I wanted to share my main learnings from Date with Destiny. The idea is to give people who are interested an idea of what it is and what you get out of it. For the people who have done it, it may help formulate clearly what you may have also experienced and understood.
I won’t go into the details of how it works, you can check it out on their website. It’s 6 extremely intense days, sometimes finishing after 3am.
I’m a pretty skeptical person and I didn’t know Tony Robbins 6 months ago, so I’m definitely not a groupie, but I found the event pretty amazing. I want to give you an idea of why it was an incredible experience and what especially shook me. I also then describe what I didn’t like that much.
What I loved
1. A bunch of Beautiful People
The first thing that really stroke me is the shining beauty of the people there. It’s not really that the people who attend are necessarily better people. Through the crowd, you see the beauty of humankind as a whole. You can bring anyone you’d think is hateful to this event and they would be completely transformed. You’d find the beauty of their true self.
You could see the beauty of people so clearly in their eyes. It was unbelievable!
2. The Man: Tony Robbins
It’s hard to imagine someone as impressive as Tony Robbins. He is 2.01m of pure strength, you could picture him as a general of the Navy SEALs. And when he shouts, you get scared. But when he smiles and cries, you get moved pretty deeply. This combination of power and love raised very strong emotions in my body and nervous system.
You can’t lie to that guy. When someone tells their story and he looks at them, the person is completely disarmed and can only say the truth. He can be very hard sometimes, but when he does so, it is to destroy the ego that prevents the real person from living their true life, it always comes from a place of love.
This guy can change everyone’s life within 10 or 15 min. This really gave me the motivation to do his training. This is an amazing feeling that I have started to feel with the programs I’ve created and what I now stand for.
3. The Power of the Heart
As an over thinker, I realised that I had been resisting a lot the importance of listening to my heart. I have been doing a lot of work lately to strengthen my intuition (meditation, ecstatic dance, intuition coaching, innocence state), but seeing these multiple personalities within people and myself made it even more clear.
Thanks to an amazing kind of meditation from the Oneness University, I also realised that what really mattered to me was the help I could provide and the love I could share.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein
4. The power of conditioning our nervous system
I have recently done a lot of work to train my mind, which is very important. However, I had been underestimating a lot the power of the nervous system, not realising it was in charge of so many of the decisions we make. This is why Tony Robbins created an event with such intensity. On top of understanding things with the mind, the heart and the nervous system also integrate any change you are trying to make.
5. The danger of significance
This is something I had already understood thanks to my friend Kirill’s amazing podcast after last year’s event, but it is now even more clear. One of the secrets to a good life is giving, and you get way more energy and results if you do things out of contribution and compassion rather than for a need for significance. If you do things out of significance, it puts a lot of pressure and people feel it. If you think about helping others, everything can be easier.
“The secret to living is giving” — Tony Robbins
I have to be honest with myself. I’m still happy to have some recognition when I do something, but that’s not what drives me. What drives me most is the contribution and the recognition is a by-product that I’m happy to receive.
6. Switching perspective
Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People a few months ago was a revelation for me. I had spent my whole life thinking from my perspective, as the center of the universe. The event was very humbling, because when there is an intervention, you really see life from that person’s perspective and your ego completely dissolves. I could feel what I had integrated intellectually, which again is important so it gets into my unconscious.
As stated by David Foster Wallace in this amazing speech, a fish can’t understand the concept of water because he can’t have a different perspective than being in water. With a higher level of consciousness, we can avoid this.
7. We are energy
Last November, I had my first experience with magic potions which was a huge revelation for me. This definitely qualified as a breakthrough ?. I could see the energy of others and things, could see the consciousness of others so clearly and also their egos (and mine, big time!). At Date with Destiny, with obviously less intensity and clarity, I could still feel, like a 6th sense, the energy people and things emit, especially when looking into people’s eyes.
I’m also very open now to the fact that we attract what we truly seek, so I’ll make a good use of the law of attraction.
8. Polarities in relationships
As most young males, I was educated to be manly in the wrong way: not showing emotions, eating junk food, having one-night stands and drinking a lot would be a sign of being a real man. I discovered a few months ago it was completely ridiculous and start to accept my “feminine side” that all men have. However, I may have leaned a bit too much in this direction, and this week helped me find the right balance of who I want to be as a man. Open-minded, honest and sensitive but also even more centered, protective, strong, determined and brave.
9. Focusing on what I learn, not what I already know
My ego has this funny little habit. When it listens or reads about something, or talks to someone, it often focuses on what it already knows rather than what it learns. I could notice this happening a lot during the week. It is completely unproductive and a bit of an illusion anyway as you always learn something new. I need to focus on what I learn, that’s how I’ll grow faster. It’s good to become more conscious of this.
What I didn’t like as much
1. The tyranny of the breakthrough
The main word of the event is “breakthrough”. People stand up and say “I had a breakthrough”, or “I had multiple breakthroughs” which would light up the room even more. The definition of a breakthrough is completely subjective. You can think of every second on Earth as a breakthrough as you always learn something. In this case, well, I’ve had an 518,400 breakthroughs over these 6 days. ?
However, I have decided that a breakthrough to me was when it triggered a big change in my beliefs or attitude. I’ve had some in the past and I wasn’t really sure the event qualified as such. Maybe I will realise it in a few weeks.
