too.

Every journey is ultimately inwards, everything is somehow about managing ego and confronting fear, and everything anybody needs to know, they can typically figure out for themselves by following first principles, chasing down the implications and seeking out feedback from others who have done the same.

Sometimes people need to pay money to hear affirmation from a big lovable guy with a booming voice, and get massaged by strangers and so on. I think I know myself well enough to know that that won’t do it for me, even though I appreciate very much that it might be life-changing for other people.

If you told me you were thinking of going for Tony’s seminar, Noah, I’d have told you that you wouldn’t have needed it. ? But maybe you needed to go, to figure that out for yourself. Life seems to be quite funny like that. Thanks for sharing!

Wole from spokenTwice
March 9, 2017 at 9:32 am

As you yourself said, Tony Robbins is an awesome dude.

His ability to energise a crowd of 10,000 is amazing. For an event of that size, you should expect Tony to find a common ground that everyone can relate with. The disadvantage is that smart people will feel less satisfied.

You are one of such smart people 🙂

That’s why Tony upsells to his more personal, intimate programmes and that is the best way you can get the most value with Tony or in fact, any amazing guy.

As someone said, a crowd of quality, 10,000 is a performance.

March 9, 2017 at 9:31 am

This is fantastic!! It is SO empowering to use our power of choice. I love that you designed your own development day. I’m so over handing over my discernment to “guru” types. I’m all about life long learning AND there also comes a time when we have to captain our own ship. Bravo.

Mario Miranda
March 9, 2017 at 9:20 am

Hey Noah! A few weeks ago I saw ” I’m not your guru” on Netflix. It is an amazing documentary. At one point it even made me cry. Tony Robbins comes across as sincere and committed to delivering real results to people’s lives. “I’m the real deal”, he says at one point. I had always wondered if I would benefit from attending one of his seminars (I’ve been reading and listening to his material for over 20 years). But my conclusion from watching “I am not your guru” was that I DO NOT need to attend one of his events. He mentions something to the effect that, if you are very hungry for change, you will benefit from his seminar. But there’s people who already have a foothold on progress and who are doing things daily to improve themselves. I’m not as hungry as the audience that attend his events, because I am working on myself every day. Sounds like the same happened to you. You’re already on a path doing things. You didn’t need to shock your system into change.
Great post, as always. Thanks,

Victoria Saucier
March 9, 2017 at 9:19 am

Excellent writing and meticulously crafted reflection of my own perspective. You are very good in observing and reflecting in a form that appeals to a large audience. Thank you for sharing.

Gail Watson
March 9, 2017 at 9:17 am

I agree. I’ve read a couple of his books in the past, and just couldn’t get into them.

There’s something fake and superficial about it all, and I don’t felt they helped with the real issues behind things. I just think everything is boiled down to some glib remarks and comments.

What makes it worse is, they usually make you feel better for a day or two, but the downside actually makes you feel worse. Because then you berate yourself for not being able to carry through some of this advice, or keep the ‘high’ of the initial learning or knowledge. When in reality, it’s complex problems he’s dealing with, and over simplifying matters. On top of that, you feel a bit of a fool for having the money taken and not agreeing or seeing what the rest of everyone else is seeing.

But maybe that’s the lesson it all. Knowing you don’t have to go with the flow, and realising a lot of things take time and effort, and can’t be reduced down to bumper sticker psychology.

March 9, 2017 at 9:16 am

god damn nk this article is incredible. thank you

Manuela H
March 9, 2017 at 9:15 am

Love it Noah. Found out about TR by pure chance and finally watched the film on him which Netflix had proposed so insistently every time I opened the website. Very moving and I learned a lot. Having seen it I can tell how you must have felt in that room. Great for having felt that it wasn’t for you and that you got more value out of it by leaving. You will agree that it was a great trigger and all that matters are results. You were the perfect example to take matters into your own hands and much sooner than anyone else in the room (if others left they might not have had the same type of self-induced self-help day) so ultimately you followed TR more to the letter than he himself would have allowed for! Fair play to you for sharing it all with us. Best, Manuela

March 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the divergent post. A few years ago, during a massage (free, gift certificate from mom) in which I felt the therapist was being a bully (completely counter-beneficial), I told her that this wasn’t working and we needed to stop. She was quite offended and completely put out, but it was a personal victory for me.

As much as I really needed that massage, it was the first time I stood up for myself and walked away from something that, on the surface, looked like a 100% positive thing.

So, kudos for listening to your gut. And thanks for the reminder. That little voice is usually worth listening to.

Alan Kong
March 9, 2017 at 9:06 am

Noah, my dude, I know exactly what you mean by this post.

I think that Tony himself is the freakin’ man. He’s a beast of a human being and genuinely cares for others.

He has unmatched energy and a real desire to do good in this world. I mean, if he was to work with anyone 1-on-1 consistently…then it’s a guarantee that his/her life would be transformed.

Unfortunately, that’s simply not possible for the masses and only reserved for those who can pay him $1MM a year, ha.

So, UPW is the solution for the masses. Like you, I also left early and chose not to hit every part of the agenda (especially the days when Tony himself didn’t actually take the stage lol).

UPW is perfect for those who have had crazy tough times that beat down their mental state, have no idea what to do to get out of their hole, struggle or don’t know how to build a constantly evolving mentality, and/or probably best for those who have zero support system of loved ones.

There was a moment in UPW when they dimmed the lights and Tony started his NLP work. He pretty much had everybody dive deep within themselves to feel their inner pains and struggles, and using that as a way to motivate you through raw externalized emotion as to how it can be exponentially worse IF you choose not to take the action in achieving the goals you wrote down.

This was my biggest ‘HOLY SHIT’ moment.

I’m a very happy fella that embraces life and always strive to live outside my comfort zone, so I came to UPW with a different mentality.

In this HOLY SHIT moment, I opened my eyes in the dimmed room and literally saw EVERYBODY around me crying, sobbing, and just externalizing their internal pains. Grown men were on their knees crying their eyes out.

If I could put a bulging shocked eyes emoji here, I would lol.

I mean, all I wanted out of UPW was to get more amped for my business and life and suddenly, I was in this sea of people full of hurt.

So, your takeaway was that it forced you to do your own personal development day – very cool.

My biggest takeaway was opening my eyes as to how much pain people were in, and being insanely grateful that building up my own personal mentality has helped me see life’s crappy situations with a more positive perspective.

So when I meet people who are rude, sassy, or even kind of depressing to be around, I try to understand it better.

