When a friend told me he had an extra ticket for Tony Robbins‘ program Date with Destiny in Florida and invited me to go with him, I didn’t hesitate and I said yes on the spot!
For a couple of years, I had played around with the idea of participating in this full immersion experience with Tony Robbins. The price hold me back, but true to be said that was an excuse. I really didn’t feel ready and I lacked the courage that is necessary if you want to give an honest, truthful gaze within your self. Allowing yourself to shade light on the most remote and dark corners of your life isn’t really a pleasure. What if the abyss looks back at you, Nietzsche would ask. But, as I found out during the experience, gazing at your abyss it’s absolutely liberating and enlightening.
Think about it: hasn’t it be true also for your life that before a major breakthrough or leap in your life, you had to face self-doubt, fear and some anxiety?
Of course, the training with Tony Robbins was not the first time I had an experience that provided important breakthroughs in my life. In fact, a few years ago, I had an experience that shifted completely my life and critical decisions followed. It changed the quality of my life, because it was empowering and I felt that for the first time in my life I had been very truthful and honest to myself.
But you are never done growing. The one that does not move forward, moves backwards: it’s a law of life.
So, participating in Tony Robbins’ Date with Destiny event was an opportunity to make another critical leap forward. A quantum leap, if you want, that resulted in a quality leap as well.
My personal notes
During the entire five days of the intense event (yes, intense, because every day we started at 10 am and finished around 2 am, without counting the intensity of the emotional roller coaster you are put through), I took lots of notes about my experience there. I jotted down quotes, insights, impressions… Here is a snapshot of my notebook:
As a way to share with you some of the learnings I experienced, I thought of transcribing here some of the notes. I hope they inspire you as they inspired me (I suggest you transcribe those that inspire you most and you mull over them):
“Emotional Fitness: extraordinary life is created by extraordinary emotions.”
“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”
“When you are upset with someone, in reality you are upset with their rules.”
“People violate their rules to meet their needs.”
“People are addicted to problems.”
“Love is the oxygen of the soul.”
“Get rid of the rules that make you suffer.”
“Breakthrough is a moment when everything changes.”
“Stop making your happiness depending upon the other’s happiness. Stop living by rules and expectations. Live by love.”
“Free yourself from an ideal that makes you a prisoner.”
“Passion is found in the realm of uncertainty.”
“The only thing that keeps you from getting what you want is the story you tell yourself about why you’re not getting it.”
“When you think you gave it all, when you think you are in the darkest night of your life… Victory is near!”
“Change your story, and you will change your life.”
“You cannot control external events, but you can control the meanings you attach to those events.”
“Whenever you are suffering it’s because you are obsessed with yourself.”
“It’s not that you are frustrated: it;’s that you have so many rules…”
“Trade expectations for appreciations and your life will change immediately.”
“Life is happening for me… not to me…”
“What else did I miss because I judged myself or others?”
“What if this is it, and you start enjoying completely?”
“What if everything is divine time?”
“I get what I tolerate.”
“Me…. me…. me…. is the suffering song.”
The most important decision: to live in a beautiful state of mind, no matter what happens.”
“You are better than your patterns.”
One of my biggest surprises.
Off all the insights, breakthroughs and experiences I had, I want to highlight and share with you one in particular. It’s related to an exercise in which Tony Robbins helped us to discover our primary question and to change it so that we can be more true to our selves… [Here you find my one-pager that will help your own inquiry].
What’s a primary question? The primary question is the primary pattern that shapes your life. It is a dominant question “that filters your conscious and unconscious thinking on a consistent basis in your life. It becomes the ultimate laser and/or filter for what you constantly notice (or fail to notice) and experience in your life” (from the event’s guidebook).
I did some serious and deep soul searching. I wondered what my primary focus has been during my life… and the answer surprised me.
It came as unexpected. In fact, an expression in Italian came up that has shaped my primary question. The expression is: fare bella figura. Translated literally it means: making a good figure. In other words: make a good impression. This is an expression we hear all the time in Italy, since our early childhood, as we are socialized into our family and community of belonging. This is what matters: to make a good impression. The reverse, instead, is the worst that can happen to you: fare brutta figura. That is, to make a bad figure. We might compare it with what here in the United States are the virtues of being a winner and the curse of being a loser.
So, I discovered that my primary question has been influenced and shaped a lot by the preoccupation with constantly making a good impression and avoiding making a bad impression. As a result, my old primary question was: how can I make sure I make a good impression all the time?
If you think about it, it’s quite a stressful question. It puts the emphasis on appearing, rather then on being. It highlights the importance of achievement rather than fulfillment. It makes avoiding bad impression and validation (instead of learning) as your primary goal. What a way to construct my own unhappiness!!!
We were then given the opportunity to change our old primary question with a new primary question: one that more reflects who we truly are and who we want to become.
It took me a while and several other exercises to uncover my true values and my authentic life mission, to come up with an empowering new primary question, one that would help me to stay in a beautiful state, that allows me to be free of my fears and problems, and assists me in loving and serving others. So here is the new primary question I came up with for my life:
How can I be even more that love that heals and transforms?
Quite a different from the one that was shaping my life for a long time, isn’t it?
I hope reading these notes from my experience with Tony Robbins will inspire you as well. Maybe you start wondering what your primary question has been so far, and maybe you come up with one that you enjoy more, that frees you, that allows your true essence to be awaken.
If you want, I invite you to share below what your primary question is (either the old one or the one you come up now).
Also, I have a one-page sheet with 19 questions that can help your inquiry in a practical and effective way. You can download it here. This holiday season might be for you as well a good time to pause and to reflect about who you really are and who you want to become even more.