Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
Crotch Fruit
Jul 1, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT
CRUSTING MY
JORTS OVER THE
INTERNATIONAL
FEMINIST LEGO
AGENDA


A close family member recently passed away (not COVID-19) and this individual was, in my opinion, swindled by Tony Robbins. From the mid 80s to the mid 00s, this individual blew every dollar they could going to seminars. Tony only does about five different seminars, he went to all five, several times. They admitted to going for fun, not for additional help, they expressed they wanted to be on Tony's staff, but also didn't want to be on his staff and have the responsibility of following a schedule and rules. They paid for guests to come to seminars with them, they even paid aquaintnces to go as a way to try to help them. To my knowledge, everyone who went came back saying it was bullshit. There was a LOT of money spent, and it gets worse. Tony Robbins has a VIP travel club, being a part of this club involves making a large annual donation to Tony, I think the amount was about $100k. My family's business was sold for well over a million dollars, and that money was blown quickly in about three years of Robbins seminars and luxury VIP vacations. Not only was the membership fee high, the cost of travel for plane tickets, hotels and ridiculous souvenirs was high, it's really kinda amazing how fast so much money was wasted.

Bottom line, I believe this individual was fully taken advantage of by Robbins. I am telling myself I can't blame Robbins, but I am in a position where I feel a responsibility to learn more. Before this person died, they said to me that Robbins really helped them get through a hard time in their life and that I should look into it. I tried my best not to roll my eyes when I said "yeah sure, I'll look into it." I want to know more, without giving another $2000+ to his cult to attend a seminar. Financially, I don't think I could convince myself to give even a penny to Robbins since I feel that he has already stolen enough from my family, both myself and everyone else related to me.

Ironically, despite my involvement, I don't really know much about what Robbins does. I know it's called neuro linguistic programming, and Wikipedia says that is pseudo science based on antiquated psychological theories. I want to think there might be some truth, or some good to Robbins' coolaide. Despite my feelings about Robbins, I can not deny that he is (or was) a pretty popular guy. I can't deny that he at least says he is trying to help people improve their lives and become successful (maybe that's just a good line to trap desperate people?). Robbins claims he has coached some famous people like Wayne Gretzky, Pit Bull (who?), or Bill Clinton, I'm not sure I consider Robbins celebrity lists very impressive. It's impressive, but not multi millionaire private island level impressive.

All that said, is there any value to what Robbins preaches? If so, how can I learn the benefits without becoming trapped in the cult myself? Should I even consider Robbins a scamming con artist? I am very jaded, but I also can't find a lot of dirt on Tony. He did speak out against #MeToo a little, he said he felt that victims were using it to gain "significance", and he later apologized for his remarks. Due to the nature of the Me too movement, I would prefer that be left out of this thread. I think Tony was acting like an idiot when he made this remarks and I don't want discuss those remarks, I want to know about if his seminars and methods were legit or not.

Crotch Fruit fucked around with this message at 11:47 on May 9, 2020

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Zogo
Jul 29, 2003



It's valuable to some in different ways. The people worried about becoming trapped in a cult usually are not prone to doing so. Usually people trapped were either born into it and have strong familial ties or they had an intense need to belong to a group. These people will usually follow the cult leader until provided with copious amounts of fraud and chicanery and even that isn't enough to dissuade many away.

Holy Hell (2016) is a recent documentary that may shed some more light.

Crotch Fruit
Jul 1, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT
CRUSTING MY
JORTS OVER THE
INTERNATIONAL
FEMINIST LEGO
AGENDA


Zogo posted:

It's valuable to some in different ways. The people worried about becoming trapped in a cult usually are not prone to doing so. Usually people trapped were either born into it and have strong familial ties or they had an intense need to belong to a group. These people will usually follow the cult leader until provided with copious amounts of fraud and chicanery and even that isn't enough to dissuade many away.

Holy Hell (2016) is a recent documentary that may shed some more light.

Thank you for your response, I started to look into find this film. It does not appear to be available for free on a service I already have such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, but the price appears to be under $5. That said, I'm not certain I believe Tony is a cult and from what I have Holly Hell appears to be all about cults. I am still interested in watching the documentary, the price is low, but my budget is hilariously tight right now and I would prefer to wait and see if anyone else viewing this might have a better suggestion first. This is still on Netflix.

I putting together a post prior to seeing your reply, here is what I have found out so far, this largely a shortened down version of the wikipedia page, with a little bit of my own knowledge added in.