In conclusion, when people ask me if UPW is worth it, I always say “It depends”

I totally just write a blog post length in your comments section LOL but hey, extra SEO content points for Google 😉

Great read as usual Noah, here’s a virtual Torchy’s Tacos for you, for your candor about UPW

March 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

I have not been in any of Tony’s events but have seen him in interviews and read at least one book. First, his nutrition info is not science-based so I wouldn’t waste any time hearing from him. You left right on time! If you want to improve nutrition, generally the better choice would be to meet with one of the pros, a registered dietitian.

Second, while he has great energy, and while he makes me want to feel it, then he does something cheesy. This feels like blowing a balloon and then pinching it with a pin with the balloon deflating shortly after.

I really appreciate your honesty. In your next article, and if you’re up for sharing publicly, go deeper and let us know what you hoped to solve or get through Tony’s event. What is the hard work that you wanted to do? Make it a personal development blog day. ?

Lusana Charles
March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

Very Brave , Very True , I love this article

Lusana Charles
The UK No 1 BrainDetox Specialist ??

March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

have read and listened to most of Tony’s material over the years.

Have not attended the seminars, but really appreciate the reaction and candor.

March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Appreciate this honest article. It feels like in this entrepreneurial blogosphere there are these celebs that few are willing to critique, and TR after his stints on Ferris and others after releasing his money book seemed to enter that sphere, so this helps break that groupthink.

March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Hmm Intersting take. I actually enjoyed the discomfort of 4 long days in freezing cold and the hoopla of high fiving n all that with your neighbors because I felt it really immersed me in the experience. All of that was something I would normally despise. I’m glad I did it. I got so much out of the whole experience. It’s engrained in me now.

April 16, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Laura – Thanks for sharing. I have a friend who recently attended UTPW and glowed upon return. As it has been 5 weeks + however longer since your attending of your conference, has the glow faded or is it still engrained? Before coming across the entire thread I was pretty sure I was going to punch my ticket but now I’m on the fence.

March 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Generally, I like Tony Robins, I believe he has been around the block and understands the human condition. I also believe he’s in it for more than just the money, that he wants to help people.

With that said, I think much of what he talks about is modified common knowledge, and that people feed off the energy in large groups and “come alive” with all the validation.

I believe that individuals are capable of great things, are intelligent and have the ability to effect real and lasting change in their lives and in the lives around them. But in a group, they revert to a hive mentality and are easily swayed and highly suggestible. Especially when they are looking to someone who they “know” has the answers and has proven to be successful in the things they think they aren’t.

It’s unfortunate to hear that there is so much selling involved in that event. I should think after paying that amount of money, you’d be spared the sales pitch.

I have a couple of Tony’s audio courses and listen to them regularly, it’s great motivation. However, in the end, it comes down to putting in the work yourself because; reading, listening and hoping won’t change anything. You need to be able to figure out who you are, what you stand for and what you want, then create a plan to get there.

Moira Lethbridge
March 9, 2017 at 8:55 am

Please share more experiences like this one. Real experiences stick and give me permission to do the same.

Tom Bergman
March 9, 2017 at 8:54 am

Noah, thank you for your courage. I have been a quitter as well, and I can tell you that it often takes far more courage to quit than to complete. In high school, I expressed interest in becoming a catholic priest, which my family immediately got behind. It took a ton of strength for me to extricate myself from their efforts to get me into the seminary. It would have been so easy to just go along, but I could not honestly do so. At 69 years old, my still living relatives deplore my decision as a teen to not go.
I had two appointments to the US Naval Academy and declined them, because they would have constrained my life in ways I could not accept. I have received more than a little hate from others who would have given a hand to be able to have that opportunity, which I “threw away.”
When I was 60, my wife surprised me with flying lessons. I got a private license when I was 18, but never got a chance to fly again. I took two lessons and quit. It scared the bejesus out of me. My reflexes and the rest were just not comfy with such an Adrenalin charged activity. She was disappointed that I did not complete the lessons she had bought for me, but supported my decision in the end.
By all this, I mean to support your courageous walk-out. Here’s to you and the rest who refuse to let the expectations of others rule us. Thank you for sharing!

March 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Thanks for writing this, Noah. I walked out of a conference yesterday that I had been really excited about attending. In the past I would have stuck it out and hoped for the best. Now I know how valuable my time is and would rather cut my losses and get out before I wasted any more time.

Maybe my “FOMO” is running it’s course – or maybe it’s in full swing and I was in fear of missing other aspects of life. #millennials 🙂 Either way, thanks for being courageous enough to write and publish this.

March 9, 2017 at 10:14 am

Thanks for sharing Chenell. Or maybe you’re moving toward #JOMO – The joy of missing out? 🙂

David Sammel
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

I attended Tony’s events – UPW and two others. I was young and was inspired. Even then I was uncomfortable with the “upsell” and the amount of fluff and “ra-ra”. I put it down to being American. On reflection, over the years, and I still listen to Tony’s podcasts and all the amazing interviews he has done (bought the original box set of cassettes), I wish Tony would evolve into a more mature style of authentic, content richer seminars. He is so successful, intelligent and well-known I think he could figure a way of doing so profitably. I for one totally understand you walking out and why I have not attended another event for 20 years. I’m the same age as Tony and my credentials as a coach of Pro tennis players and author on mental skills are on http://www.lockerroompower.com

Ryan Stewman
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

Dude, you make big bread, why ask for a refund? I never hit folks up for refunds, that’s just bad karma.

March 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Because there was a guarantee?

Because he expects people to do their best for $2000/seat, not push over-priced supplements?

Because he has enough balls to stand up for himself when he’s being played?

Thanks for the virtue-signaling.

Antoine Dupont
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

That was ballsy, loved your candor. Great post, thank you.

March 9, 2017 at 8:51 am

Thank you for this Noah. With the list of celebrities that Tony Robbins notes and constant references by entrepreneurs about how Tony’s tapes and courses have helped them, I have always feared that I was missing out by not investing in one of his courses. You have given a voice to a ton of the concerns I have about pulling the trigger. Maybe I’ll stick to buying a book or two instead so I can filter the fluff.

Jonathan Kiilerich
March 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

Thanks for saving me $2.000!
I read Tonys books and he’s great.
But I too think, that a lot of his stuff is too superficial.

Clay Steadman
March 9, 2017 at 8:48 am

Hey Noah! Thank you so much for writing this 🙂 very inciteful and helpful.

How did you go about finding a mastermind group on that day?

Thank you,
Clay Steadman

David Gray
March 9, 2017 at 8:46 am

I think that your experience when you unplugged (on a recent trip) was the most rewarding to you. Tynan is my friend too and he seems very grounded. As Nick’s dad, I would say we all need to unplug more, find our self, and be more comfortable.
Kick Ass gets you only so far. I think defining what your zone is, being comfortable and enjoying your zone, and maximizing your output are huge goals. For instance, I’m 62 and think I’m getting to know where my sweet spot is for productivity. It is just me, not the same for other people. You get a certain warmth when you are in your sweet spot and at your best. Like the guy that other players pass the ball to and he can score.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy your stories and thrill for sharing your experiences. Cheers!

