written by
Renjit Philip

What Shaan Puri Learnt from Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins Leadership Motivation 15 min read , February 2, 2024

So, I am a regular listener of the My First Million podcast hosted by Shaan Puri and Sam Parr. I have also read a number of Tony Robbins books and have been positively influenced by him. Recently Shaan interviewed Tony on their podcast. As a follow-up, Shaan Puri wrote a summary of his learnings from attending a Tony Robbins program. I read it and thought it was pure gold. And I wanted my 14-year-old daughter to read it.

The only problem was that it was not kid-friendly (language). Now I could not ask Shaan to rewrite his version. So I did the next best thing- I created a TL; DR summary cleaned up the language, and put it on my website. Please note all credit goes to Shaan.


  1. Love has Levels: Tony talked about different levels of love. I realized I wasn't loving fully and decided to aim for unconditional love.
  2. Mood Matters: Your mood can control your day. I learned that just like exercising a muscle, practicing a good mood makes you better at it. Before I met Tony, I was often stressed. Now, I focus on being joyful and curious.
  3. Tony the Speaker: Tony Robbins is incredibly good at public speaking. He got there by practicing a lot, speaking at any place he could, even when he was just starting. This inspired me to practice hard at what I aim to be good at.
  4. Greet with Energy: Tony mentioned how important it is to keep the excitement alive in relationships. He suggested greeting your loved ones with enthusiasm, just like a character from an old TV show who'd enter the house with a cheerful "Honey, I'm home!"
  5. Proximity to Success: Being around people who are where you want to be can make a big difference. For example, when I wanted to get better at poker, I lived with other poker players, and it really helped.
  6. Change is Possible: Tony believes you can help someone change if you find what matters most to them. He talked about finding the emotional leverage to encourage change.
  7. The Problem with Problems: Some people cling to their problems. Tony explained that problems can make us feel needed or create a bond with others. Understanding this, I now approach people's problems differently.
  8. Get Out of Your Head: Tony says overthinking can stop you from enjoying life. He suggests physical activity to get out of your head. It's about being present in the moment.
  9. Mastering Plateaus: Tony shared a story about how every entrepreneur hits plateaus. The master expects them and has a strategy, unlike the dabbler who quits or the achiever who just stresses through.
  10. Tiny Changes, Big Impact: Tony told a story about learning golf. He was frustrated with his shots until his coach told him he only needed a small change in his swing. It's the same with life; sometimes, a small adjustment can make a huge difference.
  11. Energy Sources: Tony has a lot of energy because he uses fat for fuel instead of carbs. He joked about people who rely on sugar for energy, calling them "sugar burners."
  12. Must vs. Should: Tony stressed the importance of turning 'shoulds' into 'musts.' If something is a 'must,' you make it happen no matter what.
  13. Energy Rich: It's fine to start with little money or skill but not with low energy. Tony taught me that high energy leads to success in many areas of life.
  14. Beliefs and Actions: Tony believes in a cycle where strong beliefs lead to actions, which lead to results, which then strengthen beliefs. He suggests increasing adventures to build confidence.
  15. Challenging Negative Beliefs: Tony recommends writing down negative thoughts and then replacing them with positive affirmations.
  16. Progress Equals Happiness: Tony believes happiness comes from progress. Focusing on progress rather than what's lacking leads to happiness.

My 11 biggest takeaways from meeting Tony Robbins

99% of people will never go to a Tony Robbins seminar

I get it.. Self-help? Guru? Cult? I would be skeptical, too.

I randomly bought a ticket to his event (black Friday sale, lol).

The event was awesome…but - I hate when people say “life-changing experience” but then can’t explain what was so good about it….so this is my list of stuff I actually learned from Tony and actually use on a daily basis.

#1. Most people are trading love

There are four levels of love.

Level 1 = Demand Love. I love you as long as you give me exactly what I want (e.g., babies who cry if you don’t give them what they want)

Level 2 = Trading, love = You, give in order to get. You’re measuring (tit for tat). If the other person pulls back, you pull back, too.

Level 3 = Unconditional love = like a parent with their kid. They give love no matter what they get back. You give because that’s just who you are.

Level 4 = Spiritual Love = you love those, even those who hate you (like the Dalai lama/monks)

Before the event, I was guilty of settling at #2 with my girlfriend (now wife). Now that I’m aware of it, I go for level #3

#2. Your Mood is Your Fortune

Most people are just reactive.

Good weather, good mood. Bad weather, bad mood. No traffic? Good mood. Mean boss? Bad mood.

If you can control your mood, you’re unstoppable. You’re unconditional.

Moods are like muscles. The more you do a certain mood (eg. playful, anxious etc.), the better you are at it.

Doesn’t matter if you’re rich. If you’re stressed out, you have a bad quality of life.

Everybody has times when they are very generous..and times we are selfish

But…where do you spend the most time? That’s your emotional home.

My emotional home before == stressed / anxious

My emotional home after == joy & curiosity

#3. The Michael Jordan of Public Speaking

Tony is (based on #s) the most successful public speaker/motivational speaker ever.

