Growth Growth Life Purpose Self awareness

Abraham or Tony?

99% of what we get exposed to in theories, ideas, concepts, books, conferences, etc., has already been an idea of someone else.

Who do you know better?

Abraham Maslow or Tony Robbins?

Maslow is known for his hierarchy of needs, going from physiological needs to the need for self-actualization. 

Maslow was one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century.

Tony Robbins is known for filling up ballrooms and concert venues with thousands of ‘fans’ looking for personal breakthroughs.

“Unleash the power within” is the name of Tony’s programs. He’s also aiming for self-actualization.

Sometimes I wonder whether good old Abraham would turn over in his grave if he could see what Tony has done with his theories.

High-profile individuals like Tony Robbins claim what they proclaim is all invented by them.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

99% of what we get exposed to in theories, ideas, concepts, books, conferences, etc., has already been an idea of someone else.

Erikjan Lantink

It’s just, and sometimes brilliantly, combined, adjusted, and improved to our creative mind. 

And then transformed into a product of our own. 

Tony Robbins is a clever businessman.

When you have witnessed some of his ‘shows,’ you know he has the ability and the power to transform people’s lives.

His events are the product of a cleverly designed, carefully orchestrated, and brilliantly marketed intervention. 

Add to that his charismatic personality and unlimited energy, and you have a golden formula for success.

It’s remarkable and admirable what he has created.

And… the principles are all based upon the ideas of good old Abraham:

Physiological needs, the need for safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, and the need for self-actualization.

Now let’s have a look at the six human needs Tony Robbins came up with:

1. The need for certainty.

2. The need for variety.

3. The need for significance.

4. The need for love and connection.

5. The need for growth.

6. The need for contribution.

Realizing that Abraham lived almost a century ago, Tony translated the needs to a more current list.

And perhaps made the words a bit more accessible. But the principles are the same.

Before I continue, let’s get one thing clear.

I’m not downplaying what Tony has done. I’m also not envious.

It’s brilliant. 

And I genuinely believe that he has made a purpose out of his life to help people find their purpose and help them make the choices they need to make to find meaning and make sense of their lives.

Let’s face it; many people live a life in denial.

They stay in a job or relationship they know, deep down inside, is not making them happy. 

They live an unhealthy life from different angles, denying that it may not end well.

They’re convinced of their greatness and oblivious to their blind spots.

But they do know something might be off, and then they see a brilliant ad from Tony.

Should I?

I would go if I were willing to pay several thousand dollars to attend one of his events.

Not that I need his help, but to witness the show like I’m going to a rock concert.

To learn and to be moved.

Like at rock concerts, I know he would get to me. I always get emotional at a Coldplay concert.

Because I’m still fascinated (and scared sometimes) by those, who can move an audience to dramatic heights.

Because I love the music and the theatrics.

So I get why people go and see Tony’s events.

One, multiple, or all of the six basic needs need attention.

But I continue to wonder how sustainable the interventions are long-term.

When a three or four-day event leads to a breakthrough decision that alters someone’s life, I’m all for it.

As Abraham would say, that’s the safety, love, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization people sought.

Your turn: Abraham or Tony?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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