March 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

Noah, I was listening to your recent podcast on my way to the office when I got the email about this post…so I just read it and holy shitballs, what a different perspective. I also wouldn’t spend 3 days in an environment like that mainly because I’m super introverted and talking to strangers, rubbing their shoulders, etc would make me crazy. I too believe that some of his tactics are cheesy but I guess they work for some ppl. I will say that his two newest books on money are awesome. He really did a huge thing for the general public on how to take control of your finances.
Thanks man for all you do. #eatmoretacos

March 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

Hi Noah,

Never went to Tony’s event but I really understand your point of view. I feel the same in the Millionaire Mind Intensive here in Brazil. A lot of sales, dancing and too many superficial tips.

Congrats to be honest and authentic.

Big fan of your work.

Shashank Mishra
March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

I admire the way you analyse your own life Noah. That’s something I am learning to do more of from listening to and reading your materials.
Thank you for your awesome recent referrals to Jim Rohn — he is the man! Will check out Deida and Hendricks.
I saw Caldini’s book on your read list — you may enjoy listening to Charlie Munger’s Harvard speech on cognitive biases. (You Tube “psychology of Human Misjudgement”).

March 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

….and you know who Tony Robbins worked for? Jim Rohn.

March 10, 2017 at 8:39 pm

He also took multiple est courses (Landmark predecessor) when he was planning his own curriculum. I know someone who was in his Forum class. (He was still Tony Mahavoric then.)

March 28, 2017 at 7:23 am

Why the name change?

March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

This was perfect timing for me. I was just thinking to myself yesterday “Why does everyone like Tony Robbins so much? I don’t get it!”

So, I listened to his recent James Altucher interview to try to give him another chance.

There was some interesting stuff in there about habitually jumping in cold water to train himself to act even when it’s unpleasant.

Then the name-dropping came. Then he kept mentioning his private jet. Then he told a story about the time he didn’t fly in his private jet, because flying in a commercial jet supported the story that he proceeded to STEAL from Louis CK’s bit about airplane WiFi (with no attribution).

Then he went on about some questionable health stuff.

I think it’s great that Tony Robbins inspires action and change in people, but it worries me that they’re apparently impressed by his name-dropping and materialism. Being chummy with ex-presidents and having a private jet are not life goals that will lead to happiness.

Mark-John Clifford
March 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

It’s funny you bring up the health stuff. I heard an interview a week ago with Tony on a who called Fater Than Normal with Peter Shankman and Tony talked about having ADHD and saying it wasn’t recognized till the 70’s or 80’s.

I also have ADHD and it was discovered or diagnosed in the early 60’s but called hyperkinetic impulse disorder which he didn’t know.

I had also been interviewed on this same show about my ADHD and because of how long I had it and was questioned about the diagnosis and time table. So when Tony came on my interview was questioned and then I showed the facts of when this disorder was found.

Bam! Tony fails again!

March 9, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Taking cold showers is an age old technique that Tony Robbins is passing off as something he discovered. A cursory google search will reveal how commin it is.

TR repackages established ideas as his own and sells them to people eager for some help.

March 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Funny, I was also completely offended that he stole Louis CK’s wifi joke. Worse, he pretended it actually happened to him.

(I also felt he insulted people’s intelligence that they wouldn’t know the single most famous joke in Louis CK’s career.)

That whole thing made him look like a total a–hole.

Noah, awesome post. I liked that you asked for your money back. But I *loved* that you put it in the article.

April 7, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Oh I never caught that until you pointed it out. It totally was Louis CK’s joke. ?

March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

Awesome article! I have to admit I’ve been a subscriber for a while but this was the first post that intrigued me enough to click through AND read the entire article! : ) I can also relate with quitting things when they are no longer serving you. I’ve found that gurus and motivational speakers can be great – but sometimes just reading one of their books or a video on a specific topic we want to learn more about in that moment can be digested a lot quicker and give more value to us.

March 9, 2017 at 8:39 am

Thank you for writing this post. I have often wondered if I was missing something by not investing and going to a Tony Robbins event. I have read some of his books and seen videos and I felt I wanted more. But I was also wondering if that was the feeling I would always get from Tony; wanting more.

I love the immersion environment. It creates the break from outside obligations to allow you to drop some of the social masks and go deep. I love going deep.

I put on a workshop last year that opened with a concert and firewalk. Saturday was a full day Shamanic Breathwork with an evening sweat lodge for those who were so inclined. These are all deep transformative rituals. We had a lot of fun while doing our deep inner work.

Tony was one of the first to embrace firewalking in the 80’s.

Getting people to the first event was tougher than I expected. I don’t know why, but I thought everyone would jump at the chance to walk on fire. After meeting with so much resistance I had even more respect for his ability to persuade than ever.

After the weekend was over the attendees went out and told their friends about it. Then we had a waiting list of people who want to come to the next one. I learned it’s just the hump you have to get over when you are bringing new (old) things to the public.

But you have answered the Tony question for me and saved me some time and money. Because you just described something I would want to walk out of too.

lorraine murray
March 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

Very interesting and sounds like a fair assessment. I watched the guru film recently and am amazed at how this event is run. I can see how some of this works for people but being a teacher and someone who has been to many courses I notice how the teacher has to have the energy, authenticity and.integrity to hold the space for others to realise their potential. No gimmicks or sales or spoonfeeding. This is how a good teacher empowers others.

Anric Blatt
March 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

Hi Noah, thanks for this note, appreciate that you are putting yourself out there for all the haters to come and hate you (or for the Tony haters to agree, lol), but i see your point, even as a former Platinum Partner, Business Mastery, etc – I also hate all the massaging, silly jumping, and uncomfortable proximity invasion, hype etc, but UPW is too general and almost like an advertisement for his other stuff, he always seems to be selling, which is why he is so successful, but Date with Destiny (DWD) is far more what you would appreciate, its much deeper (and longer !!) but its the best of Tony – i always thought that UPW was a Tony light session to get people hooked, and DWD is the real deal, he’s good, really good. The fake clapping thing is because of the sensitivity of his microphone (your ears would explode if he really used those 6 feet arms and shovel size palms to clap). He still is the No 1 guy out there for this kind of performance coaching, but Business Mastery or DWD would be far more useful to you. Thanks for your candor

Jerene Dildine
March 9, 2017 at 8:36 am

I was literally listening to Tony on James Altucher, asking, “yes, but make that platitude a ‘do now!'” when I got your post.

