REGARDING TONY ROBBINS.
Click on Tony Robbins’ website and you’re greeted with a simple and clear message:
Decades of Experience. Millions of Lives Changed. Undeniable Results.
Inarguable points. Pretty impressive for a man who survived an abusive childhood, left home at 17, and worked as a janitor in lieu of attending college. Today, according to his official biography, Robbins is the author of six internationally bestselling books. He has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time (Ultimate Edge) and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars. His philanthropic work is done rather quietly, and is extraordinarily substantial.
Robbins has been in the news lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, facing claims that he vociferously denies. The claims are serious but very few, considering the literally millions of people who have been in his presence over the last 30-plus years. Misconduct types of things. Nothing approaching criminal and certainly nothing that should come anywhere close to career-ending. The types of things which, say, if proven to be true would require some serious apologizing, explaining, perhaps a few settlements, and some time in the doghouse.
But here’s the thing: as far as I can see, there is no indication that there is any truth to the allegations. Read this sentence twice: They are entirely unproven. There’s also a bit of a pile-on happening in this situation that makes it all the more questionable to me.
I have a dear friend. A renowned Psychiatrist. Like Robbins, he deals on a daily basis with some people who are deeply troubled and some who can be quite unstable. The kind of people who, just being honest here, often make things up or come to believe things that might not be quite accurate. My friend is facing the exact same situation at the moment. Guilty until proven innocent.
Stunningly, Simon & Schuster dropped Tony — the golden goose! — last week based purely on the allegations. My psychiatrist friend had his medical license pulled, again based purely on allegations. Both men have decades of experience doing good and helping troubled and unstable people become healthy, happy and strong and helping focus the unfocused. Where is the benefit of the doubt here? What happened to due process?
It’s obvious why I care about my friend’s situation, but why do I care about Robbins, a man I have never even met? Well, beyond the obvious concern that we are getting carried away with this stuff (and please do not read this as if I, as the father of daughters especially, don’t believe that #MeToo has done a lot of good or that I don’t believe that there are many vile men out there who deserve what they get — it has, there are and they do — I’m really talking justice and due process here), he actually changed my life.
When I started college, I was plagued by anxiety attacks, fear, insecurity and general life confusion. I would literally crawl into bed and curl up into a ball and shake. The exact opposite of what a college experience should be, of course. Then one day, I saw an interview with this gargantuan dude who said things that absolutely captured my imagination. So I went and picked up Unlimited Power. That one book was indescribably transformational for the young me, and I still think it’s one of the most useful books ever written.
Then I ordered some of his cassette lectures (yeah, cassettes, I’m old — but hey, at least they weren’t 8-track!), which launched me into the stratosphere in terms of hope, inspiration, and resolve. I still had difficulties with anxiety (still do — it’s a thing), but I could function again, and I began to actually thrive.
As a result of that early freedom he unwittingly gave me, I now give Tony Robbins a great deal of credit for the successes of my life. And thank The Universe they are many — professionally and personally.
I recently sent Unlimited Power to my son and, as I remarked to a friend, he read it like a hungry dog eating a steak.
So this is why I care. And why I, for one, am giving him the benefit of the doubt.
And I hope you will too.
Photo credit: Graham Flanagan / Business Insider