He sells out arenas and holds attention for ~10-12 hours straight on stage (most people can’t sit through a 2-hour movie, but he holds attention for 5X longer)

The crowd loves it. At the event I went to, he got a 7-minute standing ovation.

How did he get so good at this? Answer == intensity is the strategy.

Most speakers in his field do 2-3 talks per month. He would do 2-3 talks PER DAY in his 20s. He got WAY more reps in than anyone else.

He would go to small malls, help people overcome their fear of snakes or smoking addictions, or call into radio stations just to get more reps.

Oh, and he’s 63 now, so he’s been doing this for 40 years straight.

If you practice ONE thing for 40 years, they have a name for you: the GOAT.

#4. “Honey, I’m Home Energy”

Every relationship starts well.

You’re dating; you’re giving gifts; you’re holding the door open, etc.

Over time, that fades. Soon, you’re just two people sitting on a couch scrolling TikTok.

“If you do what you did at the beginning, there will never be an end.”

…but it’s exhausting to spend your whole life in the dating phase. So how do you do it?

One simple life hack →: change how you enter the house

Most people show up after a long day of work, drive home in traffic, enter the house grumpy, tired, and just want to sit down / watch TV.

Instead, open the door like the old show “I Love Lucy”. The guy used to open the door and boom “Honeyyy, I’m hooomeee” and then give a huge hug w/ energy. Get in that mood when you enter the house. It takes literally 10 seconds of energy, but your partner/kids will always remember you coming home in a great mood, happy to see them.

I’ve been doing this for ten years, and it’s so easy/so effective. Applies to work, home, etc.. change how you ‘show up’

#5. What’s the fastest way to become more successful…?

Proximity is Power

If you want to change, the most effective single move you can do is to move-in with people who already are doing that thing.

If you’re outta shape, and you hang out/live with people who eat healthy & work out daily…by osmosis, you’ll start to normalize those behaviors, too.

(this worked in my life, e.g., moving to SF for startups or living with other poker players when I wanted to be great at poker)

This is a form of immersion. Eg. if you want to learn Italian, you can buy a book, or someone can drop you off in Italy for 30 days. Which do you think will help you learn faster? Immersion & proximity are hacks to get better faster.

#6. Can you change someone who doesn’t want to change?

Going in, I thought, “No,” I’ve tried, and it’s frustrating as hell to get someone to change who doesn't want to

Tony says, ‘Yes’, you just need leverage.

Leverage in this scenario means emotional leverage. People change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the perceived pain of change.

You have to identify the point of emotional leverage. What do they care about MORE than staying the same? For many people, it’s their kids/others. They’ll change for them before they change for themselves.

#7. The biggest addiction in the world is Problems

You know, when someone complains, and then you give them a suggestion, and they don’t actually want the fix.

You can either:

Listen to fix

Listen to learn (understand)

Figure out what the person wants

But beyond that, I used to get frustrated that people clung to their problems. Why do they do this?

People cling to problems because:

Problems make you feel significant – omg, this week is so busy. So many meetings. Im so important

Problems make you feel a connection – women often do this, bond over shared problems. Guys, too, but less frequently.

If you want someone to let go of the problem, you gotta figure out what other needs it’s serving for them (e.g., significance, connection).

“Don’t change their mind; first, change their mood.”

#8. “If you’re in your head, you’re dead.”

I see this a lot in the SF/business/tech community.

People try to solve every problem by thinking their way out. This is crazy. They’re over thinking something…then try to think their way out of it. (it’s like gasping for air while suffocating in a plastic bag).

Your brain is great at many things, but it’ll never let you enjoy life. “If you’re in your head, you’re dead”.

The times you’re happiest are when you’re lost in a flow state, not thinking actively, not editing yourself, not thinking of the past or future, only the present. The easy ways to get into those states (exercise, music, etc.).

Tactical shift == if you’re stuck on a problem. Change your mood/energy first. Do something physical with the body (pushups, cold plunges, sprints, whatever). You don’t come up with the best answers when you’re in a tired, stressed state. That’s not when we’re creative, resourceful, etc.

#9 - The difference between a master & a dabbler

There are three types of entrepreneurs.

Every project hits plateaus. Every business. Or even things like weight loss/muscle gain. Plateaus ALWAYS happen. But how you handle them is different:

Dabbler == tries things, gives up when it gets hard, and moves on to the next thing

Stresser Achievers (e.g., most of my college friends) don’t give up, but they stress out and grind through (even taking pride in the ‘grind’ foolishly). They usually achieve success but don’t enjoy the journey, which is a fancy way to fail.

The master - the master KNOWS and EXPECTS plateaus.

When you hit a plateau, the master greets it warmly. Hello, my old friend. I thought you’d be coming soon.

They have a strategy for plateaus. They don’t get upset. They find other masters to talk to. They slow down temporarily so they can find a way to the next level. (note to self: be a master)

#10 - the 2-millimeter shifts rule

He tells a story about playing golf

Starts playing. Loves it. Having fun.

Hires a coach. Coach helps.

It's my first time playing a full round of 18 holes…he hits it off the tee…, and it goes WAY RIGHT.

Tries again. WAY LEFT.

