How Tony Robbins Got His Start—From Broke Janitor to International Sensation.
Tony Robbins. Ever heard of him? I’m guessing you have. He has touched the lives of millions upon millions of people from all across the world. To say Tony has made a difference in the world feels like an understatement—Tony has made a dent. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, is the author of six internationally bestselling books, has had more than 4 million people attend his live seminars, and has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs.
Tony lives a dream that’s beyond many of our wildest dreams. He has essentially all of the luxuries that you might expect a person at his level to have including several mansions, luxurious cars, private jets and helicopters—even a private resort and spa on the Fijian Islands. But what’s even more impressive about the dream that he’s living is how much he has been able to give back and help others. Through his partnership with Feeding America, he has provided over 200 million meals to those in need in the last two years, and he is on track to provide a billion meals by 2025. He has also initiated programs in more than 1,500 schools, 700 prisons and 50,000 service organizations and shelters, and provides fresh water to 100,000 people a day in India to prevent waterborne diseases, which is the #1 killer of children in that country. This is not to mention all of the millions of lives he’s impacted and helped through his programs, books, and seminars!
…But how did Tony get his start? What motivated him to go from where he was to where he is today? …Where did ALL OF THAT DRIVE come from? Below is an excerpt from Tony Robbin’s book, Money: Master the Game where you’ll find the answers to those questions in his own words. Make sure you pay attention because according to Tony, the path and mindsets he describes are among some of the most powerful he knows. If you want to make a radical shift in your life and you want to go from where you are to where you want to be, then open your mind and brace yourself for the plentiful action opportunities that are about to come flowing your way! Good luck!
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Enter Tony Robbins:
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I was working as a janitor, and I needed extra money. A man my parents knew, and whom my father had called a “loser,” had become quite successful in a short period of time, at least in financial terms. He was buying, fixing, and flipping real estate in Southern California and needed a kid on the weekend to help him move furniture. That chance encounter, that fateful weekend of working my tail off, led to an opening that would change my life forever. His name was Jim Hannah. He took notice of my hustle and drive. When I had a moment, I asked him, “How did you turn your life around? How did you become so successful?”
“I did it,” he said, “by going to a seminar by a man named Jim Rohn.” “What’s a seminar?” I asked. “It’s a place where a man takes ten or twenty years of his life and all he’s learned and he condenses it into a few hours so that you can compress years of learning into days,” he answered. Wow, that sounded pretty awesome. “How much does it cost?” “Thirty-five dollars,” he told me. What!? I was making $40 a week as a part-time janitor while going to high school. “Can you get me in?” I asked. “Sure!” he said. “But I won’t—because you wouldn’t value it if you didn’t pay for it.” I stood there, disheartened. How could I ever afford $35 for three hours with this expert? “Well, if you don’t think you’re worth the investment, don’t make it,” he finally shrugged. I struggled and struggled with that one—but ultimately decided to go for it. It turned out to be one of the most important investments of my life. I took a week’s pay and went to a seminar where I met Jim Rohn—the man who became my life’s first mentor.
I sat in an Irvine, California, hotel ballroom listening to Jim, riveted. This silver-haired man literally echoed the questions that had been burning in my mind. He, too, had grown up poor, wondering, even though his father was a good man, why his father struggled so hard only to suffer while others around him prospered. And then, suddenly, he answered the question I had been asking myself literally for years.
“What’s the secret to economic success? The key,” he said, “is to understand how to become more valuable in the marketplace.”
“To have more, you simply have to become more.”
“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.”
“For things to change, you have to change.”
“For things to get better, you have to get better!”
“We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time… but we don’t get paid for time, we get paid for value. America is unique. It’s a ladder to climb. It starts down here, at what? About $2.30 an hour. What was the top income last year? The guy who runs Disney—$52 million! Would a company pay somebody $52 million a year? The answer is: of course! If you help a company make a billion dollars, would they pay you $52 million? Of course! It’s chicken feed! It’s not that much money.”
“Is it really possible to become that valuable? The answer is: of course!” And then he let me in on the ultimate secret. “How do you truly become more valuable? Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
“So can you personally become twice as valuable and make twice as much money in the same time? Is it possible to become ten times as valuable and make ten times as much money in the same time? Is that possible? Of course!” And then he paused and looked directly in my eyes and said, “All you have to do to earn more money in the same amount of time is simply become more valuable.”
And there it was! There was my answer. Once I got that, it turned my life around. That clarity, that simplicity, the wisdom of those words—they hit me like a 100-pound brick. Those are the exact words I’ve heard Jim Rohn speak probably a hundred times. I have carried them in my heart every day since, including the day that I spoke at his funeral in 2009.
That man, that seminar, that day—what Jim Rohn did was put me back in control of my own future. He made me stop focusing on what was outside of my control—my past, the poverty, other people’s expectations, that state of the economy—and taught me to focus instead on what I could control. I could improve myself; I could find a way to serve, a way to do more, a way to become better, a way to add value to the marketplace. I became obsessed with finding ways to do more for others than anyone else was doing, in less time. That began a never-ending process that continues to this day! At its most basic level, it provided a pathway to progress that continues to drive and lead every single decision I make and action I take.
In the Bible, there is a simple tenet that says there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be great. If you wish to become great, learn to become the servant of many. If you can find a way to serve many people, you can earn more. Find a way to serve millions of people, you can earn millions. It’s the law of added value.
And if the gospel of Warren Buffett is more your thing than biblical verse, the Oracle of Omaha is famous for saying that the most powerful investment he ever made in his life, and that anyone can make, is an investment in himself. He talks about investing in personal development books, in educating himself, and how a Dale Carnegie course completely changed his life. Buffett once told me this story himself when we were on the Today show together. I laughed and asked him to keep telling that story. “It’s good for business,” I said, grinning.
I took Jim Rohn’s message to heart and became obsessed—I would never stop growing, never stop giving, never stop trying to expand my influence or my capacity to give and do good. And as a result, over the years, I’ve become more valuable in the marketplace. To the point that I’m extremely fortunate enough today that finances are no longer an issue in my life. I’m not unique. Anyone can do the same—if you let go of your stories about the past, and break through your stories about the present and its limits. Problems are always available, but so is opportunity.
So how about you? What are you going to do to add more value to the marketplace? How are you going to ensure abundance rather than struggle? If we’re going to make a radical shift and take you from where you are today to where you want to be—to financial freedom—then this path is the most powerful one I know to get you there.
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If you enjoyed this short excerpt from Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins, you can find more quotes and resources from his book below:
By: Tony Robbins
Book Overview: In his first book in two decades, Tony Robbins turns to the topic that vexes us all: How to secure financial freedom for ourselves and for our families. “If there were a Pulitzer Prize for investment books, this one would win, hands down” (Forbes.com). Based on extensive research and interviews with some of the most legendary investors at work today (John Bogle, Warren Buffett, Paul Tudor Jones, Ray Dalio, Carl Icahn, and many others), Tony Robbins has created a 7-step blueprint for securing financial freedom. With advice about taking control of your financial decisions, to setting up a savings and investing plan, to destroying myths about what it takes to save and invest, to setting up a “lifetime income plan,” the book brims with advice and practices for making the financial game not only winnable—but providing financial freedom for the rest of your life.
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