Background

Tony was born "Anthony J. Mahavoric" and his parents divorced when he was 7 years old. His Mom remaried several times, including a marriage to Jim Robbins, a baseball player, who legally adopted Anthony when he was 12.

Tony grew up in Azusa Californa, he was elected student body president during his senior year of high school. During high school, Tony grew 10 inches, he is now 6'7" tall, his growth spurt was attributed to a pituitary tumor. Tony has described is home life as chaotic and abusive, he left home at 17 year old and never returned.

The beginning

Tony began promoting seminars for a motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, when he was 17 years old. Tony met Neurolingusitic Programming co-founder John Grinder and became partners, Tony also practiced Eriksonian Hypnosis. In 1983 Tony learned how to fire walk and began incorporating it into his own seminars.

The Good

Tony is an honest motivational speaker in the sense that he does not claim to be doctor. Tony will openly admit he is not a doctor, but references that he has read works from doctors to develop his methods.

Tony has worked with famous individuals, wikipeids lists:
Bill Clinton
Justin Tuck
Wayne Gretzky
Serna Williams
Hugh Jackman
Pitbull

I cant deny it's an impressive list, but there are some names on there I don't know. In addition, I don't believe you could attribute the successes of these individuals entirely to Tony. For example, to my knowledge Tony did not play hockey or tennis, he is not the sole reason they had successful careers.

The Bad
This part is largely empty. I have my own jaded experience, I personally witnessed an individual who became extremely enthusiastic about Tony. In my opinion, that individual did not become successful, at least not financially successful. But I have a biased opinion, and I would like to change that.

In trying to find negative things about Tony I have largely come up empty. There are few legal issues, however I consider these more questionable business practices and not necessairly flaws with his seminars.

1995 Robbins settled with the FTC over allegations of violating franchise rules. This may or may not be a legitimate business problem, but regardless that is business and in my opinion not a personal flaw of Tony.

2000 Wade Cook sued Robbins for using copyrighted term's from Cook's book Wall Street Money Machine, this was settled for an undisclosed amount. Again, this seems a little negative but not tremendously negative.

2012 and 2016 individuals were injured during fire walking. Robbins personnel claim this was largely overstated and only 5 out of 7,000 participants requested examination. Personally, I think fire walking is safe but looks dangerous.

2019 - The big one - BuzzFeed News released detailed accusations from nine women claiming sexual misconduct with Robbins. BuzzFeed also published an article claiming Robbins had molested a teenager in 1985. I consider these unproven accusations, possibly even unproveable accusations, but regardless I am more interested in Tony's methods and teachings than his personal life.

The gray area
Tony practices fire walking and made it an important part of his seminars. This is a feat similar to lying on a bed of nails, it appears more dangerous than it really is. According to Tony, you will remain safe so long as you remain calm, walk slowly, and think about cool moss instead of hot coals as you walk. One could argue this is akin to hypnosis, when I was first told about fire walking when I was a kid, I thought this was a magical force designed to lure people into the cult. Looking back on it, I think you could argue the fire walks were symbolic to encourage people to conquer their fears, that a seemingly impossible task is often achievable if you have the right mindset.

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP for short? Thus far, what I have found states that it unproven, not backed with empirical evidence from studies. Studies have been conducted but studies are limited and the results are not consistent. That said, I have discovered a couple ideas in NLP. First, that a person can achieve happiness, or success by changing their perception or bias in their world view. I believe this is done by methods similar to meditation, by evaluating ideas that form a person's opinion of the world. I think this could be summed up by saying "John is racist because a black kid beat him up when he was 5, therefore to make John not racist John must re-evaluate and reflect on his traumatic childhood experience." I'm sure that is dumbing it down a lot and an over simplification, but that is what I've got so far, and I want to know more.

Another part of NLP is communication. NLP practitioners believe that individuals have a preferred style of representation of information, such as visual or auditory. This sounds similar to real psychological ideas in how people learn. Some people are visual learners, others are auditory, kinisthetic, etc. In my opinion, I think the subject often is more important than the style of information, like I don't consider pictures the best way to teach music and similarly I don't consider sound or music the best approach to teach math. I did find an article which stated this aspect of NLP has been used in advertising. This aspect of NLP can also be used in negotiation, if you determine someone prefers visual styles of information then using phrases like "I can see <blah>" will be more convincing. That last part to me seems illogical, but I'm just starting to learn this stuff, I think I'm probably misinterpreting things.