On the 5th day, Tony said: “In 30 years of running this seminar, I have never had a single person not have a breakthrough. Stand up if you haven’t had a breakthrough yet”. As I’m not sure I had a breakthrough, I stand up, and notice only about 25 other people out of 2,000 are standing. Pressure’s on.
I like to consider myself as skeptical, I think it’s healthy. After all, that’s what got me here. If I wasn’t skeptical, I’d probably be a strategy consultant in Paris, which was what my business school tends to show as the successful path, and I’d think Tony is that bullshit American motivational speaker.
I also have this egoic envy to defy the Man, the unshakable Tony Robbins. I know he would have smashed me, but as I don’t have a strong sense of self and value growth way more, I was fine with it. I was curious.
Now Tony Robbins starts shaming the people standing. We are standing because we want significance. Because we’re like “F*ck that sh*t, I’m better than you”. Some people sit. I listed courage as my #2 top value, so I keep standing. We’re about 12 now. Unfortunately he picked someone else for the intervention and did a demonstration that wasn’t that convincing (which was the point, to not be rational).
I got very interesting insights out of this episode(call it a breakthrough if you want ?). I overthink a lot, I could listen to my mind looping the whole day then. I’m also a bit hard on myself and others. If everyone is happy and telling my truth makes them disappointed, shouldn’t I be a bit more flexible?
The next day, we regroup in smaller groups. Now I’m asked to stand and say if I’ve had a breakthrough over the night. 30 people expecting you to say yes, to surrender. At first, I say not because truth was my #1 top value, but I really felt like a dickhead disappointing all these people for a few subjective rules of what I call a breakthrough. So I told them my breakthrough is that I should probably be a bit more flexible according to the circumstances. Let’s call it a breakthrough! Everyone is happy! ?
2. Two times when Tony contradicted himself
To me, this breakthrough episode was the only time Tony contradicted himself. He practices what he preaches 99%, which is pretty impressive. Here are the 2 contradictions:
- On relationships day, he talks about how we should not extrapolate answers. He takes the following example: “When a woman asks: are you available for dinner on Thursday night and the man says no, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you, he just means he can’t on Thursday night”. This is a very good point, people create stories in their head. Well in the particular example I just mentioned, when he asked “Who didn’t have a breakthrough?”, me standing was just me not having a breakthrough, but he creates this story of it being “F*ck you everyone, etc…”. I’m just answering the question.
- I understand the marketing claim of having a 100% breakthrough rate but here Tony is having a rule that is too hard and depends on others, which is the contrary to what he preaches, in a very good and logical way.
“If you think you control things that are in the control of others, you will lament. You will be disturbed and you will blame both gods and men.” — Epictetus
3. The impossibility of any negative feedback
People there are so nice and you’d really feel like a dick if you were to criticise anything. When writing this “What I didn’t like that much” part, I know many people will think I’m just so annoying and never happy. I loved the week. I know I’m very lucky to be there and I’m very grateful for it. That doesn’t mean I have to think everything is perfect. I run myself programs for people to unlock themselves, and when I ask for feedback, I make sure to ask their objective feedback rather than putting pressure on them to make them think everything is great. Otherwise you lose any sense of judgement.
Tony Robbins is all about “you shouldn’t judge”, but discrimination is an important part of being a wise person. It doesn’t mean judging the person, but it is healthy to judge their thoughts and actions.
“Saying “You shouldn’t judge” is already a form of judgement” — Maharishi Thom Knoles
4. The assumption that we are guided
During the 6 weeks, we have strong emotions and can feel the love more than anywhere else. It’s amazing. But Tony makes the shortcut of seeing it as being guided. While I’m very opened to a force, call it God or the Universe, that guides us, it is not something obvious. I follow influencers into Artificial Intelligence and neuroscience (Sam Harris or Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus) who are in my opinion more honest about what we know and what we don’t know. And we simply don’t know we are guided. You can believe in it, but that’s it. I personally make the bet that we are, but I don’t know.
“To not believe in God is to know that it falls on us to make the world a better place” — Sam Harris
It’s true that seeing life’s challenges as a gift is a good way to think, as it was expressed by Alan Watts in his vision of the ideal dream being reality, but it doesn’t say anything about being guided.
In the end, I came here to learn a lot about myself and what holds me back and I definitely got this. Lately, I have sorted out a lot of things, but I wanted to make sure I did not fall into the egoic trap of thinking I had figured out everything.
This week showed me all the progress I’ve made, but also all the progress I still have to make, which I’ve started implementing. There is still so much I can improve and this is great news. I mean how sad would it be if I were to think the most famous personal growth seminar in the world had not much to teach me.
It was a very humbling experience that I was lucky enough to experience and that I would recommend to literally every human being. For the people who are less into personal growth than I am, so probably 95% of the people in my network, I think it would be even more of a revelation. Had I come a year ago, I would definitely have had more breakthroughs.
Of course, it’s expensive, but if you can afford it (and most of the people I know can, if they’re honest with themselves), just go for it, what’s $6,000 if it changes your life forever? You’ll probably make that much quite quickly anyway with all the new insights you gained, on top of being a happier and a better person.
To finish with, here is a little compilation of testimonials from the beautiful souls I met there ?
Originally published at medium.com