Getting frustrated!

The coach is not saying anything. Gets even more frustrated. ‘What am I paying you for?’

Coach says, I know it feels like you’re way off, the ball is flying way off-track… but in reality, all you need to do is make a 2-millimeter shift in your approach.

When you’re hitting the ball, your club is angled 2mm in the wrong angle, so then it changes the trajectory of the ball.

What a powerful concept. Maybe when we feel so far away from the desired result…all we need is a 2mm shift in our approach?

#11 - Sugar Burners vs. Fat Burners

This is a quick one.

He’s on stage for like 12 hrs straight, super high energy.


He explains it’s bc he’s not carb-dependent for energy (he uses fat as fuel, keto diet).

Not much to learn here except I thought it was hilarious when he called people “sugarburners” (i love carbs but I don’t wanna be a sugarburner!).

#12 - You don’t get your “Shoulds”; you get your “Musts.”

Everyone is like, “I should do this,” or “I should do that.”

They just should be all over themselves (LOL).

The single biggest predictor of if you’re gonna actually do the thing or not, is if it’s a MUST or a SHOULD in your brain.

A must is when there’s no choice. The root word of “decision” in Latin is ‘vision,’ as in “to cut off.” A must is when you cut off the possibility of NOT doing it.

He calls this raising your standards. It’s not hard for me to avoid heroin. Why? I don’t do drugs. It’s not an option. It’s not a decision I need to make daily. It’s an automatic no. For many people, exercise is like this. They work out 5x a week; it’s not a negotiation; it’s just what they do. It’s their standard.

If you want to improve the quality of your life, raise your standards.

#13 - You can be money-poor but not energy-poor. That’s a death sentence.

Self explanatory.

We all start with low skill and low money at the beginning. That’s OK. It’s normal. But you cannot be energy-poor, or you’re stuck in place forever.

I like this concept, and it applies in other areas:

You can run outta money but never run out of ideas. Never declare creative bankruptcy.

You can be poor. But don’t be energy-poor. That’s a death sentence. If you’re energy-rich on a day-to-day basis, you’ll end up everything rich.

Have you ever met someone who’s high energy? They end up bouncing around into success in their career, friendships, adventure, etc.. This is why learning to manage your state (how you show up, see #4 “Honey I’m Home Energy”) is so important.

#14 - how to get your feet to move in the same direction as your lips (walk the talk).

People think Tony is about positive thinking

And yes, your belief system plays a role.

You’ve heard of the “vicious cycle” (where losing begets losing).

There’s also a “victorious cycle” → where winning creates more winning.

Think of it like a triangle.

Beliefs —> drive you to take ACTION → action leads to results.

If you have low belief, you take half action and get zero results (which reinforces your beliefs)

If you have high beliefs, you take massive action and get good results (which reinforces your beliefs!).

So, how do you get stronger beliefs?

Part of it is your self-talk (the conversation with yourself in your head). Train your self-talk.

But – even better is evidence.

Belief is a shitty substitute for actual evidence/experiences.

How does someone become confident? You can’t just tell youserflf “im confident”, your body doesn’t believe you.

Confidence is the byproduct of adventure.

If you want more confidence, just increase the amount of adventure (saying yes to things that are outside your comfort zone).

Every time you have an adventure, and you don’t die, your brain becomes more confident (I can do this, and it’s not so bad next time, I won’t be afraid).

#15 - Limiting beliefs and how to change them.

Write out your negative thoughts on the left side of the paper.

E.g., “I’m too young, don’t have enough experience for the job”.

“I’m scared to ask for a raise, they’ll probably say no”.

“I can’t go talk to her; why would she go out with me?”

Negative thoughts are like boggarts in harry potter. Just by writing the thing you fear, you’ll realize how silly the thought is. That’s half the battle. Realize most fear is ridiculous.

Now, draw a line from the left side to the right side and replace each thought with an empowering version.

Eg. “too young? No way! I have 3x more energy, I’m a young workhorse.

No experience? No problem. I don’t have any bad habits. I’ll come in and learn the right way right away.”

“Scared to ask for a raise? Horse doo doo. I work hard and make a huge impact here. I’m going to ask for a raise, and either I get it, or I’ll find out where I can add more value to earn more myself. Win-win. “

#16 - This one word equals happiness… what is it?

People think happiness is this nirvana. Some are impossible to reach the end state.

Happiness is simple. Happiness equals progress.

That’s it.

If you feel like you’re making progress, your mind will feel happy.

That’s why some rich people feel unhappy (they ‘made it’ and no longer feel a sense of progress) and why people in dirt-poor conditions feel happy (they find a sense of progress in their relationships, work, health,etc.)

So, if you want to feel happier, make more progress, and take note / be proud / bring your attention to the progress you’re making.

Too many people focus on the GAP (I need to lose 15 more pounds) rather than the progress (man, three months ago, I wasn’t even working out. Now I’m doing three days a week. That’s different! That’s progress!).

Thanks to Tony Robbins for inspiring millions of people and to Shaan for penning his learnings in this engaging fashion. Please read and send the link to your kids- it might just change their lives!

motivation Tony Robbins