Is Tony Robbins a cult? I think he preaches science, or pseudoscience in that it is based on reasonable ideas but the methods are unproven and not considered actual science by psychologists. Robbins does not go into anything very far fetched like Scientology and the E-Meter. Actual cults provide housing and are difficult if not impossible to leave, leaving Tony is easy, all you have to do is stop paying. Actual cults have rankings and higher levels to achieve, Tony has 5 seminars to attend and you are on your own, unless you either choose to work for Tony, or can afford to become a VIP. This could be considered higher levels to achieve, but from what I know I don't feel Tony encourages everyone to pursue these higher levels.

Crotch Fruit fucked around with this message at 10:45 on May 10, 2020

Zogo
Jul 29, 2003



Crotch Fruit posted:

Thank you for your response, I started to look into find this film. It does not appear to be available for free on a service I already have such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, but the price appears to be under $5. That said, I'm not certain I believe Tony is a cult and from what I have [i[Holly Hell[/i] appears to be all about cults. I am still interested in watching the documentary, the price is low, but my budget is hilariously tight right now and I would prefer to wait and see if anyone else viewing this might have a better suggestion first.

It was on Netflix last year but I guess it's off now. Tony Robbins isn't like the leader in the documentary but it will give you much insight into the mindset of someone seeking out a new group. You can also see similar behavior in people who follow politicians around (and hang on their every word) or religious leaders or inventors etc. Elon Musk has a cult following. There are many who have an intense loyalty to certain politicians in various countries. It's good to psychoanalyze the people following the leaders rather than just the leaders.

Crotch Fruit posted:

Actual cults provide housing and are difficult if not impossible to leave, leaving Tony is easy, all you have to do is stop paying. Actual cults have rankings and higher levels to achieve, Tony has 5 seminars to attend and you are on your own, unless you either choose to work for Tony, or can afford to become a VIP. This could be considered higher levels to achieve, but from what I know I don't feel Tony encourages everyone to pursue these higher levels.

One thing I learned many years ago that will help you. There are many, many definitions of what a cult actually is. Atheists and the non-religious typically define a cult as a religious group where people are trapped in and controlled closely etc. Religious groups that fit that definition deny that and shift everything to doctrinal interpretations of religious texts etc. Then other groups without religious texts or dogma will tout some uniqueness within their group and say "we're actually not a cult because we don't kill our members or XYZ."

"Cult" is such a loaded term with so much baggage that many trying to be impartial have disavowed it and now use the initialism NRM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_religious_movement

teacup
Dec 20, 2006

Who would win in a fight? Taylor Swift or Daryl Somers?

I always thought Robbins was on the lower end of these kind of things (Minus the surprise sex allegations in more recent times, which obviously is horrible, but happened more recently and ultimately wasn't reported super widely for long so many wouldn't know)

Like I've got a real issue with your Dr. Oz or Dr. Phils. I've also got issue with people who encourage actively harmful behaviour like Fox News Protests of the Pandemic, or similar.

But Robbins just seems like a walking instagram quote machine, and the active 'harm' is if people get a bit too into that? He's definitely not my bag and I'm sure what happened to your family member but like... perhaps they needed something in their life at that time and Robbins was something he latched onto... and I'm not really sure in this case Robbins is to blame?

Phobophilia
Apr 26, 2008
This space intentionally left blank.


Broke: Band groupie
Woke: Podcasts
Bespoke: Tony Robbins seminars

Crotch Fruit
Jul 1, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT
CRUSTING MY
JORTS OVER THE
INTERNATIONAL
FEMINIST LEGO
AGENDA


teacup posted:

I always thought Robbins was on the lower end of these kind of things (Minus the surprise sex allegations in more recent times, which obviously is horrible, but happened more recently and ultimately wasn't reported super widely for long so many wouldn't know)

Like I've got a real issue with your Dr. Oz or Dr. Phils. I've also got issue with people who encourage actively harmful behaviour like Fox News Protests of the Pandemic, or similar.

But Robbins just seems like a walking instagram quote machine, and the active 'harm' is if people get a bit too into that? He's definitely not my bag and I'm sure what happened to your family member but like... perhaps they needed something in their life at that time and Robbins was something he latched onto... and I'm not really sure in this case Robbins is to blame?
I would prefer to avoid the surprise sex allegations simply because I am willing to give Robbins the benefit of doubt on that one. It might very well be true, and I don't have a desire to try to defend him, but much like you have said, I think surprise sex allegations should be considered separately from his coaching.

