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Tony Robbins is an emotional guy

Tony Robbins is here to serve us, but he explains that it’s a challenge as his seminars are 50 hours long, and he’s got 17 minutes.

Odds are you know who Robbins is and what he does – he’s a phenomenally talented motivational speaker, though he rejects that title. He’s interested in the emotions that people use as fuel. One of this better stories: there are more than 6,000 words for emotions in the English language – when he asks seminars of a thousand people to write the emotions they experience, they list only 12… and half of those are bad.

He suggests that people have six basic emotional needs:
– Certainty
– Uncertainty/variety
– Significance – the idea that you’re important. Violence, he mentions, is the easiest way to make yourself very important for a brief moment.
– Connection/Love
– Growth
– Contributing beyond ourselves.

On the importance of the last need: he tells us that his family recieved a Thanksgiving dinner from charity when he was a young child. When he was seventeen, he gave a dinner to two families. He increased this giving each year and started hiring people to help – last year his foundation fed 2 million families during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.

The funniest moment of the talk? He asks for reasons people give when they fail. The audience starts yelling out “bad management”, “not enough resources”. Some wag yells, “the Supreme Court”, a reference to the fact that the audience contains Al Gore. According to Chris Anderson, who was on stage at the time, Al Gore yelled out “the Supreme Court”. This gets a laugh. But then Robbins turns to Gore and yells, “If you’d have used emotion, you’ve have beat his ass and won!” Which gets cheers.

Not a lot of love for Republicans in the room. Where’s Bob Metcalf when we need a little balance?

3 thoughts on “Tony Robbins is an emotional guy”

  1. Good catch, Chris – I was in simulcast, so didn’t see who yelled it out. That detail makes the story so much funnier – thanks for providing it… and thanks, again, for having me at TED.

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