In 1997 I had never heard of Tony Robbins, I was struggling with my taekwondo school and contemplated getting a job and giving up teaching when as luck would have it I received a “martial arts business magazine” and I learned of several martial arts business organizations including NAPMA, EFC and IFC. I got involved with all three and one of the things I noticed was that there was one common connection between all of the most successful school owners. This connection was some guy named Tony Robbins. All of the big school owners had done a Tony Robbins event. I quickly enrolled in 1997 and that was my first adventure into Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

“Success leaves clues.”

Tony Robbins

Anthony J. Mahavorick was born on leap year, February 29, 1960 in North Hollywood, California. Though always a caring child, no one would have guessed that this young man would grow to become one of the world’s leading self-help authors and success coaches Anthony Robbins. He has written several books including Unlimited Power, The New Science of Personal Achievement and Awaken The Giant Within.

Tony began his work in the self help industry working with still respected motivation guru, Jim Rohn. Tony was in dire financial straits and went bank-to-bank until he found a loan officer that would loan him the money to attend Rohn’s seminar. By the time Rohn’s seminar was over Robbins had gotten a job in Rohn’s sales team. Tony claimed that Rohn taught him that "happiness and success in life are not the result of what we have, but rather of how we live. What we do with the things we have makes the biggest difference in the quality of life."

Tony was interested in nutrition and eventually became involved in promoting the Diamond Method of natural hygiene as a partner of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond who later wrote maybe the first diet and nutrition best seller Fit for Life. Tony claims to have co-wrote the book with the Diamonds and it was while working for the Diamonds that Robbins discovered the then cutting edge technology of personal achievement which was in its than infancy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Robbins studied NLP with its co-founders Doctors Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It was John Grinder that suggested that Tony Robbins model fire walking and in 1983 he learned to firewalk from Tolly Burkan and began to incorporate it into his then NLP seminars. It is the author’s opinion from personal reading and study that Tony Robbins took the tools of NLP and applied them to the principles taught in Napoleon Hill’s famed book Think and Grow Rich.

The author’s first experience with Neuro-Linguistic Programming was through Tony Robbins’ first book Unlimited Power which he received as a gift. The author found the book which discusses the topics of health and energy, overcoming fears, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships difficult to understand having no previous experience with NLP.

In the original copy of the book there was a nutrition section titled, Energy: The Fuel of Excellence which was removed in later due to disagreements with the Diamonds. The author believes that in the newest printings the chapter may have been re-inserted into the book.

In late February of 1997 Master Sam Naples after being involved in the martial arts organizations and still not seeing the results he wanted decided that it was time to take the matter into his own hands and he registered to attend Tony Robbins' famed Unleash the Power Within (UPW) , a four day live event held at the Garden State Convention Center in New Jersey. Sam did a 10 foot fire walk on the first evening of the event. Later as a crew member (anyone that attends an event may return for free if they assist as a crew member) Sam learned that the event is divided into three sections. Friday was primarily geared toward teaching in and to the visual modality and the person is to be in visual when they do the fire walk. Saturday was all about the auditory modality and Sunday’s is when the Dickens Process is used and is geared toward the kinesthetic.

Master Sam Naples was so impressed with UPW that he enrolled in Tony Robbins’ Mastery University. This program consisted of three events, Wealth Mastery, Life Mastery, and Date with Destiny. Here is a short description of each.

Wealth Mastery: Master Naples did Wealth Mastery in April of 1997 just days after his mom’s passing This event which deals with the psychological blockages that prevent people from attaining wealth as well as investing and money management skills, this program was taught by Chuck Mellon and hosted by Joseph McClendon III.

Life Mastery: In September of 1997 Master Naples went to Kona, Hawaii to participate in the then 10 day Life Mastery event. The first two days of Life Mastery were “Physical Mastery” and included health, fitness and nutrition. In addition to Robbins such cutting edge notables as Dr. Robert O. Young, author of Sick and Tired and The pH Miracle and exercise therapist Pete Egoscue, author of Pain Free and The Egoscue Method taught segments of the event. The second two days, mostly taught by Robbins were on “Emotional Mastery” and included NLP skills and what Robbins was calling Neuro Associative Conditioning (NAC) which focused upon the Triad of physiology, focus and language. Third was ”Relationship Mastery” and included role reversals. The last segment was Time Mastery and at the time taught Robbins’ time management system known at the time as Outward focused Purpose driven Action plan (OPA) and later redubbed RPM. Also included in this program were a 40 foot fire walk and emotional clearing process that involved climbing a pole about 3x the height of a telephone poll and jumping out 12 feet to catch a trapeze.

Date With Destiny: the most emotionally powerful of the events and Robbins admittedly favorite event consisted of 5 days in Maui, Hawaii in which the person creates essentially a “Mission Statement” for their life which included a Life’s purpose statement, a list of the person’s going toward and going away from virtues, developing a new primary question, Power virtues and setting specific goals for the year.

One of the most powerful parts for the author was a process where he was instructed to write a page about his life now, than to write a page about where he had come from and what he had been through and lastly to write his “eulogy” including all of the things that he intended to do and accomplish during the duration of his life.

Master Sam Naples was so impressed with what he learned from Robbins about Neuro-Linguistic Programming that he ran out and bought everything written by Dr’s Bandler and Grinder that was available at the time. He officially was an NLP junkie.

There are also other Robbins programs that Master Sam Naples has not participated in including Platinum Partners, Leadership Academy and Business Mastery.

Tony has met with Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, and Princess Diana and has received uncompensated testamonials from Fran Tarkenton, Pamela Anderson, Quincy Jones, Erin Brockovich and Anthony Hopkins.

If you like me are the kind of person that is always looking for a way to improve yourself, or to get some edge or advantage that will make you better and more competitive, than Tony Robbins seminars are for you. Tony’s programs are amazing, high energy rock concerts of personal development and growth. Some of the seminars may be different now than they were in the late 90’s when I participated but I enjoyed every moment of them and I’d do them again if I had the time and money. I’ve also been a crew member several times and enjoyed every moment of crewing and would and may do so again.

That being said, if you really want to learn the “nuts and bolts” of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to improve yourself and the lives of those around you I’ve found that you absolutely must train with Society of NLP affiliated trainers like Barb Stepp, Maureen Castonguay, . . . and yours truly. And Doctor Bandler is absolutely amazing. He teaches most things on an unconscious level that will leave you dazed and amazed by the end of the events.

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