Tony Robbins Is Right, He’s Not Your Guru

The half-baked hollowness of pop-psych

George J. Ziogas


Wikimedia Commons

Self-help is big business and one of the titans of the industry is Tony Robbins. The man has been in the business for the better part of four decades. His guru journey started when he was just 17. Yet, he says “I am not your guru” to the world, the same title of the Netflix documentary about him. A bold claim from a man who has spent over 40 years telling people that he effectively is their guru… isn’t it?

The Ugly Side Of Self-Help

This documentary opens with a haunting scene. A young man explains to a large crowd that he is suicidal and then tries to explain why. Robbins stands before him questioning why he hates himself, then makes a mocking comment about his footwear. Cool. The man laughs awkwardly, trembling as he grips the microphone tighter in his hand.

Robbins tells him he’s too hard on himself. He makes meaningful eye contact, sprinkles in excessive use of the f word, and encourages the man to love himself. Cue Snow Patrol. Insert masturbation joke. Welcome a tight embrace through free-falling tears. Robbins is his saving grace.

The music has reached a crescendo, the crowd is on their feet applauding wildly. They fist-bump and Robbins walks away as other members of the crowd reach out to embrace the young man. He’s hoisted into the air as the crowd passes him from group of people to group of people.

What am I watching?

Date With Destiny”, one of Tony Robbin’s biggest seminars. This one runs for 12 hours a day over six days and each attendee at the time paid almost $5,000 (that fee is now $7,995) for the privilege of attending. Take a look around the room, there are massive screens on the walls, huge lighting rigs, loud music.

It’s an experience. The thrill of the disco lights merging with emotional music. An entire crew takes the stage before Robbins does with the express purpose of hyping up a crowd of thousands. The crowd is worked into a frenzy until they achieve a type of spiritual experience. They’re sweating as they bounce to an upbeat playlist.

Robbins travels widely each year, visiting at least 12 countries, speaking to hundreds of thousands of people…



George J. Ziogas

Manners will take you where money won’t | HR Consultant | OHS Specialist | Personal Trainer |