OH. MY. F***ING. GOD. How the hell do I start this piece, when there is so much to write, and manage to do justice to the weekend I’ve just had?
By saying “YES”, and getting the fuck on with it.
(warning there will be a lot of swear words in this post. I’m in that amped, excitable, take on the world kinda mood, and it just fits)
I can’t cover it all in a single post – it would take 10,000 words or more. None of you would read it if faced with such an inconvenient epic. Consider this a brief synopsis of first part, a gentle, yet impactful touching of the surface, if you were. I think I’m OK with the written word, but there is no way I am skilled enough to do this event justice by writing about it. BUT FUCKING HELL – I’LL DO IT ANYWAY.
Before we go any further, I’d ask you to play a song whilst you read on. Humour me. This piece is going to end up in multiple increments and I’ll pick a song appropriate to each day. If you’re on a PC here’s the link:
If you’re on your phone, open up Spotify/Apple Music and get it up loud. Go on. PUSH PLAY. DO IT.
As anyone who may have seen the several Instagram stories I posted during the four days of attending the Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within’ event at Sydney Olympic Park, you will have noticed that it looked like I was at a four day rave in a giant arena.
And yes, we danced a lot. A LOT. Boy did we dance, but it was also so much more than that. Consider that across the 4 days my iPhone informs me that I walked 48,000 steps, and yet I stood on the spot for all four days, and drove to and from the event. My problematic knee hurt when I woke up this morning, but not nearly enough given the extent to which I shook my booty. My ‘Asstitude’ was on point.
But I only posted videos of dancing, ‘ravey’ moments, because my phone was the last thing on my mind the rest of the time. That’s all I filmed. And even when I did film I was anxious to put it back in my pocket and get on with the fun. I was soaking up the experience. THE EXPERIENCE. This was, hands down, the most intense, exhilarating, enlightening, full-on, pure, hardcore, joyous, exhausting, energising and beautiful experience of my life (to date). I will be forever grateful for it.
Day 1: The Tentative Unleashing
8000 people flooded into the Qudos Arena at midday on Thursday. The lights came on, the toned, skimpily-dressed pro dancers appeared on stage. Calvin Harris blares out at full volume. 8000 people look confused, overwhelmed, worried, doubtful, or possibly even regretful at spending so much money on what was obviously going to be a TOTAL FUCKING NIGHTMARE.
I’ve had so many comments on those Instagram stories from people saying that it looked like a TOTAL FUCKING NIGHTMARE. I GET IT. It does look that way, and I felt some of that on Thursday afternoon as I tried to get into the grove and pump myself up for the unknown. I should also note that a whole bunch of people also messaged to say it looked insane, in a good way. My people.
But here’s the thing, when you doubt it as an outside observer, who hasn’t experienced it, you’re not accounting for the sheer power and presence of the man running the show. Big Tony appears on the stage after 30 minutes of blaring music and simple, choreographed group dancing (which features an awful lot of fist pumps and hand claps). The place erupts. He’s a giant of a man standing at 6ft7, with huge fucking hands, but his voice is his main weapon. Like Zeus himself; deep, bellowing, confident, and yet completely and utterly compassionate.
Say what you want about him. The dude cares.
“Tony Robbins faced food insecurity as a child and has supported the hunger cause for over three decades. In addition to several years’ worth of personal donations toward providing hunger relief across the country, Robbins made a gift of 1,000,000 meals to provide support to individuals affected by Superstorm Sandy.”
And it feeds through to the participants of these events, they feel it, and so they care too, and they follow his instructions because of that.
His instructions are simple: If you don’t like your ‘state’ of being, change it. How do you change it? By altering your physiology, by changing your focus, and by utilising different language. The key side of this triangle, as I, and 8,000 other souls saw it was to change our physiology. Except we didn’t see it, Tony told just us to see it, and like lambs to a shepherd – we followed his instruction. When he told us to jump up out of our seats we did, when he told us to celebrate like we’d just won the sporting tournament of our dreams, we did. When he told us to fist pump the air and scream “YES”, we did. When he told us to find and hug/high-five ten strangers, yup, we did.
It was, admittedly, uncomfortable and disjointed at first, but eventually you submit to it. Everyone else around you is doing it, so if you don’t do it, you look like a miserable twat. Seriously, if you can’t dance around and have fun at one of these things, I don’t think we can be friends. Fortunately I know pretty much all of you out there would go on to have a similar experience to me, even if you don’t believe it now. To say it was infectious would be an understatement. It was frickin’ ELECTRIC.
So look, we did a bunch of exercises that identified what our core needs are in life, what really drives us, and then we questioned why we have prioritised things like certainty, variety and significance over things like growth, love and contribution. Here’s the man himself talking about this very topic:
It struck a chord. Because I have not invested nearly enough of myself into things like growth and contribution, and this is why this blog exists, and why I’m at a Tony Robbins event. I’ve been stamping down my deep inner human needs in order to satisfy the survival needs. I knew this shit before I turned up on Thursday, but having a bellowing giant yell it at you repeatedly kinda helps you sit up and take notice.
The day played out like this, over and over again, identify things that need to change. Then stand up and go crazy celebrating how it would feel to have this great stuff in life. The dude hypnotised the entire room and had us all sobbing about how terrible life was in 20 years time because we continued to ignore our real needs. MAD ASS SHIT.
More powerful than helping to identify what we wanted, he showed us through taking us through the process, that emotions can be shifted in an instance. One second I’m feeling glum as fuck, next second I’m jumping around and dancing as though England have just won the World Cup. When you experience seismic shifts in emotional patterns in the time it takes to click your fingers, you start to realise that actually, you can control how you feel. It is not external forces that determine ones happiness, it is you…..
It gets to 10pm, we’ve been going 10 hours without a break, no one is complaining. Robbo then spent half an hour amping up the room, preparing us to go to war. Well it felt a bit like we about to dive out of the trenches, but he was actually preparing us to walk across 1000 C coals, pulled fresh out of a huge fire that had been raging outside the stadium for hours.
I’m going to walk you through what happened next, but in the next post. I’m at 1,200 words and you lot keep complaining my posts are too long, so you’ll have to wait.
Fuck, 1200 words and I haven’t even wrapped up Day 1….
More to come later in the week.
Footnote: Did you know you can subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to your email? Well you can! Navigate to the homepage – link here – scroll to the bottom, enter your email and you’ll get no spam, just a tidy little notification from WordPress when a new piece is available to read.
I’d absolutely love it if you did this.