I'm a little surprised why you dislike Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil. I can agree protesting the pandemic is just stupid. I have about equal distrust for all news whether it be Fox News, CNN, NYT, etc. I have heard Dr. Phil lost his medical license but I cant stand to watch his show since I just don't care who the baby's father is. My wife used to watch Dr. Oz, I admire the fact that he presents real medical advice in a way the general public can understand, but I dislike when he starts getting pseudoscience bullshit. Regardless of the science of his claims, I think Oz is still legitimately trying to help people.

I think Robbins is more advanced than an instagram quote machine. I think the active harm that he did was promoting his skills as life changing. I first learned about fire walking when I was young, and at the time I thought it was 100% loving magic. I felt lead on to believe that somehow your brain alone could magically form a barrier around your body to protect you from a fire. When I was older, I challenged the validity of the fire walks and I was told another miracle, Tony turned water into wine walked on hot metal. Supposedly Tony told a story about being heckled at a fire walk one time, someone said it was fake and threw one of Tony's promotional banner's onto the fire. Tony proceeded to walk across the burning banner, unharmed to show he was real. After the fact, Tony discovered the banner had like a trophy or some medals in it that burned extremely hot, and the astounding power of Tony's mind protected him from harm. You cant make this kind of poo poo up. I only hope I might have the story wrong since I heard it like over a decade ago, but in my opinion the "active harm" of Robbins is in promoting magical levels of mind over matter bullshit.

I have not yet found much information about Neurolinguistic Programming, I did begin to research Ericksonian hypnosis. From what I know so far, Erickson developed his hypnosis techniques when he "healed himself" from paralysis after Polio. Erickson allegedly used body memories of muscle movement to regain his mobility, that kind of mind over matter magic seems like the kind of thing Robbins preaches. I'm all for the idea of people being able to heal themselves and grow stronger, but there is a point where self healing just won't work. No amount of mediation and prayer is going to reattach your finger that the lawn mower ate or regrow your severed spinal cord and allow you to walk again.

As for the only harm being 'if people get too into it" - I'm still trying to research more, but I think Robbins might be a pyramid scheme. The person I knew became a certified life coach, I don't know where they got their certification from. I know Robbins also has a "leadership academy" and the previously mentioned Platinum Partners VIP club, I do not know if Tony provides or endorses life coach certification. I simply have no idea how much Tony promotes (or does not promote) life coach certification, either in his own company or from a close 3rd party. I largely believe the person I know got sucked into the Robbins trap because they were gullible and looking to fill emptiness in their life. I think blame is about 50/50 for Tony vs my family member. If it wasn't for being requested to read about Robbins just weeks before their death I personally would never look into Robbins, but here I am and I'm trying my best to see Robbins in a positive way.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005



Voting not a cult because to my knowledge there is no nebulous external enemy, there's no "They" in the tony robbins doctrine

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

MrNemo
Aug 26, 2010

"I just love beeting off"



Tony Robbins isn't really a cult leader but he's a classic grifter in the same basic family as old fashioned snake oil salesmen. He's selling a simple set of techniques that can be helpful and dressing them up as a life changing system. Crucially he offers this package as something that he needs to teach people and dresses it up with a whole host of expensive products e.g. The VIP travel club. These are products that are clearly not worth what they cost, it's 100% based on cultivating the idea that Tony has some kind of secret, some personal access to this knowledge that he can communicate which no one else is really able to.

That's probably the clearest difference between what he offers and any kind of legitimate therapy. Things like the fire walking have some level of symbolic value but ultimately that serves as a sales technique. It's flashy and impressive, more importantly it works as a way of 'proving' his technique. As you said, it's something that looks a lot harder than it is. Robbins presents it as a tough task that NLP can overcome and doing it pulls people in.

I don't think Robbins is necessarily some full on con man who thinks he's selling bullshit. You absolutely have to buy into something to be able to sell it. But I think at best he's found something that he thinks helps people and has dedicated his life to making that a source of money and finding ways to get people to spend a whole lot on learning directly from him. He's not a cult leader really but he's definitely a grifter. As you said, that doesn't mean he's only doing harm but I'd bet your family member could have done something else to give them equal meaning that wouldn't have burned through a million dollars in 3 years.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply