Tony Robbins, whose claim to fame is basically that he’s famous for claiming that you too can claim to be famous, is about to land at NBC with his peculiar magic show wherein he encourages the hapless helpless to untangle their inner conflicts and achieve that eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. (Isn’t that what Scientology pretty much promises to do — break down barriers to personal progress rooted in past trauma until a supplicant achieves the all-clear? For a sizable fee?)
As for the format of the show, the article draws the analogy between Robbins’ new venture and the Biggest Loser. (I swear they make this too easy.) So Robbins will personally mentor some — for lack of a better word — loser, just like Bogie coached Woody in Play It Again, Sam? Will we see him whispering into the ear of a thirty-something living in his parents’ basement, hiding under a permanent case of bedhead, all his action figures hermetically sealed, only to have this mess morph into a six-figure-salaried, six-pack-packing, trophy-wife-doing Master of the Universe?
I don’t know why these positive blah-blah gurus get on my nerves so. Maybe this is why: “Eighty percent of your success in anything is your psychology and 20% is the mechanics.” From his website. OK, let Robbins go to the Democratic Republic of Congo and use his 80/20 formula on the war-ravaged civilians who no doubt would love to take control of their lives and achieve their goals — like not dying before the age of 18.
All right, not fair. You can demonstrate the fatuity, or at least the inadequacy, of any philosophy by plopping it into the lap of a humanity barely surviving on the razor’s edge of tragedy and evil. Maybe Robbins’ perspective is what people need right now. Maybe a depressed and anxious populace need someone to kick them in the butt and remind them that the past doesn’t have to be determinative of the future. Maybe a little cheerleading will prove good for the soul after all.
Or maybe it’s like the lottery: a sucker’s game.