In 2004, Tony Robbins granted a documentary film crew access behind the scenes of his six-day Date With Destiny (DWD) seminar in Palm Beach, Florida. During those six days, attendees are guided through discovering a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
The resulting documentary, ‘I Am Not Your Guru’, captures the essence of a Tony Robbins event and shows how transformative than can be.
Watch the trailer below.
The documentary is so compelling and engaging that it’s easy to get pulled into the stories of the attendees and their struggles and miss all the life lessons packed into the film!
Whether you’ve seen the film or not, these are powerful lessons that we can all learn from.
Tony says this right at the start of the film, and it is an important insight.
It can be incredibly easy to put too much pressure on ourselves, expecting dramatic achievements in a very short time and judging ourselves when we fail to meet them.
Then what do we do? Call ourselves a failure and give up, convinced that we are useless. But if we can step back and get some perspective on the scope of our lives, we realise that it’s the small steps we make year after year that amount to big life changes.
If you’ve watched the film or seen Tony speak in person, you know that he curses—a LOT.
He does this for a reason. As he explains in the film, he uses language in a very direct way.
“In every culture there are taboo words, and when you use them, you’re able to interrupt the noise in people’s heads,” he says. “I want to provoke people back into the reality of this moment. That’s how they change.”
Tony has a method to help people open up that uses their ‘small’ problems—the ones that are at the front of their minds—to access their deeper, more meaningful problems.
In the film, when a woman named Sienna stands up to say that she wants to improve her diet, it only takes Tony a few minutes to get her talking about how she needs to address her relationship with her father.
When Sienna finally faces up to what she wants to change in her relationship with her dad, she takes action to mend that relationship. The next morning, she shares a text she received from her father and we can see already the impact that Tony’s intervention has had on her life.
“If you’re going to blame people for all of the #@!& then you better blame them for all the good too,” says Tony.
When you give someone the blame for messing up, it’s important to also give them the credit for what they’ve done right.
Tony does this himself whenever he talks about his mother. He had a difficult childhood and experienced some terrible abuse at the hands of his mother—pouring dish liquid down his throat until he threw up, for example—but when Tony talks about his mother the first thing he says is that she was an amazing woman who loved him a lot.
This can be a very difficult thing to do when someone has hurt you, but it’s important to acknowledge the good along with the bad.
When we find ourselves in a situation where we’re holding on to something even though it’s not right for us, not only do we suffer, but we prolong the suffering of others.
When DWD attendee Hali realises that she’s in a relationship with someone she doesn’t want a future with, Tony encourages her to let him go—and she does, right at that very moment in front of the entire auditorium. It’s painful to watch, but it’s also electrifying because that moment reveals the very difficult truth that sometimes letting someone go is the kindest thing you can do.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s always right.
One of the most inspiring stories captured in the film is the transformation of a young woman named Dawn.
Dawn grew up in a religious cult in Brazil and experienced sexual and physical abuse from a very young age, which had left her depressed, suicidal and without purpose in life. When she stood up at DWD to share her story, Tony was moved to tears by what she had been through.
Tony had her get up on her chair and look around to see the number of people there who were showing her love and support when they didn’t even know her. In that one moment, everything changed for Dawn.
With Tony’s help, Dawn discovered how to turn her pain into purpose and became a coach herself. Now she helps others process pain through her events, online lectures and more—all because of that one moment.
I Am Not Your Guru ends with Tony leading the DWD audience in a priming exercise.
Priming is a great way to set your intentions and bring positivity into your life, and it’s something Tony does every single day.
Learn more about priming and experience it for yourself here.
Everyone in the film has come to DWD looking for something more from their lives. They are ready to make a change but are stuck for some reason. Maybe they have some limiting beliefs holding them back, or maybe they don’t know what their purpose is in life.
Whatever it is we want to change, most of us know that it’s in our power to create the life we want, but how many of us know how? How many of us are so filled with passion and drive that we can’t wait to step out into the world and make our mark?
That’s what Tony gives people at his events, and by the end of the film, that’s what you can see in the faces of each and every attendee.
It’s truly extraordinary!