Not Your Guru

Today I bring you a short recommendation: the documentary “Not Your Guru,” which portrays the experience of participating in the biggest event in Tony Robbins’ personal development catalog.

I make this recommendation because I know that many of my friends and colleagues are skeptical of the world of coaching and personal development. And I understand why.

The truth is that the coaching world has a virtually zero entry cost, so it attracts many people without any talent, preparation, zeal or even willingness to do hard work, who feel that their personal charisma and inflated ego is enough to help seriously troubled people.

I’ve trained to be a coach, I’ve taken courses, and I can see the caliber of people that the area attracts. It’s scary. It made me exit the field in disgust.

But there are a couple of things that set Tony Robbins apart:

  1. I read many biographies and interviews with famous and successful people and a significant percentage of these attributed part of their success to Tony Robbins books/programs/events. This cannot be a coincidence.
  2. I myself have tried (but never completed) some of his programs, and was impressed by the quality of some of the exercises and language tools.

The documentary is not perfect. On the one hand, it focuses too much on Robbins’ interventions using his own method of explosive homebrew psychology, to the detriment of the exercises and tools that will bring true results to most people. I actually think that that stuff would be better handled by a licensed therapist, and find it kinda shady when coaches engage in it.

And on the other hand – and ironically, given the title – it sometimes gives the impression that the people there are almost part of a religious cult.

But I still believe it’s a good way for skeptics to see that there is a certain energy, a certain method in the man’s work, one that might be worth exploring.