In every successful person’s life, there is always a reason for what causes them to make a life changing decision. It’s a period when you look in the mirror and say, “No more. I’ve had enough. I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this happen.” If Tony Robbins were to have never stood up to the one force that was controlling his life and keeping him down, he wouldn’t have been that charismatic, peak state, motivational speaker that we know of today.
But it was his ability to break out of the most dominating forces in his teenage life in order to do so, and that force was breaking away from his beautiful and controlling mother, Nikki. At first Nikki supported Tony when he was doing good in school and started to interview the big celebrities of baseball because he wanted to be a sports journalist.
With her beauty, she would dress up in her finest outfits so when Tony went up to interview big players, they wouldn’t turn him down. But the more Tony became involved with school, writing, and journaling sports players, the more unhappy she became, realizing that Tony started spending less time with her.
One day, Tony got a chance to interview a famous American sports journalist, Howard Cosell. The interview hit the pages of the Los Angeles Times, and when the local Glendora Press company saw this and Tony’s talent, they offered him a job. He was doing so well, that a few months later, a television station even offered Tony a reporting job. Tony was happy, but there was a price to pay.
The more successful he became, the more time Tony had to devote to his job. Nikki saw that this was overwhelming her child and also didn’t want to lose control her over Tony. She eventually told him to quit everything, even to stop writing for the daily newspaper.
Tony didn’t want to do it, but listened to his mom. He felt heartbroken. But he needed to understand that his mom depended on him on everything, whether it cooking meals, repairing broken appliances, or shopping for groceries. It was very hard for Tony to live a normal teenage life when he had to do all these responsibilities for his mom. But he did his best to please his mother, even though she was a really strict.
If Tony didn’t follow her rules, the punishment was severe. Sometimes, she went even went so far as to keep Tony out of what he loved doing the most – school.
Every opportunity for school he loved, and I made it a punishment that if anything went wrong, he would miss school.
Tony pulled it off though, and pleased his controlling mother. Eventually he grew to 6’7 and his height caused him to be noticed in school. He was known as Mr. Solution, always the one to find ways to help other students out. He was soon elected student body president. Being involved with so many people, he started to gain more confidence, form his own identity, and become more independent.
Meanwhile, his mom was aware of this. She started to make life even more difficult for Tony, giving him rules that he started to think were unfair. On Christmas Eve, a day where families get together and share laughs, Tony and his mom were arguing and screaming at each other.
One wanted to control the other and the other wanted freedom from this control. It was a battle back and forth battle, until Tony finally realized that he had enough. No more. On Christmas Eve, in a fit of anger, he walked out of the house with nothing but the clothes on his back. He was just 17 years old and had miserable rainy Christmas at his friend’s place away from his family. During this time, he knew he had to find a way to make it on his own.
With no money to buy food, Tony asked his uncle if he could work for him as a janitor. His uncle decided to give him a job. He went to school during the day and took the bus 14 miles to clean banks for his uncle. Often times, he didn’t get to go to sleep until 3 AM. But he was able to make enough money to pay for food so he could eat and pay his friend $50 a week to have a place to live.
Doing this caused him to oversleep and miss school often. Eventually, he had to see the counselor and the counselor asked him why he was coming to class late. Tony couldn’t help it; he broke down and cried, telling the counselor that he had ran away from home because of his mother and was living by himself. The counselor listened to him and offered Tony a solution – to leave school.
Even though Tony loved school, he also had enough credits to graduate. He could come back later for graduation to graduate with his class. So he decided to leave school in order find a way where he could fully support himself, focusing more on work, perhaps getting more time at his janitor job.
At this time, however, his mom started to miss Tony and wanted him home. She found out who was hiring him, and decided to put an end to it. Nikki told Tony’s uncle something that made him ask why she would do such a thing.
I want you to fire him. If Tony thinks he can make it on his own, let him make it on his own – not using family.
The uncle gave into the mother’s words and Tony was left with no job. But he didn’t give up. He looked in the newspaper and found an ad that said, “No Experience Necessary”. With his charismatic enthusiasm, he eventually got the job where he was selling music club subscriptions door to door. He made enough money to support himself, despite the threat from his mom.
One day, selling music subscriptions to a door, Tony encountered a customer who was surprised by his enthusiastic personality. He told Tony that if he used this skill that he had, he could use it to change people’s lives. The customer told Tony about a motivational speaker named Jim Rohn and invited him to a seminar. Tony listened and fell in love with Jim Rohn’s words. He gathered enough courage and approached Jim Rohn asking him if he could work for him. Jim saw this eager teenager, and didn’t know what to do with him. But he decided to offer Tony a job, and the rest, you know, is history.
Although later, Tony and his mom were reunited again, sometimes I wonder about the relationships we have with certain people, like our parents, who can play a monumental role in the courses we take in life. We don’t always have “those moments” from other people that drive us so insane that we are willing to risk our lives to go away from the source that provides us with the food we get to eat, the shelter over our head, and the clothes on our backs.
Tony Robbins didn’t become Tony Robbins because he wanted to; he had to. There was not just pride at stake when his mother told him to prove it, but his independency and freedom was at stake as well. He needed to find a way to survive, and this was his why.
Most of us want to have something in life, but the reason for wanting it isn’t something that tells us, “Okay, I’ve had enough. There’s no other option right now. I need to do this.”
What I’ve learned from Tony Robbins is that if you want something bad enough in life, you must have a big enough reason to for it. It always comes down to our “why” that determines what kind of actions we are taking right now.
Is it something that we have to do, or is there something that we want do? There’s a big difference, as seen in Tony Robbin’s life where he had to do it. But the thing is most of us don’t find ourselves in situations where were go out and try to live life on our own. If your back has never been up against the wall, then there’s always another option.
And that’s conditioning yourself every single day that you will succeed. You see yourself doing something over and over and over again perfectly until you’re absolutely certain that if you do this, then you will get these results. And if you’re certain that you’ll get these results from doing these actions, you won’t even think about it. You’ll just do it.
But it all starts with your why. We all have fears. It might not be leaving your home, but it might be something that you’re afraid of that’s preventing you from taking massive action. One of the best ways to get rid of fear is to have a big enough reason where you have to succeed, or condition yourself where you see it and feel it so often that you’re certain the outcome is going to happen. Like how Tony was able to break away from what was controlling him, we have to ask ourself what is that ultimate thing that is controlling our life and holding us back from breaking free as well.