You are so dope and real, Noah. Thank you for having the balls and integrity to put this out there.

Jerene Dildine
March 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

PS – I <3 Tony and have benefitted from lots of his work.

PSS- religion can totally sometimes be a disease 😉 and the guy was "self-described."

Rick Siderfin
March 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

Excellently written Noah, I am impressed by how you were at pains not to do a character assassination on the guy. What makes me smile is thinking of how many others would have secretly wanted to walk out, and yet not had the courage to follow through – and then they would have gone home and told all their friends how much they enjoyed it and how much it helped them…

March 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

Great article! I love Tony but at the same time agree with almost everything you mention and I LOVE your alternative personal dev day!

P.S – I have spent way too much time analyzing why he claps that way. It bothers the hell out of me 🙂

Sohail Ahmed
April 10, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Tony claps that way because he’s been clapping his hands so much over the years in these events, that if he claps like the rest of us (which he used to), it literally hurts his hands.

It’s kind of like a diabetic pricking a different finger each morning so they don’t bruise the same spot over and over again.

I think I heard him explain this very thing on some podcast years ago. I’ve always enjoyed his insights. Personal Power II was incredibly insightful.

Madeline johnson
March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

Thanks for this honest review – I have read Tony’s books – watched videos – but always knew I would feel the same way about one of his seminars. Love your idea of designing your own personal development day.

March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

Omg I have a gut feeling I’ll think the same once I attend this month. I watched online and I thought either I’ll love it or feel like it’s not deep enough and will leave and just work through my own shit lol! Thanks for sharing it didn’t seem negative it was just your experience.

March 9, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Z – you are going in LA? I will be there also with the same thoughts. Even thought of backing out ? It will be interesting. I have no desire to dance around or have anyone else touch me or me them.

March 19, 2017 at 10:45 pm

I’ll be in LA this week, as well.

Simon T
March 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

Great feedback Noah, a friend of mine suggested we go to his next event in London and I would if it was one day but it’s a five day event!!

I just listened to Tony’s new audiobook ‘Unshakeable’. If I had a $ for everytime the words ‘index funds’ were mentioned I would be a rich man!! My advice is to skip to track 13 when he gives the best piece of advice you’ll ever get and tells it perfectly. He should have made a short book just on that chapter rather than filling it with advice on stocks and shares. Again, I guess it comes down to perception of value like his events.

March 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm

What’s the message in chapter 13?

Tom Jackson
March 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

Dude, that was friggin’ well written and insightful. I’ve been to a TR event and have exactly the same thoughts. I feel like we are taco bros, even though I don’t really eat many tacos (don’t hate).

Shashank Mishra
March 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

Hi Noah,

Were you able to do the Christmas Carol exercise with Tony Robbins?

He would typically do it on day 2 or 3. This exercise has been a guaranteed method to make me take action and follow through on my goals. I go to UPW in order to do The Christmas Carol exercise as it’s difficult to reproduce with this intensity anywhere else.

March 9, 2017 at 8:46 am

Share with the group. Everyone reading this is willing to try something.

March 9, 2017 at 9:02 am

That was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done!!

March 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Christmas Carol exercise

at your FULLEST emotional intensity, FEEL the emotional consequences of failing to adhere to new (good) behaviors that you designed earlier in course.

Sequentially escalate the intensity of these painful emotional consequences by imagining them a year from now, five years , ten years and twenty years from now. It is intensely painful. Stay there…For a while.

T H E N…

switch to intense joy — the consequences were only imagined! The (artificial) aversion to those negative emotions gets you to stick to your desired behaviors. (Think Scrooge meets ghost of Christmas future).

Difficult to replicate, very powerful and alone is worth the entry price.

April 10, 2017 at 10:57 am

Yes the Dickens is the most powerful piece of the seminar. I have heard people leave after day 1. If only they realized what was in store for them

It’s unfortunate this article is actually not complete factual. It would have been better if the author did a full upw and maybe date with destiny. Then you would see the value of the seminar.
I have done seminars with many people. I love Tony because of his heart and how much he cares about people. He puts so much of himself on these seminars.
I love more then ever because of Tony Robbins. All my friends that have taken these course some have more life changes then others but they all saw the value.
I was blessed to meet Olympic medalists at these events. I understand that he is not for everyone. The key is not going there with preconceived judgements. If you play full out and leave your ego outside the door. YOUR Life will transform

March 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

Noah, Thanks for the consistency and no sugar coating it.

Mark Lassoff
March 9, 2017 at 8:23 am

Maybe if he wasn’t a borderline giant, who’s got a marketing machine and a mutual admiration society among Vaynerchuk, The Four Hour Workweek guy, and others, no one would pay attention to Tony Robbins. I certainly understand Vaynercuk and company’s involvement– They all make money off of each other.

I always thought George Carlin said it best: “Motivation is bullshit, if you ask me this country could use a little less motivation. The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble!”

I have never heard him say anything except very general platitudes. When you’re walking across hot coals, pretending it doesn’t hurt, and thinking that’s “the answer” the problem is you.

March 11, 2017 at 3:35 am

Nothing like a smart And funny comment :), ‘The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble’ – here’s some food for thought…while smiling

John Barton
March 11, 2017 at 1:19 pm

That’s awesome. Leave it to George to come up with the perfect quip. Like when he said humans are pretentious to think we can save the planet….the planet will be fine and shake us off like fleas….

March 9, 2017 at 8:21 am

I appreciate both the candor. I don’t agree with all your points, but you made some really valid ones and appreciate your authenticity.

Here’s to more personal development days!

March 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

I think that what he offer in those events have entertainment value above everything else. He is like an evangelical preacher but instead of selling christianity he sells… well himself. There are quite a lot of cult-like persuasion techniques that he uses at these events – I know what I’m talking about when I say this – . 10% useful information, 90% hidden self-promotion and emotional manipulation to position himself as a guru. He is the most successful snake oil salesman in America, and got himself in such an influential position that few dare to point the obvious, the emperor is naked.

March 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for this insight. “There are quite a lot of cult-like persuasion techniques that he uses at these events – I know what I’m talking about when I say this – . 10% useful information, 90% hidden self-promotion and emotional manipulation to position himself as a guru.”

…and nothing more manipulative to position oneself as a guru than to use the title “I am not your guru”! …he surely knows full well the brain doesn’t translate negatives but thinks in pictures – …don’t think about Donald Trump …don’t think about a Christmas Tree! …

March 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

A most thoughtful review. This is one of the best “negative AND thoughful” review/reflections I’ve ever read on an event.

Conor Neill
March 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

Hehe, I initially thought “fucking click bait titles” and hated the need to click and see what you were going to say… and then read the whole thing and felt it was an important message…

I have a friend who has seen Tony Robbins twice – the first time 25 years ago, and then 3 years ago. 25 years ago, Tony was on his own journey and the whole seminar felt that he was working together with all the participants and that he was a guide, but didn’t have all the answers. 3 years ago… my friend hated the name dropping, the guru-idol status and all the ra-ra…

I believe Tony Robbins has been a catalyst to start millions of people on a journey towards personal responsibility… but (I need the chemistry knowledge to find a better metaphor…) he is only the catalyst that begins the reaction… if you want to go further on the path, you need a different guide.

In teaching, the expert is often a terrible teacher for novices. The expert only becomes a good teacher to other experts. It is a different skill to teach beginners than it is to teach experts…

Keep searching for teachers.

and keep on blogging 😉

March 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

Ha! I thought the same thing about the quick bait title. I couldn’t resist clicking and the article was worth the read. I’m sort of surprised Noah asked for his money back though.

March 9, 2017 at 10:53 am


March 9, 2017 at 7:06 am

Anytime you have 10k people, it is a show, a performance, not a deep dive.
How many people were at David Deida’s seminar? A classroom at most…

The nutrition heretic
March 9, 2017 at 1:48 am

Oh I totally get this. I flew to San Jose for a conference called the Big shift. You can only imagine what I called it by lunch. Total fluff — dancing, fake hugging, telling painful stories, selfies and crap with a “buy my sh!t” pitch along the way. Huge waste of time. The same schmooze the pharmacy companies use to get cheerleaders to hawk their drugs. I only attended because the course I took from the same guy was really good but all the fake feely nonsense was like a bait and switch.

March 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Hi Noah,

Just wanted to drop a line and say thank you for your honest review of the event. I have read Tony Robbins’ book on personal finance recently and it revolutionized my world (and I came from a place of total ignorance on the topic). It’s helped me understand that probably one of his seminars is not for me, either. I’ve also just recently stumbled upon your blog and my respect for you has magnified by your transparency. Stoked to become a more regular reader!

Miguel Hernandez
March 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Same here. I love Tony’s energy but found his event overwhelming so we just showed up for a bit and tried to extract the main lessons minus the hoopla. We went more out of curiosity than need. In terms of events, UPW is just spectacular but my wife and I just didn’t have the patience to put up with 4 days of jumping and screaming. For that I rather go watch a soccer game!

Daniel kim
March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hi Miguel, I’m a big fan of your work (animated explainer videos, etc) and was pleasantly surprised to see here. Keep up the good work.

Tom S.
March 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I saw the documentary on Netflix where he did a seminar in Florida in 2016. I got the same thing. My biggest issue with Tony Robbins, although he has good intent, is it preys on the weak-minded folks. Maybe because of my military background and confidence with myself, I can analyze my own life without the neediness of requiring a self-help guru to push me in the right direction.

Also, I feel Tony Robbins doesn’t actually do anything original or actually sell a product. He is regurgitating stuff he learned from his mentor Jim Rohn (who in the 60’s was nothing more than a saesmand and distribution marketing) and of course others like Zig Zigglar, and then learning from John Grinder about NLP (or what I call brainwashing).

When you put this all together, Tony Robbins has become what he has over the the last 30+ years because society is gullible, vulnerable, and our human nature is to search for answers, rather than doing the hard work themselves, being introspective, and putting their life in God’s hands.

I heard once a while back “We all know what to do, but we don’t do what we know”. For the people that follow Tony Robbins or any professed self-help guru, life coach, or motivational speaker, I would tell that person, you don’t need to waste $2000 at a seminar to fill the pockets of guys like this to talk to you.

All you have to do if you want to improve your life is DO THE WORK. Whether it’s with Faith, Family, Friends, or Fitness (Physical, Financial, Emotional, etc…)

Now for your readers of your post, they might say “That’s why you hire someone like Tony Robbins” to help you unleash and coach you to improve all facets of your life. The problem is, Tony Robbins isn’t selling you anything but him talking or trying to motivate you, or selling his books, his CD’s, etc…. that is the self-help RACKET…. They do their conferences, seminars, get someone to publish them in a book, make CD’s, informmercials, etc… then society buys into it like they are an EXPERT.

You see, Tony Robbins, dropped out or never even started college. Then he go onto the curtails of Jim Rohn, was told in high school after winning some debate competitions that he had the gift of speaking and I will give Tony Robbins that, he can coach, he can speak, but I would have more respect for him if he had a PhD, created his own stuff, rather than repackaging someone else like Jim Rohn or taking NLP works and trying to pass it off as his own.

Our society will always have the weak-minded, troubled individuals who have issues they can’t solve. Some go to shrinks, so go to life-coaches, and some waste their money on self-help gurus like Tony Robbins.

In the end, we all have our own opinions and mine is that we need less of the Tony Robbins in the world and more of folks looking in the mirror and telling themselves “You can do this and figure shit out on your own”. Life is not easy and God put us on this earth to do his work, to love each other, and to spread his word, everything else from work to family to friendships, etc…. is just the craziness called life that each person has to learn to navigate and figure out on their own. Tony Robbins can’t help you, but he can take your $2000 to waste your time, until you come back to reality that nobody can fix you but the person looking back in the mirror.

Thanks for the post.

Suzanne A.
March 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Tom S.
This little paragraph really sums it up so very well:
“All you have to do if you want to improve your life is DO THE WORK. Whether it’s with Faith, Family, Friends, or Fitness (Physical, Financial, Emotional, etc…)” –
(that would make a great meme!)

So you can learn the basics by reading on your topic of interest (or need), listening for a while, and keeping informed, but there is a difference between getting to know the ropes and making all the others who call themselves “experts” any richer just because they did that exact work before you. I mean, just think: with those insane prices – “just” $2000 for TR’s precious time, multiplied by the number of attendees, 10,000 people, add 4 zeros here, $20,000,000 for some 20 hours over 3 days = roughly $1,000,000/hour!!! Wow! How long do you have to work to gain such sums? Will you ever?

Like I said, there’s no real need to make them richer. Just be determined to make yourself rich in knowledge, and with it and practice, self-assurance will come along. Then you will be your own expert and the doors to unlimited possibilities will open… can’t you already see them slightly ajar?

Hey, maybe I could give a seminar, and I could do it in English and in French too! Kidding… I think.

March 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

I think you just saved alot of people $2000! It is called self-help for a reason…great advice. Thanks

March 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

I actually think you might need to become a self help speaker. “You can do this and figure shit out on your own” was more helpful to me than any generalized rah-rah statement I’ve heard! ?

March 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm

That question mark was a smile that got lost in translation 🙂

March 11, 2017 at 3:28 am

I was searching for a ‘like’ button 🙂

John Barton
March 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

One thing no one ever mentions about the “self”-help field is community. You go to these seminars, rallies, etc…and they become this big mass hysteria crowd love fest where everyone feels like they are part of something bigger surrounded by people who want them to succeed. But when you leave and go back into the real world most of us don’t have a community of empowering people to support our journey. We have bills and deadlines and jerks who have their own agendas that are more important to the them than ours are to them.

Instead of focusing on building a better society we spend so much time trying to fix what’s “wrong” with ourselves thinking that if only we do that then we will succeed in society. But that’s not how it really works.

Anyone can feel good in a circle jerk. That’s the reason for that type of activity. But in the real world no one is really interested in seeing you get satisfied unless you are paying them to satisfy you.

IF – IF we had a society where people got off by seeing other succeed at all levels THEN we wouldn’t need a self-help industry because MOST people would be working happily at their level (Peter Principle) in full understanding that they don’t NEED to do more than be at that level to have a happy and fulfilling life since everyone else along with them would be working to help each person reach that level. A constant hand up to where you are able to work and live competently would change society for the better in so many ways.

But in the ultra competitive environment we are in people will never feel good because there is always a level above them that they just cant reach because either they aren’t “good enough” or they don’t put in the work, or the opportunities aren’t there and they are failing to “create” those opportunities….. not thinking positively enough….etc…

Just Do It is good advice as well as brilliant marketing slogan….you don’t need to pay 2k for that advice…but what we could use is a society that provides a truly good environment to just do it in.

One that provides solid stairs for those who want to climb to whatever level they can handle and who can go back down when they can’t without feeling like failures. We need something better than the all-or-nothing society.

March 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm

This. This is why Self-Help of all stripes irritates me to no end. Empowerment works best when there is a community of caring where everyone gives what they can and is encouraged to ask for what they need, rather than being told they can do it all themselves. Not everyone is an “A-type” personality, and those are the ONLY people ever actually helped by this sort of guruism. The vast majority of people need support, encouragement, and help to get the good and right done. That’s where religion grows from. That’s why so many are happy to live in vast cities. Humans are social animals; we need each other. If more self-professed self-help faces recognized that and encouraged that to grow, more people would accomplish the goals they claim to want to show them how to achieve.

“Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Sure. How about “Teach a man and three strangers in his community to work together and use a net, and you feed a village”, though? That sounds far more sensible to me…

Ken Hovland
March 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I love your broadening of Teach a Man to Fish… brilliant! I like the original too, but the broadened version is perhaps more real.

March 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Ahaha, this goes full circle in the end: “we need less of the Tony Robbins in the world and more of folks looking in the mirror and telling themselves “You can do this and figure shit out on your own”.” –> you’ll always need some sort of Tony Robbins or replies like yours to tell people to look in the mirror and tell themselves that they can do this and figure the shit out on their own! –> your advice was free and shorter, though 🙂

David Currie
March 25, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Well said !!!

April 27, 2017 at 10:56 pm

Tom, come on man… there are so many assumptions and generalisations in your comment that it’s impossible to unpack. Praying on the weak minded?

Let me just ask you – and I’m trying my best to be impartial here – but have you actually ever attended a tony robbins event? Read one of his books? Listened to his audio programs? Done any exercises? Or do you just see a guy and assume he’s just “regurgitating” things.

If this was the case, then tell me – why do so many successful people seek him out, and continuously hire him to make their lives more effective? Why do so many hedge fun managers, huge company CEO’s, athletes, and any other “successful” person you can think if, continuously use his services?

Are these all “weak minded” people as you say, that just need a motivation boost and don’t know how to “do the work”, and need to “seekk out a self help guru”.

That’s honestly one of the dummest things I’ve read here, I’m sorry. If someone picks up a book, listens to an audio, or attends a seminar, and wants to better their life and learn from someone, doesn’t make them “weak”. Are there many people that go to these things “seeking answers” as you say? Sure… but to generalize amongst all of them is a joke.

Imagine I said that only weak minded people join the military because they need someone to “toughen them up”. How does that comment make you feel? Do you think this encapsulates all people in the military? I can easily write you a bunch of generalizations I’ve had about the military that would probably make you angry.

You know what the difference between you and I is? I haven’t been in the military. And you know the difference between you and the people who say that Tony Robbins work and exercises helped change their life? The difference is they actually went through the experience, while you just sit here and write out a bunch of “intelligent” sounding nonsese about how he’s solely regurgitating stuff from Jim Rohn and and Zig Ziglar.

Give me a break.

Charlie Cleveland
March 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan and I really appreciated your thoughts here. You’re not a hater at all, you’re just paying attention to how YOU can best grow. Thank you.

Nick Reese
March 8, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Dude, I walked out of UPW and sat in my car thinking it was the biggest waste of time and energy ever. Upsells, no real content, all over the place, lots of aphorism that people eat up. Finally went back but only for the last day, it was OK.

Later after listening to the advice of a mutual friend of ours, I went to his Date With Destiny. It was a completely different experience.

6 days of legit content that changed my perspective on huge parts of my life. It was truly worthwhile and helped me a ton of the relationship front. (I think I’ve told you this story personally.)

Always fun to read your take on this stuff.

Keep kicking ass homeh.

Jonathan GIbson
March 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I definitely agree Nick that the Date With Destiny event is by far the best event that TR holds. I’m so glad that I signed up for it and didn’t let UPW be my only experience.

Roland Tolliver
March 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I agree, Nick. I attended all of the Mastery University courses after going to UPW. I did stick it out and felt energized, but still wanting. Date with Destiny was certainly more intense, personal and substantially more interactive with other attendees. UPW is kind of the “gateway” and while the “self-promotions” get a bit tiresome during UPW and self-referential comments may seem self-aggrandizing, he really has changed a lot of lives. Just like many other elements of life, one dose of anything will not be sufficient for sustenance. The goal is to keep improving oneself, whether it is with the assistance of Tony Robbins or any other mentor, a parent, a friend or family member. Thanks for opening up the conversation, Noah.

March 8, 2017 at 10:30 am

Really interesting! I just “discovered” Tony recently from watching “I am not your guru” and seeing him on the #AskGaryVee show. I’m not totally sold but I am interested in his message.

One point – I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and reading about someone as a “recovering” Jehovah’s witness is a bit mean. Would you call someone a recovering Catholic if they decided to leave Catholicism? Religion isn’t a disease like alcoholism or drugs.

Noah Kagan
March 8, 2017 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the note.

This is what he labeled himself. I found his story SO interesting about how he’s exploring his relationship to himself, his family and his religion.

March 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

All right, fair enough. I can’t say anything about what anyone chooses to call themselves.

I always enjoy your writing and appreciate the response.

March 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

I’m glad you brought that up. I had the same thought “recovering JW”. Thank you for clarifying Noah.

March 25, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Hey Daniel (Love your smile), “Recovering Catholic” is actually a common term used by many ex-Catholics who have found making the transition from the emotionally based, mythological, ethnocentric view of the bible to a modern, scientifically grounded and open worldview quite difficult (me being one of them). Also overcoming deep impressions like the fear of hell, that one may be lost forever by not seeing Jesus as the one and only savior of mankind, etc and having to clear all the other early childhood conditioning associated with such a strict and literal upbringing quite challenging and often taking years to do properly. Hence the term “recovering”. It can take a while.

March 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

Lol. ?

March 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

I agree with your neighbor’s statement, Noah. I’m a recovering Catholic and I’m much happier by learning facts and using critical thinking. The church is really good at teaching parishioners that an opposing view is considered malicious and ignorant. In fact, it’s the other way around.

March 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

LOL – recovering was well used and appreciated by me.

Kaloyan Yankulov
March 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm

A recovering orthodox Christian here. 🙂

dianne jewell
March 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

The dude who described himself as recovering JW has a strange way of looking at life. You can take it or leave it (JW) they’re not a cult. Maybe he thought he was being funny. Its me and God, the rest doesnt matter. #justsaying

March 11, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Exactly Dianne – religion is man’s attempt to reach God and it’s often more about rules than anything else. It’s really God who changes lives by working through people. It’s often the people who genuinely care in a one to one relationship that have the biggest impact. This is what I have seen through people in our church who are recovering from addictions.

March 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I think that JW is a cult – my boyfriends family are all JW and have disowned us because we live together -we got an email from one family member that they must choose Jehovah over having a relationship with us, and I find that very sad, and JW IS a cult, a scary one.

letitia lee
April 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

they are a cult, and im a recovered JW

March 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Well actually religion is precisely that especially when a child has been raised in a group with strict doctrines enforced upon them into a rigid sense of conformity before the child has had the time to allow there minds to develop naturally.

No adult would raise there child on a mild form of alcohol or a regular weekly package of prescription drugs I mean the effects on the child would do life lasting damage both mentally and physically.

Drugs and alcohol alter the minds capacity to think clearly and make people behave otherwise different to when they are sober and yet what happens if they stop drinking and doing drugs well nothing in the short term perhaps some mild form of withdrawal before recovery but if it’s been year’s of abuse the withdrawal can be horrific and it’s the same as religion and it’s impact upon a child who has been raised on a mind alternating state of radical ideologies and then chooses to staep away from it when they grow older and the older they are the harder the withdrawal and effects on the individual lasts for year’s for some people perhaps even a lifetime.

March 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Very well said Flash – I agree with you 100%

Off Brand
March 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

If someone referred to themselves as a “recovering Jehovah’s Witness” would that change your opinion of using that terminology?

Brian Brereton
March 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm

“Religion isn’t a disease like alcoholism or drugs.” I was going to respond: “Yes, it is”. But then I realized the appropriate response was “No, it is far worse…”

Sri Siva
March 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

yes, far worse for sure.

John Reed
March 10, 2017 at 7:11 am

True – Religion may not be a disease, but to those of us that see no proof in it but instead see how much trouble it has caused in the world (throughout history) it does appear as a weakness or a sickness that we can do without. Also, if we are then persecuted for “not believing what we are told” this just proves the point – it can be a very dangerous “sickness”.

March 14, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Yes, I have called myself a “recovering Catholic” for years. I’m 61. Years. When you are raised with strong beliefs, beliefs that you no longer believe, you have to work at becoming free from them. It doesn’t just happen.

March 15, 2017 at 7:24 am

I know many people who self-describe as a recovering Catholic. I imagine his neighbor self-described as well.
Love, A Recovering Jehovah’s Witness.

March 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

With respect, I am a non-religious person from a large Catholic family that is accepting of the beliefs of others, including mine.

One of my senior employees is the son of a major figure in the JW church on the east coast. With respect for what you choose to believe, yes, a church that permanently ostracizes you from your family ONLY because you leave the church and not for any other reasons, moralistic or otherwise, is absolutely something you recover from. His entire extended family except one sister that consistently tries to doom and gloom him into coming back refuses contact with him.

And for the record, to Christine’s point above, yes, many Catholics including my parents would refer to themselves as recovering or recovered Catholics.

March 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

If it leaves that person in a state of shock, confusion, and despair, yes.

Jason A McCrory
March 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Daniel, I just wanted to say that you delivered your point rather gracefully. It’s easy to get offended/angry when it feels like someone is attacking your beliefs or insensitive to your reality.

Great article Noah! I’ll admit that I love Tony Robbins and his general message, but I agree that sometimes it’s a bit much. He’s full of great wisdom, but I think he forgets that most people don’t have 10,000 people cheering them on when they get back home.

Jon Davey
March 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Alcoholism and drugs are not diseases they are conditions . Religion per se is not a disease . Organised religion , whereby one person dictates to another what the only rightful interpretation of an ideal or message is , or how people must conduct ” THEIR ” life , is the most insidious / vile disease / virus on the planet !

March 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Ah a conscious being

Mark W Stacey
March 30, 2017 at 1:53 pm

I agree. Religion is a personal choice. If you don’t like it, leave. It’s not that easy living with a not so good decision. But at the end of the day, it was your decision.

Moira presti
April 1, 2017 at 9:52 am

Daniel, I do agree. It demonstrates a lack of respect for your religion of origin.
TR is absolutely brilliant in his “pitch” I must agree, but never the less, does this “euphoria” last.
He must be making an incredible amount of money.

Michael K
April 2, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Religion actually is a mental illness (a socially acceptable mental illness). The definition of mental illness is being out of touch with reality, and religious people ate out of touch with reality.

Bo Juel
April 5, 2017 at 5:04 am

You should read my book “The Least of God’s Priorities” Daniel. It would make you understand why someone would need to recover after being born-in, third generation JW,. But I know that there are books you are not allowed to read and that you are forbidden from being in contact with people that your leaders have labeled “apostates”.

It is like this:
When you are buying a car and you ask the salesperson for references from other customers and he gives you a list of people to whom you can call and you do that. Everyone on the list tells you what a great dealership it is and not one have any complaints or issues. Then you go online and see that there are hundreds of people complaining about the dealership. Would you still buy from that shop? Yes, some say, after I have asked the salesman what the complaints are all about. So you do that. And this is where things get strange. The car salesman tells you that you should not go online to check out stuff, many of our former customers are just lying. Stick to the list and only listen to the people who are on that list. That is how your organization runs things. They are in fact just as good at it (or bad) as Scientology, Mormons, Westborow baptist church and other cults. So no wonder people would label themselves “recovering Jehovah’s Witnesses ”

Great article Noah. Tony is great, his fees are heavenly huge and sometimes he is a little too much. But with a fortune of $ 500 million he must have brought service to many. Enjoy your day folks.

April 7, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Thank you. I was thinking the very same thing. Jehovah’s Witnesses are decent people just trying to live how they think god wants them to. They don’t hurt anyone. I have a Kingsom Hall at the end of my block. These comments don’t make sense coming from somebody that is supposed to be enlightened. I also thought “What was the point of mentioning a weird clap.”

I don’t think he was name dropping. It just shows that if he’s sought after by President Clinton, then obviously he’s got something real. That’s just like a reference for a job we want.

I walked on fire! Couldn’t have done that without Tony Robbins. Now I know whatever I face that I think I can’t get through, I can. I never thought I could walk on fire. I was positive I couldn’t. That experience will stick with me. It means something.

April 9, 2017 at 8:45 pm

The line between religion or cult is a very thin one.

April 12, 2017 at 9:41 am

I do refer to myself as a “recovering Catholic” – to those of us who leave a particular religion, or all religion, it can indeed seem like a disease, that there are very specific patterns of thought and action that we now see as objectionable.

For one, however, I accept that many people find a legitimate source of hope and strength in their faith. But that’s a whole other story.

Anyway, this is good. I keep bumping in to things about Robbins online. Since the first time, he’s set my teeth on edge. This helped clarify some of that initial reaction, so thanks!

March 8, 2017 at 1:49 am

Great post Noah! If only we all took the time to reflect on whether or not the things we do bring us real value or meaning, and if they don’t, what are some ways we can change that to realign. I love the approach you took and personally get so much more out of actually working through issues and having intimate conversations with close friends.

Dan Andrews
March 8, 2017 at 12:32 am

I enjoyed hearing your thoughts here. I was listening to his second appearance on Tim Ferris’ show, and like you pointed out the guy is super smart and charismatic and all that, but something was nagging at me and then it hit me: “horoscopes.”

He talks like horoscopes. (Often) fluries of non-falsifyable statements that just sound good, and often make you feel really good.

My suspicion as a TR outsider is that people who come to rely on these sorts of solutions don’t address why they feel they need them so much in the first place.

Scott Whisler
March 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

“My suspicion as a TR outsider is that people who come to rely on these sorts of solutions don’t address why they feel they need them so much in the first place.”

Boom, Dan.


March 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm


Gregory A. Buford MD FACS
March 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm


March 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Ha! Same reaction to that episode. I turned it off when he said “I very very rarely have bad days.”

I think he honestly believes that and it’s not disingenuous or malevolent, but I think the outcome he is selling is neither achievable or desirable.

The point is not to “never have bad days.” It is something more zen-esque like “be present for the good and the bad.”

Or at least, that’s my shtick

March 9, 2017 at 3:33 pm

It is easy to sell the endorphins of hope, but much harder to sell the scars of what it takes to achieve it. So most of the self-help industry sells the hope – it’s an easier buck to fleece. And that’s the problem with this industry.

Tragically with this industry, hope begets hope (god I sound like such a miserable m********ker) . Specifically, people love the endorphins of the day, leave on a high, then nothing really changes, so they return for another hit because hope is so much more fun than scars. And you can leave thinking that this time, this time more than the last time, it WILL be different.

But it won’t. And so it perpetuates.

And worst of all, I come across so many people who haven’t resolved their issues, but who are so sold on false hope, that they end up setting up as life coaches themselves, selling an even more vacuous version of the hope that they were sold.

It’s a genuinely screwed up industry.

And I speak as someone who attended a TR event about 15 years ago and left on a high. Oh, and despite what I said above, someone who also loves hope. But accepts that a scarred back is often its price.

Stever Robbins
March 11, 2017 at 1:00 am

I’ve found technology is the same. I’ve been using it for decades. And you know what? This time, the tool / gadget / software / app will DO IT!! This will be the one that really makes me break through and be productive!!! At long last, my email will be under control…

The reality? After almost an entire lifetime, all that technology, those tools, and those gadgets haven’t given me any more free time, haven’t brought me closer to my loved ones (though they have given me hundreds of superficial strangers to exchange one-click-happy-anniversary feelz with), etc.

Tony does it in self-help.
Silicon Valley does it with tech.

Snake oil sells. But this time … THIS snake oil … this is the real deal, and it WILL change your life!

March 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm


March 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“It is easy to sell the endorphins of hope, but much harder to sell the scars of what it takes to achieve it.” Iyas that is incredible!! It’s the going through it part that we all struggle with. Man, smart folks commenting here.

Marisa Tan
March 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Iyas, you don’t sound like a miserable person at all. Like JP, I loved your comment and had the same response – ‘Man, smart folks commenting here!’

March 24, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Wow. Very well said and said very well JP ???

April 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

This is a great point of view, in my opinion.

April 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Very true.

Mark G.
April 6, 2017 at 9:43 pm

There is no hope. Hope was ship carried people and it sank.
There are no accidents. The Universe is in perfect balance always.
People don’t change. They transcend or transform but don’t change.

March 10, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Well said.

Joshua Burkhart
March 16, 2017 at 11:19 pm

I wish there was a like button. . .

Jayden Lawson
April 15, 2017 at 12:17 am

Did Tony say he rarely has bad days? I’ve been exposed to a lot of his stuff, and I’d believe it because he’s worked hard at understand how to control your emotions. And if you can do that, I mean – really do it… then bad days would probably become rare.

March 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Agreed on the TF episode, felt a bit like I was being sold by a “friendly” car salesman

Great post Noah, I’d imagine a tough one to write

March 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

Agreed. The same for the last 2 books.

March 19, 2017 at 8:17 am

Nail on head.

March 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Dan – “flurries of horoscopes” captures my experience as well. So many awesome sound bites and the sheer number of them overwhelm the nagging doubts and you finally get steamrolled into agreement and acquiescence.

Andy C
March 8, 2017 at 12:18 am

I totally share your feeling. I also walked out of another similar self-development course last month, feeling both embarrassed and disappointed.

Thanks for being the few that gives honest opinion on UPW.
I also walked out of

April 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

Great article. I have done many self help seminars and have felt like walking out of a few. I had a slight interest in Robbins, however the more I read up on him, I knew it was not for me. I truly appreciate how you did this review without putting people down, just to elevate yourself.